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Name of Allah: Ar-Rabb

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الرب
Ar- Rabb

Ar-Rabb is The One Who nurtures and sustains all of His servants by handling their affairs and granting all types of favours and blessings to them. More specifically He is The One Who nurtures and sustains His sincere slaves by correcting and purifying their hearts, souls and manners. This is why their supplications are frequently made with this noble name, because they seek this specific nurturing. (1)

قال الله تعالى: {الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ}

All praise and thanks are to Allah, The Lord of the ‘aalameen (mankind, jinn and all that exists).

Surah al-Faatihah [1:1]

Al’alam is the world (world of humans, animals, birds, oceans) and this word in Arabic ‘alam means a ‘sign’. They are called ‘alam or (signs) because they are a sign of their Creator. In everything from the creation of Allah, there is a sign proving His Oneness and Perfection. All of the creation and what it contains from perfect wonders and the absolute wisdom, indicates the perfection of Allah’s power, will, wisdom and mercy. Look at the sun, it is a great sign of its Creator as it runs in perfect regularity (since Allah created it) and it will continue to do so until Allah wills for the destruction of this world.(2)

قال الله تعالى: {وَالشَّمْسُ تَجْرِي لِمُسْتَقَرٍّ لَّهَا ۚ ذَٰلِكَ تَقْدِيرُ الْعَزِيزِ الْعَلِيمِ} 

And the sun runs on its fixed course for a term (appointed). That is the Decree of the All-Mighty, The All-Knowing.

Surah Yasin [36: 38]

Imam Ibnul-Qayyim mentioned:
This great name Ar-Rabb, necessitates all the other names and attributes of Allah. The Lord (Ar-Rabb) has to be The Creator, The Ever Living, The Powerful, The Self Sustaining Who Sustains all His creation, The All Knowing, The All Hearing, The All Seeing. To be Ar-Rabb, He has to be The Bestower of graces, The All Generous, The All Rich, He gives to whom He wills and deprives whom He wills, honouring whom He wills and humiliating whom He wills. (3)

قال الله تعالى: {يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُمْ وَالَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ}

O mankind worship your Lord, Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become pious.

Surah al-Baqarah [2: 21]

قال الله تعالى: {قُلْ مَن يَرْزُقُكُم مِّنَ السَّمَاءِ وَالْأَرْضِ أَمَّن يَمْلِكُ السَّمْعَ وَالْأَبْصَارَ وَمَن يُخْرِجُ الْحَيَّ مِنَ الْمَيِّتِ وَيُخْرِجُ الْمَيِّتَ مِنَ الْحَيِّ وَمَن يُدَبِّرُ الْأَمْرَ ۚ فَسَيَقُولُونَ اللَّهُ ۚ فَقُلْ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ ، فَذَٰلِكُمُ اللَّهُ رَبُّكُمُ الْحَقُّ ۖ فَمَاذَا بَعْدَ الْحَقِّ إِلَّا الضَّلَالُ ۖ فَأَنَّىٰ تُصْرَفُونَ}

Say: Who provides for you from the sky and the earth? or Who owns hearing and sight? and Who brings out the living from the dead and brings out the dead from the living? and Who disposes the affairs?” They will say:”Allah”. Say: “Will you not then be afraid of Allah’s punishment (for setting up rivals in worship with Allah)? Such is Allah, your Lord in truth. So after the truth, what else can there be but error? How then are you being turned away?

Surah Yunus [10: 31-32]

Shaikh Abdur-Rahman As-Sadee says:

Allah’s nurturing for His creation are of two types:

  • Firstly: a general nurturing which includes believers and disbelievers, obedient and disobedient. This is related to their creation, provision, handling their affairs, granting, detaining, honoring, lowering, relieving distress and answering to the supplications of those who are in desperate need to Him. Everyone in the creation has his share of this general nurturing.

قال الله تعالى: {يسئله من في السماوات و الأرض كل يوم هو في شأن} 

Whosoever is in the heavens and on earth begs of Him (its needs from Him). Every day He is (engaged) in some affair (such as giving honour or disgrace to some, life or death to some)!

Surah ar-Rahmaan [55: 29]

  • Secondly: A special nurturing to His true believers whom Allah loves. Allah guides their hearts to Him and He enlightens their hearts with knowledge about Him, leading them to understand about Tawheed (monotheism- worshipping Him alone without any partner). He brought them out of the darkness of ignorance and shirk (polytheism) to the light of knowing Him and worshipping Him alone. He enabled them to go upon the right path and guided them away from the straying paths. He facilitated every goodness to them and protected them from all evil.

