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Linguistically, "barakah" means increase. It is a hidden and intangible blessing which Allah can bestow upon anyone He chooses. This blessing can be bestowed by way of increased health, wealth, time, progeny, happiness in this life and happiness in the hereafter.

The ultimate barakah is when Allah is pleased with you, resulting in Him looking at you, and smiling to you. Imagine what a great elevation it is when your actions are so pleasing to your Creator that He smiles at you! This is the ultimate blessing you can receive from Allah, one that can propel you in this life and elevate you in dunia and akhirah.

Barakah in dunia is granted by Allah to you when He allows you to be for Him, to work for Him in elevating His name, spreading His message and caring for others. If Allah has granted you barakah, the ultimate evidence of that is when He elevates you akhirah, spares you from torture of Hellfire and places you within a high station in Paradise.

We have compiled some important Qur'anic verses and ahadeeth on this point. Please take a few minutes to read them carefully. You will understand how abundant Allah's rewards can be, especially during these sacred months leading up to the blessed month of Ramadan.

May Allah open your hearts and make you among the chosen ones for Allah to grant you His Blessing and His Smile.

Mercy

Jarir bin Abdullah (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "Whoever does not show mercy to the people, Allah will not show mercy to him." [At Tirmidhi]

Abdullah bin 'Amr (RA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: "The merciful are shown mercy by Ar-Rahman. Be merciful on the earth, and you will be shown mercy from Who is above the heavens. The womb is named after Ar-Rahman, so whoever connects it, Allah connects him, and whoever severs it, Allah severs him." [At Tirmidhi]

Generosity during Ramadan

Ibn `Abbas (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah ((peace be upon him)) was the most generous of the men; and he was the most generous during the month of Ramadan when Jibril visited him every night and recited the Qur'an to him. During this period, the generosity of Messenger of Allah ((peace be upon him)) waxed faster than the rain bearing wind. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Zaid bin Khâlid Al-Juhani (RA) reported: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "He who provides a fasting person something with which to break his fast, will earn the same reward as the one who was observing the fast, without diminishing in any way the reward of the latter." [Al Tirmidhi]

Spending and Forgiving Debts for the sake of Allah

Abu Yahya Khuraim bin Fatik (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "He who makes a contribution in Allah's way, will have his reward seven hundred times recorded to his credit.'' [At-Tirmidhi]

Abu Qatadah (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "He who likes Allah to deliver him from the calamities of the Day of Resurrection, let him either give respite to a debtor or grant him remission (of loans) in straitened circumstances.'' [Muslim]

Hudhaifah (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "A slave of Allah whom He had endowed with wealth, will be brought before Him. Allah will ask him: 'What did you do in the world?' (They cannot conceal anything from Allah.) He will say: 'O my Rubb, You endowed me with Your wealth; I used to enter into transactions with people and it was my nature to be lenient to the insolvent ones. I used to give respite to those who were in straitened circumstances.' Whereupon Allah will say: 'I am more entitled than you to do this. So forgive my slave'." 'Uqbah bin 'Amir and Abu Mas'ud Al- Ansari (RA) said, "Thus we heard it from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)." [Muslim]

Giving Guidance

Abu Mas'ud 'Uqbah bin 'Amr Al-Ansari Al-Badri (RA) reported: Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Whoever guides someone to virtue will be rewarded equivalent to him who practices that good action." [Muslim].

Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "If anyone calls others to follow right guidance, his reward will be equivalent to those who follow him (in righteousness) without their reward being diminished in any respect, and if anyone invites others to follow error, the sin, will be equivalent to that of the people who follow him (in sinfulness) without their sins being diminished in any respect." [Muslim].

The bond between Muslims

Nu'man bin Bashir (RA) reported: Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Ibn 'Umar (RA) reported: Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him )said, "A Muslim is a brother of another Muslim. So he should not oppress him nor should he hand him over to an oppressor (his satan or to his self which is inclined to evil). Whoever fulfills the needs of his brother, Allah will fulfill his needs; whoever removes the troubles of his brother, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; whoever brought his (Muslim) brother out of a discomfort, Allah will bring him out of the discomforts of the Day of Resurrection and whoever covers up the fault of a Muslim, Allah will cover up his fault on the Day of Resurrection." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Supporting the Needy

Anas (RA) reported: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "No one of you shall become a true believer until he desires for his brother what he desires for himself." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "He who removes from a believer one of his difficulties of this world, Allah will remove one of his troubles on the Day of Resurrection; and he who finds relief for a hard- pressed person, Allah will make things easy for him on the Day of Resurrection; he who covers up (the faults and sins) of a Muslim, Allah will cover up (his faults and sins) in this world and in the Hereafter. Allah supports His slave as long as the slave is supportive of his brother; and he who treads the path in search of knowledge, Allah makes that path easy, leading to Jannah for him; the people who assemble in one of the houses of Allah, reciting the Book of Allah, learning it and teaching, there descends upon them the tranquility, and mercy covers them, the angels flock around them, and Allah mentions them in the presence of those near Him; and he who lags behind in doing good deeds, his noble lineage will not make him go ahead." [Muslim]

Mus`ab bin Sa`d bin Abu Waqqas (RA) reported: Sa`d considered himself better than his inferiors, so the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him, "You are given help and provision because of your weak ones." [Al-Bukhari].

