Getting to Know my Rabb (Lord)
Returning to our journey of trying to explore, “What is our Deen, what is this religion we call Islam? What is its essence?” by using the Hadith of Jibreel as the vehicle to explore our religion in deeper ways, we have already analyzed and discussed the first dimension of Al Islam, which is ‘islam’. Today we will continue exploring the second dimension, which is Iman: Belief.
The Essential Pillar of Iman: Belief in Allah
- Our belief in Allah requires us to truly surrender to Him, and that we come to know Him, and when we come to know Him we will come to love Him, and then we will enter into loving surrender to Him.
Allah as Rabb (Lord)
- Undeniably and undoubtedly, one of the most evident qualities of Allah, as He describes Himself in the Qur’an, that He presents in every way, shape or form, is this idea of Allah as Rabb (Lord).
- Allah is our Rabb, our Lord. It is no wonder that He begins the Qur’an in Surat al-Fatiha by saying: Alhamdulillahi Rabb al ‘alamin. We praise Allah, the One Who is the Rabb of all the worlds.
- When we say ‘Alamin as Allah says it in the Qur’an, He means everything: the solar systems, the galaxies, the plants, the animals, the skies, the earth, the trees, the oceans, us. Everything is considered amongst the ‘Alamin. Allah is the Rabb of that ‘Alamin.
What Does Rabb Mean?
- Rabb means many things. For us it is everything.
- Allahu Rabbi wa Rabbikum. Allah is my Lord and Your Lord means Allah is the One Who created us.
- Allah is the Rabb, Allahu Rabbana, He is the One Who fashioned us, He sustains us, He oversees us, He develops us.
- When we say the word Rabb, it comes from Tarbiya, to grow, to develop, to orient, to fashion, to oversee, to sustain, to care for and much, much more.
Calling Upon our Rabb (Lord)
- When we say Allahu Rabbuna, we are calling upon the Intimately Present One Who tends to our needs, Who cares for us and that there is no other Rabb that can ever be called upon.
- Do I seek other than Allah as my Rabb? And He is the Rabb of all things. 6:165
- Verily, to Him belongs the Creation and the Command. 7:54
- Tabarak’Allah! He is the Rabb al ‘alamin, the Lord , the Creator, the Sustainer, the Fashioner, the Overseer of all the worlds.
- When we call upon Allah, our Rabb, we call upon the One Who tends to our very essence, our needs, our existence, all of it comes from Him.
Our Rabb Creates and Guides
- Allah possesses the blessing of bringing into existence and to him belongs the blessing of being able to grow and sustain. He doesn’t just create and then leave His Creation. He creates, and then He sustains and grows out.
- Allah guides to us, and He guides us to. He creates, grows out and sustains, and then He brings it to us or He takes us to it, whether it is spiritual or physical.
- The One Who created me and then He guided me.
- When we think of guidance, we think of the essential guidance of the Qur’an and Sunnah, but our very essence is an essence of guidance. We have no power, no might, no ability except Billah, bi Rabb.
- Who created me and Who guides me (26:78) Who gives me food and drink (26:79).
- A simple reflection upon the people of earth reveals there are many people who are dying because because of the inability to access water.
- The only way we are able to have water is by our Rabb. The only way we are able to satiate and sustain our bodies with the food we so readily access is by our Rabb having chosen to guide food and water to us.We cannot will food and water into existence.
- We are so in need of Him. We have to appreciate that when we think about Allah as our Rabb, immediately we have to think, “I am so needy. I am nothing without Him. I have nothing without Him.”
- And if i fall ill, He is the One Who Heals (26:80). Huwa al-Shafi. He is the One Who Heals.
- When I understand my Rabb, these meanings are prevalent in my heart all the time. I have no doubt about it.
Our Rabb Brings Death Upon us and Brings us Back into Existence
- And who will cause me to die and then bring me to life (26:81) Allah will take our souls. These bodies that we are so certain about, that we operate with impunity, that we think are so indestructible and move without thought will suddenly be seized and without realizing it, the soul is taken from you, by Allah, our Rabb.
