Alhamdulillah… Praises and thanks are due to the Almighty Allah. May His complete blessings and salutations be upon the man with the most barakah, Sayyidina Muhammad, his household, his companions and all those who follow his guided path till end of times.
We work very hard, but we hardly see little productivity from that hard work. Similarly, we withdraw salaries that are supposed to suffice our monthly needs, but we don’t know how our ‘hard earned’ salaries disappear, right in front of our eyes.
There must be something wrong. That’s what I refer to, in this article, as the missing element in our pursuit for happiness. And the missing element is barakah. This article discusses barakah, its significance and how it’s attained.
Let’s start with seeking to understand the concept of barakah. What is Barakah?
The Concept of Barakah
“Barakah” is an Arabic word that is usually literally translated as ‘blessing’. But the term ‘blessing’ does not fully suffice the meaning of the Arabic ‘barakah’. Thus, barakah is used throughout this article.
Barakah is one of two dimensions that result from any effort we undertake, and it is something that is achieved spiritually. The other dimension is visible and physical.
In other words, barakah is the spiritual dimension of the results of our efforts and endeavours in this life. Whereby the tangible reward of our efforts stand as the physical dimension.
Barakah is invisible, and can’t be measured nor quantified. But it exists. When you say: ‘May God bless you / God bless my country / Stay blessed, dude!’, you believe there’s something called ‘blessing’. But can you see it? Can you measure it? Can you quantify it? No. Right? But does it exist? Yes. Right? The same thing applies to barakah, which has a deeper meaning and is more holistic than just ‘blessings’.
When you work for a salary of $XXXX a month. The $XXXX is the physical dimension of your hard work. But what that $XXXX can do to your satisfactory and contentment is determined by the spiritual dimension of your effort. This was accumulated simultaneously as you accumulated the $XXXX. Any absenteeism you make at your work place may affect your $XXXX. Any extra effort you put in may also affect your $XXXX. Similarly, any effort you put in to observe the means of barakah affects its attainment positively or negatively.
This is to say, just like you take some measures to earn your salary (hard work) or be productive, you also need to take some measures (put in effort) to attain barakah (and be more productive). This will be discussed in a later section, inshā Allah. So keep reading.
The Significance of Barakah
Barakah is attained for all aspects of human life. It’s attained for our physical strength. It’s attained for our income. It’s attained for our time and how it’s spent. It’s also attained for family life and the offspring that comes from it. In fact, barakah is attained for our sleep; for our food and drinks; for all sorts of our relationships; for our readings and for everything we perceive meaningful in life.
In the presence of barakah you produce a lot of good results in a short time. In the presence of barakah, you see the value of your salary no matter how little it is. It brings you satisfaction and contentment.
In the presence of barakah, a family produces good and righteous children. These children demonstrate good morals, good manners and sympathy in their attitudes.
In the presence of barakah, you become a source of aid, assistance and help, even when you possess less wealth or little strength. When barakah exists in your time, you are able to achieve in 24 hours what you need 30 hours or more to achieve.
Those were some of the virtues of barakah. Now, let’s look at how we can attain it for the success of our pursuit for happiness.
How is Barakah Attained?
Attaining barakah is simple. But it takes a will, honesty and steadfastness to attain it. Above all, it requires sacrifice.
You don’t have to be an angel to attain barakah. You don’t have to possess superpowers to be bestowed with barakah. In fact, you must remain as an ordinary human being and live as an ordinary human being, as possible, in order to attain barakah. But you have to sacrifice your desires. This is the only angle where you must differ from many other fellow human beings; sacrifice your desires.
In other words, to attain barakah, we must sacrifice our wants and subject to Allah’s wants. We love our wealth. But Allah loves that we give some of it, in charity. When we sacrifice some of it by giving it, in charity (even in our times of need), Allah blesses the remaining and showers it with barakah. Yes. The wealth reduces, but it’s been blessed that we don’t need to use it repair our broken bones. We don’t need to use it to treat cancer.
Also, we must be mindful of His boundaries. And we must be mindful to the needs and feelings of our fellow human beings. Do we tell lies to make our income? Do we cheat? Do we steal? Do we… Do we? If yes, how do we want it to come with barakah?
In our pursuit for barakah, the lines are drawn by Allah and His Messenger, not by us, nor anyone else. What is it that we do that could invite Allah’s anger? That’s exactly what can keep us away from attaining barakah.
There are three areas we must observe in order to attain barakah. They come hand-in-hand. They are:
- Establish Allah-consciousness
- Do Our Best
- Make Constant Istighfār
Observing Allah-consciousness is to fear Allah and beware of his boundaries. We should constantly remember that Allah is the one who draws the lines. And His Messenger conveys the knowledge of these lines to us. Thus we must listen to Allah and His Messenger.
وَمَن يَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَ اللَّـهِ فَقَدْ ظَلَمَ نَفْسَهُ
“He who transgresses Allah’s bounds wrongs his own soul” (Sūrah al-Ṭalāq, 65:1).
Since barakah is a spiritual affair, and Allah is the bestower of all effective spiritual privileges, we must do what pleases Him to attain what bring us success and pleasure.
