Praise be to Allah! Blessed be He in His divine essence, He Who blessed whom He wills among His creatures! Praise be to Allah, the Supreme and the Most Generous. No human being can give Him His due in full. No creature is capable of disengaging itself from the bonds of His service; nor can any human being exist independently of His generosity and bountiful gifts. He is the First in the whole existence and to Him alone all creatures stand upright in performance of worship rituals and lie in prostration. His existence (?) is unequalled by any form of being and His generosity is peerless. His might takes those who shy away from His message unawares, either in their waking time or during their sleep.
I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah, with no rival partner to Him and that Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) is His servant and Messenger. O Allah! Send Your Salat (Graces, Honors, and Mercy) and Peace on your servant and Messenger Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam), his family, his Companions, the tab'în (the contemporaries of the Companions of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) after his death), and all those who righteously follow them till the Day of Judgment!
My recommendation, to myself then to you, is to adhere to taqwa (fear of Allah). It is our resort in time of hardships, our source of assistance in ordeals, the inspiration of the soul and its quietude, the generator of patience and tranquility, the stimulator of strength and firm conviction, the tool of ascension to heaven to seek sublimity, the guarantee of guidance in moments of perilous predicaments, and the booster of morale in time of stressful affliction: ?O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allâh and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth.? . ?He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allâh and His Messenger (??? ???? ???? ????), he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hell-fire and will be admitted to Paradise).? [Al-A?zeb: 70-71]
In our greetings and prayers, there are expressions which deserve our attention; we use them frequently and daily in our verbal exchanges and prayers. They contain the good of both this life and the Hereafter, the source of happiness now and later. They are namely prayers imploring (divine) barakah. For instance, when a Muslim meets his brother in faith, he says to him, “May Allah’s Peace, Mercy and barakat (plural of ‘barakah’, blessings) be upon you!” Have we ever contemplated the significance of supplication for barakah? Besides, in our prayer, we appeal to Allah by saying, “[…] and send Your ‘barakah’ upon Muhammad and upon the family of Muhammad as You had sent it upon Ibrahim […].” Also, among the supplications during Qiyaam (night) prayer, we ask Allah, “[…And] send Your ‘barakah’ (make abundant and blessed) in whatever you have bestowed on me!” We also say to the newly married couple, “May Allah send His ‘barakah’ (make abundant and blessed) in whatever He has bestowed upon you, and may He also send His ‘barakah’ upon both of you!”
So, what is the exact meaning of such ‘barakat’ (abundant blessings)?
O servants of Allah!
The original meaning of the term ‘barakah’ in Arabic is ‘constancy’, ‘permanence’, and ‘stability.’ Other meanings include ‘growth, increase, and abundance of good.’ The term ‘barakah’ can be followed by various prepositions in Arabic to mean: to bless something/someone, to make something abundant, to allow someone to enjoy divine bounties, and to preserve existent favors. There is also the attribute ‘mubarak’ (blessed and permanently abundant) to refer to anything which received Allah’s (?) holy blessings. Allah says in reference to the Holy Qur’?n: ?And this is “mubarak” (a blessed) Reminder (the Qur’ân) which We have sent down…? [Al-Ânbiya: 50]. The attribute ‘mubarak’ is used here to refer to the abundant benefits, permanent merits, and various aspects of ‘barakah’ in the Holy Qur’?n.
‘Barakah’ is exclusively from Allah, for it is only the Lord, be He exalted, that has quintessential blessing and whatever is attributed to Him becomes blessed. In fact, His words are blessed, His Messenger is blessed, His servant believers dedicated to the service of His creatures are blessed, His Holy Mosque is blessed, and His sanctified land (His Kinanah) —which is Sham (the area consisting of Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan)— is the land of blessings and is depicted in some verses of the Holy Qur’?n as blessed. The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Al-Quds along with its vicinity are blessed by Allah as well.
We say, when invoking Allah (?), “tabaraka”; that is to say, “be He elevated, lauded, and glorified.” This (i.e. “tabaraka”) can never be said to anyone except Allah (?). He is blessed in His divine essence and He imparts His blessing to whomever He selects from among His creatures. It is similar to saying “Allah is All-Mighty, All-Magnificent.” It is a sign of His Might, of the abundance and permanence of his goodness, as well as the accumulation of perfection traits in Him. This equally means that every benefit in the world originates from His bounty and generosity (?), for He is the All-Mighty, the Glorious, and the All-Sublime.
