Look for Barakah

What will increase the value of your time, talent and treasure?

The Arabic word barakah means to grow and increase something by filling it with goodness and to make it enjoyable so it makes you happy. Barakah is translated as blessings in English that means; to consecrate or render holy, beneficial, or prosperous by means of a religious rite; to give honour or glory to (a person or thing) as divine or holy; to call upon God to protect. If you say you’ve been blessed, you feel lucky to have something, to be happy, healthy, loved, and fortunate. The Biblical blessing is from the Hebrew word barak which means to praise, congratulate and salute, it is same as the Arabic word Barakah.

Is Mubarak same as Blessed?
Mubarak is being blessed and fortunate. So, when someone has a child you say to them “Mubarak” meaning, may this be the source of blessings for you as it will increase your sense of fulfilment and happiness. When you say to someone “Eid Mubarak” you are saying to them; may you experience the favour of Allah on this festive day, again and again, it becomes a prayer where you ask Allah to look favourably on someone. The Quran teaches: “If the people of the towns had believed and been mindful, We would have opened up for them blessings (Barakah) of the heavens and Earth” (Araf: 96).Jesus is told “We made you blessed (Mubarak) where ever you are” (Maryam: 31). Jesus in his sermon on the Mount enumerated eight blessings of the Lord, the eight attitudes of heart and mind subsequently were anglicised as beatitudes. Jesus said:

  1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  2. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
  3. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
  4. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
  5. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
  6. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
  7. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called servants of God.
  8. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Gospel of Matthew: 5:3-10).

In this passage Jesus promises happiness, flourishing and salvation to people who adopt moral and spiritual values; Poverty, gentleness, frugality, kindness, sincerity, peace-making, and justice. The Beatitudes are at the core of Christ’s teachings, and show how to become Mubarak. They point beyond earthly happiness, to the eternal happiness of paradise. Paradise is the reward promised for practicing these values. These eight pearls of wisdom tell the goal of human existence, the ultimate purpose of life. Those who live according to them will experience happiness of paradise in this life. Christ tells us that we will be Mubarak, happy by doing for his sake the very things which we may think will make us unhappy. He teaches that happiness doesn’t come from material prosperity but from moral and spiritual values.

How to get Barakah?
Qilat albaraka, the opposite of Barakah on the other hand means misfortune and bad luck, the word Lai’na or Divine curse is another antonym of barakah; meaning someone deprived of Allah’s kindness and favours. The source of all Barakah is Allah, the fountain and spring of this marvellous gift. So how do we access this spring of Barakah? There are many devotions and spiritual exercises that will lead us to this; Dua, Remembrance, reading the Majestic Quran, reliance and trust in the Almighty. What else adds to baraka? There are practical exercises and activities that also produce barakah in our life. Lawful earning and expenditure; the habit of waking up early in the morning, marriage, giving charity, following the Sunnah diligently. Shaykh Mohammed Faris has compared Barakah with the economic term productivity he said, ‘being able to achieve more with few resources, doing much in little time, and generating a lot with little effort’.

Devotion and spiritual exercises for Barakah
Du’a or supplication is a remarkable form of devotion, its seeking Allah’s help, asking for something, pleading, a call and a praise. Imam Fakhradeen Razi defines Du’a as “The pleading to the Majestic Lord by the servant for his support, help and provision”. In a spiritual context, Du’a refers to that sincere call, the earnest appeal and humble request, which the worshipper makes to his Almighty and Majestic Lord. This ‘call’ and sincere plea could be for help at a time of difficulty or for divine generosity to shower mercy or merely for consolation and peace of mind. This gives the devout a sense of self-assurance, boosts self-confidence and makes one feel secure. What priceless gems in our turbulent time. Is it any wonder then why the Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Du’a is the essence of worship”.

