Allah?

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Mark Osgatharp, Oct 6, 2002.

  1. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    I know I am setting myself up for misunderstanding but please hear me out and please don't take this post as in anywise favorable to the Islamic religion.

    As I understand it "Allah" is simply the Arabic term for "God."

    Why then do we hear it said so often that "Allah" is not "God." Would it not be more accurate and more useful to say that Islam falsely represents God/Allah? After all, we don't call "God" by the same term as did the Jews. And the Greek churches didn't call God by the same term as did the Jews.

    For that matter, we have different terms in different languages today. I don't know anyone who says that "Dios" is not "God." Everyone understands that "Dios" is simply the Spanish term for "God."

    Rather than trying to give the Arabic Muslims a new word for God, wouldn't it be better to tell them something like,

    "Jesus is the only begotten son of Allah and Mohammed was not his prophet."

    I knew a Baptist woman who was raised in a "Syrian Orthodox" family and she assured me that "Allah" is simpy the Arabic word for God and even the Christians who speak Arabic refer to "God" as "Allah." Until someone can prove to me that this is an error I will stand by the contention of this post.

    Mark Osgatharp

    [ October 06, 2002, 04:30 PM: Message edited by: Mark Osgatharp ]
     
  2. GrannyGumbo

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    You're not gonna believe this, but I was thinking along these same thoughts just this morning...about whether or not Allah was another word for God.
     
  3. mesly

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    There is a common statement in Islam, "there is no god but Allah, and his Prophet is Mohammad". When I read this I see that they are attributing the word, "Allah" to be the name of god. If Allah is just another word for God, then it would not make sense to say, "there is no god but god".
     
  4. Helen

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    From Robert Morey's Islamic Invasion
    Harvest House Publishers, 1992

    Part One: on the identity of Allah and the pre-Islamic moon god

    The well-known Middle East scholar H. Gibb has pointed out that the reason that Muhammad never had to explain who Allah was in the Quran is that his listeners had already heard about Allah long before Muhammad was ever born. (1)

    Dr. Arthur Jeffery, one of the foremost Western Islamic scholars in modern times and professor of Islamic and Middle East Studies at Columbia University, notes:

    "The name Allah, as the Quran itself is witness, was well known in pre-Islamic Araabia. INdeed, both it and its feminine form, Allat, are found not infrequently among the theophorous names in inscriptions from North Africa." (2)

    The word "Allah" comes from the compound Arabic word, al-ilah. Al is the definite article "the" and ilah is an Arabic word for "god." It is not a foreign word. It is not even the Syriac word for God. It is pure Arabic. (3)

    Neither is Allah a Hebrew or Greek word for God as found in the Bible. Allah is a purely Arabic term used in reference to an Arabian deity.

    Hasting's Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics states:

    "Allah" is a proper name, applicable only to their [Arab's] peculiar God. (4)

    According to the Encyclopedia of Religion:

    "Allah" is a pre-Islamic name...corresponding to the Babylonian Bel. (5)

    For those people who find it hard to believe that Allah was a pagan name for a peculiar pagan Arabian deity in pre-Islamic times, the following citations may be helpful:

    "Allah is found...in Arabic inscriptions prior to Islam (Encyclopedia Brittanica). (6)

    The Arabs, before the time of Mohammed, accepted and worshipped, after a fashion, a supreme god called allah (Encyclopedia of Islam, ed. Houtsma). (7)

    Allah was known to the pre-Islamic Arabs; he was one of the Meccan deities (Encyclopedia of Islam, ed. Gibb). (8)

    Ilah...appears in pre-Islamic poetry....By frequency of usage, al-ilah was contracted to allah, frequently attested to in pre-Islamic poetry (Encyclopedia of Islam, ed. Lewis). (9)

    The name Allah goes back before Muhammed (Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend). (10)

    The origin of this (Allah) goes back to pre-Muslim times. Allah is not a common name meaning "God" (or a "god), and the Muslim must use another word or form if he wishes to indicate any other than his own peculiar deity (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics). (11)

    ....Caesar Farah in his book on Islam concludes his discussion of the pre-Islamic meaning of Allah by saying:

    "There is no reason, therefore, to accept the idea that Allah passed to the Muslims from the Christians and Jews. (15)

    According to Middle East scholar E.M. Wherry, whose translation of the Quran is still used today, in pre-Islamic times Allah-worship, as well as the worship of Ba-al, were both astral religions in that they involved the worship of the sun, the moon, and the stars. (16)

    In Arabia, the sun god was viewed as a female goddess and the moon as the male god. As has been pointed out by many scholars such as Alfred Guilluame, the moon god was called by various names, one of which was Allah! (17)

    The name Allah was used as the personal name of the moon god, in addition to other titles that could be given to him.

    Allah, the moon god, was married to the sun goddess. Together they produced three goddesses who were called "the daughters of Allah." These three goddesses were called Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat.

    The daughters of Allah, along with Allah and the sun goddess were viewed as "high" gods. That is, they were viewed as being at the top of the pantheon of Arabian deities.

    ....The Quraysh tribe into which Muhammad was born was particularly devoted to Allah, the moon god, and especially to Allah's three daughters, who were viewed as intercessors between the people and Allah.

    The worship of the three goddesses, Al-Lat, Al-Uzza, and Manat, played a significant role in the worship at the the Kabah in Mecca. The first two daughters of Allah had names which were feminine forms of Allah.