It was narrated that Ibn 'Abbaas (RA) was staying in I'tikaaf in the mosque of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) when a man came to him with the signs of grief visible on his face. He asked him about the reason, and the man said: "O paternal cousin of the Messenger of Allah! So-and-so has the right of allegiance over me, and, by the sanctity of the dweller of this grave, (i.e. the grave of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him)) I am incapable of fulfilling it." He asked him: "Should I not use my good offices with him for you?" He said: "Yes, if you so like." Ibn 'Abbaas stood up, put on his sandals and left the mosque. The man asked him: "Have you forgotten the state in which you were?" That is, you are in I'tikaaf according to which it is invalid for you to leave the mosque. He said: "No (I have not forgotten). But I heard the dweller of this grave who died a short time ago (and his eyes shed tears) saying: "Whoever seeks the fulfillment of his brother's need, and is able to do it, that is better for him than to stay in I'tikaaf for ten years; and whoever stays in I'tikaaf only for one day, seeking thereby the Countenance of Allah The Almighty, Allah then Separates him from Hell with three trenches, , the width of each trench being greater than the distance between heaven and earth."" [At-Tabaraani, Al-Bayhaqi and Al-Haakim]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "The one who looks after a widow or a poor person is like a Mujahid (warrior) who fights for Allah's Cause, or like him who performs prayers all the night and fasts all the day."

A man went to Abu-Darda (RA) and said to him "I am an old man I cannot do too much; teach me something that will make me closer to Allah SWT; something very small but big in reward". Abu Darda (RA) was quiet for some time and then said, "Make a Muslim smile". The old man replied, "I came to you expecting a certain amount of worship and dhikr, and you are telling me to make someone smile? What benefit will that have?" Abu-Darda (RA) replied: "If you go and make one Muslim brother or sister smile, then Allah SWT will smile at you, and if Allah smiles at you He will forbid your body to be in the Hell-fire."

Charity and Generosity

Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, "Two angels descend every morning, and one says: `O Allah, give him who spends something, in place of what he spends.' The other one says: `O Allah, give destruction to him who withholds." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Allah, the Exalted, says, `Spend, O son of Adam, you will also be spent upon.'' [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Wealth is not diminished by giving (in charity). Allah augments the honour of one who forgives; and one who displays humbleness towards another seeking the pleasure of Allah, Allah exalts him in ranks.'' [Muslim].

Supporting the Ill

Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, "Verily, Allah, the Exalted, and Glorious will say on the Day of Resurrection: `O son of Adam, I was ill but you did not visit Me.' He would say: `O my Rubb, how could I visit you and You are the Rubb of the worlds?' Thereupon He would say: `Did you not know that such and such a slave of Mine was ill but you did not visit him? Did you not realize that if you had visited him (you would have known that I was aware of your visit to him, for which I would reward you) you would have found Me with him? O son of Adam, I asked food from you but you did not feed Me.' He would submit: `My Rubb, how could I feed You and You are the Rubb of the worlds?' He would say: `Did you not know that such and such a slave of Mine asked you for food but you did not feed him? Did you not realize that if you had fed him, you would certainly have found (its reward) with Me? O son of Adam, I asked water from you but you did not give it to Me.' He would say: 'My Rubb, how could I give You (water) and You are the Rubb of the worlds?' Thereupon He would say: `Such and such a slave of Mine asked you for water to drink but you did not give it to him. Did you not realize that if you had given him to drink you would have found (its reward) with Me?''' [Muslim].

`Ali bin Abu Talib (RA) reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) saying, "When a Muslim visits a sick Muslim at dawn, seventy thousand angels keep on praying for him till dusk. If he visits him in the evening, seventy thousand angels keep on praying for him till the morning; and he will have (his share of) reaped fruits in Jannah.'' [At-Tirmidhi].