Furthermore, observing our piety and fearing Allah in all we do opens the gates of abundant barakah from Allah. This is what is understood from Sūrah al-A’rāf, where Allah says:
وَلَوْ أَنَّ أَهْلَ الْقُرَىٰ آمَنُوا وَاتَّقَوْا لَفَتَحْنَا عَلَيْهِم بَرَكَاتٍ مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَلَـٰكِن كَذَّبُوا فَأَخَذْنَاهُم بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْسِبُونَ ﴿٩٦﴾ـ
“Had the people of the towns believed in and feared Allah, We would have showered upon them barakāt (abundant barakah) from the heaven and earth, but they rejected the truth. So We seized them on account of their misdeeds” (Sūrah al-A’rāf, 7:96).
This implies, that if we want Allah to bestow upon us His barakah, then we need to review our relationship with Him. We must ensure purity in that relationship. We also need to take His commands seriously. And we need to fear Him in open and in private.
Do Our Best
We attain happiness by optimizing our time to be productive. We can only be productive when we do that which is worthwhile. In a ḥadīth reported by Imām Muslim from the narration of Sayyidina Abī Hurayrah, raḍiya Allāhu ’anhu, the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ’alayhi wa sallam said:
المُؤْمِنُ القَوِيُّ خَيْرٌ وَأَحَبُّ إِلَى اللَّهِ مِنَ المُؤْمِنِ الضَّعِيفِ، وَفِي كُلٍّ خَيْرٌ. اِحْرِصْ عَلَى مَا يَنْفَعُكَ وَاسْتَعِنْ باللَّهِ وَلا تَعْجِزْ
“A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart…”
Once we are certain that we are doing that which is worthwhile, we have taken the required human measures. For success and barakah to be put in, we need to seek a divine intervention. That’s where the importance of du’a comes in.
Thus, we seek strength from Him pertaining to all we do. We start all we do in His name. We thank Him upon completing any task. We start the day in His name. We invoke Him before we go to sleep. We seek refuge in Him (alone) when we are stricken with fear, anxiety or calamity.
This can be understood from the lifestyle of our beloved Prophet Muhammad. He would invoke Allah in all situations. In His happy moments and difficult moments. In times of victory as well as in times of loss. With that, even difficult times and times of loss were bestowed with barakah for the Prophet, ṣallā Allāhu ’alayhi wa sallam. What more about times of happiness and victory?
Make Constant Istighfār
Istighfār is seeking forgiveness from Allah by saying “Astaghfirullāh (I seek forgiveness from Allah).” Making is istighfār is a form of remembering Allah. But it’s unique in nature. It has significance that not many other forms of dhikr have. To that effect, the Prophet ṣallā Allāhu ’alayhi wa sallam told the companions (and us) to make istighfār, as even he, whose sins are forgiven makes istighfār constantly. This is understood from the hadith of Imām al-Bukhārī from the narration of Sayyidina Abī Hurayrah, raḍiya Allāhu ’anhu, who said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah saying”:
وَاللَّهِ إِنِّي لَأَسْتَغْفِرُ اللهَ وَأَتُوبُ إِلَيْهِ فِي اليَوْمِ أَكْثَرَ مِنْ سَبْعِينَ مَرَّةً
“By Allah, I seek Allah’s forgiveness and repent to Him more than seventy times a day.”
Furthermore, istighfār opens the gates of the heavens for abundant rains which leads the abundance of all means of easy and comfortable life. This is what Sayyidinā Nūḥ ’alayhi al-salām told his people:
فَقُلْتُ اسْتَغْفِرُوا رَبَّكُمْ إِنَّهُ كَانَ غَفَّارًا ﴿١٠﴾ يُرْسِلِ السَّمَاءَ عَلَيْكُم مِّدْرَارًا ﴿١١﴾ وَيُمْدِدْكُم بِأَمْوَالٍ وَبَنِينَ وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ وَيَجْعَل لَّكُمْ أَنْهَارًا ﴿١٢﴾ـ
“Then I said: Ask forgiveness from your Lord; surely He is Most Forgiving. He will shower upon you torrents from heaven, and will provide you with wealth and children, and will bestow upon you gardens and rivers” (Sūrah Nūḥ: 10–12).
Happiness is a target, which every single one of us is chasing after. However, in the pursuit for it, almost everyone is suffering from lack of barakah, especially in our time. The good news is, the All-Knowing, the Creator, the Provider of Happiness and provisions has outlined for us the means to attaining it, in easier manners. And the outline means are not restricted to a time other than the other.
The bad news is, we want a short-cut way to attaining it. Thus, we go against of flow (traffic) of nature. Until we learn to go with the flow designed by the Almighty Lord, we are in a mess and loss.
We should all go for happiness. But not by all means. We should go for happiness by the means that will ensure barakah and Allah’s ultimate pleasure.
Above are discussions of the concept of barakah, followed by its significance and how it’s attained. Do you have any first-hand experience in your pursuit for happiness, with regards to barakah? Feel free to share with us. Let the discussion continue on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to ask me any question anonymously, you can do so at Ask.fm/BabaSalam.
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Allah knows best.
Allāhu Hafiz 🙂