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Farah welcomed the news of her third pregnancy with delight and trepidation at the same time. Living austerely in a small one bedroom apartment with her husband and two children, she could not fathom managing the added responsibility that was to come with the impending baby. A year later, she is living in a spacious two bedroom house, a live-in maid and three happy children. Her husband, the sole earner in the family, did not get a new job or a promotion.

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Safiya had to entertain her husband’s surprise guests from overseas. With only one chicken in the freezer and six people to serve in a short time, she panicked at the obvious. But, once her curry was ready to serve, she said, ‘HasbiAllah’ and sent it to the guests. She watched everyone taking a second and third helping from the dish and eating heartily. At the end of the meal, she found the serving bowl still filled with entire chicken pieces.

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When Iman decided to teach tafseer to the women in her neighbourhood once a week, she was concerned about being able to manage her other responsibilities as a homemaker, wife and mother to three young children. But, she persevered. Two years and two more children later, she is comfortably managing six classes a week with no complaints from her husband or children.

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 What impacted the lives of these women so positively? What brought about the change in their situation? What eased their apprehensions?

Barakah

This is an invisible and sublime blessing that causes something to ‘increase’, ‘grow’, ‘suffice’ and ‘satiate’, while defying tangible calculation or logical explanation. There are countless such examples in our lives and those around us where barakah has caused less to become plenty, limited resources to produce vast benefits, and little efforts to yield high productivity. The source of all barakah is from Allah (SWT). Hence we ask Him (SWT) to grant barakah in everything. His beautiful names and attributes become clearly manifest in any blessing touched by barakah. ·

Ar Razzaaq – The Provider – bestows provision from unimagined sources. “My husband and I have been living a student’s life for 11 years – on one modest income. But our life has always been happy and we’ve never felt like we don’t have enough, alhamdulillah. My husband turned down several riba-involved job offers. He finally landed with a halal one and the salary was much, much more than he ever expected to get. SubhanAllah.” – Juli ·

Al Fattah – The Opener – He opens the doors of mercy and sustenance for His servants and provides them the means of attaining both the good in this life and the hereafter. “When I was eighteen, my father arranged for me to be married to a young German, a new Muslim, who had come to India to study at a madrassa near my house. His only possessions were his books and his bicycle. Neither of us could speak each other’s language. But we had the love of Islam in our hearts. My father’s only advice for me was to mind my obligations towards my husband and that Allah (SWT) would take care of everything else. So true. Today, we have a big house, a reliable car, a flourishing business, beautiful children and above all, peace and love in our lives.” – Nasira ·

Al Haseeb – The Reckoner – The One who is All-Knowing of His servants and sufficient for those who put their trust in Him. “Contrary to our community’s practice, my husband and I chose to have a very simple waleema and dowry. Alhamdullilah, I truly believe that our happiness and peace stems from it – as opposed to couples with extravagant weddings and miserable marriages we see around us. “– Raheela ·

Al Waasi – The Vast – Vast in bestowing grace and good. “My father was posted to a very remote tribal area and the shops were quite far. I remember something my mother did at the time. Each day, before washing the rice for cooking, she would always say ‘bismillah’ and stow away a handful from that portion into a separate jar. When asked, she used to say this is for ‘barakah’. Sure enough, even in that remote area, we never ever ran out of rice, even when unexpected guests turned up because she always had enough stored away in that jar!” – Nazida ·

Al Lateef – The Most Subtle – The One who is Kind to his believing servants, guiding them to that which would benefit them and aid them via means that they are not aware of. “I was asked to assist a da’wah organisation to raise funds and because I was too shy to ask people, I only emailed a few I knew who would contribute. Due to logistical reasons, I had to arrange for this cash to pass through several people, before I could collect it from the last person in the chain. SubhanAllah, when I went to collect it, I was surprised to find the expected amount had tripled. It so happened that each time it passed hands it increased – people kept adding to it voluntarily.” – Haya ·

Al Wakeel – The Disposer of affairs – The One who looks after His friends and makes the good easy for them, preserves them from the evil and suffices for them in all of their affairs. “On our way back from umrah by road in the ‘80s, our car almost ran out of petrol. We were on an empty highway in the middle of the scorching desert, with no cellular phone, no human contact and very little fuel left in the reserve tank. We had no idea how far the next petrol station was and we all prayed for a miracle – that a station would come soon.  A miracle did happen – but of a different kind. Our pint of a fuel, managed to take us way beyond imagination – kilometres away to the next station!” – Sumreen  ·

Al Kaafi – The Sufficient – The One who suffices His servants with everything that they are in need of. “I was the type of person who needed a solid chunk of eight to nine hours of sleep every night in order to function properly. When my first baby was born, I was most unprepared for the constant disturbance to my sleep every two hours. I thought I’d never survive. But, guess what, a year later, I am still fit and fine – despite the paucity of deep slumber. Allah (SWT) made those few hours sufficient for me. I now know how righteous people manage to do a lot of qiyam-al-layal.” – Fariha ·

Al Mughnee – The Sufficient – He suffices for the whole of His creation generally, and is specifically sufficient for the believers in that He confers upon their hearts, nurturing knowledge and the realities of faith. “An old man did not pray more than the fard prayers at the masjid-al-haram, but he would busy himself filling cups of zamzam water and serving the pilgrims busy in worship – a very noble deed, indeed. But Allah (SWT) probably wanted to increase his rewards, so He caused that man to inspire a writer who recorded that action in his book. That book is an Islamic bestseller and a source of inspiration to me and thousands of other readers who may get motivated to copy that old man’s gesture – thereby contributing to his rewards.” – Asiya ·

Al BaasitThe Extender – the One who gives provisions freely and gives life to the hearts. “I read about an Islamic scholar who wrote a complete book in the time between Dhuhr and Asr prayer. Today that book is taught at University level in the span of three terms! I thought that was technically impossible until I met a sister who was homeschooling her eight children, teaching Arabic, studying fiqh, doing all her domestic chores and running her herbal medicine business. I now know how all of this is possible – through barakah in time. ” – Summayah ·

Al Mu’tee – The Giver – There is none who can prevent what He gives and none who can give what He prevents. “Whenever my husband and I find ourselves in financial problems, we increase our sadaqa. Our situation gets eased immediately.” – Reem

Ways to Seeking Barakah

“And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him.” (At-Talaq:2-3)

There are means to acquire this elusive, yet most precious blessing. Since the promise of Allah (SWT) is undoubtedly true, results are guaranteed when we sincerely strive for it. So, whether we are seeking barakah in our money, time, health, productivity, food or relationships to benefit our present and the hereafter, here are some keys to open the doors to the most potent force from Allah (SWT):

· Supplicating to Allah(SWT) for HIS blessing

· Seeking Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness

· Abstaining from sins

· Fearing and being mindful of Allah (SWT)

· Trusting and completely relying upon Allah (SWT)

· Offering salah

· Saying ‘Bismillah’ before doing anything

· Waking up early

· Eating suhoor

· Maintaining kinship ties

· Giving sadaqa

· Showing gratitude to Allah (SWT)

· Praying Istikhara before any decision

· Following the Sunnah in everything

· Earning a halal and honest income

· Eating together

· Getting married

· Arranging for ongoing charity

Next time something surprises you by unexplainably increasing or sufficing, recognise it for what it is – barakah – thank Allah (SWT) for it and use its benefits to please Him (SWT).

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