The imam spoke of three types of belief in Allah SWT’s Oneness. The first is the meaning of the word Rabb which is mentioned in the Quran, the second is the meaning of Allah which again we will expand upon and finally it is on the attributes of Allah SWT which are mentioned in the Quran.
The first third of this reminder expands upon the meaning of Rabb. We recite this definition of God every single prayer we pray in the first Sura of the Quran and when we read it’s translation we sometimes read Owner or Master for this word.
However, this is doing a disservice as the meaning of the word Rabb isn’t just Owner. After all, we could use the word Malik to define Owner as is done later in the Sura. No, Rabb is actually a bigger, richer word in it’s meaning and so we remind ourselves what it means to say Rabb.
Rabb is someone with a complete authority. So, is it possible to be an owner but not have complete authority? Of course, for example we have a car which we may own but we don’t have complete authority over it because if we get caught speeding enough times we won’t be able to use it anymore, despite being owners of it. Rabb is both Owner and Complete Authority.
Rabb also means to ensure growth. Allah SWT is telling us as Rabb, He looks after us from birth, throughout life and even beyond this life. This is Rabb. It also means to guide, to ensure existence and to grant gifts. Our life and all that we have are gifts from Him. This complete meaning of Rabb enables us to understand the richness of this word and what we as Muslims who believe in our Rabb also believe He is capable of.
The Imam reminded us of Sura Fatir, ayat 3 which says:
Is there any creator other than Allah who provides for you from the heaven and earth? There is no deity except Him, so how are you deluded?
The second part of today’s reminder is about the word Allah. How does this differ? To answer this is to first talk about the word itself as it is open to discussion amongst the scholars. Some say that the word Allah has always been the name from before mankind. Others say it is the word that is derived from Al-Ilah.
Quick explanation of this. Al meaning The and Ilah meaning someone to be worshipped. Therefore Allah being The One to be Worshipped, i.e. just the word Allah SWT is the definition of there is no-one else to be worshipped.
But looking at it from another perspective tells us, Ilah comes from the root verb in Arabic that is Aliha which means love. And there’s an interesting point worth making here.
Before Islam, old Arabs used to have 10 degrees of Love. The lowest level was called Hubb and the highest level of love was that which killed you, the type of obsessive love that makes psychos out of people, an unhealthy love.
However, the 9th degree, the highest healthy level was called Yallah or Allah and it is from which Ilah comes from. This kind of love is the kind that when you have it you don’t feel pain, you don’t feel sadness.
Therefore by saying Bismillah then, we are expressing our love for our Creator and acknowledging that if we truly love Allah SWT then all of our problems are going to feel like nothing.
Dear brothers and sisters, we all have problems, problems with family money, legal, health, career and study. Some people even get anxiety as they are always thinking of their problems.
However, we ought to remind ourselves that when we call on Allah SWT by saying Bismillah Al-Rahman, Al-Raheem, that Allah SWT will remove this tension from us. It will be replaced by the reliance on Allah SWT and the problems will get sorted and everything will be OK.
You see, we know that Bismillah is said at the start of suras in the Quran. But in the story of Sulaiman, it is used in the middle. The story itself is outside of today’s reminder but to summarize the Prophet Sulaiman is going to transfer the throne of a Queen thousands of miles away in the blink of an eye. And the bit that is key is that it says “This is because of Bismillah” i.e. this is what Bismillah can do.
Dear brothers and sisters, what is the lesson here? It is that if that is what the reciting of the name of Allah can do in the blink of an eye, then imagine what it can do for you and me. It means we have no reason to ever be pessimist as we have been gifted this from our Creator.
Thirdly, the oneness of Allah SWT is about the 99 names or attributes of Allah SWT. But why do we have 99 attributes?
To answer this question we need to ask ourselves, how is one introduced to someone they don’t know? For example, if I am introduced to someone for the first time, they may say my name and then say this Adeel, he is half-decent at talking in front of people. What is that doing to the other person? It’s giving them a picture of me before I have even had a chance to say hello. It’s allowing their mind to paint a picture of me and understand the kind of person I am.
We can’t see Allah SWT. Not in this life. But by having 99 attributes, it is allowing us to create a complete picture of who our He is. For most of us, we can’t even list 99 characteristics to describe ourselves but in the Quran, Allah SWT is listing 99 attributes of Himself. This is so there is no ambiguity in our minds as to who our He is. By understanding them all, we paint in ourselves a perfect picture that eliminates the need to see Him. With these attributes we know exactly who Allah SWT is.
And alongside knowing the 99 names, we can then use the one that is applicable to us when talknig to Him. Whether it is Al-Wali which means the protecting friend when we are feeling vulnerable to Al-Razzaq which means the sustainer when we are having money problems, there is a name or attribute for all our problems and needs.
Dear brothers and sisters, today’s reminder is the cornerstone of our lives and how we should be living it. We are equipped with the names of Allah SWT in both worshipping Him and understanding Him. Let’s reconnect to our Creator by understanding the Oneness of Allah SWT through his Name and his Attributes and be of the people who are referenced by Him in Sura Al Anam, ayat 162 which says:
Say, “Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah, Lord of the worlds.
May Allah enable us to understand the importance of Tawheed. May Allah SWT develop our understanding of Him in our hearts. May Allah SWT give us the ability to demonstrate this in our actions and our worship.
Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.