I recently listened to a talk by Sheikh Yaser Birjas, it was about attaining more barakah in our lives. I loved it – a week later I listened to it again and made notes. I want to share my notes on here, so others can read them, but also because I’d love to come back to this when I feel a little lost, when everything is right, but I still find something is missing, because at times like that, reminders such as this is nourishment that a believing soul needs.
Barakah in Islam essentially means blessings from Allah. When translated from Arabic to English it also means growth – starting with something small and then getting something bigger. I loved learning this – it helped me understand the concept of barakah better. I’m pretty sure we all know and want barakah in our lives, but we can so easily forget what is really means to have barakah. The kind of lives most of us lead (by us I mean first world people) is very comfortable compared to most of the world. I remember hearing once that the average person now lives a better life than some of the kings of the past, purely based on how accessible everything is for us. Its very true, we have everything we need and yet we feel something is missing, we feel lost, we lack complete happiness and satisfaction.
This happens when there is no barakah or lack of it. We may have been blessed with children, but if we are not able to leave behind pious ones, then have we got barakah in the blessing of being a parent?! The same can be applied to almost everything in our life; big home, good job, wealth and even knowledge – these are all good things, but if Allah doesn’t place barakah in them, then they can become a means of distress for us. From the example of the people of Fira’un we can see that they had the River Nile at their doorstep yet they experienced drought. We cant take good from something unless there is barakah in it, and none other than Allah can place barakah in things He has given us.
When we want something, we must know how to get it, otherwise the want remains only that, a want, not a reality. So, how do we work to gain barakah in what we have and want?
1.To have faith and show faith through our actions:
Allah tells us in the Quran, having faith can earn us blessings from Him, He describes the skies opening up for blessings to be given to those who have faith. Take a moment to think about this. Its easy to read the verse but to completely immerse myself in what the verse is telling me and to those I love, I need to reflect on it. If we imagined the skies opening up and everything we want raining down on us, how happy would that make us? That is exactly what the verse says – He who knows us, tells us the way He knows we will understand.
“If the people of those towns had believed and been mindful of God, We would have showered them with blessings from the heavens and earth” (7:96)
“(This is) a Book (the Quran) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember.” (38:29)
We need to make the Quran our companion during our nights and our days, from doing this we can achieve much peace and tranquility. If a household recites Quran regularly, Allah puts barakah in that home and life. We should read it with love and connection – this can only happen if we create love between us and the Quran. This is something that needs continuous work, it is something that actually doesn’t happen overnight. Making Quran goals, finding ways to spend more time with the Quran, allowing to learn more about what Allah says, all this will help us know the Quran more. We should run to it when in need, when we feel happy and when we feel sad.
We cannot guarantee being perfect humans, because no such thing exists, but we can try to do our utmost best, always striving with good deeds and avoiding disliked deeds. We should work at doing good deeds a habit for our children and ourselves. Asking ourselves whether we are pushing ourselves to please Allah or are we doing the bare minimum.
“Race to do good deeds wherever you are…” (2:148)
4. Being grateful and thankful:
It is so important to try and see the good that we have instead of focusing on what we don’t have. Gratitude is a great characteristic of a believer. When we think about all the things Allah has blessed us with, we can really appreciate how blessed we are. From the water we drink, to the air we breathe to the clothes that keep us warm. Our comfortable homes that we come back to after a long, busy day, the food we can buy just because we feel like eating that particular item, all this is what many people in this world only dream of. Can we truly give enough thanks to Allah for allowing us to experience such luxury? Allah tells us so lovingly that when we give thanks, He gives us more:
“If you are thankful, I will give you more..” (14:7)
We all make dua, but do we truly make productive use of it. Is our dua filled with attention of Allah or is it ritualistic? Being aware and present when making dua really helps shift our relationship up with Allah. Alongside asking for everything else we need and want, add barakah to our list of needs. Allah says in the Quran:
“If My servants ask you about Me, I am near. I respond to those who call Me..” (2:186)
6.Starting the day early:
This is something I advocate for, even though I feel I have fallen short of this myself very recently. I was reading an article the other day about the 5am club – it basically talks about how super productive we can be if we started our day off at dawn and then spent the first hour split into three lots of 20 minutes focusing on meditation, reading, reflection and exercise. Basically being a Muslim (hahaha)!
For believers, early mornings are a beautiful moment in our day – and in that time exists Fajr salah, which we perform after having defeated the shaytan. Now starting a day off with already having fought mans biggest enemy can only get better :-). The Prophet (saw) made dua:
“O Allah, bless my nation in their early morning” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
7.Being truthful and honest:
This includes the obvious of not lying in matters of everyday speech but this also includes not cheating others in all matters. Being honest in our dealings allows barakah to seep into our lives. Earning halal, not taking things that are not ours all helps us lead lives blessed with barakah. White lies, small lies, all these are little things that slowly become normal and encourage us to become dishonest. One lie leads to a thousand more.
8.Maintain ties of kinship:
Obeying our parents and keeping good relations with our family is also something recommended in Islam. This reminded me of when the Prophet (saw) went to Khadijah (ra) shivering and filled with worry, she caringly assured him that Allah will not forsake him, who has always kept up the ties of kinship. I always think of this, I’m not even sure why, but I find great comfort in Khadijah’s wisdom.
This is something not to be taken lightly. It is mentioned by Allah in the Quran and is referred to in several hadiths. The Prophet (saw) said:
“Whoever would like his rizq (provision) to be increased and his life to be extended, should uphold the ties of kinship.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
9. Tawaqqul – Trust in Allah:
Having full faith and reliance on Allah is key to living life as a Muslim. We can do everything correctly and properly but things can still go wrong, instead of feeling deflated, trusting that Allah has decreed the best for us is a big part of our faith in Him. I find this can become very difficult at times, so when I saw this on the list of things we need to have in order to have barakah in our lives, it kind of made extra sense. I can see how easy it is to focus on what we’ve missed and forget that there is a blessing in it – the world we live in doesn’t help as it encourages reaching for all you want. In that moment it is easy to see things as failures. Understanding Allah’s decisions in that moment is a beautiful feeling that nothing else can match up to – I can see how that is filled with barakah. The Prophet (saw) said:
“If you were to rely on Allah as He should be relied on, He would provide for you as He provides for the birds. They go out early in the morning hungry and return in the evening full.” (At Tirmidhi)
We all want Allah to bless us with goodness in everything we have, I feel I really need to up my dua in asking Him to place barakah in it all. Getting duas answered is only the first part of the deal, making sure it is a real blessing is it coming to us in it complete form. May He grant us barakah in our families, our homes, our deeds. Ameen.