There are many kinds of homes and families. Some homes are abuzz with activity all the time, but family members withhold secrets from each other, confiding only in their ‘friends’ outside the home.
Other homes are always silent even when the whole family is at home, because the authority figure in the house is feared by the rest, leading to an air of subdued hesitation.
Some homes are like hotels, with the family inmates just coming to sleep, eat, shower, change, and access a roof over their heads when needed. Their real social lives, loves, occupations, and attachments are with people outside the home and family.
It is interesting to note the aura of a dwelling whenever I visit it, especially for the first time. Being what has contemporarily come to be known as a “HSP” (highly sensitive person), I can pick up vibes within seconds of entering any space. I have noted that a house or home can be spic-and-span, decorated with expensive interiors, and done up by a team of architects and designers, but still lack warmth and barakah (blessings). This easily becomes obvious when all the family members are present together in one room of the house.
How to Achieve “Togetherness”
The question is: what is that key ingredient that makes a house turn into a home? That essential factor that turns a dwelling — no matter how outwardly shabby and dreary it might seem, according to external factors measuring its prestige and ‘livability’ — into a warm, inviting, comfortable and cozy home? Where members feel immediately at peace and “at home”, welcomed by the others, and respected for who they are?
In my opinion, there are basically a few main things that turn a house into a home, and a family into a well-connected small “community” of sorts.
Sincerity: the Stability of the Foundation
The first prerequisite is sincerity to Allah, and purity of faith. Some readers might scoff at this. However, the palpable and long-term effects of truth and sincerity can never be undermined. Where there is sincerity, there can be no falsehood, hypocrisy, or selfishness. With sincerity, every member of the family will have a pure and truthful relationship with the others, and there will be no undercurrents of envy, rancor, hatred, or antagonism undermining and eating away at the foundation of the home.
Sincerity becomes lacking when the authority figures in the home begin to have bad intentions towards their subordinates, even if slightly. When the older ones deliberately abuse or exploit the weakness of the younger ones. When loyalties and ‘love’ is switched on the basis of personal benefit. And when selfish motives related to greed for worldly benefit makes any family member commit injustice with the others.
The Means of Provision
The second key ingredient that determines the feeling of warmth, love, and blessings inside any Muslim home, is the source or financial means from which the home itself, and the other provisions in it, are bought or acquired. That is, the income and how it is discharged. Once again, those who wish to scoff at this can do so, but it is one of the most basic factors that creates success and love in a family unit.
When a house is bought or acquired via means that are not halal, there will never be blessings in it. The same applies if it is being maintained with income or money that is not 100% halal as well. And the source of income affects the whole family and the quality of their lives at home, when they are together. The love they have for each other; the warmth they feel when in each other’s company; how well they communicate, and how much they respect each other. All of this is affected by the permissibility of the means of provision with which the provision is being acquired for consumption.
Mixing Business With Pleasure
One of the best ways of ensuring that a Muslim family is raised upon the true foundation of Islam, is to make the home a center of not just fulfilling their basic survival needs, but also the center of all the other aspects of life.
Namely, the Muslim home is a center of knowledge, learning, moral training (tarbiyah), bonding, de-stressing, and even earning money. Yes, a warm Muslim home has aspects of all the other places that an adult visits in order to achieve certain goals in life viz. a school, office, hotel, restaurant, spa, cafe, lounge, mosque, sports/recreation area, conference room, and business center, — all rolled into one.
In the growing air of uncertainty and upheaval that is taking over the world, with families being torn apart due to war, emigration, relocation, and deportation, one of the most effective ways that a Muslim family can attempt to stay together, is to become financially independent and self-sufficient.
Every family should attempt to do this by starting early i.e. finding a product, service, profession, or occupation that will allow them to provide something of value to others, no matter where they are living in the world.
Father, mother and growing children can & should put their heads together to come up with online and virtual business solutions that can enable them to work out of a home office and provide something of value to customers internationally.
This online business can allow them the flexibility to undertake Islamic knowledge-seeking and da’wah projects in their spare time. And once again, together. The greatest benefit of all: they won’t need to knock door-to-door for aid, when and if they lose their jobs, or relocate to another country.
Of course, it is easier said than done. Most of us need our day-jobs just to get by day-to-day. Nevertheless, starting an online side business with the family, and investing our spare time and efforts into it over the years, will allow something of value to be gradually built from the ground up with the passage of time.
Not to mention, it will provide a great learning and training ground for our next generations!