Home Is Where The Heart Belongs
Any dwelling could be soothing and beloved, not because of its pros and cons, but because of the fraternity and love that you encounter – because of the way it moulds your life and you overall…
For me that peaceful dwelling was Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. There rested my little nest, the sandy Arabian deserts known for their women being covered from head to toe in Faraasha abaayas, for wild glowing Summers, for cool freaky winters, for reckless Saudi youth roving around with their cars on tahliyaa streets. Where expat men were fighting the new laws being implemented daily and where its women were suffering through transportation issues. Apart from that, no one can ignore the awesome baqaala services, the pharmacies that are open 24/7, the delicious delicacies that prove to be a treat for the taste buds including – especially Kabsaa, shwarmaas and the all-time favorites Gahwaa with Basboosaa and Kunafaa…
But for me, apart from all these, Riyadh was an abode I dearly called and felt was Home. It was a land hated less for its cons than it was loved for its pros, and I discovered my love for it in recent years, probably 3 years before I finally had to leave it for good.
It was an abode where I discovered the most cherished of bonds with the sincere and beautiful Ustadha’as (Teachers), and the true ME, enhancing in the light of Imaan and the treasure of Knowledge.
Normally Riyadh is ridiculed for imposing restrictions on women, but if you come closer, removing the illusionary lens, you will see what a joy it is to live in a city Like Riyadh..Subhaanallah! A place where the simple call of Adhaan makes every shutter of every store of every Market and mall collapse to make sure the men don’t miss their Salaah. The availability of a prayer section especially for women in most of the masaajid shows how they aren’t ignored either. Where water, dates and snacks will be distributed on the roads so that the people riding home can have their iftars done on time.
Where you can give salaams to anyone and everyone without worrying about them being offended. Where every man at every store is Muhammed for the ladies 😉
A city where your gaze falls upon profound masaajid with a trembling heart as recitations by magnificent Qaarees are heard. Where you can have the most soothing Salaah experiences and all in an abode where ample knowledge of the Deen is stored in every corner.
A place where simple 2 room Daars to grand Islamic centers are located where women, elderly and children of all ages gather to memorize the Kalaamullah and delve in the depth of its ayahs. Its phenomenal! It’s an absolute treasure box of Islamic Knowledge where it’s made so EASY for everyone to come and access it for free in some areas Subhaanallah!
A varied population of people, from Indo Pak, to Lankans, Africans, Afghans, Egyptians, Sudanese, Somalis, Kuwaitis, British, Bangla traverse the streets, but everyone is wrapped in a single cloth – every soul being bonded by one solid faith – Islam. The diverse cultures blending, to be spilled onto a single canvas, beautiful to behold when light of the Shahaadaa flickers in the hearts and the ethnicity doesn’t really matter. It’s all about loving for the Sake of Allah (SWT) and these folks know really well how to live and celebrate the spirit of Islam at its best Mashallah, Tabaarakallah.
You wouldn’t have a better Ramadaan experience than the haramain anywhere across the globe – that is atleast to me. I waited for that blessed month for the entire year just to be a part of those terrific Qiyaams and heartfelt Taraaweehs where Muslimaah sisterhood flourished beyond imagination.
How can anyone forget the two most blessed and divine cities Makkah Mukarramah and Madeenah tul Munnawaraa – a sanctuary of peace and bliss. The memories of Umrah and ziyaaraah lingers fresh in my head and I remember how the people were so warm and loving every time I visited. I not only met a bunch of beautiful souls but initiated adorable friendships, Subhaanallah! Thousands of souls, from across the world with different races, creeds and colors yet they entered Haramain with one intention – Pleasing and worshipping the Lord of the Aa’lameen, rabbul I’zzaty wal Jallaaal!
I believe that anything and everything is beautiful when you have righteous company. Whenever we gathered together under one roof it felt like a glimpse of Jannah on Earth and apart from those numerous blessings, one of them was to come across the beautiful Jannah mates and work together for a divine cause, Allahiyahfadhhum!
Today, 7th November 2013, exactly one year down the road, when I look back at it while sitting here in my solitary den, sipping my bitter Coffee, it feels like a dream…Subhaaanallah! A year back I journeyed along a path which changed the world around me, a complete unimaginable flip of my little hayaat (life).
