CONTENT – TRANSLATION OF RABB – THE TRANSLATION OF ABD – ORIGIN – THE NAME USED FOR ASSISTANCE – TASTING THE SWEETNESS OF EMAAN -THE NATURE OF THIS NURTURING
TRANSLATION OF RABB
The name AR-RABB has been mentioned over 5oo times in the Quran.
The word Rabb can be used in relation to humans (if it is connected to specific object), but the word AR-RABB is only for Allah.
Historically/Linguistically,the word Rabb can be used in relation to a thing or a person. If a person is Rabb of a house [RABBA-TUL-BAIT] then it means he is the owner of the house. If a person is Rabb of a person then he is the Master and the person is a slave.
So perhaps the closest word in English to RABB is Master (obviously it can be translated as Lord) because RABB in Arabic was used for the owner of a slave. What do you call someone who owns a slave? Master and in Arabic a slave is called ABD slave. So if Allah is telling you He is your RABB then what does that immediately tell us? That we are slaves.
You should instantly know that there is a relationship between you and Him, He takes the role of Master and we take the role of slaves.
After mentioning His name Allah, out of all the descriptions He could have given us about Himself He said the 1st thing you need to know about Me is what will be your relationship with Me.
When we talk about a relationship usually there are two parties. In marriage there is husband and wife. Parents and child. Boss; employees. Teacher; student. So if Allah says Hes the Master, whose on the other side slave (if Hes the Owner then we are property, the One in charge we are under His authority, Caretaker then we are the ones taken care off the giver of gifts we are the receiver of gifts the one keeping you alive, hence then we exist)
This could explain why some said AR-RAAB is the greatest Name of Allah. Accept Allah as Master and accept yourself as a slave. The entire Quran fundamentally, in every idea, revolves around 1 idea, that Allah is your Master and you are His slave.
Allah doesn’t want you just to accept Him as your creator or the only one you should pray to or the only one you should ask from, these are all secondary, the 1st thing is He is Master and you are slave, everything else (prayer fasting etc) is a byproduct of you accepting Him as your Mater.The more you accept Him as your Master the more obedient you’ll be. The less you recognize Him to be your Master the less obedient you’ll be towards him. If you haven’t understood this you haven’t understood what Allah wants from you.
Most people that suffer from the disease of atheism and agnosticism or doubts in faith (some Muslims) this is there problem, they cant come to terms with the fact they have a Master, they cannot accept the authority of a Master and cannot get over the fact that they are a slave. This is their fundamental problem. They say, ‘Why does god do this, why does god do that…’ Does a slave ever question his Master?
Now an important point. The word master is usually associated with oppression, forcing things on his slave, punishing him as soon as he disobeys him. When you think of slavery, ugly forts come to mind because of the brutality slaves have gone through in history. You think of a master with a whip and chains exploiting his slave and a slave being abused beaten starved etc also when you think about the relationship between a master and a slave, do you think a slave loves his master? In human history, a slave hates his master. If they had the choice they would free themselves from slavery and they would never praise their master and even if they do, its not genuine praise.
But the Master/slave relationship we are speaking about is completely different. Remember what came before this slavery we are talking about? The HAMDALAH… praise & thanks came first, in other words because you are so grateful to Allah and recognize His perfection you naturally want to be His slave. An amazing type of slavery, a slavery that begins with HAMD. No other slavery begins with HAMD, no other slavery is voluntary. In a few verses (verse 4) we volunteer ourselves as slaves when we say ‘You (alone) do we worship’ Allah doesn’t say ‘become slaves’ we say ‘we worship/ we enslave ourselves’.
As a man who is a master over something in the dunya, like a cow. If the cow stops giving milk or is disobedient, as a master you can do what ever you want to the cow, you could slaughter it or beat it etc it is yours to do what ever you want with. Same with a laptop, if it malfunctions you can break it, throw it in the bin or whatever. If you own something and it has a job to do, when it doesn’t do its job then you have the full right to do anything you like. (And to Allah belongs the Highest similitude)
Who did we just say is our Master? Allah! So by definition if we do not do what He wants us what should we expect from Him. Immediate punishment. But does He do that? Rather this RABB is AR-RAHMAAN. So our Master is not like the masters of the dunya.
THE TRANSLATION OF ABD
ABD is usually translated Worshiper or servant but as we have seen perhaps the best translation is slave. So whats the difference? Is there a difference?