- Our Rabb, Who is so intimately present in our affairs, sustaining, fashioning, sustaining, overseeing, controlling the breath that we take in, can stop it in an instant.
- And who I aspire that He will forgive me my sin on the Day of Recompense. (26:82) Then He brings us back into existence and then the One we hope and desire will forgive our mistakes and sins on the Day of Judgment, Allahu Rabbi.
Surrender to our Rabb Alone
- When we talk about the Rabb, we are talking about the One Who is closest to us, the One Who knows everything about us, and the One Who controls every affair in which we engage, every hope, every desire, every aspiration, every reality that has played out, every reality that will play out, in the worlds. It is all about Ar-Rabb. We have to be certain about this.
- In Surat al-Kahf that we read every Friday to seek illumination from Ju’muah to Ju’muah, when the Youth of the Cave started to experience difficulties, hardship and persecution they said: Our Rabb is the Rabb of the heavens of the earth. He is the Rabb of everything. We do not call upon anyone other than Him. We don’t empower anything to have the station of Rabb.
- Your boss is not your Rabb. Your boss does not control you and have your risq in his hand. Allah is your Rabb. He is al-Razzaq. Your boss and your company may be the entity Allah uses to facilitate your Risq from Him, so never surrender yourself or bow yourself to anything or anyone other than the Rabb, Allah. Don’t bow down to a government or allow any entity to become a Rabb for you, not your husband, your wife, your children, your community members. No one is your Rabb. Allahu Rabbuna Rabbi wa Rabbukum. We surrender only to Allah, our Rabb.
- If you are a refugee who needs papers, status, a visa, a green card, don’t look to a government to save you. Your Rabb is Allah. You may utilize the horizontal realm to seek your wellness, but Allah is your Rabb, so don’t bow down to anyone but Allah. To do that would have transgressed. We would have created the greatest form of evil to even think anyone possesses anything over us other than Allahu Rabbi.
- When you really reflect on your haqiqa, your essence, your reality in light of the Creator, Allah, you see He is everything and you are nothing without Him. You realize you are so indebted to Him. You exist by Him and through Him. He allows you to sustain every moment.
- The discourse in Surat Aal-Imran that brings to the forefront the concept of the Rabb and how you call upon your Rabb: Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], “Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire (3:191).
- Notice how the Iman immediately drags you to the Akhira, because when the humble servant realizes who they are, they realize Who Allah is, they realize the reality of this life and the next, they realize immediately it is humility and saying immediately، Our Lord, indeed whoever You admit to the Fire – You have disgraced him, and for the wrongdoers there are no helpers. (3:192) Ya Rabbi, I seek refuge in You from Hellfire. Rabbi, the one You enter into Hellfire, no one can help them, as You have debased them, and the wrongdoers, the oppressors, the ones who have rejected Your Guidance, the ones who have turned their backs on You, they have no one to help them.
- On that the Day, the Shaitan will go in front of those who bowed to him, followed his whispers and say, “just give me one last bow and I will save you from the Hellfire.” And in our ignorance and stupidity, May Allah protect us, we will bow down to him and are thrown into the Hellfire and he wills say, “whoever told you to bow down to me? I was nothing, I am cursed, I am debased, I am worthless, I’m insignificant, but you listened to me. Why?”
- Why didn’t we spend the time to really think and contemplate Who the Rabb is, who human beings are, what this world actually is, what is due to us, what is owed to us, what we should be expecting.
Calling Upon the Rabb
- Our Lord, indeed we have heard a caller calling to faith, [saying], ‘Believe in your Lord,’ and we have believed. Our Lord, so forgive us our sins and remove from us our misdeeds and cause us to die with the righteous. (3:193)
- Notice how everything starts with “Rabbana, Rabbana, Rabbana,” because I am only by You and with You and through You, Ya Rabb, so I come to You in utter humility to ask you to just let me skate by this dunya. I believe, I said La Ilaha Ilallah, Muhammad ar- Rasulullah. I tried. I made a lot of mistakes, forgive me and expiate my sins, Rabbana, allow me to die with the righteous and then, O Allah, then give us what You have promised Your Messengers and do not forsake us and debase us on that Day, for verily You do not break promises.