That’s why you will find in the Quran that Allah makes special mention of the Prophets and the true believers, when they supplicate to Allah using the name Ar-Rabb, “Rabbanaa (Our Lord).”

This is because they are asking for this special nurturing, care and guidance. Accordingly, when you supplicate you need to feel this meaning in your heart and remember that your are asking your Rabb (Your Lord) for this specific and special nurturing. (4)

Now let’s ponder about this special nurturing and Lordship (ar-Rububiyyah) for His believing slaves. Reflect upon the following. Who guided you to Him? Who made your heart alive by knowing Him and by knowing about Islam and Tawheed? Who guided your heart to accept this Message? Who guided you to practice each and every act of worship? Who guides your heart to repent from any sin you commit? Who accepts your repentance and gives you His love again? Who facilitated for you the path to Paradise? Who prepared for His true believers a paradise with all types of bounties and joy beyond imagination?
Ar-Rabb Is The One Who provided for us, guided us and taught us everything we know.

Sometimes He nurtures us through His punishments. He punishes you so that you may realise your wrongdoing and come back to Him (in repentance). He might give you a calamity or hardship so that you stop and reflect and say,
“Why did this happen to me? Allah I need you and I cannot tolerate your punishment” and thus repent and be guided back to Him again.
The Only One Who can truly make your heart happy is Allah, Your Rabb. So that’s why when the knowledgeable believers of Allah say, “Rabbanaa (Our Lord)”, they know that they are saying it because no one will guide their heart or put love into it or give it eagerness to strive for Paradise except their Lord (Ar-Rabb).

Shaikh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-Uthaymeen commented on the verses in Surah Al-Imraan (191-194) where the believers keep repeating the word “Our Lord (ربنا)” several times in their supplication to Allah: “saying ‘Our Lord (ربنا)’ gives a pleasure to the heart. The heart of the believer enjoys the feeling that Allah is their Rabb (Lord) and in turn they are His slaves. This feeling of enjoyment indicates their true faith.” (5)

At this point we should reflect on ourselves when we say “Rabbanaa”. Do we feel the sweetness of being slaves to Allah and feel our need for Him in every second of our lives? Do we repeat the word while supplicating to Him so that our hearts will take its share from this sweet, comforting feeling?

We need to understand that Allah is The Only One Who can benefit us and The Only One Who can punish us and we should teach this to our hearts until it is engrained. Everything is in His hands; Even your own heart, your pleasure, your health, your children, your security and your money.

If you ponder on what happens to you day to day you will also realize this. During a difficulty when you put your hopes in a person very close to you like a parent or a friend, you may find that they are not as concerned for your difficulty as you are, or are unwilling to help. You may wonder why they don’t notice the problem or concern you have and wonder why they are not standing beside you? You should learn from this that human beings will let you down so don’t rely upon them.
In reality no one can benefit you or aid you in any way except if Allah decrees that they do so, so put your trust and hopes in Allah only.

Remember that if a person helps or benefits you in any way, by teaching you something or by giving you money, you should ponder about who made this person help you. He did not help you except that Allah brought him to do this. The people who benefitted you are just means or reasons Allah made for you.

At times you may find your own father for example refusing to help you, then know it is because Allah did not wish to make him a means for you. Maybe Allah will bring you this help through another person or maybe Allah, through His wisdom, wishes for you to internally reflect and remember Him instead. Know it is Allah Who decreed for your father not to help you. Have in your heart the knowledge that all benefit and harm is only from Allah and He may be giving you this situation to test your reliance upon Him. Also reflect on whether this is a punishment for you for which you need to seek forgiveness and by way of this, Allah will remove that trial. So everything which happens to you in your life, relate it back to the decree and will of Allah.

This is an important aspect of Tawheed. To believe that no one can bring any benefit or harm to you except Allah. If you understand and practice Tawheed you will live a good and honorable life. A life free of needing or asking from the people.
Again let us return and ponder over when you ask Allah and say “Rabbanaa (our Lord)”. To whom are you directing your requests?
You are asking The All-Mighty, The Owner of Dominion, Who does whatever He wills. Can you imagine that Allah with all these great attributes is your Rabb? He Hears all your needs and responds to them.
How often do you find yourself alone, even when you are at home amongst your family and children and yet no one knows about your pain or cares to hear your complaints? Everyone is concerned about their own affairs. Yet you can be assured that Allah knows about your situation. He loves to hear your needs and He answers your needs, because He is our Lord (Rabbanaa).

