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.” [Source]
The word barakah (بركة) means blessing, increase, and remaining for a long time. Seeking barakah and avoiding matters that deplete barakah in one’s life, work, and resources is a success secret professed by many people who accomplish a lot within a limited lifespan.
Barakah is sought in time, wealth, efforts, belongings, relationships, and whatever resources one has in one’s life. We understand that there are blessed times, places, and people–where the source of all blessings is Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He).
The night in which the Qur’an was revealed is called “Laylatun Mubarakah” or a blessed night. The Qur’an is called “Kitabun Mubarak” or a blessed book; the Ka`bah and the land of Jerusalem and its surroundings are called “Mubarak” or “barakna hawlaha”.
We learn from the last verse Surah Ar-Rahman that even the Name of Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) is full of blessing:
تَبَـٰرَكَ ٱسۡمُ رَبِّكَ ذِى ٱلۡجَلَـٰلِ وَٱلۡإِكۡرَامِ
“Blessed is the name of your Lord, Owner of Majesty and Honor.”
When speaking of the great scholars of the past, such as Imam An-Nawawi (who passed away in his forties), we see that their life had barakah because they were able to accomplish a great deal within a short lifespan and their work continues to benefit even centuries later.
Abundance in the Early Hours
Recent studies indicate that most people who are classified as successful (in worldly terms, at least) are early risers. When asked about the secret of their productivity, they emphasize the importance of waking up early and getting a head start to the day.
Muslims have known this secret all along, because our Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prayed specifically for blessing in the early part of the day.
It was narrated from Ibn Umar that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “O Allah, bless my nation in their early mornings.” [Ibn Majah]
It is also reported that when the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) sent out an army, he would send them at the beginning of the day. He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) is reported to have said, “Sakhr was a man engaged in trade, and he used to send his goods out at the beginning of the day, and his wealth grew and increased.” [Ibn Majah]
Therefore in order to attain increased blessings in our days, we need to cultivate the habit of waking up early and engaging in meaningful work in the early part of the day. A key to this is sleeping early.
وَجَعَلۡنَا نَوۡمَكُمۡ سُبَاتً۬ا
“And We made your sleep a means for rest.” [Qur’an; 78:9]
It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would dislike sleeping before the Isha (late evening) prayer and engaging in much conversation after it. [Abu Dawud]
Thus going to bed as soon as possible after the Isha prayer would enable us to steer clear of this disliked matter and also equip us to wake up early for the night prayer (Tahajjud), as well as reap the blessing and productivity of the early hours. As the well-known saying goes, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”
أَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ لِدُلُوكِ ٱلشَّمۡسِ إِلَىٰ غَسَقِ ٱلَّيۡلِ وَقُرۡءَانَ ٱلۡفَجۡرِۖ إِنَّ قُرۡءَانَ ٱلۡفَجۡرِ كَانَ مَشۡہُودً۬ا (٧٨) وَمِنَ ٱلَّيۡلِ فَتَهَجَّدۡ بِهِۦ نَافِلَةً۬ لَّكَ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَبۡعَثَكَ رَبُّكَ مَقَامً۬ا مَّحۡمُودً۬ا (٧٩)
“Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed. And from [part of] the night, pray with it as additional [worship] for you; it is expected that your Lord will resurrect you to a praised station.” [Qur’an; 17:78-79]
Anas bin Malik (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said to me, “Dear son, when you enter your house, say As-Salamu ‘Alaikum to your family, for it will be a blessing both to you and to your family.” [At-Tirmidhi]
Anas bin Malik (Allah he pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “O Allah, increase in Medina twice the blessings (Thou showered) on Mecca.” [Sahih Muslim]
The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Blessing descends upon food in its middle, so eat from the sides of the vessel and do not eat from its middle.” [At-Tirmidhi and Abu Dawud]
“The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Take Sahur, for in Sahur there is blessing.” [Sunan an-Nasa’i]
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was given the first fruit and he said, “O Allah, shower blessings upon us in our city, and in our fruits, in our mudd and in our sa’s, blessings upon blessings, and he would then give that to the youngest of the children present there.” [Sahih Muslim]
“The two rak’ahs at dawn are better than this world and what it contains.” [Sahih Muslim]