- Notice the progression from nothing to a humble assertion of Allah, then to a simple call upon Allah to just let us get by, grow and then on the Day of Judgment: “Our Lord, and grant us what You promised us through Your messengers and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, You do not fail in [Your] promise.” (2:194). May Allah grant us everything that He has in store for the righteous believers.
- Allah (swt) continues to say that He, Allah, the Rabb, takes in your du’a and embraces everything that you have called upon Him for and that He will not debase us and will accept the du’a. The Rabb responded to their call and said: “And their Lord responded to them, “Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another. So those who emigrated or were evicted from their homes or were harmed in My cause or fought or were killed – I will surely remove from them their misdeeds, and I will surely admit them to gardens beneath which rivers flow as reward from Allah, and Allah has with Him the best reward.” (2:195)
Allah Wants us to Call Upon Him: “Rabbana”
- When we continue to process our belief system in this way, we really understand our need for Him in this life and in the next. We will come to realize that everything that happening in this dunya is by the Will of a Loving Rabb Who wants what is best for us on this life and in the next.
- We need to internalize this:Our growth, our wellbeing, our true happiness and wellness are grounded in the Will of the Rabb. Those who understood this best and articulated it so beautifully and profoundly were the Prophets of Allah (AS). In the Qur’an you read how they (AS) called upon the Rabb, the intimate connection and reliance they had with Him.
- In the Hadith in Al-Mustadrak you raise your hands and say, “Ya Rabbi, Ya Rabbi, Ya Rabbi, Ya Rabbi four times, and Allah says to you, “Ask and you will be given”. Many of the Ulama say, that The Greatest Name of Allah is Rabb because of how often is appears in the quran in the context of duaa.
The Prophets (AS) Called Upon Their Rabb
- The Prophets (AS) always called upon Rabbana because it was the intimate connection. They knew that they were indebted to Him. They were impoverished in front of Him, and the only place the poor person turns to is The Rich One and the only One Who is The Rich One is Allah, Rabbana.
- So when Adam sinned, he said: “Rabanaa, we have wronged ourselves and if You don’t forgive us we will be at a loss”.
- Yunus, when he was in the belly of the whale and he was full of anxiety and fear and worry, “And he called out within the darknesses, “There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.” So We responded to him and saved him from the distress. And thus do We save the believers.” Any of us today who suffer from anxiety, fear and worry, call upon Rabbana. This is what Jaafar As-Saadiq said: I am surprised by those who suffer from anxiety, fear and worry because Allah says that he answers and saves from anxiety and worry, and that’s how He saves the believers.
- If you are someone who is alone, who wants family, who wants offspring, there’s a very beautiful place to go in the Qur’an. Saydina Zakariya: At that, Zechariah called upon his Lord, saying, “My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication.” (3:39) and “My Lord, do not leave me alone [with no heir], while you are the best of inheritors.” (21:89)
- You can think you are so alone, so at a loss. You are a refugee, you’ve been bounced around from country to country but never for a moment think that you are alone because Allah, Rabbi wa Rabbutum
- If you are elderly, your bones are frail, you feel week. Do you know where you go? You go to Rabbi as Zakriaya said, “My Lord, indeed my bones have weakened, and my head has filled with white, and never have I been in my supplication to You, my Lord, unhappy. (19:4) Ya Rabbi, my bones are frail, I’m weak. When you feel in your body, in your limbs and your legs that you are barely able to walk, barely able to get up, go talk to Allah in the way that Saydina Zakariaya spoke to Allah And I will never be in despair from calling upon You, no matter how difficult or dismal or desperate my affairs seem I know never to despair but to call upon Allahu Rabbi wa Rabbutum is always with you. You must have certainty in that.
