Tabarruk means attaining barakah. Linguistically it means to remain and linger, or to nurture and generate. A pool of water in Arabic is called birkah.
Islamically it means something that remains. It refers to the presence of divine blessings in an object and increasing those blessings. For example there are blessings in food, or a person. If a food has barakah, instead of feeding one person, it can feed three or four.
“The food of one is sufficient for two, and the food for two is sufficient for four, and the food for four is sufficient for eight.” (Muslim)
For something to have barakah, then the source of that barakah must come from Allah, it cannot come from any other being. To say someone can put barakah in something is to make them a deity.
A proof of this is the meaning of tabaarak. It means,
He is exalted (in His perfection, and His being and from all defects),
He is holy and blessed,
All good emanates from Him.
“Say, `O Allah, Lord of Sovereignty, You give sovereignty to whomsoever You please; and You take away sovereignty from whomsoever You please. You exalt whomsoever You please and You abase whomsoever You please. In Your hand is all good. You surely have power to do all things.” (Aali ‘Imraan, 3:26)
“Say, `All grace is in the hand of Allah. He gives it to whomsoever He pleases. And Allah is Bountiful, All-Knowing.” (Aali ‘Imraan, 3:73)
“All good is in Your hands.” (Related by Al-Bukhari)
Only Allah decides who, what, and when something or someone has barakah.
“Blessed/Exalted is He in Whose hand is the kingdom.” (Al-Mulk, 67:1)
Blessed is He Who sent down the criterion (of right and wrong, i.e. this Quran) to His slave (Muhammad SAW) that he may be a warner to the ‘Alamin (mankind and jinns). (25:1)
Some things which are blessed with barakah are:
“And this is a Blessed Book which We have revealed to confirm that which preceded it, and to enable thee to warn the Mother of towns and those around her.” (Al-An’aam, 6:92)
“He made me (Yahyaa) blessed wherever I go.” (Maryam, 19:31)
The Prophet (saw) is especially blessed.
There are blessings of his teachings, his persona, his actions and his du’as.
Examples of his dua’s :
Al-Bukhari and Muslim record from Shuraik on the authority of Anas that a man entered the mosque on Friday while the Prophet was addressing the people. The man said: “O Messenger of Allah, our wealth has been destroyed and we have no transport to the market place. Supplicate for us for rain.” The Prophet raised his hands and said: “O Allah, give us rain. O Allah, give us rain. O Allah, give us rain.” Anas said: “By Allah, at that time there were no clouds in the sky and there was no house or building between us and the mountain. From behind the mountain came a cloud looking like a shield. By the time it reached the middle of the sky, it burst and started to rain. By Allah, we did not see the sun for one week. Then, on the next Friday, a man entered the mosque from that (same) door while the Prophet was making the address. The man faced the Prophet and said: ‘Our livestock is dead and the paths are unpassable. Ask Allah to make it stop.’ The Prophet raised his hands and said: ‘O Allah, around us and not upon us. O Allah, make it upon the hills, small mountains, bottom of the valleys, and plantations.’ The rain stopped and we walked out in the sunshine.”
Abu Hurairah’s Mother
Abu Hurairah longed, and prayed, for her to become a Muslim but she adamantly refused. One day, he invited her to have faith in God alone and follow His Prophet but she uttered some words about the Prophet which saddened him greatly. With tears in his eyes, he went to the noble Prophet who said to him: “What makes you cry, O Abu Hurayrah?” “I have not let up in inviting my mother to Islam but she has always rebuffed me. Today, I invited her again and I heard words from her which I do not like. Do make supplication to God Almighty to make the heart of Abu Hurayrah’s mother incline to Islam.”
The Prophet responded to Abu Hurayrah’s request and prayed for his mother. Abu Hurayrah said: “I went home and found the door closed. I heard the splashing of water and when I tried to enter my mother said: “Stay where you are, O Abu Hurayrah.” And after putting on her clothes, she said, “Enter!” I entered and she said: “I testify that there is no god but Allah and I testify that Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger.”
Other sources of Barakah
After the Prophet (saw) passed away, Asma’ bin Abi Bakr came in possession of the cloack he used to wear. When someone would fall sick she would cover them with it. (Muslim)
The presence of Angels in general brings barakah.
When they are present, shayateen are not present.
