Assalam alaikum wr wb,

Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem

I have spent more time in Sri Lanka than I have since I was a kid coming here for summer holidays. It’s made me ponder about home and what home truly means.

The Arabic word for home is maskan. Its root is sukoon, meaning tranquility. Home is somewhere you should find peace of mind, heart and soul.

More often than not these days, perhaps this isn’t the case.

I am told that, because I am Sri Lankan by blood, this funny little island is my home. And it is funny. Very off-kilter. I saw a whole host of children being carted in the back of a pick-up truck like they were Bakra Eid goats. The roads are bumpy like you wouldn’t believe, but I love three wheelers. Open-air travel is the best sort of travel. Clinging on for dear life, you really get close to God. I loved the way they’re decorated. They’re always emblazoned with slogans of some kind, either propounding a faith or some crazy advice. I have seen three-wheelers that are for “Different guys only”, “Mothers and sons” and my favorite words of wisdom, “Anger is a short madness.”

There’s something familiar and simultaneously strange about this place. My relatives speak a language I think I’ve grown up with – the language of in-jokes and wordplay and caustic humor and food and love and endless weddings. That part is familiar and a blessing I didn’t expect to find, since I spent almost a decade away from Sri Lanka. But the rest of it is strange. Elections that are a foregone conclusion. Three-wheelers. Street vendors. Marriage brokers.

Home is where you find peace. But a lot of the time, peace is not just handed to you on a silver platter. You need to take it. You need to find it. Sometimes you need to make it.

I find peace in my brokenness, in the knowledge that Allah (SWT) loves a servant that truly submits to Him.

I find peace in the dog next door. He’s asleep almost 24 hours of the day. He doesn’t seem to mind me looking at him. I find peace in the garden next door too. It’s untended, so it’s very verdant and wild. Nature uninhabited in the inner city.

I find peace in my relatives’ laughter, in my mama when she’s not in a bad mood. I find peace in my work, in my writing, in my confusion even. The natural human state is homeostasis, is equilibrium. Who am I to disturb it?

And for that matter, who are you?

Wassalam and Fee Amanillah.

The Happy (and homely, if not forced) Muslimah

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