Whoever hopes to meet his Lord
“..Whoever hopes to meet his Lord, let him do righteous deed, and he shall not associate, in the worshiping of his Lord, anyone!”
فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو لِقَاء رَبِّهِ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًا صَالِحًا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِ أَحَدًا (18:110
This verse represents a love note carried by the messenger of love “Prophet Muhammad” to all those who want to be true Lovers of the Beloved and wishes to meet Him, the Most High. This, love note, laid down two fundamental principles which are detrimental for achieving the divine meeting. The first one is for the seeker of Truth to “do righteous deed” and the second principle is “and he shall not associate, in the worshiping of his Lord, anyone!” These two principles are truly profound and they represent the foundation for a just human civilization. Each one of these principles is essential for the progress of any society towards its noble goals and that is “social Justice” among its members.
These two principles require a great deal of attention and elaboration to fully appreciate their various dimensions, which is not the purpose of this short post.
What really got my attention in this verse is the profound wording of its original Arabic text. The verse refers to the term “Lord” as in “rab-bihi” twice in the same verse. The first place is in “to meet his Lord” and the second place is in “the worshiping of his Lord” In both of these places the word “rab-bihi” is used which is derived from the root word of “rab” and literally means “sustainer or Lord” but why the verse uses this word “rab” in preference to the word “God-Allah” In other words the verse could have been as follows: “..whoever hopes to meet Allah, let him do righteous deed, and he shall not associate, in the worshiping of Allah, anyone!” Certainly this suggested form perhaps may not make difference to the overall meaning of the verse because in both cases the subject Matter is the Most high “Allah”
But why the word “Allah” is not used here as suppose to the word “Lord-rab”?
In my humble opinion, and Allah knows best, there are two dimensions to this which are fundamentally interrelated to each other. The first dimension is related to Man’s deeds and actions. This requires an interaction of Man with the rest of creation. It refers to the good deed “’amal salih” which is attained only through the interaction of Man with God’s creation and cannot be attained through merely Man’s ritualistic acts or acts of solitudes. Hence these kinds of acts are related to the various blessings and the manifestations of God’s creative word. Man is invited to acknowledge the presence of God’s creative act in everything is seen and that God is the source of all things and all things are continuously sustained by the divine effusion of God. Hence God is seen as the Supreme Sustainer or Supreme Lord- “rab” of all things. When we relate to Allah from the aspect of Supreme Lordship “rububiyya” we are in essence establishing a true connection to the manifestation of God’s Glory and omnipotence, which is represented in His entire Creation. It is this awareness that God wants us to recognize, for it will enable Man to bring out his hidden moral realities which would ultimately take him to the Divine meeting of the Beloved..
The second dimension is related to the “Unity “ of God “tawhid” in relation to the aspect of God’s Lordship, rububiyya. In other words that God is the sole power which truly influences all the affairs of the entire existence. Furthermore, the True Bondage, ‘ubudiyya, is confirmed through the aspect of His Lordship, rububiyya. God wants us to arrive at this reality through recognizing that God is the source of all sustenance, events, causes, natural laws, and that the entire existence is essentially sustained by His command and Might. And no other superficial materialistic element is independent from His authority and is absolutely within the domain of His Might and power.
Both of these dimensions are in respect to manifestation of God’s active command which brought all things into existence. So to relate to the Creator through His Exalted name “Allah” may not present to our intellect a realistic relationship which would enable us to know Him. We are enabled to know God through the manifestation of His Omnipotence and Majesty in the entire creation of the cosmos. The proper path which leads to the knowledge of God is through the aspect of His Lordship, “rububiyya-tihi“
In other words, we are to pursue the two cosmological principles, that is of ‘ubudiyya-Bondage, and good deed-‘amal salih, as alluded to in the above verse, through the aspect of His Lordship, rububiyya-tihi.
Thus far it is clear to say that the notion of “Oneness” or “tawhid” is truly attained through the true comprehension of the various aspects of Lordship-rububiyya. This follows that the notion of rububiyya-Lordship, is only another definition of ‘ubudiyya-Bondage.”
Hence the use of the word “rab-bihi” were employed instead of the word “Allah”
And Allah knows best.