Allah, “It is You We Worship and You We Ask for Help”
As we open our ongoing series to illuminate the meanings of Asmâ’ Al- Ḥusna —conventionally translated the “Beautiful Names [of Allah]“— we focus here on our Creator’s personal name, Allah and on His most closely associated title of relationship to us, Al-Rabb (also seen written as “Ar–Rabb”). In Part 2 we begin to address the 99 attributive ‘Names.’
The practical purpose of this series is to bring us to a better understanding of Allah, which in turn translates into better obedience and worship of Allah, stronger reliance on Allah alone, and a more peaceful and content state of mind.
Simply put, Allah is the Arabic Personal Name for the singular and unique God. Allah is the only deity rightfully to be worshipped, to be called upon for relieving affliction, and to be glorified. The name ‘Allah’ refers exclusively to God, to Him who is the only being who is perfect in every way.
The Name ‘Allah’ is the foremost among His 99 Beautiful Names; He is the Being to which all the other descriptions and Attributes apply. The qualities expressed in these Names, as we know them in our world, derive their existence from Allah. He is their source.
The personal name, Allah, carries with it a sense of the greatness, glory, and power to which other Names such as Al-Azeez, Al-Adheem, and Al-Qaadir allude. This personal name of Deity also encompasses the beauty, mercy, and care which Allah shows towards His servants —indicated by the Names such as Al-Raheem, Al-Ra’oof, Al-Hafeedh, Al-Wadood, and Al-Tawwab. The personal name, Allah, on its own, is to be understood as carrying all the meanings which are represented by each of His 99 Names, attributes of both might and mercy, power and love, dominion and protection, and elevation above all His creation, yet also nearness.
So, when you call out to Allah, your heart is filled with both fear and awe of Allah, yet also love and yearning. A well-balanced Muslim regrets falling into sin but also he hopes that his misdeeds can be rectified and that Allah will forgive the sin and accept one’s repentance.
No being or essence is worthy of worship except Allah. It is Allah alone who is the Creator, the All-Knowing, the Guardian, and the perfectly and truly Rich and Self-Sustaining.
Allah alone is worthy of worship because He has complete sovereignty over all that is in the Heavens and the Earth. All people on Earth submit to Allah whether they are believers or non-believers —in the sense that they give way to Allah’s will and decree. There is no escape from the will and decree of Allah; illness, death, rainfall, gaining provisions and sustenance, the birth of a baby boy or girl, are all in the hands of Allah. And we all, with no exception, submit to this will of Allah, as He is the only true Sovereign.
Allah alone is worthy of worship because it is He alone who knows what is apparent and what is hidden, what has already happened and what is to come in the future. He knows our actions and what is in our hearts. Allah alone is worthy of worship because it is He alone who drives blessings, benefits, and sustenance to mankind. Allah alone is worthy of worship because He alone is Self-Sustaining and needs none or nothing in creation, while everything in creation has needs in order to survive.
‘Allah’ among all of His Beautiful Names, is the most frequently mentioned designation in the Holy Qur’an. If we were to read through the Qur’an to its completion, we would come across the appellation ‘Allah’ more than 2,200 times, far more than any of His various Beautiful Names.
In the Qur’an, 33 verses begin with deity’s personal name, ‘Allah.’ Rereading a few of these verses gives us a better understanding of Allah, as He has described Himself to us in His Holy Book.
Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of Existence.(Surah Âli `Imrân, 3:2)
Allah knows what every female carries and what the wombs lose [prematurely] or exceed. And everything with Him is by due measure. (Surah Al-Ra`d, 13:8)
Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. (Surah Al-Nûr, 24:35)
Allah is the Creator of all things, and He is over all things, Disposer of affairs. (Surah Al-Zumar, 39:62)
Allah is Subtle [gentle] with His servants; He gives provision to whom He wills. And He is the Powerful, the Exalted in Might. (Surah Al-Shûrâ, 42:19)
Allah – there is no deity except Him. And upon Allah let the believers rely. (Surah Al-Taghâbun, 64:13)
In the Prophet’s traditions of supplication, seeking forgiveness, and remembrance of Allah, His personal name is used most often. Before eating, reading a book, drinking, or before setting out to do almost anything, we say Bismillah, “In the Name of Allah.” Our five daily prayers are started by pronouncing this name aloud, Allahu Akbar, “Allah is great.” When we see someone beautiful and admirable, we say MashaAllah, meaning that Allah has willed it and may Allah maintain His blessings on this beautiful person.
