Aqeedah at-Tawheed Chapter 2: Meaning of the word, 'ar-Rabb' in the Qur'aan and the Sunnah
as opposed to concepts of the misguided nations and their refutation
Meaning of the word 'ar-Rabb' in the Book and the Sunnah
The root word of the word, 'ar-Rabb' is 'rabba-yarubbu' meaning, 'to nurture
something from one form to another up to its final form. It is said, 'he raised
him' (rabbahu), they raised him (rabbaahu), etc. Thus, metaphorically the word,
'rabb' is used only for the doer.
'Ar-Rabb' is not said in its absolute sense (i.e., without limitations) except
for Allah, the One, Who rectifies the affairs of all creatures. Reflect upon His
saying, '(Rabbul-Alameen) the Lord of the Alameen (mankind, jinn and all that
exists).' [Soorah al-Fatiha (1): 2] and, '(Rabbukum) Your Lord and (Rabbu-Aabaikum)
the Lord of your ancient fathers!' [Soorah ash-Shoorah (26): 26]
The word, 'ar-Rabb' is not said for anyone other than Allah, except with an
adjective, for example, 'Rabbud-dar' meaning, master of the house, 'Rabbul-Faras'
meaning, owner of the horse, as Allah related about Yusuf (alaihi as-salaam),
'Mention me to your lord (i.e. your king, so as to get me out of the prison).'
But Shaytan made him forget to mention it to his Lord.' [Soorah Yusuf (12): 42]
'Return to your lord and ask him.' [Soorah Yusuf (12): 50]
'As for one of you, he (as a servant) will pour out wine for his lord (king or
master) to drink.' [Soorah Yusuf (12): 41]
Allah's Messenger (sallallahu alahi wa-sallam) said about the lost camel, 'until
its rabb (owner) finds it.' [Agreed upon]
Thus, it has become clear from the above that the word, 'ar-Rabb' (without
limitations) is applicable (only) to Allah with or without any adjective. Thus,
it can be said, 'ar-Rabb' (the Lord i.e., in the absolute sense), and (in the
restricted form) Rabbul-Alameen (the Lord of the mankind, jinn, etc.) or
Rabbun-Nas (the Lord of mankind). The word, 'ar-Rabb' cannot be said to anyone
other than Allah without an adjective (in order to limit its meaning) like,
Rabbud-dar (lord of the house), Rabbul-Bait (owner of the house), and Rabbul-Ibl
(owner of the camel).
And the meaning of, 'Rabbul-Alameen' (Lord of the mankind, jinn, etc.) is their
Creator, Owner and the One, Who rectifies and nurtures them by sending His
Messengers, and revealing His Books, and rewarding them for their righteous
deeds. Al-Allamah Ibnul-Qayyim (rahimahullah) said, 'Verily, Rububiyah includes
commanding the slaves and prohibiting them, and rewarding the good doers with
good and reprimand (the evil doers) with punishment.' [See, Madarijus-Salikeen
(1/8)] This is the reality of Rububiyah.