- Look at Yusuf (AS). He experienced every difficulty and hardship that can be experienced in the human condition. He was a refugee, he was imprisoned, he was assaulted, he was abused, he was enslaved. What did he say? Indeed, he is my master, who has made good my residence. (12:23) It was obvious. This is my Rabb. You can say all you want to say, but this is my Rabb. Don’t talk to me about my Rabb, the One Who dictates all of my affairs. He oversees me. He cares for me. He tends to my needs. He is all that I need. I don’t need anyone but Allah. We may need the support of one another in the dunya, but in the haqiqi sense (reality) He is my Lord and He made excellent and beautiful my path. That’s what Yusuf (AS) said, and he went through everything. He understood what it meant to call upon the Rabb.
- If you have a little bit of something like Saydina Sulaiman had “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favor which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents and to do righteousness of which You approve. And admit me by Your mercy into [the ranks of] Your righteous servants.” (27:19) Ya Rabbi, help me, aid me, support me, compel me to be thankful for what You have given me and my father. They had, they were given. All of us have something, so call upon the Rabb as Sulaiman (AS) called upon his Rabb and say: Rabbi, compel me to be thankful for what You have given me and help me to do good that You accept and You love. That was Sulaiman (AS) calling upon his Rabb).
- Ibrahim was an Ummah. Look at how he called upon his Rabb: “Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing. (2:127) Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (2:128) The du’a for the Ummah went back to Allahu Rabbi
- We sit here today and we say, “look at the condition of the Ummah, look at the Believers in the West, in the East”. You don’t speak in despair that way when you know you have your Rabb. So you say the du’a of Ibrahim, the du’a of the Ummah Our Lord, and make us Muslims [in submission] to You and from our descendants a Muslim nation [in submission] to You. And show us our rites and accept our repentance. Indeed, You are the Accepting of repentance, the Merciful. (2:128) Show us what we’re supposed to be doing so we can do it. My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication. Our Lord, forgive me and my parents and the believers the Day the account is established.” (14:40-41) Ya Rabbi, make me among those who established prayer and make my offspring among those who establish prayer. Rabbi, forgive me, forgive my children, forgive my parents and forgive the Believers, on the Day when we will all be held accountable.
- When all of us today are struggling with our relationship with Allah and we feel we are at a loss, we feel our actions are insufficient, “Rabbi make me someone who establishes the prayer and my family too, and forgive me and my family and forgive all the Believers.” It is when the community is oriented around the Rabb, the intimate beauty of language emerges.
- All of us were in the same boat as Saydina Lut, concerned about the moral decay and corruption. What did Lut (AS) say? “My Lord, save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do.” (26:169) “Rabbi, save me and my family from what they do”. We don’t want to do what other people are doing. We don’t want to succumb to the moral decay. We want to be a source of mercy and beauty. We want to see the Light of Allah, the light of the Qu’ran and the light of Muhammad(SAW) and all of the mercy that is present within it to permeate the world. We want that beauty and that light.
- So many of us fear what our kids are going through. We’re worried about our kids’ belief and identity. We’re worried about the social realities that are playing out, the improprieties, the promiscuity. We’re worried about the drugs, the alcohol and we feel it is everywhere. So, yes, take all the means that you can in the dunya realm to protect yourself and your children, and be responsible and upright and learn and study and put your children and yourself in wonderful programs, come to the masjid, pray, be proactive, call to Allah, read the Qur’an, but before and at the end, and throughout “My Lord, save me and my family from [the consequence of] what they do.” (26:169) because it is all about the Rabb.
- He is the First and the Last. To Him belong all affairs, before and after. So when I really, really, really am desperate, and I feel the worry and the concern, there is only one place to turn and that is, Allahu Rabbi. That was the call of Muhammad (SAW) when he was battered and abused the way he was. The du’a of Taif: You are the Lord of the weak, You are the Lord of those in need. You are the Most Merciful, the most gracious, and You are my Rabb.
