It's been a very long time since I last wrote an article, and I do apologize. I've been thinking about it for the longest time. I felt extremely unproductive as my life revolved around the baby. Feed, change diapers, do laundry, repeat. Pretty much sums up my life, along with other chores. I felt like I really needed to do something more fulfilling. Like, I don't know, change the world maybe? We all want to go out and change the world, don't we?
Then I realized the bitter reality. Can I really make a difference out there? As ideal as it sounds, it's not really possible. Something rare, at best. What could I do? I have no control over others' mindset. The only real control we have is over our own homes. In reality, we go out to affect the world and instead come back affected by the world ourselves. On the Day of Judgement, each "shepherd will be asked about his flock" (Bukhari).
The Quran tells us to make our homes a place of worship and establish prayers (10:87). There are 4 simple steps in increasing Allah's blessings in your homes:
Attaining a house is easy, but making it into a home is an ongoing process. It's a place where you should find peace, and one can only attain tranquility in the heart from Allah, so we should turn to Him. The home should be a place that is spiritually uplifting. Some people spend hours polishing their homes and making it sparkle, which is all good, but what about polishing our homes spiritually? This is done by the remembrance of Allah (SWT). The Sunni scholar Jalaluddin Al-Suyuti states that Rasul Allah (SAW) said that just as we look into the sky and see stars, the angels look down on to earth and see stars in the homes of people who remember Allah (SWT). In another hadith Rasul Allah (SAW) states, "Say a part of your prayers at home, so your house doesn't become like graves" (Bukhari). It is prohibited to pray in graveyards, so we should bring our homes to life and make them shine. Men should pray all obligatory prayers at the masjid and it is better for them to pray their sunnah and nawafil at home, whereas women attain greater reward if all prayers are done at home, but they can go to the masjid if they wish. In an ideal situation, a separate praying room would help in creating a desirable atmosphere.
We should always make dua when we enter and leave our homes. When we enter we should say Bismillah. By doing so, shaitaan says to himself, "you have no place here anymore and should leave". Bismillah eradicates the seat of shaitaan from our homes. It's as simple as that! When leaving, we should recite the following supplication:
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَلَا حَوْلَ وَلَا قُوَّةَ إِلَّا بِاللَّهِ
"I depart with Allah's name, relying on Him. It is Allah who saves us from sins with His guidance" (Tirmidhi)
If shaitaan is not in our house then you can bet (oh wait, that's haraam) that he's waiting by the door on your way out. This dua is for protection against him and guidance from Allah. If we recite it then he walks away saying what can I do now, this person has Allah's protection and is guided. We should always strive to make this dua, inshaAllah.
(iii) Recitation of the Quran
Reciting the Quran draws in the barakah of Allah (SWT). Allah's Mercy is attracted, which in turn increases love between the people in that house, decreases the animosity and creates a special type of peace. Particularly, Surah Al Baqarah should be recited. Shaitaan flees from the home where this is read, and he also cannot enter it, so it is a double protection. It's difficult to recite the whole surah and Islam makes it easy for us. If the last 2 ayahs are recited for 3 consecutive nights then shaitaan also can't enter such a house.
(iv) Gaining knowledge
We don't necessarily have to go out in order to gain knowledge. We should strive to have study circles within the family and encourage our children to participate. We should create an Islamic library and try to set a time to learn new things and practice on it together. We should also reach out into the community and offer our homes for serving the deen. There is immense barakah in doing so. People should be allowed to do dawah, lessons should be taught and learned, remembrance of Allah should take place. A piece of the masjid should be taken into our homes. People generally think that resources are needed first and then the work of deen can begin but it's actually the other way round. We should start with the deen and Allah will expand the resources for us iA. If we make space for others in our homes for deeni purposes then inshaAllah Allah (SWT) will make homes for us in Jannah!
In this day and age when there's so much fitna in the outside world, preservation of the house really is preservation of the deen. May Allah SWT give us the tawfiq to implement all of these steps in our homes, thereby increasing His blessings within them, Ameen.
*notes were taken from various lectures of Sheikh Husain Abdul Sattar for this article.