Let’s examine on how Prophet Musa, peace upon him, understood about Allah and how he acted according to this understanding. In Surah ash-Shu’araa’ (verses 60-66 ) Allah tells us about the story of Prophet Musa when he escaped with his people Banee ʾIsraaʾil (Children of Israel), from Fir’aun (Pharoah).
They were followed by Firaun and his soldiers who were just behind them and Musa and his people had only the Red Sea ahead of them. They had no place to escape. His people said,
“We are sure to be overtaken”.

قال الله تعالى: {قَالَ كَلَّا ۖ إِنَّ مَعِيَ رَبِّي سَيَهْدِينِ} 

(But Musa said:) “No, my Lord (Rabbi) is with me, and He will guide me”.

Surah Ash-Shu’ara [26:62]

This is how strongly Musa, peace upon him, believed in Allah’s Rububiyyah (Lordship) in this most critical situation. He aimed his heart towards his Lord with supplication and the answer came from Allah when He split the Sea into two halves creating a solid piece of land between them. Musa and his people passed through safely but the water fell back on Firaun and his soldiers as they attempted to follow them and they were all drowned. Allah tells us about this in His Book so that we can know about His Rububiyyah toward His believers and how He suffices them and grants victory to them, so that our hearts become attached to Him and we never ask of anyone but Him.
If you understand the meaning of Ar-Rabb and this understanding settles in your heart then as a result, you will worship Him.

It is important to know Who your Rabb is. Who is your Creator? Who is The Only One Who provides for you? The Only One Who suffices you? The Only One Who can protect you? The Only One Who can guide you? The Only One Who can cure you? The Only One Who can bring benefit or harm to you? The Only One Who can make your heart happy? The answer is ‘only You O Allah’. If you realize this with your heart, you will then know that Allah is the Only One worthy of our worship,and this belief requires that you submit to Him and that you sincerely worship Him alone.

قال الله تعالى: { و أنا ربكم فاعبدون} 

And I am your Rabb (Lord) so worship only Me (obey only Me, be thankful to Me).

Surah An-Nisa [4:92]

Imagine Allah, our Lord is nurturing us by His graces and bounties, and we use them to disobey Him!

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم: “ذاق طعم الإيمان من
رضي بالله ربا و بالإسلام دينا و بمحمد صلى الله عليه و سلم رسولا”

Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, said:

Those who are satisfied and pleased with Allah as their Lord, and with Islam as their religion and with Muhammad, peace upon him, as their Prophet will taste the sweetness of Imaan. (6)

Now we should ask ourselves, ‘are we content with Allah as our Lord?’
Many people know this hadeeth and say it but, are they really truthful to its meaning? Do I really accept everything Allah destined for me with full contentment? Hardship, loss of money, loss of a job, illness, knowing that Allah my Lord is the One Who destined this on me? Do I understand that anything Allah wills for me is according to His knowledge and wisdom and either His mercy or His justice and accordingly, I say al-hamdu-lillaah (all praise is to Allah) in any situation. Do I react to Allah’s punishment with repentance and asking His forgiveness knowing that I deserved it? What about His command and His legislation? Do we accept them and submit to them, knowing that all His commands are the best for us? Then, do I accept to follow Prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, and do I take him as a model in all my acts of worship and manners? Do I obey him in what he commanded? Do I respect his sayings and believe in all that he said?
If we accept all this submissively and are content with it, only then we will be able to taste the sweetness of Iman.


Above is a transcription of a class given by teacher Zaynab El-Kateb based on the book Fiqh Al-Asmaa Al-Husnaa by Shaikh Abdur-Razzaaq Al-Badr.

  1. Taiseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahman by Imaam Naassir As-Sadee
  2. Explanation of Al-Ussul Ath-Thalaathah by Imam Muhammad bin Saalih Al-Uthaymeen
  3. Badaai Al-Fawaaid by Imaam Ibnul-Qayyim
  4. Taiseer Al-Kareem Ar-Rahman by Imam Nassir As-Sadee
  5. Tafseer  Surah Ali-Imraan by Imam Muhammad bin Saalih Al-Uthaymeen
  6. Reported by Muslim

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