A second major designation, closely linked to Allah, is Al-Rabb, “the Lord and Master.” He is the master and caretaker who nurtures, sustains, and manages the affairs of everything in creation, from the tiniest organism to the largest.
The term Al-Rabb points to more than one nuance of meaning. The first main meaning is “the lord, owner, or master.” The second main meaning relates to the verb, “to take care of, nourish, sustain, and provide for,” and the third meaning has the sense of “to raise or bring up.”
A main pillar of our faith as Muslims is to believe in the Oneness of Allah’s Lordship. Muslims have a firm conviction that it is Allah and Allah alone who creates, controls the affairs of the universe, provides sustenance to His creation, gives life and death, and sends down rain. Only Allah nourishes and sustains and no other being shares in Allah’s actions, power, and capabilities.
The designation, ‘Al-Rabb,’ is mentioned in the Qur’an more than 500 times. Among the verses which affirm that Allah is our Lord, Master, Sustainer, and Creator are the following:
Unquestionably, His is the creation and the command; blessed is Allah, Lord of the worlds. (Surah Al-A`râf, 7:54)
Say, “Who is Lord of the heavens and earth?” Say, “Allah.” (Surah Al-Ra`d, 13:16)
Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth. Never will we invoke besides Him any deity. (Surah Al-Kahf, 18:14)
Had there been within them [the heavens and earth] gods besides Allah, they both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe. (Surah Al-Anbiyâ’, 21:22)
How can we draw nearer to Allah by understanding the meaning of His designation ‘Al-Rabb’? We can follow in the footsteps of the Prophets, and learn the supplications that they made to Allah. In the Holy Qur’an, we find various supplications of the Prophets, asking Allah to fulfill their du’â. Several times they call upon Allah saying, “My Lord” and “Our Lord,” again and again throughout the Qur’an.
When faced by the daunting task of preaching to Pharaoh, calling him to believe in the one God, Prophet Musa asked his Lord for help:
[Moses] said, “My Lord, expand [relax] for me my breast [with assurance]. And ease for me my task.” (Surah Ṭâ Hâ, 20:25-26)
We learn another supplication in the same Surah for asking Allah to increase us in knowledge; again this supplication begins with “My Lord.”
And say, “My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” (Surah Ṭâ Hâ, 20:114)
When Prophet Zechariah and his wife yearned for a child, they did not despair even though they had reached old age, and they continued to pray to Allah.
And [mention] Zechariah, when he called to his Lord, “My Lord, do not leave me alone [with no heir], while You are the best of inheritors.” (Surah Al-Anbiyâ’, 21:89)
Every parent should learn the following supplication of Prophet Ibrâhîm and repeat it daily.
My Lord, make me an establisher of prayer, and [many] from my descendants. Our Lord, and accept my supplication. (Surah Ibrâhîm, 14:40)
Supplicate to Allah for all that is good in this world and in the Hereafter, and begin your supplication by saying, “My Lord, Rabbi.” Have trust in your Lord. Know that Al-Rabb takes care of you in all situations.
Using the Multiple Designations of Our Lord
As we understand more and more who Allah is, we will experience a drastic change in how we approach our obligatory acts of worship and religious rituals. This will change our outlook on life. It will change how we cope with the daily stresses of life and other major ordeals which we may face, because this life is not perfect and it is riddled with hardships along the way. As we call upon Allah, He will give us the strength to overcome.
In line with our series of articles to understand Allah’s Beautiful Names, we also encourage memorizing Allah’s 99 Beautiful Names. This nasheed/song makes it easier to memorize the Beautiful Names of Allah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UEKlBuYU5E
Also, if you haven’t already, visit www.faithfulkids.net to check out the flash cards we have developed on the Beautiful Names of Allah.
 Jews and Christians use a similar form of this same word: Eloh or Elohim, in their scriptures to refer to the one and only God.