During the same mulaqat, another Khadim asked Huzooraa as to how one should do the tarbiyat [moral reformation] of young children?
“The fact of the matter is that Allah the Exalted states that the tarbiyat of a child should start as soon as he is born. That is why it is a custom in Islam and it is also the sunnah of the Holy Prophetsa. We act upon what he used to say and that is that when a child is born, we call the azan in his right ear and the takbir in his left ear so that he may hear the name of Allah the Exalted and he may adhere to tawhid, the belief in the unity of Allah. So, Allah the Exalted has said that the tarbiyat of a child should start from day one. Do not think that the child is young and that he will not understand.
“When the child is young, explain things to him. When you give him something, explain to him that Allah the Exalted has granted this to you. Allah the Exalted provided for you. He put it in my heart, He provided me with the means [to provide this for you].
“We have to establish tawhid; so, first of all, develop their faith in Allah and explain to them that whatever they attain is all provided to them by Allah the Exalted. In this way, they will gradually increase their faith in Allah the Exalted. Then tell them that when Allah the Exalted grants us with various things, then we should be thankful to Him. Then explain to them that you are young right now and are not aware of everything, but you should always pray to Allah the Exalted that may He continue to bless us with His bounties and may He continue to bestow His blessings upon us. We are older and so we know a bit more than you. That is why we prostrate before Allah the Exalted and pray to Him. When you will grow older you too will begin to offer Salat.
“Then, the Holy Prophetsa has said that when a child turns seven years old, you should explain to the child that he has to offer Salat as it is obligatory upon us. Then, the child should gradually offer two or three or four prayers or however many prayers he can. And when a child reaches the age of ten and becomes more mature, then you should inculcate a regular habit in him of offering his prayers.
“So, the tarbiyat which is done from the very beginning is what becomes fruitful later on in the child’s life. Then the child begins reading the Holy Quran etc.
“However, you should not put so much stress on a child where the child starts reading the Holy Quran at the age of three and by the age of four, he gets tired or fed up with it, and then when he reaches the age of 11, he starts going out in society and begins to take various liberties. A middle path should be adopted.
“Explain things to the child, enable them to develop faith in the existence of Allah the Exalted, present proofs of the truthfulness of Islam, explain to them that God Almighty sent the Promised Messiahas in this era to establish the truthfulness of faith, develop an interest within them by narrating short stories to them; short stories about the companions, about the prophets, about the blessings that Allah the Exalted has bestowed upon His people and about the blessings that He has bestowed upon you. So, this is how love for their faith is developed. If parents act upon this diligently and with pure intentions and explain these things to their children and bring them towards their faith, then they will become attached to their faith. They will become inclined towards God Almighty and they will be mindful of their prayers.
“However, like Punjabi people, to say, ‘Let the child be; he will get better by himself when he grows older’, is not correct. It will not work out positively in this way. Allah the Exalted has taught us that we should do their tarbiyat from day one. Therefore, the notion that the child will get better when he grows older is not correct. Train your children as they grow older based on their age and display your own example to them.”