The Most Beautiful Names of God: The Rabb

By: Editorial Staff

Rabb is a beautiful name of God which implies that He is the Only Lord, Creator, Owner, and ruler of everything.

Rabb is one of the most Beautiful Names of our God, Allah the Almighty. It is repeatedly mentioned in the Qur’an referring to God, such as the following verses:

[All] praise is [due] to Allah , Rabb (the Lord) of the worlds. (Al-Fatihah 1:2)

Say, “Is it other than Allah I should desire as a lord while He is the Lord of all things? (Al-An`am 6:164)

Indeed, it is your Lord who is the Powerful, the Exalted in Might. (Hud 11:66)

Meaning of the Name: Rabb

The word Rabb is an Arabic word that refers to the following meanings:

  • The owner, as it is said, “Rabbul-bayt” meaning ‘the owner of the house’.
  • The master, as stated in the hadith, “…that a bondswoman gives birth to her own Rabb (i.e. master)..” (Muslim)
  • The man of authority, i.e. lord, as quoted in the verse “Mention me before your Rabb (Lord).” (Yusuf 12:42)
  • The one who administers, takes care of, provides for, educates, disciplines, and protects.[1]

All these meanings are combined in the signification of the name Rabb. Rabb (i.e. Allah) is the ultimate owner of everything, the master of the whole being, the Lord of all worlds and the One who administer the affairs of the universe, controls its existence, provides for its livings and sets aright its course. He is the One who creates, cares for, gives life and causes death, puts down and elevates, grants and withholds, gives sovereignty or takes it away, and manages everything according to His Will.”[2]

Ibn Al-Qayyim further said, “Anyone who contemplates the name of God “Rabb al-`Aalamin” (the Lord of the worlds) will observe the Eternal God who undertakes His own affair, and provides for every soul regardless of its goodness or evil, and upon His existence everything else has been accomplished. One will perceive the God who has established upon His Throne, and alone manages the affairs of His dominion. The administration of the universe is in his hands and the return of the whole matters are to Him.”[3]

Rabb in the Qur’an

Almighty Allah has described himself with being the Rabb, in many verses. The Qur’an reads,

  • Allah – there is no deity except Him, Rabb (Lord) of the Great Throne. (An-Naml 27:26)
  • (Lord) of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them – so worship Him and have patience for His worship. Do you know of any similarity to Him? (Maryam 19:65)
  • [He is] the Rabb (Lord) of the East and the West; there is no deity except Him, so take Him as Disposer of [your] affairs. (Al-Muzzammil 73:9)

Rabb in the hadith

  • Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: “Abu Bakr asked, “O Messenger of Allah! Teach me some words so that I may recite them in the morning and in the evening.” The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “Recite these words: “O Allah! Creator of the heavens and the earth! Knower of the hidden and the exposed! Rabb (Lord) of everything and everyone. I bear witness that none has the right to be worshipped but You. I seek Your Protection from the evil of my own self from the evil of Satan and from the evil of Shirk to which he calls).” (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)
  • `Abbas ibn `Abdul-Muttalib said that he heard the Messenger of Allah saying: “He has found the taste of faith (iman) who is content with Allah as his Rabb “Lord”, with Islam as his religion (code of life) and with Muhammad (peace be upon him) as his Prophet.” (Muslim)
  • Abu Hurayra said, “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) used to say when he went to bed, ‘O Allah, Rabb (Lord) of the heavens and the earth, and Rabb (Lord) of all things, Creator of the grain and seeds, the One who sent down the Torah, the Gospel and the Qur’an! I seek refuge with You from every evil…” (Al-Bukhari in Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

Reflection on the name:

Rabb is a beautiful name of God which implies that He is the Only Lord, creator, owner, and ruler of everything. Nothing oversteps Him, and everything that is in the Heavens or the Earth is under His dominion and control. These attributes of Omnipotence are confined to Him, and cannot by any means be admitted that anyone or anything claims them. Also, there is no partner with Him or anyone that share with Him these attributes of Glorification and Lordship. He is the Only Creator and the Predominant of the whole being. This is the reality, whether one accepts or rejects it. Almighty Allah says,

So is it other than the religion of Allah they desire, while to Him have submitted [all] those within the heavens and earth, willingly or by compulsion, and to Him they will be returned? (Aal `Imran 3:83)

The Lordship of God is a means of faith, comfort and confidence for the believers while it is an alarm and warning to the disbelievers who have no sound relationship with him. The Qur’an reads,

They who believe (in Allah and His Messengers) and do not mix their belief with injustice – those will have security, and they are [rightly] guided. (Al-An`am 6:82)

Allah, God or Lord?

There is some difference between both the concepts of Lordship and Godhood as concerning God in Islam. In other words, God and Lord are used interchangeably although being of different meanings. God refers to a deity who is worshiped by a group of people, regardless of his or its being true or false. God may be a spiritual being, a statue, an animal, etc. God can be a true one, which is applicable only to Allah solely, or false, such as the claimed Gods like, Jesus, Budha, whatever. However, the Lord, in its religious context referred to above, only refers to Almighty Allah. It is He Who created, provided for and manages the affairs of the whole universe. None but Him can be described with Lordship in its religious ideological use. Only Allah is the Lord while anything else is subject to Him. The Qur’an reads,

Lord of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them – so worship Him and have patience for His worship. Do you know of any similarity to Him?” (Maryam 19:65)

Say, “Is it other than Allah I should desire as a lord while He is the Lord of all things? (Al-An`aam 6:164)

There are some people who admitted the fact that Allah is the Lord but they did not take Him as a God. They took some helpless and poor things as their god, to whom they bow and prostrate in worship. The Qur’an criticized those people saying,

Say, [O Muhammad], “Invoke those you claim [as deities] besides Allah .” They do not possess an atom’s weight [of ability] in the heavens or on the earth, and they do not have therein any partnership [with Him], nor is there for Him from among them any assistant. (Saba’ 34:22)

However, the only true God is the One who brought us from nothing and blessed us with everything we need, and for no return. The Qur’an stated that the purpose of the creation is to worship Allah Alone, not others. Worship is a right and duty; a right of Allah the Creator and a duty upon the created ones. Thus, it is a kind of injustice to attribute worship to anyone other than God. Narrated `Abdullah ibn Mas`ud: I asked the Prophet, “What is the greatest sin in the Sight of Allah?” He said, “That you set up a rival unto Allah (in worship or in His Attributes) though He Alone created you.” I said, “That is indeed a great sin.” (Al-Bukhari)

People must adore the one who created them, the one who manages their affairs, the one who is able to provide for them, the one in whose hands are the affairs of the whole being, the one whose pleasure is the ultimate success and whose wrath is the complete loss.

May Allah guide us all to what pleases Him!


[1] see Al-Ma`any lexicon

[2] Ibn Al-Qayyim, As-Sawa`iq Al-Mursalah (4/1223)

[3] Ibn Al-Qayyim, As-Salah wa Hukm Tarik-ha p. 169-170.

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