If we were to look for an Islamic definition of Productivity, it'll probably be summarised in the word "barakah" or Blessing. Being able to achieve more with little resources, doing much in little time, and generate a lot with little effort surely is a blessing from Allah (SWT). Yet Barakah has somehow become a lost treasure these days; everyone's looking for it, but no one seems to find it! You always hear people complaining that there's no barakah in their time, no barakah in their sleep, no barakah in their money..etc. In this post, we'll solve this mystery inshaAllah, we'll find out what Barakah is and where you can find it!
What is Barakah?
A Well-known daee explains it as follows:
والبركة: هي ثبوت الخير الإلهي في الشيء؛ فإنها إذا حلت في قليل كثرته، وإذا حلت في كثير نفع، ومن أعظم ثمار البركة في الأمور كلها إستعمالها في طاعة الله عز وجل.
"Barakah is the attachment of Divine goodness to a thing, so if it occurs in something little, it increases it. And if it occurs in something much it benefits. And the greatest fruits of Barakah in all things is to use that barakah in the obedience of Allah (SWT)"
Sources of Barakah
I’m a firm believer that Barakah is not a lost treasure, it’s right in front of our eyes! This treasure is only available and ready to be handed over to the one who works for it. Below I list some of the sources of Barakah. It’s not an exhaustive list, therefore, I do hope you can contribute to it with your comments below inshaAllah so we can all share and extend our understanding of this great treasure!
1. Good Intentions
If you want something to have barakah attached to it, have good intentions for it. More specifically, make sure that deed is intended for the sake of Allah (SWT). Looking at the definition of Barakah again, you may guess that without us intending what we have or do to be for thesake of Allah, the “Divine goodness” won’t be attached to it.
2. Piety and Belief in Allah
Allah says in the Quran: “If the people of the towns had but believed and feared Allah, We should indeed have opened out to them (All kinds of) blessings from heaven and earth…”(Surat Al-A’raf, verse 96). And He says in the Quran: “And for those who fear Allah, He (ever) prepares a way out. And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine” (Surat Al-Talaq, verses 2-3).
3. Putting your trust in Allah
Allay says in the Quran: “And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is ((Allah)) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish his purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion” (Surat Al-Talaq, verses 3)
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “If only you relied on Allaah a true reliance, He would provide sustenance for you just as He does the birds: They fly out in the morning empty and return in the afternoon with full stomachs.”
4. Reading Quran
This is the fountain of the Barakah! But subhanaAllah, we rarely drink from it! Allah says in the Quran: “And this is a Book which We have sent down, bringing blessings, and confirming (the revelations) which came before it…” (Surat Al-An’am, verse 92). So read the Quran, and note the blessings and barakah of Allah coming to your life. The further we are from this book, the less barakah we’ll have in our lives, trust me.
5. Saying Bismillah
When you say bismillah before anything you do, you’re invoking the name of Allah on that activity, not only will that activity be blessed but shaytaan cannot take part in it! So always say bismillah before anything you do!
SubhanaAllah, it’s easy for us to forget to say Bismillah or be conscious of saying it. Sometimes we’re so used to saying it that we can’t remember if we said it or not! Try to be conscious of saying Bismillah and understand what you’re saying.
6. Eating with People
Anyone who had the experience of inviting guests to his/her house will know this one. No matter how little you think the food you’re presenting to your guest is, it’s always enough! (note: this is not an excuse to be miserly when you invite guests over, in fact we should follow the sunnah of our Prophet Ibhraim (Peace be upon him) who when the angels visited his house and he didn’t know they were angels he went and prepared a large meal for them). What I’m referring here is the blessing that occurs with eating together, this is confirmed in the hadeeth of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) who said :”Eat together, for blessing is in Jamma’a (congregation or being together)…” and in another hadeeth “Whoever has food enough for two persons, should take a third one, and whoever has food enough for four persons, should take a fifth or a sixth (or said something similar).”
7. Honesty in Trade
This is for all of the business people out there (include ebayers!), don’t think that lying and deceiving people would make your trade profitable, on the contrary, it’ll remove the blessing from your trade. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “The buyer and the seller have the option ofcancelingor confirming the bargain unless they separate, and if they spoke the truth and made clear the defects of the goods, them they would be blessed in their bargain, and if they told lies and hid some facts, their bargain would be deprived of Allah’s blessings.”
Yes, it’s difficult to be honest when you’re trying to sell something, but trust me it’s worth it.
Ask Allah for barakah! If you listen to some of the Duas from the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) you’ll notice how the Prophet used to make dua for barakah. We always say “May Allah bless you!” well, guess what? That’s a source of barakah! Also, when you’re invited to someone’s house, Prophet Muhammad advised us to make the following dua for the host:”O Allaah, bless for them, that which You have provided them, forgive them and have mercy upon them.”
9. Halal income/money
Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said: “O people, Allah is good and He therefore, accepts only that which is good”Scholars refer this to Halal income and the importance of Halal income.
A scholar also said that the one who eats Haram his limbs will disobey Allah whether he likes it or not, and the one who eats Halal and seeks Halal income his limbs will also do good and would be given the permission to seek goodness.
This concept of your limbs being “blessed” and enabled to do good, is truly a blessing and a barakah we should all seek. Reminds me of a story of the old man, who jumped a large distance that young people couldn’t do. So when the young men asked the old man how he did it, he replied: “These are limbs, we’ve protected it from doing sins when we were young, so Allah preserved them from us when we got old.”
10. Following the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad in all things
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, the most Productive Man in the history of humanity is Prophet Muhammad(Peace be upon him), therefore, by just following his lifestyle and the sunnahs we so often hear about, is a great source of Barakah!
Some of these sunnahs include: Eating Suhoor, eating with the right hand from the side of the plate, going out for Eid Salat, licking your fingers after finishing eating, sleeping on your right hand side, using the siwaak, and many more. Look out for these sunnahs and follow them, for imitating the life of the most blessed man on earth, is surely a source of blessing!
11. Praying Istikhara
Praying istikhara in all matters and handing over the matters to Allah and accepting his decree is a great source of barakah. And Prophet Muhammad have taught us this beautiful dua which helps us make decisions and not regret the choices we make with the permission of Allah in the following hadeeth:
On the authority of Jaabir Ibn ‘Abdullah he said: The Prophet (S) would instruct us to pray for guidance in all of our concerns, just as he would teach us a chapter from the Qur’an. He (S) would say ‘if any of you intends to undertake a mater then let him pray two supererogatory units (two rak’ah naafilah) of prayer and after which he should supplicate:
‘O Allaah, I seek Your counsel by Your knowledge and by Your power I seek strength and I ask You from Your immense favour, for verily You are able while I am not and verily You know while I do not and You are the Knower of the unseen. O Allaah, if You know this affair -and here he mentions his need- to be good for me in relation to my religion, my life, and end, then decree and facilitate it for me, and bless me with it, and if You know this affair to be ill for me towards my religion, my life, and end, then remove it from me and remove me from it , and decree for me what is good wherever it be and make me satisfied with such.’
One who seeks guidance from his Creator and consults his fellow believers and then remains firm in his resolve does not regret for Allaah has said:
‘…and consult them in the affair. Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allaah…”
12. Giving thanks to Allah in abundance
Allah says in the Quran: “If ye are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you” A scholar once told me if you look into this verse, the Arabic word that is used to confirm that Allah will favours unto the person who thanks Allah is actually in the form of an Oath “La azidannakum” so Allah is promising the person who thanks Him that He’ll increase him, and Allah never breaks his promises.