After leaving that blessed land, which for me was home, and then settling in the habitat of Kuffaar, where at every step there is a fitnah awaiting, a tantrum alluring, a sin so tempting and solitude absolutely horrifying, it astonishes me that I have survived an entire year. It’s an anniversary today! Indeed time flies!
People say, ”India breathes freedom, you have a life here man, and what would you do in that cage with those absurd restrictions? Get out of your shell, let go of your hijaab, Abaaya, and that tacky mentality and inhale the air of liberation”
Liberation? The exposure of your body, reducing yourself to a piece of meat is liberation? Hanging out with guys late at night and getting drunk to lose your senses is liberation? Dancing to the tunes of drums in rock band concerts or spending the nights in theatres is Liberation? Free mingling and celebrating every other festival of the kuffaar, forgetting your own Deen is liberation?
Well, if that is the case, I am more than delighted to live a life in that cage, guarding my faith for the rest of life without THIS liberation because perhaps my definition is amazingly and in a large way different than yours.
It was hard to settle down with an entire family in a place which we seldom visited with others, with no friends or people who could at least connect with your thoughts. It made me like a stranger, a ghareebaa, who had lost her path all of a sudden and everything looked bizarre.
The first Ramadaan was a period spent in grief and anguish because the atmosphere really does affect your Ibaadah. From the power cuts to the Imaan drops, from the lost sakeenah to the new locality, from the awkward discussions of the Aunties to the mournings in solitude, from running an entire home all alone to abruptly landing in mixed gatherings, from comforting the kids to consoling the soul, everything was extremely depressing.
But Allah is Raheem and there is Hikmaah in all that He does. A soul could lose every possession, but the Love and Aid of its Lord, always remains.
Today, after completing my very first year here in India and facing a million issues at every step, I can confidently say, that Wallahukhairal Maakireen.
”Indeed Allah is the BEST of Planners.”
This entire experience has moulded me in a way I could have never imagined myself to be. It drastically taught me the meaning of Habeeyallahuwanimal wakeel. I live through this simple ayaah every day because there is nothing else that gets me through. It also taught me to be a warrior, to be a guardian, to be independent and to be protective towards my siblings, to be near to Allah (SWT) and to raise those empty palms more often. It enhanced my tawakkul and strengthened my distant bonds.
My besties stay miles apart from me, yet a simple WhatsApp chat suffices to get that beaming smile back on my face after a long, tiring day. Their heartwarming Duas and sincere love holds me up, back straight, after every fall. So, it’s enough for me. Although I sorely miss my Al Rabie juices, croissants and the awesome Baqaala food, I still believe and pray that one day I shall be back to where I nestled, witnessing a fabulous reunion with my mates and accomplishing all those dreams which await at the corner of my heart. Inshallah. And even if not, then the Hikmah of Al – Qaadir is awesomelicious as always.
Lastly, I would say, focus on your heart, that piece of flesh that our prophet (SAW) instructed us to safeguard because if that is sound, then everything else would be great too.
Surely, in the body there is a small piece of flesh; if it is good, the whole body is good, and if it is corrupted, the whole body is corrupted, and that is surely the heart.” [Bukhari]
It’s easy to speak from the tongue, but hard to persuade the inner self. That’s why the foundation of our deen is Imaan – Tawheed, stemming from the Heart. It’s essential to believe before anything else, so when everything turns upside down, get hold on yourself before the Shaytaan uncle does and misleads you. Don’t just say Qadarallah, believe it too, firmly through every chamber of your heart. Let there be no doubt that THIS situation, however it might look, is nothing but GOOD for you, because its Ar – Rahmaan who is controlling it all – whose mercy is beyond what our little brains can comprehend.
‘Fatabaarakallaahu ahsanul Khaaliqeen’.
It doesn’t matter where you really reside, what matters is does the Shahaaada, the kalimaah that there is no Lord but HE reside in your Heart?
If yes, then no doubt you will succeed, even in the lands of kufr, deceit and treachery, every loss can be endured patiently, and Ar – Rahmaan will allow you to enter the gardens of contentment swiftly.
Let the roots of Imaan be so strong that the most outrageous storms can’t shake it,
And when Al Qaadir ordains a matter for you, force your heart to readily take it…
That’s where the Bliss lies…The Eternal One
– Muslimah Poetess