Mohammed Faris, founder of The Productive Muslim Company, introduces the Barakah Journal, a new productivity journal geared towards living and working with Baraka.
Salaam Dear Reader,
"Shaykh Ibn Ataillah's works completely flipped the script for me, as a productivity guy." – Mohammed Faris, conversation in 2020
"Praiseworthy planning is planning that seeks to enhance one's relationship with God. Blameworthy planning is planning that revolves around the self and its appetites, heedless of one's debt to God, as well as God's remunerative generosity and spontaneous grace."
- Ibn 'Ata'illah in Taj al-'Arus, Refinement of Souls
The term 'Barakah' resists simple clear-cut definition. Its meanings encompass God-given blessing, increase, and grace; being able to achieve more with less, and in less time; and having a beneficial impact that may even outlive the initial recipient of the blessing.
In contemporary Productivity circles, the norm is hustle culture, in which work is prioritised above everything else and in which over-working is a badge of honour. This is toxic to our spiritual and mental wellbeing, and clearly we need to look for other models of productivity that is holistic, spiritually nourishing, and that still allows us to fulfil all our work obligations. If we look deep into our own Islamic heritage, the key has to be Baraka.
Mohammed Faris, author of the book Productive Muslim: Where Faith Meets Productivity, made this connection several years ago and has set himself to the task of operationalising Barakah within a productivity paradigm. For productivity gurus such as David Allen and Stephen Covey, the cornerstone of their practice is journaling. And we couldn't agree more. This is why we are excited to see that The Productive Muslim Company has produced the Barakah Journal.
The Barakah Journal seeks to help us reframe how we think about productivity by going back to the principles of making conscious intention, sincere du'a, and meditative reflection. The journal, which has been reviewed by Dr Abdallah Rothman (a leading clinical psychologist and principal of the Cambridge Muslim College), orientates us to a God-centric, Islamic mindset, and quite literally so by its suggestion to use the Hijri calendar and to structure our day according to the prayer times (including tahajjud and dhuha). The implications of ordering our time this way is obvious, for us to unlock the blessing of Baraka throughout our days and throughout our year, we must first be cognisant of how Allah and His Prophet ﷺ have apportioned time for us.
The Barakah Journal also proposes activities such as the 21 'Baraka Experiments'. Looking through the list, I think I will start with the 'Wake Up Early' experiment because it reminds me of a particular Baraka-related Hadith of the Prophet ﷺ: "Allah made the early hours blessed for my Ummah.” Simple early morning habits, forged with intention, have a quiet power.
May we all be recipients of Barakah.
Get your copy of the Barakah Journal today!
A Journey to God: Reflections on the Hikam of Ibn Ataillah, Jasser Auda
The Book of Illumination, Shaykh Ibn Ata'illah
The Productive Muslim: Where Faith Meets Productivity, Mohammed Faris