Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Our Simple Life

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.

Our home is not typical of homes here...well, the actual house is perfectly common, but how we live in it is not. This is our ladies sitting room/family room.

Yes, mashaa'Allah, the room is very large and can easily accommodate 30 or more people. The seating is called masnad seating, being like a firm fitted sofa that is on the floor. The seating for a room of this size - cost around 2,800 riyal (around US$700/400 UK pounds). Just imagine a couple of laptops perched on the armrests and a few books on the seat beside it and that is pretty much how it looks with everyday use.

This room, and how we live in the house in general, is strongly influenced by Rasool Allah, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. He sat on the floor, ate on the floor, and disliked decorations and worldly things. To that end, we made the floor seating, kept the color plain, and chose natural, soft colors of terracotta fabric and sage green walls. All four bedrooms have plenty of empty space, as we all sleep on the floor on simple mattresses with just the necessary storage to keep clothes and things organized.

The thing we have the most of is books and kitchen things. We have the books because knowledge is paramount, followed of course with action, da'wah, and patience. As for the kitchen things, we cook and entertain groups of up to 40 - 50 people at times and we don't use disposable items so we have enough stainless steel platters, bowls, cups, and cutlery to accommodate everyone...and a few big pots! We have hand woven mats made from date palm leaves that we put down on the floor when we eat and large stainless steel platters so that several people can eat from the same plate.

We have no television, no fancy bought rugs, wall units, coffee tables, although we have computers (of course) and a CD/tape player for playing Qaidat an Nooraniyah tapes, Quran, and lectures.

Above is our local masjid, which is literally outside our front gate, across the street and over that dirt lot; it is 129 meters from our house, mashaa'Allah. I see those mountains against a varying backdrop of sky every  time I look outside or go to the roof to do the laundry.

It is 5 miles/ 8.29 kilometers from our house to Masjid an Nabawi.

Our little "escape" to get in touch with fresh air, camping, and nature is no further than our front courtyard - our "khayma" or tent. We sometimes have a barbeque and eat dinner out there on pleasant evenings. As a fun treat, we all camp out in the tent on weekends. It is used as a clubhouse for hubby and his friends from the Islamic University of Madinah and his colleagues from Taibah University. We even piled about 30 girls and women in there on one of our monthly girls' reading club nights.

Our little planted patch of green with three date palms, has benefited from some permaculture practice. We spread two bales of straw on the sandy, cracked, and dry-looking soil that the date palms, a lemon tree, and some fragrant bushes are planted in. 

We also set up a compost heap. The straw has turned everything around, subhaan Allah. It retains moisture and keeps the moisture in the soil, so things are growing like wildfire out there now, mashaa'Allah. We have planted melons, all the date seeds that fell last year have started shoots (too many of course, we will have to take them out eventually and give them away or plant them somewhere else.) 

There are no worms here, but another University professor brought some in and gave us some, so we introduced them to our compost heap about two weeks ago. Inshaa'Allah, it will be something to behold how they get on in there. For all the extreme heat and aridity, our little patch of green has become the "place to be" for families of sparrows and busy little bees buzzing from flower to flower in the date spadix.

This post has been a long time coming, and perhaps you will like or dislike our lifestyle depending on your tastes and preferences, but I ask that you please say upon seeing this glimpse, "Mashaa'Allah, tabaarak Allah" (With the will of Allah, and with His blessings).

Barak Allahu feekum, dear readers.