There is a difference between a worshiper and slave. Reading Quran is an act of worship Hajj is an act of worship Fasting is an act of worship i.e worship happens at certain times and places but a slave is not restricted by time or place. Worship is limited to an act. A slave is not a slave from 9-5 or only when he is in Salaah or is when he is fasting etc a slave is a slave from the moment he wakes up till the moment he falls asleep in fact even when he is asleep hes still a slave. So Allah is not just demanding that we worship but that we become His slaves. (InshaaAllah there is no harm in translating it as worshiper as long we understand this concept)
Sometimes ABD is translated as servant (of Allah). You provide a service at a company in return you expect a paycheck. A service is an agreement in which both parties own something, you owe the work and they the company owe the money. Also service is limited, if you work as an accountant at a company your boss cant ask you to wash the windows its not in your job description but a slave doesn’t have a job description, he does what ever the master says. Hes a slave 24/7
This word RABB, which Arabic verb does it originate from? There are two views.
RABB combines a few meanings: AL-MAALIK the owner/King AS-SAYYID the one in charge AL-MURABBEE the caretaker AL-MUN’IM the giver of gifts AL-QIYYIM the maintainer/ the one who makes sure the thing under his authority continues to exist. AL-MUSLIH the one who rectifies something. All of these are in the name AR-RABB
This has the meaning of growth and development. Hence a word that is derived from this verb is the Arabic word RIBA interest because it is something that grows.
Allah destroys interest and gives increase for charities. And Allah does not like every sinning disbeliever. [Baqarah: 276]
Also from this verb we get the word TARBIYYAH; nurturing, educating and developing. So Allah is the AR-RABB , the One who nurtures the entire creation.
And the Ulamaa mention that the TARBIYYAH of Allah is of two types
This type of TARBIYYAH nurturing encompasses all of creation. So He created human beings, He nurtured us from the time of us being in the womb of our mothers. Giving us food and sustenance through the umbilical cord, when we are born we have no teeth and such Allah provides the child with milk, after a few months the child wants solids so Allah provides the child with teeth. What amazing TARBIYYAH we see and this continues until death. This is to everyone, Muslim or Kaafir. He created His creation, granting them provisions and guiding them to that which would benefit them in order to have them survive in this world.
This type of TARBIYYAH, Allah gives only to His believers which is [TARBIYYAH-KHAAS] special/ specific. This is a special type of nurturing that Allah gives to His devote slaves by giving them EMAAN by beautifying it and making it beloved in their hearts, by giving them TAWFEEQ divine assistance, so they can do good deeds, by protecting them from their desires and doubts, safeguarding them from all evil. etc
THE NAME USED FOR ASSISTANCE
When we read the Quran when ever Allah is called upon in DUA which names is used? AR-RABB. Any DUA found in the Quran starts with RABBANA, why? It is said that when you want assistance from Allah you call upon the name RABB, because He Ar-RABB ALONE nurtures you both physically and spiritually, looks after you, takes care of you, helps you. This name RABB (when you understand its meaning) brings about hope, love and yearning to Him (SWT).
TASTING THE SWEETNESS OF EMAAN
In a hadeeth, Allah’s Messenger, صلى الله عليه وسلم said,
(He has) experienced the taste of EMAAN! Who is contented that Allah as his RABB, Islam as his religion and Muhammed صلى الله عليه وسلم as a Prophet.” (Muslim).
Why has the name RABB been singles out here? Because when you know who AR-RABB is you will be in a state of contentment.
Allah is nurturing you taking care of you providing you with Emaaan protecting your faith, shouldn’t we be pleased? And when you are pleased with Allah as your RABB, you will be pleased with Islam as your DEEN such that you don’t view Islam as set of rules of do’s and don’ts rather you view it as the most perfect way of life in dealing with creation including animals and your environment. When you appreciate all of this that’s when you’ll taste the sweetness of Emaaan and when you appreciate the teachings of Muhammed صلى الله عليه وسلم, how much he sacrificed for this Ummah and you appreciate that, that’s when you’ll taste the sweetness of Emaaan.
THE NATURE OF THIS NURTURING
Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi mentioned in his Tafsir an interesting point. He says MURABBEES people who nurture/look after things do so for a particular reason/benefit. The owner of camels nurtures his flock for his own benefit. Even parents who nurture their children do so for a benefit i.e. they want righteous children, so the child can grow up and be the comfort/pleasure of their eyes etc. But when Allah nurtures His slaves He does so not for His benefit but for the benefit of His slaves. So this TARBIYYAH of Allah is unique in so many ways.
This Name AR-RAAB brings about two emotions one of extreme hope love and yearning. Knowing He ALONE nurtures you, looks after you , takes care of you, helps you sustains you, both in terms of physically and spiritually. But it also should put a sense of fear in our hearts knowing he is the Master, He deserves absolute obedience and submission.
This concludes the section on the name AR-RABB. There is so much more that can be said that has not been said but إن شاء الله this will suffice for now.
I will go into much more detail in future إن شاء الله but this will suffice for now.