The following verse emphasises the importance of prayer: “Say! What does my Lord care for you if you don’t pray to him”. The purpose of Du’a is not merely giving information but it is an expression of devotion, humility and turning to Allah wholeheartedly. The intimate nature of Du’a is illustrated by the numerous examples of the Du’a that were made by the Prophets. For example, after the construction of the Ka’bah, Ibrahim turns to his Lord and prays, “O Lord accept this from us, for you are Listening and Knowing”. The Beloved Messenger (peace be upon him) sought barakah in every daily activity, he made Du’a from the time of waking up, to riding his she-camel, eating his frugal and simple meals, to doing business transactions. These Du’as not only give barakah to our mundane routines, but will make them easy. They will facilitate the difficult tasks and give the worldly and physical activities a spiritual dimension.

The recitation of the glorious Quran is a source of infinite barakah
This is a blessed (Mubarak) reminder that We have revealed” (Anbiya:50). The Majestic Quran is the book that contains the Divine will, the mind of God, it describes the path to salvation. It presents the loss of the sinners, and the success of the believers. It is a light that directs people on the straight path, food to nourish the spiritual hunger, and a comfort for the weary heart, a clear road map for the sincere seeker of paradise. A mine of divine wisdom, and a sea full of pearls that teaches a belief system that is natural and rational. Its rulings binding, the stories true, and wise judgements.

How should I study the glorious Quran?
Before opening the Quran say; “I seek the protection of Allah from the wretched Satan”. A preparation for the spiritual exercise. Your purpose of studying the Quran is to spend time with its author, to become wise, to be saved, and to practice its teachings. Read it slowly, frequently with focus, memorise it to fill your brains, let it rule your heart, and guide your steps. Think deeply when reading it, since it constantly invites you to use reason, your experience, and natural observable facts, the sunrise, rain, storms and stars. The purpose of this Majestic book is to immerse our heart and soul in the divine remembrance and to turn us away from worldly pursuits. When we do that, then it will give real life, it will be the companion in the grave, an intercessor that will stand up for us on judgement day.

The use of Basmala adds barakah to every activity
The sublime name of Allah has a transformative influence when recited at the beginning of an activity, at start of a meal, it will give health and wellbeing and satiety, at the beginning of a business transaction it will lead to profitable outcome, when setting off on a journey its recitation will lead to a safe journey, when beginning a new lesson, it will lead to gaining of useful knowledge.

Eating together is full of barakah
The Messenger (peace be upon him) said “the food of two people will suffice three and the food of four people will suffice five or six people” (Bukhari). Eating together is a fantastic social activity when people share their food and kindness, so eat slowly and less.

Giving charity leads to barakah
Hassan Basri, reported that the Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “fortify your wealth by giving Zakat, treat your sick by giving charity, face up to the pain of suffering with prayer and humility” (Abu Dawud). The moral value of being generous has many benefits including health and well-being.

Conclusion
The list of devotions and spiritual exercises that enhance Barakah are huge, the constant remembrance, sincerity and genuineness in intentions and motivations for any activity, doing things in the way the Messenger (peace be upon him) did it and thereby following his beautiful Sunnah. Weaving these threads together, we see that a blessing is a statement about human flourishing, good will and happiness. A reflection of the Divine plan, humanity as Divine representatives on Allah’s earth, where they would experience prosperity and peace. Saying Mubarak is a prayer to Allah to restore His favour on others, let them flourish, succeed and thrive. The ultimate blessing of Allah is the new life in response to His call to Faith and virtuous deeds. The material blessings we enjoy from day to day are temporary, but the spiritual blessings available to us through Majestic Quran and Sunnah of the beloved Messenger (peace be upon him) are everlasting. This leads to experience peace, patience, satisfaction, and joy. Barakah is associated with protection too, Allah protects us, guides us to the path of happiness and righteousness. Mubarak is understood as flourishing. We can experience Allah’s Barakah through the beautiful example of the Beloved Muhammad (peace be upon him) by following his Sunnah and secondly His speech the Majestic Quran.