Meaning of ”Rabb”
Rabb is a linguistic term used for the owner (Maalik), the master (as-Sayyid), the one who takes care of, sustains, nourishes (al-Qayyoom), and provides or takes care of everything (ar-Razzaq) (Lisan al-Arab by ibn Mandhoor (d. 711)).
This definition includes the following:
- True and complete owner
- The one with the right to be obeyed.
- The One who nourishes, and sustains. He is the Master and Controller of the universe.
This also means tawheed of Allah in His Actions. Only Allah nourishes, gives life, and sustains. No other being can do the things Allah does. No one else can legislate, or has the right to be obeyed other than Allah.
It is also important to know that creation is not mentioned in this definition, but it is implied by complete ownership, because only the Creator has the complete right of ownership. The One who creates out of nothing is the One with the right to legislate, and no one else has that right.
The word tarbiyyah is also derived from the same root, and means to take care of. Allah is the One who takes care of everything. The existence of creation is dependent upon Allah.
Rabb is used to mean the one who is obeyed,
“O two companions of the prison! As for one of you, he (as a servant) will pour out wine for his lord (rabb) to drink; and as for the other, he will be crucified and birds will eat from his head. Thus is the case judged concerning which you both did inquire.” (12:41)