You may well have come across the word baraka and wondered what it is, and why it is used so much throughout the Muslim world.


Baraka is often translated as blessing. Yet it has many meanings.  One of which for example, is increase and abundance.  Arabic words are all based on source roots.  And, interestingly, there are many other words that have the same root b-r-k.  For instance, the location for the source of bodily life in a desert, a lake, is birka, so too is the place in a camel where water is stored. So baraka has a sense of being the focus point of the flow of life.  Many delicious words also stem from this root, like barik, which is a term that refers to  ripe dates with cream. The word has raced through Muslim and non Muslim countries acquiring different meanings: in Morocco, the experienced Sufi are said to have been endowed with baraka, in many Muslim lands, rain is often seen as containing baraka.  In France, they sometimes use the word baraka for luck.  In Hebrew, baraka is a word associated with blessing.


After so many centuries of symbolic usage, baraka has now come to mean something so tangible that it is common everyday parlance, yet the description of it remains elusive.  It would be true to say that everyone experiences baraka differently.  Human experience is rich in diversity.  And this expansive possibility is surely more true in deciphering the meaning of baraka than any narrow definition that attempts to describe it according to one's own little universe.


Baraka often refers to that wonderfully uplifting feeling that comes when there is compassion, love, honesty, integrity, faith and free flowing happiness.  It is like the shower of spring, the virgin colour of a new rose, the silver moonlit sheen on the face on a spiritual evening, the throbbing grandeur of the call to prayer from a high mountain.   Baraka is the morning zest rising from the expectation of a fresh dawn.  It is the smile before the neurons of the brain have fired up the pleasure on your lips.   Razwan Ul-Haq 2014



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