Hadhrat Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said,
“Most of the people do not pay necessary attention required for the proper upbringing of children. They postpone accurate training in childhood saying they are just kids.
However, this is the age for establishing permanent habits. The characteristics developed at this age last for ever. This is the time to correct the morals (ikhlaq) and strengthen their thoughts (Islamicaly). (As an example of concrete learning at this age) consider this, a child stays with his parents from birth and regards them as his mother and father. Later in life even if many people were to raise suspicion about this, he would never doubt about them being his parents. The learning in childhood is so solid that it does not wear away except when Allah wants it to be erased.”
Malfoozat-e-kamalat-e-Ashrafiya #637, pg 146
Raising Muslim children is very challenging and one of the most difficult responsibilities for the parents.
Following are some essential tips to help.
They have been gathered from saying of our pious elders (akabir):
1. Set an example. Be a role model for them by doing your own self-reformation (islah) sincerely.
2. Make the environment of the home Islamic as much as possible. Television is a big obstacle in raising morally responsible, modest (ba-haya) and well disciplined children.
3. Maintain exemplary relations with your spouse. No bickering, ridicule, temper tantrums and caustic remarks. Children learn what they see and experience.
4. Give them the best of your attention, love, material resources, time and training. But set expected standards and implement them firmly.
5. Make a routine of reading regularly from the books of our mashaykh with them. Select simple books, like Bashiti zewar, Hayyutul Muslimeen, Asan nakiyan. Read one or two pages daily. At the most 10-15 minutes. This is the most stressed and most beneficial. Do not worry if they seem too young to understand. Develop a habit. InshaAllah, it will illuminate their heart and make it receptive of good later in life.
6. Remember making them truly religious is more important than making them hafiz and alim. A non-practicing scholar (hafiz/alim) is worse than a practicing lay person (jahil).
7. Take them regularly to visit mashaykh and to get their dua.
8. Select a pious Shaykh/scholar who is steadfast in following Shariah & Sunna in your locality and visit his lectures and discourses regularly.
9. Seek families who share the same Islamic values as yours as friends. Special effort has to be made for this.
10. Make lot of supplications (dua) for them. Make it for their efficient religious upbringing and also sufficient worldly progress. Mufti-e-Azam Pakistan Hadhrat Mufti Mohammed Shafi’ (may Allah have mercy on him) has mentioned in Mariful Quran that the most effective thing in proper upbringing (tarbiyat) of children is parents’ supplication (dua) for them in this regards.
And the success is from Allah.