Question: What is the difference between the age of discernment and puberty?
Thank you for your important question.
Discernment (tamyiz) would be the child’s ability to understand right from wrong. The older a child grows, the more discernment he/she obtains.
Puberty (bulugh) would be the child’s reaching an age where they are now legally responsible (mukallaf) before Allah, Most High, to perform obligations and refrain from prohibitions.
Yes, it is possible for a child to have a degree of discernment before reaching puberty. However, they still would not be considered legally responsible (mukallaf) until they reach puberty.
A child who has not reached puberty is not permitted to lead in any action which has the condition of puberty, such as leading prayer.
They may perform any action which does not contain that condition, such as giving the call to prayer.
And Allah alone knows best.
[Ustadh] Omar Popal
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani