Linguistically, Barakah comes from the concept of staying in a certain place. A camel is said to have Barakah when it kneels down and stays put. Another meaning of the root B-R-K is abundance, increased benefit and nourishment. For example, Birkah بركة means ‘a pond, a pool of water’.
Barakah is the presence of divine blessings, the abundance of benefits left by Allāh in a particular thing. Something Mubārak مبارك is something that Allāh gave Barakah to: something special, something imbued with divine benefit, something blessed by Allāh with abundant good.
Not to be worshipped
You can also translate Barakah or Mubārak with words like ‘blessed’, ‘sacred’ or ‘holy’, but be careful. These English words can sometimes mean that something is worthy of worship or veneration. That would be something totally different in Islam, called Ilāh!
All good emanates from Allāh . Allāh is the only source of Barakah and has the power to give and withhold Barakah. If somebody thinks Barakah comes from other than Allāh , then that is a form of Shirk, to attribute a power that only Allāh has to other than Allāh . Nobody but Allāh has the ability to bless things.
Things with an abundance of divine benefits
- the Qurʾān
- Following the Sunnah of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ
- Presence of angels
- Very pious people
Places that have divine benefit
- The Kaʿbah?, the city of Makkah, and surrounding holy sites (worth 1000 salah)
- Prophet’s Masjid and the city of Madīnah
- Masjid al-Aqsa, specifically and Shām in general
- all mosques
Times that have divine benefit
- Month of Ramadan? (holiest month of the year)
- Last 10 nights of Ramaḍān (holiest nights of the year)
- Ten days of Dhū al-Ḥijjah (holiest days of the year)
- Sacred months (dhul qa'dah, dhul hijjah, muharram and rajab)
- Friday (best day that the sun rises)
- Last third of the night (one of the most mutawatir ahadith)
- Early morning
Actions/factors that bring divine benefit
- Mentioning Allāh’s name at the beginning of any act
- Following the Sunnah of the Prophet
- Mubārak — having Barakah; blessed (by Allāh), imbued with divine benefit, blessed with abundant good, favourable, beneficial; blessed by Allāh with abundant benefits