The Word Rabb In The Qur’an

What Does It Mean?

Almost all translators, translate the Arabic word Rabb to “Lord” in the English language. These translations do not fully carry the actual meaning of the word Rabb. The word “Lord” gives us a perception of a divine, powerful being. To that extent, the translation is correct. But the word Rabb is more than the meaning of the word “Lord”.

The word Rabb also means one who is a sustainer, the cherisher, the nourisher and one who is fully involved with our life, before it came into existence, and even after our death.

The more comprehensive meaning of this word is derived from many verses in the Qur’an.

In one passage it is revealed how Nabi Ibrahim (‘a) explains to the idolators of his time why they should discard worshipping terrestrial and celestial idols. Instead, they should worship only Allah, who is the Rabb, fully involved in our life all the time.

Qur’an reveals in Chapter 26, “Surah Shu’ara”, as follows:

وَاتْلُ عَلَيْهِمْ نَبَأَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ

“And rehearse to them (something of) Abraham's story”. (26:69).

إِذْ قَالَ لِأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ مَا تَعْبُدُونَ

“Behold, he said to his father and his people: "What worship ye?" (26:70).

قَالُوا نَعْبُدُ أَصْنَامًا فَنَظَلُّ لَهَا عَاكِفِينَ

“They said: "We worship idols, and we remain constantly in attendance on them." (26:71).

قَالَ هَلْ يَسْمَعُونَكُمْ إِذْ تَدْعُونَ

“He said: "Do they listen to you when ye call (on them)” (26:72).

أَوْ يَنْفَعُونَكُمْ أَوْ يَضُرُّونَ

"Or do you good or harm?" (26:73).

قَالُوا بَلْ وَجَدْنَا آبَاءَنَا كَذَٰلِكَ يَفْعَلُونَ

“They said: "Nay, but we found our fathers doing thus (what we do)." (26:74).

قَالَ أَفَرَأَيْتُمْ مَا كُنْتُمْ تَعْبُدُونَ

“He said: "Do ye then see whom ye have been worshipping” (26:75).

أَنْتُمْ وَآبَاؤُكُمُ الْأَقْدَمُونَ

"Ye and your fathers before you?” (26:76).

فَإِنَّهُمْ عَدُوٌّ لِي إِلَّا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ

"For they are enemies to me; not so the Lord and Cherisher of the Worlds;” (26:77).

الَّذِي خَلَقَنِي فَهُوَ يَهْدِينِ

"Who created me, and it is He Who guides me;” (26:78).

وَالَّذِي هُوَ يُطْعِمُنِي وَيَسْقِينِ

"Who gives me food and drink” (26:79).

وَإِذَا مَرِضْتُ فَهُوَ يَشْفِينِ

"And when I am ill, it is He Who cures me;” (26:80).

وَالَّذِي يُمِيتُنِي ثُمَّ يُحْيِينِ

"Who will cause me to die, and then to live (again);” (26:81).

وَالَّذِي أَطْمَعُ أَنْ يَغْفِرَ لِي خَطِيئَتِي يَوْمَ الدِّينِ

"And Who, I hope will forgive me my faults on the Day of Judgment…” (26:82).

رَبِّ هَبْ لِي حُكْمًا وَأَلْحِقْنِي بِالصَّالِحِينَ

“O my Rabb! Bestow wisdom on me, and join me with the righteous;” (26:83).

وَاجْعَلْ لِي لِسَانَ صِدْقٍ فِي الْآخِرِينَ

"Grant me honourable mention on the tongue of truth among the latest (generations);” (26:84).

وَاجْعَلْنِي مِنْ وَرَثَةِ جَنَّةِ النَّعِيمِ

"Make me one of the inheritors of the Garden of Bliss;” (26:85).