My father and I were having lunch at a mall.

He suddenly asked me about investing as a Muslim. I told him there are specific rules to follow and that they had to be “halal”.

He was shocked to find out that the interest we earn from our bank accounts or insurance/endowment plans are haram and can’t be used.

He clicked his tongue, “Aiyo, very wasted you know. Other people can use money to grow money. Like that Muslims will always lag behind in society...”

Then I explained that our time in this world is not for worldly pursuits. And the concept of how getting by is a blessing in Islam, while being rich is a test.

He pondered for awhile. “But I have to say la... Of all types of people, Muslims seem to understand what life is about the best... You all focus on family and the community, and focus a lot on your Allah.”

Then we talked about the value of intangible things - how a father who earns 10k a month could have his wealth eroded by having a house, car, tuition fees to pay off, but still end up with a broken family where everyone is depressed and estranged from each other. Versus a father who earns 2k, but with kids who study and behave well, and comes back everyday to a happy home filled with warmth and love.

I said, “Look at Aizat’s father. He was single income all the way, but all his kids turned out so well! All studied till uni, all are so filial. And he’s always so happy. And his children are also so happy!”

“Ya, your father-in-law is a very good man.”

“In Islam, this is the concept of barakah. It’s as if your money is blessed. Even with little, you can do so much. The money never seems to finish!”
“No la! No such thing la. Less money means less things you can do.”
“Meh! Imagine you have a car but always breakdown la, accident la, but somehow a person who is blessed their car always has no problem. Or someone who is always sick, having to spend so much money on medical bills, compared to someone who is fit and healthy, and not spending a single cent.”

My father just smiled and shook his head.

We were done with our lunch and our mum messaged us to buy Cetaphil skin cleansers for the house.

So we walked for a bit and saw a Unity store which we entered. We saw a Cetaphil value pack at a little under $60 which seemed like a pretty good deal. So we paid for it.

On our way back home, we walked past a Guardian and imagine what I saw. The exact same value pack but with an additional 20% off!

“Papa, look! It’s $10 cheaper here! This Unity is a scam!”
“Nevermind la.. buy already.. what can we do?”

I was upset by the unnecessary $10 we had spent and he noticed.

“$10 only you so affected for what? Not fated la…”

Then something clicked.

“Papa, this is the concept of barakah lor! Imagine someone who is blessed with barakah, Allah always guides them to make good decisions and they don’t spend any more than necessary. Compared to us. Just wasted $10 more for nothing. This is just skin cleanser. Imagine it happens with a TV, with furniture, with a car, with a house!! The difference could be hundreds or thousands or ten thousands!”

“No la! No such thing la!”

But I knew from the look on his face he was convinced.

After awhile he broke into a smile, “You think this one Allah make it happen so you can teach me a lesson is it?”

I don’t know Pa, but I sure know that Allah loves you. And I hope one day you’ll get to love Him too.

Barakah is often translated into the word ‘Blessings’. But it is way more than just mere blessings. Perhaps it’s my limited knowledge, but I do not know of a word in the English language that can accurately encapsulate the meaning of Barakah.

Barakah was something that I only got acquainted with after being a Muslim. And I began to understand that it was not about how much we have, but how much barakah is in what we have.

Doing things without barakah is like grasping at sand. It slips away as soon as you get hold of it.

Money slips away.
Time slips away.
Health slips away.

Barakah, on the other hand, stretches whatever you have. It’s like playing with playdoh. It stretches and it stays. And it moulds into anything as intended.

Money gets stretched.
Time gets stretched.
Health gets stretched.

It’s the difference between a monthly income of 2k feeding a family of 6 and a monthly income of 10k barely nourishing the bodies of 4

It’s what makes minutes feel like hours, and
dollars feels like hundreds.

Classes filled with barakah have lessons that penetrates and impresses upon your soul. When the teacher says little but the student learns a lot.

May Allah put barakah in our time, health and wealth, in our families, and in everything that we do 🤍
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