Standing in the Path of Allah

It was narrated that Abu Hurairah (RA) was engaged in ribat [i.e. standing in guard, or guarding a post at the frontiers of the Islamic state], and the people became alarmed. So they went out to the seashore and it was said: 'There's nothing to worry about.' The people dispersed but Abu Hurairah remained there standing. Someone came by him and said: 'Why are you still standing here, Abu Hurairah?' He said: 'I heard the Messenger (peace be upon him) saying: Standing for one hour in the Path of Allah (fee sabeelillah) is better than praying at night on the Night of Qadr at the Black Stone.'" [#1068: Silsilat al-Ahadith as-Sahihah]

2:272: Not upon you (Muhammad SAW) is their guidance, but Allah guides whom He wills. And whatever you spend in good, it is for yourselves, when you spend not except seeking Allah's Countenance. And whatever you spend in good, it will be repaid to you in full, and you shall not be wronged.

34:39: Say: "Truly, my Lord enlarges the provision for whom He wills of His slaves, and (also) restricts (it) for him, and whatsoever you spend of anything (in Allah's Cause), He will replace it. And He is the Best of providers."

3:92: By no means shall you attain Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc., it means here Allah's Reward, i.e. Paradise), unless you spend (in Allah's Cause) of that which you love; and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well.

22:77: O you who believe! Bow down, and prostrate yourselves, and worship your Lord and do good that you may be successful.

107:1 – 107:3: Have you seen him who denies the Recompense? That is he who repulses the orphan (harshly), And urges not the feeding of Al Miskin (the poor).

If the above have inspired you, you should be asking what you can do.

If you want the blessing of Shaaban, Ramadan and the blessing for the whole year round;

If you want all your supplications to be accepted;

If you want all your sins to be reprieved, forgiven and even pardoned;

If you want your feet to be blessed, and even the ground under your feet to be blessed and be protected by 70,000 angels daily;

If you want to gain more than an equivalent of 10 years' of I'tikaaf in Masjid Nabawi in Madinah;

If you want to be among the people who Allah smiles to, grant you purification from hellfire and bestow His pleasure for infinity;

If you want to be among those to be fee sabeelillah and spend time and effort only for Allah to elevate the deen of Allah and take care about the deen of Allah and gain more rewards than standing in the front of the Black Stone on the Night of Power (lailatul qadr);

If you love yourself, your family, and fellow Muslims and mankind;

And to leave the ultimate wealth for yourself and your family;

If you want to gain any, or even all of the above …

This is what you need to do.

Set your intention, do it now and do whatever it takes. Spend from your money or collect from others, and let's start Project Smile!

There is plenty that you can do! Just look around you – there are so many people in need, and so many people who would appreciate your support. If you are short of ideas, here are some of my hints and advice for you:

1. Identify the Needy:

(a) get in touch with different organisations to help poor villages

(b) if you know of any person or community personally, then even better: get in touch with these people directly

(c) get in touch with the district hospital or clinic in a poor area. Try to get a list of the needy patients and the kind of help they need (medication, crutches, wheelchairs)

(d) get in touch with orphanages, or if you know of any orphans in need, deal with them directly

(e) look around for those in need of assistance. Many ordinary people can suddenly be in a desperate situation – the widowed, divorced, abandoned, people who have lost their jobs, those who are undergoing a tragedy

(f) read the newspapers or watch the news – there are plenty of countries where the people are living in hardship or are refugees, suffering from natural disasters and catastrophes and are in urgent need of aid, such as Syria, Palestine, Myanmar, Bosnia, Indonesia, Myanmar and China

(g) Look at the people around you – your maids, servants and employees, and be sensitive to their needs. Make them comfortable fee sabeelillah

The more in need they are, the better.

2. Pledge and commit to do the following, as much as your ability permits:

(a) sponsor the needy for iftar this Ramadan

(b) help out with the expenses of the masjid upkeep in poor areas (whether in your country or abroad), for example, the water or electricity bills

(c) get in touch with the same places above, and help them fulfil their needs, for example, repairs, renovations, installing modern sanitation, fans, air conditioning and clean water

d) support the ill through medical supplies, sponsoring their needs, visiting them and otherwise attending to their welfare. If the ill person is the sole breadwinner, find ways of supporting their dependents

(e) contact a publisher, and order copies of the Qur'an (with a translation into the local language of the poor area you are assisting), and some basic literature on du'a, ahadeeeth and basic adab and understanding of Islam. Distribute the publications in these areas

(f) find ways of channelling donations in the form of money, clothes and food to countries in need

and many many more!

All you need is a sincere intention, with belief and no doubt that if you start these steps, you will be insha Allah, among the people who get all the above and blessings.

My dear brothers and sisters in Islam and humanity, today we can, tomorrow we cannot. Today we are alive, tomorrow we are dead. This urgent call is for me and for you to gain the best of this life and in the hereafter.

The ultimate is the pleasure of Allah and when Allah smiles at us.

Don't lose time, don't make excuses, don't blame the bureaucracy. Erase the hypocrisy, laziness and indifference within us. Let us make people smile so that Allah will smile to us!

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