I met a homeless sister recently and her plight made me appreciate the immense blessing of having a home. A small place in the universe that Allah said I could take care of and say that it was mine; a place where I had privacy and peace of mind. Traveling for an extended period also made me appreciate the value of my home and the comfort that it brings. But what if it is not a source of comfort for you? What if your home has become a burden of endless chores and unfinished errands?
The work is never done: the dishes pile up continuously, the laundry basket looms in teetering heights, food is scattered all over the house and at the end of the day you look worn out and shabby. You scramble to get food on the table every night and the disarray and chaos in your home creates stress for you and as is universally acknowledged, “If Mama ain’t happy, no one is happy.” As one friend described it, “I feel like the Bani Israil in the desert. I spend the whole day cleaning the house yet every night I feel like I have returned right back to where I started.”
Most of us have resigned ourselves to the status quo in our homes. The labels that are given to us through the years become a part of our identity and we accept without complaint when someone says, “She is just not organized”, “Cleanliness is just not her thing”, “Her home is always a wreck. It’s ok, the kids are small.” But that is not true. It doesn’t take long for the kids to grow up, and it doesn’t have to take decades to develop a routine that will inshaAllah sustain you and put barakah in your time and your life.
Has someone called to say that they will be over in a few minutes and you almost had a heart attack because the house was a complete wreck? The following simple steps are good for the health of your heart whether you have visitors or not. And the steps are fairly generic so they can be applied to any situation that you are placed in. I will use Prophet Nuh’s alayhis salaam story as an analogy for the process because the transformation in my home was triggered by a broken pipe and a flooded house. Indeed with difficulty comes ease…
Remove the following words from your conversations and thoughts: “I can’t” and “I don’t have time.” Allah looks to the sincerity of His slaves and believers that have access to dua should never be despondent and hopeless about any aspect of their lives. Start with the sincere intention that you wish to become a more productive believer by cleaning your home for the sake of Allah subhana wa taala. Begin each day with salat, Quran, dhikr and exercise and inshallah the barakah will begin to pour into your life. As you complete the simple steps outlined below, thank Him at each step for His Mercy, and inshaAllah the task will get easier:
- Preparation for the flood. Prophet Nuh alaihis salaam started making the boat when there was no water in sight. Like someone setting out on a journey, prepare for your new clutter-free, organized existence by doing a thorough cleaning of your home. Take a break, reduce activities, cook ahead for a week or eat out and clean as if your life depended on it. Discard every unnecessary item from your home: donate if possible, or trash. It is really that simple. Despite your best efforts there will still be many things that you will not be able to part with but the clutter will recede. You will feel you can breathe easier as the house begins to look cleaner. The aim is not to fulfill someone else’s concept of cleanliness, but to bring order and sanity to your life.
- Not everyone will come on board. Your sudden burst of enthusiasm might be inexplicable to the other members of the family. Whether everyone is pleased with your ardent desire to clean or not, try to be polite and persistent. Some will help, others will stay out of your way, but inshaAllah everyone will appreciate it later. Do not let the attitudes of others ruin your act of worship by becoming bitter. Remember the house is your responsibility:
Ibn 'Umar radiAllahu anhu reported that the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wassallam said, "All of you are shepherds and each of you is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of the people of his house and he is responsible. A woman is the shepherd of the house of her husband and she is responsible. Each of you is a shepherd and each is responsible for his flock" (Bukhari).
I hope I started discussing some useful tips. Tune in for a continuation in the next part, insha Allah!