Baraka (Arabic: البرکة) means proliferation and settlement of divine blessings which is mentioned three times in the Qur'an in plural forms and its synonyms have been repeated thirty two times. In the Qur'an, the word "baraka" refers to permanent and increasing blessings of God and is assigned to every phenomenon based on its potentials. Using the verb "baraka" in the Qur'an always refers to God and this collocation has been considered a reason for the exclusiveness of the power to produce blessings by God.
Faith and God-wariness, repentance, remembrance and obedience of God, justice and lenience have been considered among the causes which make humans to be included in God's blessings and on the opposite, some actions of humans including their sins and abandoning enjoining the good and forbidding the evil are mentioned among the obstacles to receive God's blessings.
God has made some of His creation signs and examples of blessings which have been called "mubarak" (blessed) in religious texts.
The meaning of "baraka" is a proliferation in goodness and its derivatives such as "tabrik" (congratulations), and "mubarak" (literally meaning "blessed") are used in celebrations, successes and victories and sayings have been made using these words.
"Baraka" is considered a relative word, the goodness in which is assigned to every phenomenon relative to its potentials and functions; for example, baraka in lineage refers to the multitude of children and in time refers to the diversity of a person's activities in a specific period.
Usage in Previous Divine Books
In addition to Islamic texts, the concept of "baraka" has been used in the previous divine books. In these usages, bestowal of God's blessings to the prophets and bestowal of them by the Prophets (a) and priests to others are mentioned. Derivatives of the word "baraka/ berakhah" have been used about 400 times in the Old Testament and frequently in the New Testament.
In the Qur'an, the word "baraka" refers to permanent blessings and increasing goodness from God. There, blessings from the sky have been interpreted as the increase of rain, and the blessings from the earth have been interpreted as the abundance of plants and fruits. In the Qur'an, the word "tabaraka" has been solely used for God and its other synonyms have been used about humans, phenomena and certain places. Exegetes of the Qur'an considered the collocation of the word "tabaraka" with manifestations of knowledge, power, ownership, creatorship and other blessings of God as the sign of the continuation of God's mercy and grace toward His creation and suggesting their inherence in God.
In the Qur'an, "baraka" has only been used in plural forms in three verses, which some scholars consider as the sign of the abundance of God's "baraka". Derivatives of the root "ba-ra-ka" including "barik", "Mubarak" and "tabarak" are used thirty two times in the Qur'an.
Using the words adopted from "ba-ra ka" in the Qur'an has always been with reference to God, and this collocation has been considered to mean that only God can give "baraka". The word "baraka" has also been used in the hadiths of the Ahl al-Bayt (a) and it is considered one of the armies of the intellect.
In the Islamic culture, receiving "baraka" by humans depends on their actions and words. In the Qur'an and hadiths of the Infallibles (a), faith and God-wariness, repentance, obedience and remembrance of God, justice, waking up early in the morning, lenience, greeting others, alms-giving, observing cleanliness, decreasing marriage expenses, meeting blood relatives, honest transaction, caring about neighbors, observing equity with religious brothers, fasting and eating al-suhur are mentioned among the causes of bringing about "baraka".
Faith and God-wariness
The verse 96 of Qur'an 7 mentions coming of blessings from the sky and the earth depending on greater faith and God-wariness of dwellers on the earth or in the cities. According to what is mentioned in the commentaries of the Qur'an about these verses, faith, and God-wariness of a few people cannot guarantee coming of blessings from the sky.
Also, in verse 52 of Qur'an 11 and verses 10 to 13 of Qur'an 71, God mentions sending His blessings including rain to be depending on removing its obstacles and since one of its obstacles is sins, repentance of the servants is mentioned as a way to attract God's mercy. Imam 'Ali (a) too mentioned repentance as a permanent means of showering God's provisions and mercy. In some verses of the Qur'an, increasing the provisions and humans' share of material blessings is considered to be depending on their grateful living. In verse 7 of Qur'an 14, God mentioned increasing His blessings to be depending on human's gratitude; and on the opposite, mentioned being ungrateful to blessings as the cause of increasing punishments.
Doing some deeds and saying some words are causes of humans' deprivation from receiving God's blessings. Committing sins and disobedience, abandoning the enjoining to the good and forbidding the evil and also negligence about the remembrance of God are mentioned among the obstacles of receiving blessings in the Qur'an and hadiths.
Committing Sins and Disobedience
Sins and disobedience are among the causes of keeping out blessings from properties and life. In their comments on verse 96 of Qur'an 7, exegetes mentioned divine punishment as well as deprivation from heavenly and earthly blessings as the destiny of those who sinned and rejected the prophets (a).
Abandoning prayer, defrauding by using short measures, not paying zakat, prodigality, betrayal, robbery, drinking alcoholic drinks, debauchery and swearing false oaths in transactions are mentioned among the sins which result in deprivation of human being from receiving divine blessings.
Abandoning the Enjoining to the Good and Forbidding the Evil
Abandoning the enjoining to the good and forbidding the evil is mentioned among the obstacles of receiving blessings. In a hadith, the Prophet (s) mentioned that people would receive divine blessings as long as they enjoin the good and forbid the evil and help each other in doing the good; but, if they abandon that, they will lose blessings.
God has made some of His creation among the signs and manifestations of "baraka". Some of the prophets and righteous believers, the Qur'an, certain times, some places, and also some natural phenomena are among God's creations which have been called "blessed". One of the objects which has been called blessed is the Qur'an; the reason for which is that it guides.
In the Qur'an, God mentioned some prophets and other people receiving His "baraka"; including Prophet Noah (a) and his companions in the Ark, Prophet Abraham (a) and his children, Isma'il (a) and Isaac (a), Prophet Moses (a), Prophet Jesus (a), the Prophet of Islam (s), believers and the righteous.
Night of Qadr is among the times considered blessed due to fulfillment of supplications, forgiving the sins and the revelation of the Qur'an. Also, some natural phenomena have been mentioned blessed including rain which is considered the "blessed water" in the Qur'an.
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