This is why in the opening of Qur’?nic verses, Allah (?) frequently mentions the notion of blessing in association with His Magnificence and Glory. Allah (?) says: ?Blessed be He Who sent down the criterion (of right and wrong, i.e. this Qur’ân) to His slave (Muhammad ??? ???? ???? ????) that he may be a warner to the ‘Âlamîn (mankind and jinn).? [Al-Furqân: 1]. Allah (?) further affirms: ?Indeed your Lord is Allâh, Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and then He rose over (Istawâ) the Throne (really in a manner that suits His Majesty). He brings the night as a cover over the day, seeking it rapidly, and (He created) the sun, the moon, the stars subjected to His Command. Surely, His is the Creation and Commandment. Blessed is Allâh, the Lord of the ‘Âlamîn (mankind, jinn and all that exists)!? [Al-Aâraf: 54]
Allah may equally make some of His creatures blessed. Thus, the recipient of divine blessing would generously engage in good acts, acquire a higher status allowing him to influence people’s lives positively, manifest clear signs of moral fiber, and benefit others from resources at hand. Jesus Christ (?) is a perfect example of the select blessed when he extols Allah’s favors: ?“And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Salât (prayer), and Zakât, as long as I live.? [Maryam: 31]
The same applies to bestowing “barakah” on someone’s property; that is, Allah accumulates, increases, purifies, and turns it into a source of gaining further assets. In addition, He also guides its owner to spending it in ways which please Allah and facilitate obedience to His instructions. Other examples of Allah’s granting “barakah” to someone include offspring and spouse. When Allah confers “barakah” on someone’s offspring, his children will show filial devotion, piety and good conduct; and when Allah bestows “barakah” on someone’s spouse, her husband’s life will turn into sheer bliss: whenever he looks at her, he enjoys perfect happiness and while he is absent she remains faithful to him.
“Barakah” is also visible in our actions, for whenever Allah grants His blessing to our actions, their positive impact will spread to larger spheres of life and their utility to others will become more obvious and rewarding. It is worth remembering here that the safest guarantee of Allah’s blessing on our actions resides in loyalty to Him (that is, without indulging, even unknowingly, in forms of associating deities with Him) and in tracking the footsteps of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam).
Ibn Al-Qayyim —may Allah have mercy on his soul—said, “…Whatsoever is not dedicated to Allah will certainly be devoid of blessing (barakah), for it is exclusively Allah who is self-sufficiently blessed and all types of “barakah” emerge from Him.”
In the divine statement : The Lord (?) says, “Whenever I am worshipped, verily I am pleased, and whenever I am pleased I confer my blessings, knowing that my ‘barakah’ parallels infinity.” [Reported by Imam Ahmed in his hadith publication entitled Al-Zuhd, as narrated by Wahb Ibn Munabbih (authentic chain of reporters)].
How much “barakah” has been conferred on things, time, speech, actions, and people! With “barakah”, meager quantity turns into abundance; benefit is generalized; what is good yields further goodness; sufficiency is realized; satisfaction reigns all over; and joy fills up people’s lives.
We can draw lessons from the “barakat” (blessings) bestowed on the lives of famous personalities and great brains, although they were simply human beings living in their respective communities. However, Allah bestowed His blessings on their actions and lifetimes. Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam)—the most honorable of all creatures—was endowed with a blessed lifetime. Quite amazingly, although his dawa (i.e. mission campaign to spread Islam) only lasted for twenty-three years or so, he benefited all creatures and his “barakah” is unceasingly unfolding, era after era, until the Day of Judgment when Allah inherits the earth and all that lives thereon. Abu Bakr’s term as Caliph lasted just two years and a few months; however, he fulfilled in such a short period of time what requires decades.
As to scholarship, there are miraculous phenomena in scholars’ biographies. For instance, Imam Chafeî —may Allah have mercy on his soul— died at an early age: 54. Al-?abari, Al-Nawawi, Ibn Taymîya, among others, left a scholarly legacy comprising books and various writings whose design and publication must have taken their lifetime and would certainly challenge entire teams. Such prolific scholarship would have never been possible without Allah’s assistance and “barakah” which He bestowed on their lifetimes and works.
As to “barakah” in ordinary people’s lives, it was manifest in their way of life: they used to be contented with the bare minimum to live at subsistence level on a day-to-day basis; they also used to live as an extended family in one collective house; a single serving of food would satisfy two individuals; they used to live under the umbrella of contentment, taking pleasure in the joy of satisfaction and perfect delight.
So, what’s the matter with people nowadays? Have their incomes shrunk or have their spirits been incarcerated? Have their lifetimes become shorter or is it their volition that has become too weak to meet the challenge?
People nowadays do enjoy numerous life facilities and aspects of well-being of which their predecessors were visibly deprived. Today, treasures have erupted from inside the earth; money and business have become abundant; job opportunities have been multiplied as a direct result of technological inventions, scientific discoveries, and industrial progress. Paradoxically, it seems as though people were more pauperized and their lives became a picture of human misery, frustration, and coercion. The whole world tends to be constantly complaining about poverty, scarcity, tight budget, constraints of time, and phobia about the future—despite the availability of all kinds of luxury and life facilities. Where does the problem lie then? The answer is certainly the effacement of “barakah.”
