In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
The concept of Barakah in the Islamic tradition is so beautiful. It is generally translated as blessings. However, there is a deeper layer to that.
Barakah is associated with an increment in quantity and quality in the material sense. It’s also related to making a felicity abundance and permanent. The word “barakah” stems from the root ‘B-R-K’ in Arabic. This trilateral word brings the meaning of growth, appreciation, happiness and excess.
Interestingly, the original word ‘b-r-k’ means to kneel down, used for the camel. The ancient Arabs denote this expression as prosperity in general. This is so because camels kneeling down to take rest at the yard of wealthy Arabs signifies the status of the owner which was regarded as divine favour.
Furthermore, this expression can be used to denote stability as when the camel kneels down to rest, she’s going to take a long time before standing back up.
Another derivation of similar root yields a word which means a small lake or pond. This could be interpreted to mean that the possessor of spring in the dry region of the desert is considered to be blessed compared to others who do not own such resource.
“Barakah means abundance in every auspicious and good deeds” — Ibn Abbas RA
Unfortunately, the modernisation of human civilisation tends to shift us away from the integration of barakah in life. Our focus today is primarily on the accumulation of wealth, prolongation of life and inclination of status. But what good is a long life, void of meaning from it?
Signs Of The Absence Of Barakah
The shrinking of time
Doesn’t it scare you how fast one Jumaat (i.e. Friday) goes to another Jumaat?
One of the reasons we find it so hard to get things accomplished is because of the absence of barakah in our time. The ‘one-day’ that we get today may be the same in terms of minutes and seconds to the ‘one-day’ that people of the past used to get, yet those two is not comparable.
If you read about the people of the past, you’ll be amazed at the magnitude of accomplishments they made in a lifetime. Nonetheless, this phenomenon should not be a surprise to us, for it was narrated by Anas bin Malik that Allah’s Messenger, peace and blessings be upon him, said:
“The Hour shall not be established until the time is constricted, and the year is like the month, the month is like the week, the week is like the day, the day is like the hour, and the hour is like the flare of the fire.”
The rise of materialism
The chase of wealth and status leads to the valley of depression not only in this world but also the next. It has become everyone’s motto:
“Time is Money” — every modern society
When time is imbued with materialism, meaning starts to vaporise and vanish. Our efforts are no longer tied to fulfilling our purpose in life but instead tied to the accumulation of the ‘temporaries’.
In essence, the sign of loss of barakah in life is that the spiritual realm is replaced by the material domain.
What Happens When Your Life Is Full Of Barakah?
The work you do is impactful
One of the big signs of the presence of barakah in your effort is its ability to benefit a large number of crowd. Your effort is also timelessly relevant.
I’ll give you an example: A masjid may be small in size but it continuously receives rows upon rows of jamaah at every prayer time. Another masjid may be huge in volume, but the amount of jamaah is disappointing.
Comparing the two, it is pretty clear that the former masjid is blessed with barakah. Similarly look at the work of the Imams of the four Mazhabs, and other scholars of the past, be it Muslim or non-Muslim.
Doesn’t it ever awe you that their work several hundred, if not a thousand, years ago can still be relevant today? That’s the power of barakah in your effort.
Your soul is content
Gratitude is a sign of contentment. You are grateful, regardless of any outcome of your effort. When Allah blesses you with the understanding of the nature of life in this Dunya, your soul naturally becomes content.
When you put in an effort into something, and you find your soul not resting in peace, then know that there is an absence of barakah in that effort of yours. It could be from the lack of intention when you are doing something, or it could be that you are transgressing the boundaries that your Master place to protect you.
In short, barakah provides you with a gift that very few souls ever taste — contentment.
You attain closeness to Allah
Going back to the definition of barakah at the start of this article, the word relates to abundance and permanence.
One of the biggest signs of barakah in life is the abundance of good deeds that you do with sincerity and consistency. For life is a farming land. Afterlife is when you harvest the crops.
The modern life we live today tends to divert our focus away from the source of our freedom in the physical realm: Barakah. A person who runs around chasing wealth, ignorant of the presence of barakah, is like an actor who is enslaved to his audience.
Incorporating barakah in your life will benefit not only you but also the generations after you. So tell me, what are your strategies to attain barakah?