How we build our houses, towns and cities reflects how we live and how we think, and if we generally live in harmony with the ‘book of creation’, our buildings will reflect that too. We also have a duty to beautify our built environments by using materials and forms that are pleasing to the eye and functional at the same time. The great cities of the Muslim past – Isfahan, Cordoba, Baghdad – were all built and maintained in accordance with principles and precepts that are Quranic in nature, e.g. harmony, justice, beauty, wisdom, order, compassion. The mention of gardens in the Quran also reflects the importance of integrating the non-human into our schemes of living. To not have a garden, however small, is to live an impoverished life, even if the garden is restricted to a potted plant in the living room or some herbs on the kitchen windowsill. And if there is a garden, a small pool of some kind, preferably with a miniature fountain, would remind us of the constant outpouring of mercy from the hidden realm into the visible world. And large windows that let in sunshine would immediately flood all of our rooms with light, emulating Divine unity, which is One source with many manifestations.
More important than the externals of the house, however, is the internals of the home. And what makes a house a home is the feeling of sakina – security – that comes from knowing that the all of the elements of the house are tied together by belief, submission, compassion and love. It is pointless having a home that is beautiful on the outside but a pit of hell beneath the surface. Our earthly dwellings should, as far as possible, be reminders of our heavenly abode, and our homes on earth a reflection of our eternal home.