The Questions Of The Grave:
Who Is Your Rabb?
What Does It Mean?
This is the greatest of the questions, and this is (when the individual) is asked about who they worship. The meaning of Ar-Rabb in this context is not The Creator, The Sustainer, The One who gives Life, and The One who brings about death rather the meaning of it here is the one who is worshipped.
This is because the word Ar-Rabb can mean, in the Quran and the Sunnah, The Master, The One in control of all affairs and The One who is obeyed; and it can also mean the one who is worshipped. As it relates to Allah it can have either of these two meanings.
That is why Allah, the Most High said:
“Nor would he order you to take angels and Prophets for gods (arbaaban).” (Aal-Imraan: 80)
The meaning of (Arbaab which is the plural of rabb) here is objects of worship.
“They took their rabbis and their monks to be their arbaab besides Allah.” (At-Tawbah: 31)
Meaning they took them as things that they worshipped besides Allah...
That which is intended is (to show) that the meaning of the statement of the two angels to the person in their grave “Who is your Rabb?” means who do you worship...
The Muslim will respond by saying, “Rabiyy Allah.” This means “The one who I worship is Allah.”
As for the hypocrite then he will say, “Haah Haah, I do not know I heard the people saying something and I repeated it.”
The disbeliever will clearly state, “I worship such and such an idol or statue.” And this is the meaning of the saying of Allah, The Most High:
“And Allah will cause to go astray those who are Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.), and Allah does what He wills.” (Ibraheem: 27)
Source: Summarized from the words of Shaykh Saalih Aal Ash-Shaykh’s explanation on Al-Aqeedah Al-Waasitiyyah (Arabic), Vol. 2 p. 209-210.
Sisters Upon Al-Istiqaamah