Derived from the root “m-l-k”, which literally means “to own and possess,” the term “ism al-sharif” signifies “being truly sovereign over both the physical and metaphysical realms and having the authority to dispose of them as He pleases”. It conveys the undeniable and boundless sovereignty of Allah the Almighty in this world and the Hereafter.

The Qur’an places great emphasis on highlighting that “all sovereignty” belongs to Allah by using various words derived from the infinitives of this root (Ali ‘Imran, 3:189; Fatir, 35:13; Mulk, 67:1; An’am, 6:75; Araf, 7:185; Mu’minun, 23:88; Ya-Sin, 36:83). In this sense, only Allah is the absolute sovereign/ruler.

“al-milk” refers to sovereignty over people, and “al-mulk” refers to the authority to dispose of property. Accordingly, “al-Malik”, derived from the infinitive “al-milk”, is the name of the power that governs society for the benefit of the general public. This “governing” is done by taking precautions, setting rules, and enforcing promising awards (wa’d) and threats of punishment (wa’id) with the authority granted by law. This is also the case with Allah, Who governs by means of rules. By tying His every action to a rule (sunnatullah), He informed His servants from the very beginning how He would use His authority as the “Lord of the Worlds”. In this way, He shows that there can be no rule over property without rules.

The phrase “malik-i yawmi’d-din” (Owner of the Day of Judgement) in the Fatiha indicates that on the Day of Judgment, the relative ownership of humankind in this world will be taken away, leaving only the sovereignty of Allah, the eternal and everlasting Owner (Infitar, 82:19; Ghafir, 40:16). On that day, only those who, during their earthly lives, accepted the right of abode in the Divine homeland by believing that Allah is the true Owner (al-Malik) will receive their share of happiness (according to their rank). All others will face eternal dismissal for not accepting the one and only Owner as the true sovereign.