A very eloquent dictum says, “Barakah does not mean or result in abundance; it is rather the reverse: abundance is the direct output of Barakah.” In this regard, Abu Huraira (?) narrated that Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said, “A year of severe drought does not mean the absence of rainfall; it is rather the year during which there is heavy and continual rainfall, but Allah does not bestow His Bârakah on it).”
In our Holy Book, we read: ?And if the people of the towns had believed and had the Taqwâ (piety), certainly, We should have opened for them blessings from the heaven and the earth, but they belied (the Messengers). So We took them (with punishment) for what they used to earn (polytheism and crimes).? [Al-Ârâf: 96]
Faith, taqwa (fear of Allah), and good deeds bring about “barakah” and increase income. They also bring about peace of mind and satisfaction: ?“But whosoever turns away from My Reminder (i.e. neither believes in this Qur’ân nor acts on its teachings); verily, for him is a life of hardship…”? [?âha: 124]
Indeed, shying away from Allah is the reason of misery from which both individuals and nations are suffering today.
Why don’t we ponder about the reasons behind the disintegration of the strongest economic consortiums despite the availability of expertise and management skills that Allah enabled them to master? Why don’t we think about the spread of panic and the absence of security in the most powerful and oppressive countries of the world, along with the recurrence of wars, homicides, and turmoil despite the existence of a battery of laws, conventions, and organizations to govern societies?
It is Allah, the Almighty ?may He be exalted and elevated? Who is indeed running the world where things are exclusively managed in accordance with His sunnah (laws) and where prosperity and well-being only materialize when He (?) orders them to be. He (?) said: ?Allâh will destroy Ribâ (usury) and will give increase for Sadaqât (deeds of charity, alms, etc.)? [Al-Baqarah: 276], and ?It is those who believe (in the Oneness of Allâh and worship none but Him Alone) and confuse not their belief with Zulm (wrong i.e. by worshipping others besides Allâh), for them (only) there is security and they are the guided.? [Al-Ana’am: 82]. It is Allah (?) Who also said: ?Whoever works righteousness – whether male or female – while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islâmic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter).? [Al-Nahl: 97]
Faith, piety and good deeds bring about blessings, happiness and satisfaction while sinning annihilates them and makes scant livelihoods. Allah Almighty said: ?And Allâh puts forward the example of a township (Makkah), that dwelt secure and well-content: its provision coming to it in abundance from every place, but it (its people) denied the Favours of Allâh (with ungratefulness). So Allâh made it taste extreme of hunger (famine) and fear, because of that (evil, i.e. denying Prophet Muhammad ??? ???? ???? ? ???) which they (its people) used to do.? [Al-Nahl: 112]
Fear and hunger make a monstrous specter terrifying all the living. In fact, some of the effects of sins and disobedience are unthinkable. It is said in the Hadith that »whenever two friends are separated it is because of a sin one of them committed. « [Narrated by Bukhari in Al Adab Al Mufrid ].
These are the same laws Allah made and executed on families and individuals and on nations and villages alike.
On the authority of Hakim Ibn Hizam (?), the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: »The vending/purchasing parties are given the choice so long as they are not separated. If they are honest and clear with each other, then their deal is blessed. However, if they lie and hide the truth, blessing shall be wiped off of their deal.« [Narrated by Muslim].
On the authority of Ibn Omar –may Allah be pleased with both of them (he and his father)– the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) mentioned the main sins annihilating blessing and bringing about poverty, disaster and misery. These are the spread of immorality, the failure to observe fullness in weighing and measuring (in trading), the prevention of zakat , the betrayal of promises, dishonesty, and the arbitration of laws other than those of Allah.
Here, one may wonder whether merchants and vendors, those who have no scruples over carrying out fraud, bribery, betraying promises and practicing forgery and advocates of vice and corruption who mean to propagate immorality among the believers understand that! Allah the Truthful said: ?And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned. And He pardons much? [Al-Shura: 30], and ?(What is the matter with you?) When a single disaster smites you, although you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, you say: "From where does this come to us?" Say (to them), "It is from yourselves (because of your evil deeds)? [Al Omran: 165]
Observe taqwa (fear of Allah) and good deeds and then think about the effect thereof on your physical health, the tranquility of your souls and the thoroughness of your happiness. Ask Allah to bestow His blessing on you and seek the reasons amenable to it, ?and obey Allâh and the Messenger (Muhammad ??? ???? ???? ????) that you may obtain mercy.? [Al Omran: 132]
O Allah! Bless us by the Great Qur’?n and guide us to Your Right Path! I say this and ask Almighty Allah to forgive you and me.