Series of Getting to Know Islam: Tawheed Rububiyya

Etymologic Definition of Tawheed Rububiyya

Tawheed means oneness or making as the only one, which is believing and having faith in the Oneness of Allah, that Allah is The One. Tawheed Ar Rububiyya means believing that Allah is The One in His rububiyya.

The word ‘rububiyya‘, from etymologic point of view, is taken from the word root of ‘rabb’, which meaning is ‘God‘ or ‘the owner of something’. For example:

Rabbud dar (رَبُّ الدَّارِ), means: the owner of the house.
Rabbul ‘alamin. Means Rabb or God of the whole universe.

In Arabic language, “universe” means the creation of Allah. Everything, but Allah, is called ‘universe’. The word ‘rabb’ itself is taken from the word ‘rabba’, which is the form of abstract noun, and the noun is “tarbiyah”.

The meaning of “rabba” (رَبىَّ) or tarbiyah in Arabic language is ‘keeping or nurturing something until it grows perfectly’. Thus, “tarbiyah” can also means education, development, even animal husbandry, because those words means ‘nurturing something until it grows perfectly’. Hence, the word ‘master’, lord, king, could also termed as rabb. For example, it is mentioned in the Qur’an, which can be translated as, ….”And Joseph said to the one of the two prisoners who he knew would be set free: “Mention me in your lord’s presence.” But Satan caused him to forget mentioning this to his lord (the ruler of Egypt) and so Joseph languished in prison for several years.” (Q.s. Yusuf/Joseph: 42)

But the word rabb in sharia terminology mostly used in it’s meaning that resembles the word “God” in our language (Indonesia, -translator). For example, as Allah revealed in the Qur’an, “Moses said: “(He is) Your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers of yore.” (Q.s. Asy Syu’ara/The Poet: 26)

Definition of tawheed rububiyya in terminology

The word “rububiyya” is a kind of verb that is changed into noun, which last part given addition of ‘ya’ -nisbah, that is ‘iyah’. The original word is ‘rubub’. The function of this suffix is to give the meaning that the word means ‘a character’. For example, if we said that this school is an Islamiyya school, it means that this school has an islamic basic character, or based on the values of Islam.

Therefore, the meaning of tawheed rububiyya is to make Allah as the One, in the characteristics that confined to God only, which belongs to Allah alone. For example, creating something, from non existence becomes something exists, giving and establishing sustenances, enliven and extinguish, giving glory and humiliation; all are the godly characteristics that belong to Allah alone.

Isn’t human also capable in creation?

Human also is able to create something, but it is different with Allah’s creation. This issue can be viewed from several sides:

First, that the creating ability of human, is also created by Allah. It is similar to a robot making another robot. Human designs a robot to make another robot. Just as Allah designed human, so that they will be able to create things in this world.

Second, that human does not create something from non existence into something exists, such as when Allah created Adam and Hawa (Eve), the skies and earths, and so on. Human merely arranges everything that Allah has created in this world.

Similar concept applies on the matter of sustenance. One can gives alms, gifts, or anything to other people. But in fact he is merely removing “sustenance” that Allah has created in this world, to other people’ hands. He is not the giver of the sustenance, but only as a deliverer of sustenance.

Indications of having faith in the rububiyya of Allah

Indications of having faith in rububiyya of Allah encompass three kinds of indications: indication from divine revelation, from human intelligence, and from fitra (natural characteristic or tendency).

Indications from divine revelation

“Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the entire Universe,” (Q.s. Al Fatihah: 2)

“Ask them: “Who is the Lord of the heavens and the earth?” Say: “Allah.” (Q.s. Ar Ra’du/Thunder: 16)

“The Lord of the heavens and the earth and of all that is between them: if you would only have sure faith. There is no god but He: He gives life and causes death. He is your Lord and the Lord of your forefathers of yore. “ (Q.s. Ad-Dukhan/The Smoke: 7-8)

“And recall, (O Prophet), when your Lord brought forth descendants from the loins of the sons of Adam, and made them witnesses against their own selves, asking them: “Am I not your Lord?” They said: “Yes, we do testify.” We did so lest you should claim on the Day of Resurrection: “We were unaware of this.” (Q.s. Al A’raf/The Height: 172)

“Ask them: “Who is the Lord of the seven heavens, the Lord of the Great Throne?” They will surely say: “Allah.” Say: “Will you not, then, fear (Allah)?”(Q.s. Al Mukminun/The Believers: 86-87)

Explanations from Prophets and Messengers about the rububiyya of Allah the Exalted

Adam -peace be upon him- said in his prayer, “Both cried out: “Our Lord! We have wronged ourselves. If You do not forgive us and do not have mercy on us, we shall surely be among the losers.” (Q.s. Al A’raaf/The Height: 23)

Prophet Noah -peace be upon him- said in his prayer to Allah the Exalted, “He said: “My Lord! My people have branded me a liar. So pass a clear judgement between me and them and rescue me and the believers with me.” (Q.s. As Syu’ara’/The Poet:117-118).

