When my family and I first visited family in England back in 1995, we stayed mostly at my aunt and uncle’s place in Doncaster in the house that my cousins grew up in. It’s a nice place with a big yard and an actual swing set in the back. And here’s the most important thing: It always felt like home.
See, here’s the thing with me – I like traveling but I always have a hard time dealing with somewhere that’s not home, whether it be someone’s place or a hotel room. But not with this house. It always had a welcoming ambiance about it that never went away from that first time I went there.
After my cousin’s dad, my uncle, passed away two years ago, the house went up for sale as my aunt moved in with her son in Leeds. The house lay vacant as it was put on the market. It still hadn’t sold when my cousin decided to have her nikah there, despite the fact that no one had lived there in quite a while and she herself hadn’t really lived there since she was 18.
In preparation for the nikah, the house was completely cleaned up, gardeners tended to the yard, and my cousin’s family stocked up the house for essentials for the few days we would all stay there, from tea to toilet paper. When I stepped in the house for the first time since I visited in 2003, it was like nothing had changed. The essence of the Doncaster house was still there and every memory I’ve had there came flooding back.
The day after the nikah, we packed away everything in the house with us to take back to Leeds, completely emptying out the house. My sister and I went on the swings one final time that morning. It was sad to leave the house yet again, unsure if we would ever return.
In the end, I couldn’t imagine a better setting for my cousin’s nikah. Her dad couldn’t be there but having the nikah in the Doncaster house was the best way to pay tribute to his memory. May Allah (swt) forgive all of his sins and grant him Jannah, InshAllah.