A man was reciting Surat Al-Kahf and his horse was tied with two ropes beside him. A cloud came down and spread over that man, and it kept on coming closer and closer to him till his horse started jumping (as if afraid of something). When it was morning, the man came to the Prophet, and told him of that experience. The Prophet said, “That was As-Sakina (tranquility) which descended because of (the recitation of) the Qur’an.” (Bukhari)
Angels don’t enter houses where there is music (bells), or pictures.
Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Angels do not accompany the travellers who have with them a dog and a bell. (Muslim)
He (saw) said, “Don’t you know that angels do not enter a house wherein there are pictures?” (Bukhari)
Pious people bring about barakah through their teachings and inspiring others.
“And He has made me blessed wheresoever I be, and has enjoined on me Salat (prayer), and Zakat, as long as I live.” (19:31)
The scholars are the inheritors of knowledge. It is not the physical persona of the scholars that is blessed, but it is their teachings.
Jabir reports that the Messenger of Allah said: “Prayer in the inviolable mosque (in Makkah) is like 100,000 prayers (elsewhere). And prayers in my mosque (in Medinah) is like one thousand prayers (elsewhere). And a prayer in Bait al-Maqdis (in Jerusalem) is like five hundred prayers (elsewhere). This is related by alBaihaqi, and as-Sayuti says it is hasan.
Ahmad records that the Messenger of Allah said: “Offering salah in my mosque is better than one thousand prayers elsewhere, save for those offered in the inviolable mosque. And salah in the inviolable mosque is better than salah in my mosque by one hundred prayers.”
All masaajid have barakah in them. The Masjid itself is holy not the exact location but the current building. If the masjid is moved, the land doesn’t retain its holiness.
“Ibraaheem made Makkah a sanctuary and I have made Madeenah a sanctuary, the area between its two tracts of black stones. Its trees should not be cut down and its animals should not be hunted.” (Muslim)
“Glory to (Allah) Who did take His servant for a Journey by night from the Sacred Mosque to the Al-Aqsaa Mosque, whose precincts We did bless.” (Al-Israa’, 17:1)
“A journey is not to be made except to visit three places, The Holy Mosque (in Makkah), the Mosque of the Messenger (saw) (in Madeenah), and The Al-Aqsa Mosque (in Jerusalem).” (Al-Bukhari)
This means no other location is intrinsically blessed. This cuts off road to shirk, like visiting graves.
Timings which are Blessed
Month of Ramadan, Laylatul Qadr.
10 days of Dhul Hijjah
The sacred months (Dhul Qa’dah, Dhul Hijjah, Muharram, Rajab)
Friday blessed day (best day that the sun rises)
Last 1/3 of the night.
Early morning (esp for obtaining worldly blessings)
Factors that Bring Barakah
Barakah comes into our lives by our being good Muslims.
Mentioning Allah’s Name at the beginning of any act, like eating.
Tabarruk with the Prophet (saw) after his death.
Following the Sunnah, defending his honor.
Traveling with the sole intention of visiting the Prophet (saw) is forbidden. We must travel with the intention of worshipping Allah at that holy masjid, then once you are there we should do the other acts like visiting the other sites there. The main purpose of worshipping Allah remains though. We know that we should visit his (saw) grave, it is an act of worship, but our purpose is going to worship Allah in the holy place. Ibn Taymiyyah was jailed over a fatwa in this regards. This is why the hadith said to not undertake a religious journey except to three masaajid. At this time the graveyard was just outside the masjid.
No one prohibits visiting the grave, but the niyyah of undertaking the journey there is the worship of Allah.
The only object that its allowed to kiss or touch to get barakah is the black stone. There is no other object or icon that in and of itself is holy.
It is not allowed to ask the Prophet (saw) to make dua to Allah. None of the companions ever came to his grave and asked for anything, despite the fitnah they faced like the civil war.
It is not allowed to seek the places that the Prophet (saw) prayed in ‘accidentally’ (vs. intentionally). He commanded us to pray in the maqam ibrahim, so we do, but not to places he may have incidentally prayed in.
It is also not allowed to seek blessings by doing “sunnah” or “bid’ah” acts on the day of his birth. This brings up the issue of:
This comes under tabarruk due to people incorrectly attributing barakah to the 12th of Rabi-al-Awwal.
