رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ …
… Rabbi al ‘Aalameen
… Lord of the Worlds,
-Surah Al-Fatihah, Ayah 2
Allah is the rabb of al ‘aalameen.
Linguistically, rabb covers all the dimensions below:
- Master; Chief; Ruler; King; Lord; Owner;
- Creator; Originator; Combiner;
- The one who nourish, foster, develop, grow, educate, bring up and complete;
- The one who sustain, provide and maintain;
- The one who determine the rules and processes; Regulator; Lawgiver; Arranger;
1. Alone, the word rabb can only refer to Allah. Followed by other words, rabb can refer to human, e.g a man can be the rabb of his belongings.
2. The word rabb thus covers many processes which every entity passes through its course of creation and development before it reaches its final state.
3. These meanings have not been forced upon this word post Islam. The lexicons of Arabic language speaks of all of them when they give the detailed meanings of the root rabb.
4. Rabb is not abb (Father), not a tribal deity nor the national God of any specially favoured race or people, nor any narrow “Lord of the hosts” or “Our father in heaven”.
Abb (father) conveys the idea of a male God, but the word Rabb is free from such thinking. God is more than a mother or a father. In arabic language, personal pronoun in nominative or accusative or possessive case for Rabb does not indicate that God is male, it is only a usage of language. Somethings are m. and others as f., but it does not mean that they are in reality or as a matter of fact and in essence and quintessence, base, lineage, essentially, fundamentally, substantially, actually and factually, with their cause and effect naturally and originally are masculine or feminine. An Arabic word Dâr (House) is m. and word Hâit (wall) is f. but no one can say that they are actually and factually and with their cause and effect m. or f.
All knowledge and discoveries made by mankind and all miraculous signs in nature are all from Allah the rabb, showing complex systems dependent on each other. It is illogical for anyone to think that the universe happened merely by chance.
‘Aalameen is the plural of ‘alam.
‘Alam means everything that Allah has created in this life and the hereafter. ‘Alam itself is a plural word without a singular form.
The word ‘alam is derived from the word ‘alamah meaning sign i.e everything is a sign by which its Creator is known and distinguished from others.
Thus al ‘aalameen means everything in existence except Allah, whether we know them or not; whether they are created, perished or yet to be created, or whether they are in this world or the hereafter.
The first dimension out of three dimensions of God singularity is Tawhid Rububiyyah = Allah’s oneness in ownership and power over all existence including but not limited to the reckoning (hisab), time, hearts, destiny, actions and reactions etc.
1. Knowledge and sciences known to men are derived from our observation of the universe. Beside observations, we also acquire knowledge through intellect and instinct. All of these, i.e the universe, intellect and instinct, are created and sustained by Allah, thus it is truly Him who blesses us with knowledge and He is the source of all knowledge, whether known or unknown to mankind.
2. Furthermore, knowledge in arabic is ‘ilm. Similar to’ aalamiin, it is also a derivative from the root word alamah (sign) because knowledge are obtained from observing the natural signs through our senses.
3. There are some who debated that knowledge should be true and based on true texts only. Some argued that knowledge can only be obtained through a pure heart by blessings from God. Another group argued that knowledge should be pragmatic and dynamic, keep advancing with age.
Personally I think that these views can coexist. Some knowledge should be true indefinitely e.g our knowledge of Allah, our reason for existence and the hereafter. These knowledge form our core belief which must be true and will fashion our ethical approach to life. Most of these are unseen and can only be obtained via true texts from Allah.
As the matters forming our belief are mostly unseen and can only be demonstrated by focused contemplation and clear mind, it is hard to obtain conviction. Thus it is Allah who chooses who among His servants to attain belief and who to remain astray.
Then there are the applied sciences. This type of knowledge will always develop through scientific breakthroughs. Allah dictates how the universe works (sunnatullah). It is not a secret but it is up to us to discover and manipulate it to ease our life in pursuit of our life objectives.
1. We can have ownership. However, sometimes we own and sometimes we don’t. We own something and not something else. Allah is the owner of all existence at all times.
2. Furthermore, He not only owns, He also nurtures and sustains all of His creation continuously.
3. And we are just one creation among the vast existence which are all originated from Allah.
4. Understanding this reality will put things in perspective. Arrogance, greed and envy will all be crushed with the knowledge that Allah owns, controls and determines everything in existence.
O Allah keep up conscious of this fact and keep us away from transgressing your boundaries.