Where is Home? A Memoir by Where is Home

Home. Where is home? I thought of this and only then was I faced with the inevitable.

“We’re going to move by the end of the year.” My father’s sudden words temporarily silenced me. I paused for a moment, unsure of what to say or how to feel.

“Do I have a choice?” I asked, afraid of what I knew he was going to say.

“No,” he said quietly. He sensed my pain. He’s seen this look on my face before. But he too, had no choice.

I tried to comfort myself, but the recurring thought of moving over 1,400 miles away from my closest friends and family wasn’t helping. I reminisced on the last time I moved, which was four long years ago. How did I handle that? Not well. My eyes began to water as I recollected thoughts of suicide, hopelessness, and fear. Four years ago, I was hardly a practicing Muslim; I was a naïve thirteen-year-old completely and utterly lost in this world. I wasn’t too keen on staying with my previous circle of friends, but it was the abrupt change and fear of the unknown future that frightened me. I was afraid of leaving what I assumed to be my home.

Where is home?” I remember asking myself.

“Home is Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,” I answered without a second thought. Internally, I was dissatisfied with that answer, and I sought further reasoning.

“Why?”

“Because it’s where I spent my childhood.” 

I left it at that. But I knew I didn’t belong there. Spiritually, I was still searching for the answer.

So I ask myself, now, four years later: “Where is home?

Before I can answer “Home is Springfield, Virginia”, a part of me takes a step back – a step back from the present moment, from this temporary, petty term of our existence. I had to think about this in terms of my deen, in terms of the totality of my life. There is a place I seek, something I long for. No, Some One. I long for the closeness to my Lord. I long for spiritual peace from the only Source of Peace. It was then that I realize that the only comfort is with the Source of Comfort Himself.

I was reminded of a few ahadith I heard recently in a lecture:

The Prophet Muhammad (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said, ”By Him in Whose Hands my life is, everybody will recognize his dwelling in Paradise better than he recognizes his dwelling in this world” [Bukhari]. He (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) also said, “Live in this world as (if you are) a wayfarer or a stranger” [Bukhari, Tirmidhi].

I sighed, relieved. I had an answer. We are all just on our journey home. This life is just one thing: a journey. I could live in Saudi Arabia, I could live in Virginia, but none of those were the right places. There is only one objective: to please Allah. There is only one destination: a home, promised to those who sincerely struggle to please their Lord. A home that is light years further than 1,400 miles.

“O mankind, indeed you are laboring toward your Lord with [great] exertion and will meet it” (Surah Al-Inshiqāq 84:6).

As the well-known saying goes, ‘Home is where the heart is’. I know now that my heart solely belongs to Allah. My home is in His Grace, and my home is in Jannah, Insha’Allah.

May Allah accept our efforts and make us among those whose true home awaits them in Jannah. Ameen.