In the beginning of the civil war in Lebanon in 1974, I remember getting out from school on the sound of a big explosion that shook the city of Tripoli Lebanon. As I ran with people toward the sound of the explosion, I saw the fire and smoke coming out from the seven-story building we lived in. Some militia people were smuggling explosive materials in grocery trucks through a big wholesale warehouse on the ground floor of our building, and by accident it exploded, killing seven people and injuring many. But Alhamdulillah, even though my parents were inside our apartment during the explosion, they sustained only minor injuries.

For the period of a whole year we were forced to move from one relative’s house to another waiting for the place to be repaired enough for us to move back home. Even being young, I felt the burden we caused staying at these relative’s homes, so I only imagine how my parents and older siblings felt.

I look now to all these refugees from Syria, Palestine, Iraq and other places around the world who lost their homes or were forced out having to risk dangerous journeys to escape with their lives, and I think to myself: How can we teach our kids to be grateful living in the US when all the basics of life are taken for granted, especially homes and even luxuries?

Indeed, one of the major blessings in life is to have a home, any size or type, because it is the place of tranquility and security. Allah (SW) said: {Moreover, it is God [alone] who has enabled you to make for yourselves houses as places of [rest and] residence. And He has enabled you to make for yourselves tents from the hides of cattle, which you find light [to carry] on your day of journeying and on the day you encamp} 16:80.

In this ayah, Allah (SW) mentioned residences first because it is the permanent home base that brings tranquility and stability (Sakan). The houses or tents made from the skins of cattle were mentioned second as these were primarily for traveling, yet even those who are traveling need a place of Sakan and rest too.

The word Sakan has many meanings: “The opposite of movement; this is why the knife is called sikkeen in which it ceases the movement of an animal when slaughtered.”[1] It also means “to reside,” which connects the original meaning as to rest from the outside activity when you enter your home. The term Sakan is also used in reference to (طمأنينة) or tranquility as “it is to enjoy relaxation or tranquility, like being among family.”[2] This general term describing homes as Sakan is comprehensive and inclusive to all areas of relaxation and resting in the physical, emotional, and spiritual sense.

But first let us remember that we are enjoying the blessing of being in a home (apartments, condos, houses etc.), something we might take for granted and not fully appreciate. Remember how many are homeless without even a roof over their heads to protect them from the harsh elements or even a bathroom to bathe or relieve oneself. Always be grateful to Allah (SW) for this blessing among the countless blessings from Him: {And where you to [endeavor to] count the blessings of God, never could you enumerate them} 14:34.

This comprehensive meaning of Sakan in homes is not just because of the four walls around you and a roof over your head. It is a feeling of peace and tranquility that only Allah (SW) can put in the hearts and minds of people. One doesn’t attain that from living in mansions or having luxurious furniture. It is attained through the recognition of the blessings from Allah (SW), even for a house made of animal skin or mud. It is not attained by living in a fancy neighborhood, but rather it is how close your family members are to each other.

Our homes are places of Sakan because marriage, which is the primary reason for establishing homes, is made of Sakan too. Allah (SW) said: {And of His [wondrous] signs is that He created for you, from yourselves, mates, so that you may repose in them. And He has set between you genuine [mutual] love and [tenderhearted] mercy.} 30:21.

 

Invite tranquility in the Remembrance of Allah (SW)

There are many factors that invite tranquility into our homes, but I will focus only on one factor which I believe is the most important one; the remembrance of Allah (SW). Allah (SW) said: {But whoever turns away from my remembrance, for him, indeed, there shall be a stringent life and we shall bring him to assembly, on the Day of Resurrection, blind.} 20:124.

Remembrance of Allah (SW) helps you deal with the daily stresses of life. When Fatima came to ask the prophet (SAAW) for a servant or maid and did not find him at home, he (SAAW) came later to her house when she and her husband Ali were almost ready to sleep. He said: “Shall I tell you of something better than what you asked for!” They said yes. He said: “When you go to your bed, say Subhan Allah 33 times; Alhamdulillah 33 times; Allah Akbar 33 times, and that is better for you than a servant.”[3] It was the idea that when you have no means to bring help, use the Zikr or remembrance of Allah to seek power in dealing with the hardships of life. The remembrance of Allah (SW) brings tranquility to the heart, and this feeling reflects in peoples’ lives thereby making all hardships easier to bear by the grace of Allah. Allah (SW) said: {These are the ones who [truly] believe and whose hearts grow calm [with assurance] at the remembrance of God. Most assuredly, it is by remembrance of God that hearts grow calm} 13:28

Life in an Islamic spiritual context is not defined in the biological matter but rather in the remembrance of Allah, for that is the true meaning of life, to remember the One who granted it to you, Allah (SW.) And that is why, a home with the remembrance of Allah (SW) is a lively home, functional, full of energy and life. The prophet (SAAW) said: {The example of the house in which Allah is remembered in and the house in which Allah is not remembered in is like the example of the alive and dead}[4] You can bring this life into your home by performing additional (Nafelah) prayers. The Prophet (SAAW) said: {Assign some of your prayers in your houses and do not declare it as graves}[5]

You can always bring tranquility by reciting the Quran. One of Satan’s goals is to destroy families but the Quran shields our homes from the whispers of Satan. The prophet (SAAW) said: “Do not make your homes cemeteries, for Satan runs away from the house in which the chapter of Al Baqarah is read in it.”[6]

This remembrance of Allah (SW) is to be seen through the collective effort of both spouses to be close to Allah. The prophet (SAAW) said: “Mercy of Allah shall be on a man awakened in the night when he prayed and he awoke his wife for prayer. If she refuses he wets her face with water. And mercy of Allah shall be on a woman awakened in the night when she prayed and she awoke her husband for prayer. If he refuses she wets his face with water.”[7]

Let us invite tranquility into our homes through the remembrance of Allah (SW). I pray to Allah (SW) to protect us, our spouses, children, families and everyone we care about, Ameen.

By Sh Kifah Mustapha

 

[1] Lisan Al-Arab

[2] Lisan Al-Arab

[3] Bukhari

[4] Muslim

[5] Bukhari

[6] Muslim

[7] Abu Daoud