- All of us are in need of Allah’s Khair. All of us, every day, whether it is money, food, drink, good relationship, a loved one, a family member, happiness, joy, all of it is Khair. Make the du’a of Saydina Musa (AS) when he was in Midian when he was expelled, when he fled from his land, and so many in the world today are Mushardun, so many in the world today are refugees, are fleeing their lands, seeking refuge and safety and security by the du’a of Musa and say “My Lord, indeed I am, for whatever good You would send down to me, in need.” (28:24) We all need Your Khair, Ya Rabb.
Allah is Ever Present
- Let us come back to Allah in this way. Let us come back to Him, knowing that He is our Rabb, knowing that all affairs are by Him and with Him and through Him, and that everything we need is only with Allah, so let us talk to Him every day, call upon our Rabb, seek our Rabb, implore our Rabb, call upon Him, the way the Prophets (AS) of Allah did, develop that intimate love for Him, that intimate awareness of Him, feel Allah’s Presence in every nanosecond of your existence, because He is there. Allah is always there. He is Ever Present.
- May Allah grant us knowledge of our Rabb, and the ability to call upon our Rabb. What we need to understand about our Rabb is that He does everything for us because it is in our best interest. The affairs of the Believer is astonishing because whether you think it’s good or bad, it’s all good. Who brought me the good and Who brought me the bad, Allah. It is all from Allah.
- Sometimes Allah wants to clean you up before the Akhira, so Allah will make you taste of the lower pain so that you don’t experience the taste of the greater pain of the Akhira, so that you come back.
- When Allah loves His servants and wants to have mercy upon them, He makes it for us that everything in the dunya plays out from pain. From Allah’s Manifest Mercy, He wants us to be excellent in the Afterlife. He wants us to be beautiful, to be in a clean state in the Afterlife, so in the dunya He puts us through all the pain.
- The Ummah of Muhammad (SAW) that is enveloped in Mercy has its punishment in the dunya so, if we are true Believers, then all of the difficulties that we think are overwhelmingly devastating are so the Akhira will be beautiful for us. So we never flinch, or fear or despair when hardship befalls us, because pain, suffering and difficulty are always wrapped in growth. When Allah wants us to grow, He puts us through pain, suffering and hardship. In the dunya, you will meet the eight: You will sometimes have the things you want, you had a position at work and now you no longer have it. You may have had a money source and now you no longer have it. Sometimes you had your loved ones with you and you no longer have them. Sometimes you had the things you really enjoyed and now you no longer have them. Sometimes you are healthy, sometimes you’re not. The haqiqa of the dunya: And all of those alternations are from Allah and all of itis Khair. All of it.
- Don’t fear change. Embrace it. You may think that things were going well, but Allah knows and He forces realities upon us, it is because He wants us to grow into a different reality. He wants us to embrace a higher standard and a higher reality. Sometimes He does it on an individual level, sometimes He does it on a communal level, sometimes He does it on the level of the Ummah. We may look at the Ummah and think despair, worry, grievance, it’s so bad, it’s evil. No, we have to do our part to make it better, but what is coming to us from the Rabb is all existentially Khair. May Allah help us to see that always.
- May Allah help us to see good and bad equally as Khair from Allah, by Allah and through Allah.
- May Allah help us to surrender, always to His Will.
- May He help us to embrace His Qada and Qadr in a way that helps us to grow towards and by Allah.
- O Allah! We ask you for greater confidence in You, for greater trust in Your Magnificence and Your Wondrousness
- Ya Allah, grant us greater love of You. Grant us greater surrender in Your Grace and Your Mercy
- Ya Allah, we ask You to love us and support us and to make our Aqidah strong, our belief in You strong, our pathways firmly commanded upon La Ilaha Ilallah, Muhammadan Rasulullah.
- Ya Allah, we ask you to rectify the conditions of our souls, conditions of our community, the conditions of our families, the conditions of our masajid, of our institutions and this Ummah. Ya Allah, Ya Karim, Ya Rahman, Ya Rahim
- When was the last time I called upon my Rabb?
- What do you think keeps you from calling upon your Rabb?
- Am I willing to depend upon my Rabb as the Prophets (AS) of Allah did?