To show love for the Prophet (saw) we must follow the sunnah.
The date of birth of the Prophet (saw) is the subject of ikhtilaaf and is not agreed upon. There are 10 different opinions on the date. Even the sahabah differed amongst themselves about the date. This shows it is not an important issue, it was just a historical fact. 12th of Rabi al-Awwal is the strongest opinion but it is not 100% conclusive.
If it is a blessed and holy day, then why would the Prophet (saw) not tell us? Most people response that he was too humble to say it. It is narrated in Bukhari that the Prophet (saw) said, “I am the leader of the children of Adam.” He had to tell us this, because if he does not tell us, no one will. He (saw) said in one hadith that, ‘I will hold the flag on the day of judgment but I am not being arrogant.’ Moreover, the Sahabah never celebrated his birthday after his death. In fact, this concept of birthdays was not even found in the Eastern world.
This begs the question as to where it originated. This act was unheard of for centuries. It was unknown to the first generations, the famous Imams, and the scholars of hadith. The first to celebrate it was the Fatimids in Egypt (6th century of Islam). They were an extremely heretical dynasty, and were considered non-Muslim by the scholars of the time. They were an extreme shi’a group (Isma’eelis). Their descendants now are the Agakhanis, Durooz, Alawis, and Bohris. They also celebrated the birth of Ali, Fatima, and even Christmas. So 500 years after the death of the Prophet (saw) the mawlid was celebrated. It was imported into Sunni Islam around 670 AH.
Nawawi and ibn Hajr allowed for certain things but not the mawlid that exists now. They allowed for things that were done generally are good deeds.
Even if mawlid is done without shirk, it is still better to close the door. The people’s intentions and emotions are good, we must use wisdom to help them properly channel it.
Seeking Barakah from the Remnants of the Prophet (saw) After His Death
It is allowed to take barakah from his (saw) remnants, there are many examples of this being done. The problem now, is that it is not possible to verify if they are actually his remnants, and most of them can now be proven to forgeries.
There is nothing left on earth that we can verify 100% as being his. Also, his remnants are not eternal, for example the food in his house.
Tabarruk with ‘saints’
This means assuming saints exude physical barkah. No one exudes barakah except the Prophet (saw).
Ibn Rajab says, “To summarize, these matters are a fitnah for the one who exalts and the one who is exalted, due to the over-exaltation that will occur, and which will lead to bid’ah, and maybe even lead to a type of shirk.” (al-Hikam al-Jadeerah p. 55).
Improper Tabarruk Leads to Shirk
“We were a group of new Muslims who accompanied the Prophet (saw) during the Battle of Hunayn. We passed by a tree that belonged to the polytheists that was called ‘Dhaatu Anwaat’ (that which you hang things on/large green tree). They would hang their swords on this tree to get blessings before a battle. So, we said, ‘Oh, Messenger of Allah, why don’t you make for us a ‘Dhaatu Anwaat’ like they have a ‘Dhaatu Anwaat’. The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said, ‘Subhaan Allah. You have asked me, by Allah, just like the people of Moosa asked Musa. “Make a god for us, like the gods they have.” (Al-A’raaf, 7:138) I swear by Him, in whose hands is my soul, you are going to follow the path of those before you.”
Shirk is based on intention, if you ascribe the origin of barakah to other than Allah, then this is shirk.
They did not ask for a God, but yet the Prophet (saw) equated it with the act that was blatant shirk.
Laat was the idol of the tribe of Thaqeef. He used to give food to the pilgrims. When he died they made a monument over his grave and it became an idol. The origin of al-Laat is seeking blessings from pious people and over-venerating them.
In the khilafah of Umar some people would go to the tree that the Prophet (saw) sat against when he took the oath of allegiance from sahabah to fight the Quraysh if Uthmaan did not come back. The Bedouins would come and rub their backs on this tree, so Umar cut this tree down. If this tree was still around in our time it would be an idol. (Musannaf Abdur-Razzaq)
He loved the Prophet (saw) more than we do, but he understood tawheed so he did this.
Reasons for this type of bid’ah.
Ignorance of the reality of tabarruk.
Over-exalting the status of ‘saints’
Considering non-sacred places to be sacred
Analogy between Prophet and saints. None of the sahabah took barakah from each other, nor did the Tabi’oon take barakah from the Sahabah.