Assalamulaikum. Does a girl become accountable the minute she starts her first period, regardless of age? My daughter started aged only 9 and is struggling to pray all the salah. Is she fully accountable from now? What about if a girl starts her period late, eg 16? Would she not be accountable until then? Jzk.
In the name of Allah, the Inspirer of truth
In the Shari’ah, coming of age is known as puberty (bulugh), and once a person reaches this age, they become legally mature (baligh). Typically, a girl becomes baligh between the ages of 9 and 15, with the onset of menstruation (hayd).
Once a girl reaches this point, her deeds are recorded and she becomes answerable for her actions, good and bad. She is obligated to fulfil the obligatory (fard) acts of worship, such as the daily prayers and fasting in Ramadan and all other aspects of deen.
Therefore, to answer your question, your daughter is fully accountable for her actions and salat being the fundamental requirement of deen, she should be made to understand its importance in a caring and gentle way. Perhaps you can create a chart for her to track her salat and then reward her for completion. Another possible motivation is to make the salat a family activity. If everyone is praying together, it will be easier for her to stay on task with her prayers. Lastly, help her create her own prayer area, where she can keep her hijab and prayer rug and allow her to decorate the space. This will foster excitement in her to enter the space and complete each salat.
As for the question regarding a girl who reaches 16 years of age and has not begun menstruating, the ruling is that when she reaches the age of 15, according to the Islamic calendar, and has not menstruated, she will automatically be considered baligh and therefore accountable for her actions.
Please see this very beneficial tutorial on puberty which explains the fiqh and the physical and emotional changes a girl experiences.
And Allah knows best.