In the Arabic language, the word barakah covers three main concepts: a thing that has barakah will grow and increase; it will continue to grow and increase above and beyond expectations; and these two qualities will not go away.
I had barakah, and then I lost it. I searched high and low, but I could not find it. I was sad and dejected; I sat down, almost on the verge of losing hope of finding it again, and I talked to my Lord. I told Him that I desperately needed barakah in my life. I needed it in my health, my relations with my family and friends, my wealth, but most importantly, I needed it in my faith. Suddenly, I felt something stir inside me: a sudden urge to check my mail. I ignored it, mentally chiding myself for becoming an e-mail addict, but the urge only grew stronger! Finally, it overpowered me, and I checked my email. What did I see? An email from my editor asking me if I wanted to write about the concept of barakah!
“What?!” I exclaimed to my Lord, “Me? How can I do it? I can’t. I don’t have barakah any more”. I dejectedly closed my phone and mentally made a note to mail my editor to excuse me this time from writing. I did not email back, and then something strange started happening.
I started noticing the barakah that I did have, one that I was ignoring. The biggest barakah that I had was in my health. Being a one time cancer survivor and a current cancer fighter, the fact that I was able to live my life almost as normal cancer-free people, was the most absolute amazing barakah in my life.
Slowly, I started noticing the pockets of barakah in my familial relations, intellect, wealth, and my faith. My Most Merciful Lord had not taken barakah away from me, although it was no way near to the amount I desperately needed. This prompted me on a self-discovery quest, where I looked deep within myself, my past, my present, and the future that I wanted.
The realizations that dawned upon me were mind blowing. The sources that guarantee barakah in our lives is true!
In this article, I share with you how I looked for the barakah that already existed in my life, and my journey to find out how to keep it there and increase it.
Imaan, faith, is the cornerstone of our emotional and physical well being. Without it, we would be lost. Without it, I would not have survived the trauma of dealing with cancer, and the anxiety that I have of it destroying my happy life again. There were some things that I did which helped me stay connected to Allah and not lose hope, even in my darkest, murkiest hour. I found barakah in:
1. Attaching myself to the Qur’an
I had enrolled in a Qur’an class to learn tafseer and translation a couple of years before I was diagnosed. I did not let go of my classes, even when my treatment started. I told them about my situation, and they were kind enough to give me pardon me from attendance, tests, and assignments. I have a huge list of tests, assignments, and lectures to make-up, and it feels really overwhelming, but I cannot quit. It is my lifeline. Qur’an is like a rope that is thrown to a drowning person to pull them ashore. Fighting the battle that I had, along with the normal challenges of life, was very difficult. The only successful way in which I found barakah and did not give in to despair and hopelessness, was the loving, soothing, encouraging words of Allah .
2. Surrounding myself with people of the Qur’an
Alhamdulillah, due to my classes and interests, I met people who were deeply connected with the Qur’an. Their encouraging words, advice, and sharing of duas to recite, is another way that I managed to stay afloat.
3. Talking to Allah
I love talking to Allah . When I am trying to be a good person, I do this in the last third of the night or the officially blessed early morning hours; the effect is priceless. I talk, literally pour out my thoughts, musings, complaints, problems, ideas, everything. There is so much barakah in talking to Allah . The calmness that is infused in the heart and the clarity of thought that follows is awesome.
Barakah in time is the most elusive of all, isn’t it? For me, barakah in time only comes when I do this:
- I did not sleep after fajr. I stayed up and studied or worked.
- I recited all my morning athkar after fajr salah while sitting on the prayer mat itself.
They say that health is wealth. I have very closely seen how absolutely true this statement is, when I underwent treatment for cancer in 2014. After regaining my good health, it was a huge disappointment, when I once again found out I have cancer in 2015. Refusing the treatment plan offered to me by my doctors in 2015 was a huge decision. It is now August 2016, and I am still alive and kicking, with the permission of my Lord, in spite of very little conventional treatment. How did I get barakah in my health, and what can you do get it too?
If I am walking, talking, and writing this, it is only because of the barakah of istikhara. I took each step after seeking advice from Allah . I absolutely relied on Him as I took the plunge. I upset some of my dearest ones with these decisions, but so many months have gone by, and alhamdulillah I am fine. I call myself the “Istikhara Girl”. I earnestly recommend to everyone to turn to Allah , for His counsel. I even do istikhara when I am in a “fight-mode” with my husband and don’t know what to do. The results? Needless to say, they are amazing.
Each time I catch myself doing things that normal healthy people do, I say alhamdulillah.
Allah says, “And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.'” [Qur’an: Chapter 14 : Verse: 7]
3. Sunnah foods
I started incorporating all the sunnah foods in my diet. These include, but are not limited to, dates, milk, raw honey, olives, and black seed and barley. Of course these foods are extremely healthy, but merely following the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad is enough to bring barakah into my life.
Relations with family and friends
One of the biggest sources of peace and happiness is to be surrounded by loving family and friends. By being patient with difficult relatives for the sake of Allah and trying hard to forgive and forget their mistakes, as Allah wants us to do, I saw the barakah increase in our relationships.
If I had any barakah in my wealth it was because of the charity I was giving.
As you can see, the barakah was there all along – especially when you worship Allah daily. However, the single thing that caused me to stop seeing the barakah was the most fundamental mistake: I reduced saying Alhamdulillah!
This one single step made me stop seeing and benefiting from all the barakah that my Most Merciful Lord had blessed me with. Being thankful to Allah creates a positive thinking, strengthening us to deal with the difficult situations and tests in life. In addition, Allah increases barakah if we are grateful to Him.
At the end of this journey of self-introspection, I have come up with a few simple daily actions that I will add on to the ones I did in the past to ensure barakah stays in my life.
- Be prompt in answering the call of Allah : Offer salah as soon as it’s time until it becomes a habit.
- Have good intentions: Having sincere intentions to do good for the sake of Allah will give us more barakah in all areas of our lives, including keeping good family ties.
- Be more vigilant of saying Bismillah before beginning any task: The very name of Allah has barakah in it. Why miss out on this?
- Eating the Sunnah way: Avoid overeating and eat more well balanced meals.
- Weed out time wasters: Identify the places that you waste time and use focused working techniques to increase barakah in your time. For example, reduce screen time by only checking messages.
The single most powerful act that should be done at all times to guarantee that we keep getting barakah, no matter what, is, the tool of Du’a. Ask Allah to grant us the Ultimate Barakah in our lives, to lead a life that is full of barakah, and to leave a legacy of good work behind us that continues to increase our good deeds long after we are gone. May Allah make all of us from those whose life is infused with His Barakah and that it stays with us until we reach our eternal home, Jannah. Ameen!
I ask you to begin a journey of your own to discover the barakah in your lives and to figure out what you need to do to get more! Have you identified where there is barakah in your life? What have you been doing to get it there and what will you implement to keep it there? Share your tips in the comments below!