Prophet Ibrahim -peace be upon him- said in his prayer for Mecca, himself, and his descendants, “And call to mind when Abraham prayed: “My Lord! Make this city secure, and keep me and my sons away from worshipping the idols.” (Q.s. Ibrahim: 35)

Prophet Joseph (Yusuf) -peace be upon him- said his praises for Allah the Exalted, and his prayer to Him, “My Lord! You have bestowed dominion upon me and have taught me to comprehend the depths of things. O Creator of heavens and earth! You are my Guardian in this world and in the Hereafter. Cause me to die in submission to You, and join me, in the end, with the righteous.” (Q.s. Yusuf/Joseph: 101)

Prophet Moses -peace be upon him- said in one of his invocation, “Moses said: ‘Lord! Open my breast for me;and ease my task for me, and loosen the knot from my tongue so that they may understand my speech; and appoint for me, from my household, someone who will help me bear my burden.'” (QS Thaha/Ta ha: 25-29).

Prophet Aaron -peace be upon him- said to the children of Israel, “Certainly Aaron had said to them even before (the return of Moses): “My people, you were fallen into error because of the calf. Surely your Lord is Most Compassionate; so follow me and obey my command.” (Q.s. Thaha/Ta Ha: 90)

Indications from Human’s Intelligence

Among the indications of a straight mind about the rububiyya of Allah the Almighty upon the whole universe are stated below.

The Oneness of Allah the Exalted in creation of all things. Because it is already became the agreement of mankind that creation and forming are not claimed, and none is able to do it but Allah the Exalted.

Allah decreed, which can be translated as, “Lo! His is the creation and His is the command. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of the whole Universe.” (Q.s. Al A’raf/The Height: 54)

“while it is Allah Who has created you and all that you make?” (Q.s. Ash Shaffat/Those who set the ranks: 96)

“All praise is due for Allah alone, Who created the heavens and the earth, and brought into being light and darkness, and yet those who have rejected the call of the Truth ascribe others to be equals to their Lord.” (Q.s. Al An’am/The Cattle: 1)

“It is He Who creates in the first instance and it is He Who will repeat the creation, and that is easier for Him. His is the loftiest attribute in the heavens and the earth. He is the Most Mighty, the Most Wise.” (Q.s. Ar Ruum/The Romans: 27)

“So let man just consider his food: We poured water, pouring it in great abundance, and cleaved the earth, cleaving it asunder; then caused the grain to grow out of it, together with grapes and vegetables, and olives and palms, and dense orchards, and fruits and pastures -“ (Q.s. Abasa/He Frowned: 24–31)

“He it is Who spread the earth for you; and made in it paths for you, and sent down water from the sky, and then through it We brought forth many species of diverse plants. So eat yourself and pasture your cattle. Surely there are many Signs in this for people of understanding.” (Q.s. Thaha/Ta Ha: 53-54)

“We send fertilizing winds, and then cause rain to descend from the sky, providing you abundant water to drink even though you could not have stored it up for yourselves.” (Q.s. Al Hijr/The Rocky Tract: 22)

“There is not a single moving creature on earth except that Allah is responsible for providing its sustenance. He knows where it dwells and where it will permanently rest. All this is recorded in a Clear Book.” (Q.s. Huud/Hud: 6)

If it is evidently proven that there is nothing that can provide sustenances but Allah the Exalted, it is certainly an indication about the rububiyya of Allah the Exalted upon His creations.

Indications from Natural Characteristic (True Nature/Fitra)

The natural tendency of all mankind acknowledges and believes that there is a Creator, Controller, and Possessor of this universe. This feeling comes naturally. And this is the meaning of fitra or true nature that Allah mentioned in the Qur’an, which can be translated as, “(O Prophet and his followers), turn your face singlemindedly to the true Faith and adhere to the true nature on which Allah has created human beings. The mould fashioned by Allah cannot be altered. That is the True, Straight Faith, although most people do not know.” (Q.s. Ar Rum/The Romans: 30)

The Nature of faith in the rububiyya of Allah

Faith in the rububiyya of Allah means to believe that Allah is the Only Rabb (Lord), He has no partner nor servant to help Him. Rabb means that the Creator, Controller, and Ruler. It means that no other Creator beside Allah. No other Controller beside Him. All commands belong to Him. Allah the Exalted decreed, which can be translated,

“Lo! His is the creation and His is the command. Blessed is Allah, the Lord of the whole Universe.” (Q.s. Al A’raaf/The Height: 54)

Allah decreed, which can be translated as, “That is Allah, your Lord; to Him belongs the Kingdom; but those whom you call upon, apart from Allah, possess not so much as the skin of a date-stone.” (Q.s. Fathir/Originator: 13)

It is not known that there is one among the men that denies the rububiyya of Allah the Holy but due to his arrogance, without believing in his denial. This is the condition of the Pharaoh, when he said to his people,

أَنَا رَبُّكُمُ الْأَعْلَىٰ

“I am the supreme lord of you all.” (Q.s. An Nazi’at/Those who drag forth: 24)

