Four Basic Quranic Terms

by Syed Abul-Ala Maududi

Table of Contents



Four Basic Terms


Why the Misapprehensions

The Consequences

Chapter 1: ILAH

Dictionary Meanings

The Pre-Islamic Concept

The Criterion for Godhood

The Qur'anic Approach

Chapter 2: RABB

The General Meanings

Qur'anic Uses of the Word

False Notions about Rububiyyah

Hazrat Nuh's People

The 'Aad People

The Thamud

The People of Hazrat Ibrahim and Namrud

Lot's People

Shu'aib's People

The Pharaoh and his People

The Jews and Christians

The Meccan Pagans

The Message of the Qur'an

Chapter. 3: IBADAH

The Qur'anic Use of the Term

Chapter 4 : DEEN

Usage and Meaning

First and Second Sense

The Third Sense

The Fourth Sense

As a Comprehensive Term


Islamic Publications (Pvt.) Limited
13-E, Shahalam Market, Lahore (Pakistan)
(All Rights Reserved)

Copyright by:

1st Edition March, 1979
2nd Edition November, 1982
3rd Edition January, 1993
4th Edition April 1996
Published by Rana Allah Dad Khan. Managing Director
Islamic Publications (Pvt.) Limited,
13-E Shahalam Market. Lahore (Pakistan)

Printed by Zahid Bashr Printer,


Those of us who have been familiar with Maulana Maududi's writings from the beginning are aware that, at the start, he confined himself mainly to the fundamentals, trying to scrub away the centuries old crusts which had dimmed the true Islamic concepts and to remove the misunderstandings that had spread gradually regarding the basic principles and purpose of Islam. His book, Qur'an Ki Char Bunyadi Istilahen, which originally appeared in his monthly Urdu magazine, Tarjuman-ul-Qur'an, was one such effort, the intention being to remove the misunderstandings which had come to prevail widely concerning four basic Qur'anic terms, Ilah, Rabb, Deen and 'Ibadah, and to bring out their true connotations by reference direct to the Qur'an itself.

Although it took us some time to get round to the job, we on our part were able to start bringing out an English translation of the book in the Academy's monthly journal, The Criterion. We are glad that it has since been possible for us to bring out the whole translation in book form, after an extensive revision which we hope would have helped in improving the sense and making it clearer.

I feel sure that this book will help all those who wish to acquaint themselves with Qur'anic teachings as to the sense in which Muslims should regard Allah Almighty as the Ilah and the Rabb, His Deen as the way of life meant by Him for man, and 'Ibadah as the primary purpose of His creation of man.

Brother Abu Asad, a research fellow in the Academy has done a nice job-and quite painstaking too in rendering the book into English. May Allah accept and reward his efforts.

A.H. Syed Manawar Hasan
C.E. Secretary General
Islamic Research Academy