What is it that makes a house our home? Where does comfort, “Gemuetlichkeit”, come from? What are the things that make us feel cosy and warm? What is the secret of creating a soulful, welcoming atmosphere with a lovely spirit in our houses?
I am a real home bird, a homebody that loves to be “chez moi”.
With the upcoming cold season and shifting more inside, I am asking myself often questions on how to beautify our own rooms and how to create a surrounding that would please Allah, a house the Prophet (sws) would feel comfortable in and a home the angels love to enter.
During my university years, while studying interior architecture, I learned a lot about forms and function, about building techniques, about shape and “good design”.
But we never really discussed the question of what gives the home a heart.
I don’t think it’s the furniture or the size and the shape of the rooms that make a home – I really believe that it’s the little personal stuff, materials that resonate with our souls, things that mirror our personality, our dreams, our values, our mood:
a garden flower, a children’s drawing, a handmade pillow or a piece of wood from the seashore; a lightened candle, some old family treasures, a piece of jewellery, the afternoon sun falling into a window; a pile of books, little pebbles or a beautiful leaf from the woods, a weaved basket or a wooden toy…
I think it’s imperfection that gives our homes a lively lovely spirit; it’s the things we’ve put our love and heart in, things that tell tales about our daily life.
I am not talking about expensive art paintings, about senseless magazine-like artificial decoration, nor about over loaded spaces – I am talking about gathered pieces of beauty, about inherited goods and crafted things, about things that remind us about our outside adventures and the blessings given by Allah.
“A real home is a place that nurtures us on every level… a home with a heart embraces us when we walk through the door; we can almost feel it wraps its healing around us…” (Jane Alexander in “Spirit of the home”)
So how can we improve a good and healthy spirit in our houses? How can we make the home a real mirror of our selves, of our dreams and our personality?
I think sometimes we have to take time to ask ourselves what message our rooms send out, what vibration they give. And we have to check out if being at home nourishes our soul and makes us really feel good.
Sometimes we have to de-clutter the rooms, we have to clean and tidy up and rearrange some things: to give hidden or forgotten corners a new purpose, to redecorate some places and to purify everything from Djinn and negative energies by letting in some fresh air, by playing some qur’anic recitation, by spraying out some natural fragrances, by displaying some beautiful calligraphy or landscape photography, by creating a little corner for devotion, filled with Islamic literature and a nice prayer mat and by cherishing Allah’s blessings by putting around some seasonal pieces brought in from nature.
And last but not least: we should always enter the house with a blissful “salamou alaikoum – may peace be with you!”
By doing so we may feel an uplifting move in ourselves, we may feel free in our mind and renewed, full of life and new power – and eventually the surroundings become a home that nourishes our family, that warmly welcomes visitors, that radiates with a joyful “charisma” and a faithful soul and that incha’allah really becomes an oasis of peace and happiness, just as Allah promises us in His holy book: ”And Allah has made in your homes an abode of comfort…” (Qur’an Sura An-Nahl, 16,80).
What do you feel comfortable with and what means “home” to you?