And he said,

يَا أَيُّهَا الْمَلَأُ مَا عَلِمْتُ لَكُم مِّنْ إِلٰهٍ غَيْرِي

“Pharaoh said: O nobles, I do not know that you have any god beside myself. Haman, bake bricks out of clay and build a lofty palace for me so that I may mount up and be able to observe the god of Moses, even though I believe that Moses is a liar.” (Q.s. Al Qashash/The Stories: 38)

But what he said did not come from his heart’s faith, because basically, he believes in his heart that the Controller of the universe is Allah. Allah the Exalted decreed about Pharaoh’s heart when he heard about the calling of Prophet Moses -peace be upon him-, which can be translated as, “They denied those Signs out of iniquity and arrogance although their hearts were convinced of their truth. So see how evil was the end of those mischief-makers!” (Q.s. An Naml/The Ant: 14)

Moses said to Pharaoh, as revealed by Allah about his statement, which can be translated as, “Moses replied: “You know well that no one but the Lord of the heavens and the earth has sent these as eye-opening proofs. I truly think, O Pharaoh, that you are indeed doomed.” (Q.s. Al Isra’/The Night Journey: 102)

That is why the polytheists in the time of the Prophet -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him- had admitted the rububiyya of Allah the Exalted, whereas they ascribed partners to Allah in His uluhiyya. Allah the Exalted decreed,

قُل لِّمَنِ الْأَرْضُ وَمَن فِيهَا إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ سَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّهِ قُلْ أَفَلَا تَذَكَّرُونَ قُلْ مَن رَّبُّ السَّمَاوَاتِ السَّبْعِ وَرَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ سَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّهِ قُلْ أَفَلَا تَتَّقُونَ قُلْ مَن بِيَدِهِ مَلَكُوتُ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُوَ يُجِيرُ وَلَا يُجَارُ عَلَيْهِ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ سَيَقُولُونَ لِلَّهِ قُلْ فَأَنَّىٰ تُسْحَرُونَ

“Ask them: “Whose is the earth and those who are in it? Tell us if you know” They will surely say: “Allah’s.” Say: “Then why do you not take heed?”Ask them: “Who is the Lord of the seven heavens, the Lord of the Great Throne?” They will surely say: “Allah.” Say: “Will you not, then, fear (Allah)?” Ask them: “Say, if you indeed know, to whom belongs the dominion over all things; (Who is it) that grants asylum, but against Whom no asylum is available?” They will surely say: “(The dominion over all things) belongs to Allah.” Say: “Whence are you then deluded?” (Q.s. Al Mukminun/the Believers: 84-89)

Allah the Exalted decreed,

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ لَيَقُولُنَّ خَلَقَهُنَّ الْعَزِيزُ الْعَلِيمُ

“Yet if you were to ask them: “Who created the heavens and the earth?” they will certainly say: “The All-Mighty, the All-Knowing has created them.” (Q.s. Az-Zukhruf/The Adornment: 9)

Allan decreed,

وَلَئِن سَأَلْتَهُم مَّنْ خَلَقَهُمْ لَيَقُولُنَّ اللَّهُ فَأَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

“If you were to ask them: “Who created them?” they will surely say: “Allah.” Whence are they, then, being led astray?” (Q.s. Az Zukhruf/The Adornment: 87)

The authority of Allah The Holy encompasses both the kauni (natural) matters and shari (shari’a) matters. As Allah is the Controller of the universe and the Judge of all matters inside it according to His will and His wisdom, He is also the Judge of all matters inside it by ordaining shari’a upon it, from the various types of worships and the law of muamala (social engagements) according to His wisdom.

Whoever take other than Allah as the maker of sharia together with Him in worshipping matters, or making other than Allah as the Judge in muamala, indeed, he has committed shirk and he is not considered to establish the true faith.

From his explanation above, we can infer several lessons, among them are:

– The faith in rububiyya of Allah doesn’t yet include the owner among the faithful believer. This is shown through the verses that deny the polytheists and humiliate them due to their inconsistency in their faith. Because if they had believed that Allah is the Only One who Create, Master, and Control all matters of the universe, they were supposed to worship Allah alone. Their inconsistency in rububiyya and uluhiyya of Allah showed that they were inconsistent in believing in the rububiyya of Allah. If only they were consistent, they must be worshipping Allah alone.

– Faith in he rububiyya of Allah encompasses the faith that Allah is the Only One Who Create everything, master and control them, and Allah is the Only Controller of all matters. And these matters already believed by the polytheists in the time of the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-. This fact shows that they were dubbed as infidels and were fought by the Messenger of Allah -peace and prayer of Allah be upon him-not because of this kind of faith, but due to other factor-because they worship other deities than Allah.

– Based on their natural character/tendency, all human acknowledge the rububiyya of Allah, no one denies this fact but those who has loosen their natural tendency or due to arrogance and oppression of himself.



4. Al Jadawil Al jami’ah fil Ulum An Nafi’ah, by Jasim Ibn Muhammad Al Yasin,etc. Dar Ad Dakwah Kuwait.
5. Tafseer Zadul Masir, by Ibnul Jauzi, Al Maktabah Asy Syamilah

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