    The literal Arabic name of Muhammad's father was Abd-Allah. His uncle's name was Obied-Allah. These names reveal the personal devotion that Muhammad's pagan family had to the worship of Allah, the moon god.

    ....The worship of the moon god extended far beyond the Allah-worship in Arabia. The entire fertile cresent was involved in the worship of the moon.

    This, in part, explains the early success of Islam among Arab groups that traditionallyhad worshiped the moon God.

    The use of the crescent moon as the symbol for Islam which is placed on the flags of Islamic nations and on the top of mosques and minarets is a throwback to the days when Allah was worshiped as the moon god in Mecca.

    While it may come as a surprise to many Christians who have wrongly assumed that Allah was simply another name for the God of the Bible, educated Muslims generally understand this point.

    ....The significance of the pre-Islamic source of the name Allah cannot be overestimated.

    ....The Qurans' concept of deity evolved out of the pre-Islamic pagan religion of Allah-worship. It is so uniquely Arab that it cannot be simply reduced to Jewish or Christian beliefs.(pages 47-53)

    ============

    Footnotes: if you would like to have the footnotes on this part of his chapter, please let me know and I will type them out for you.

    [ October 06, 2002, 05:21 PM: Message edited by: Helen ]
     
  5. Mark Osgatharp

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    Mesley,

    One would have to know if "God" and "Allah" in that statement are two different Arabic words or one Arabic word. I can certainly envision someone saying "There is no god but God" in order to emphasize that there is only one God.

    We find similar use of the Hebrew term "Elohim" in the Bible, such as in the phrase "God of gods." This does not in any way say that there are, in reality, any gods other than God, but rather emphasizes the fact that God is the one true God among may so-called "gods."

    That "Allah" of the Muslims is just that - a "so-called allah."

    By the same token, many so-called "Christians" claim they worship "Jesus" when in reality what the worship is their own belly (we have a few of them in this forum who are also so-called Baptists). Paul called this "another Jesus."

    My point in all this is that our God is not known by a word, but by His mighty deeds, and through His only begotten Son, and we do not worship Him simply on the basis of an English term, but on the basis of the truth of His Holy Book.

    Any worship not consistent with His book in not worship. Any god not consistent with His character is not God.

    And by the same token, if an Arabic speaking person worships the Father in Spirit and in truth, acknowledging Jesus of Nazareth as His only begotton Son and the only Savior of the world, then I will have no quarrel with the fact that he calls the Father "Allah" any more than I will have a quarrel with my Spanish speaking brethren because they call him "Dios."

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  6. Mark Osgatharp

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    Helen,

    If it could be proved that "Allah" is a proper name as opposed to a generic term for "god" I would concede that I am wrong in my contention. But just quoting an encyclopia that says it is so does not make it so.

    Does anyone out there know enough about the Arabic New Testament to know what term it uses for "God."

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  7. Helen

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    Um, Mark, there was far more than that quoted!

    Here is the list of references used in that section:

    Footnotes

    1. H.A.R., Gibb, Mohammedanism: An Historical
    Survey. (Mentor Books, N.Y., 1955), p. 38.

    2. Arthur, Jeffery, ed., Islam: Muhammad and His
    Religion, (The Liberal Arts Press, N.Y., 1958), p.85.

    3. For an interesting discussion of the origins of "allah"
    see: J. Blau, "Arabic Lexiographical Miscellanies," (Journal
    Of Semetic Studies, vol. XVII,no. 2,1972),pgs. 173-190.
    That "allah" is an Arabic word is also pointed out in
    Hastings' Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, 1:326.

    4. Encyclopedia Of Religion and Ethics, ed. James,
    Hastings (T. & T. Clark. Edinburgh, 1908), 1:326.

    5. The Encyclopedia of Religion, ed. Paul Meagher,
    Thomas O'Brain, Consuela Aheme, (Corpus Pub., Wash-
    ington, D.C., 1979), 1:117.

    6. The Encyclopedia Britannica, ibid. 1:643.

    7. The Encyclopedia Of Islam, ed., Houtsma, Arnold,
    Basset, Hartman, (E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1913), 1:302

    8. Encyclopedia of Islam, ed. Gibb, ibid., 1:406.

    9. Encyclopedia of Islam, ed. Lewis, Menage, Pellat,
    Schacht, (E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1971), III: 1093.

    10. Encyclopedia Of Islam, ed. Lewis, Menage, Pellat,
    Schacht (E.J. Brill, Leiden, 1971)111:1093

    11. Encyclopedia Of Religion and Ethics, ed. James
    Hastings, ibid., 1:326.

    12. Henry, Preserved Smith, The Bible and Islam: Or,
    The Influence Of The Old and New Testament On The
    Religion Of Mohammed, (Charles Scribner's Sons, N.Y.,
    1897) p. 102.

    13. Kenneth, Cragg, The Call Of The Minaret, (Oxford
    University Press, N.Y., 1956), p.31.

    14. William, Montgomery Watt, Muhammad’s Mecca, ibid.,
    p. vii. See also his article, “Belief in a ‘High God’
    In Pre-Islamic Mecca (Journal of Semetic Studies, vol.
    16, 1971), pgs 35040

    15. Caesar, Farah, Islam: Beliefs and Observations,
    (Barrons, N.Y., 1987), p. 28

    16. E.M., Wherry, A Comprehensive Commentary On The
    Quran, (Otto Zeller Verlag, Osnabruck, 1973), p. 36.

    17. Guillaume, Islam, ibid., p. 7

    18. Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend,
    ibid., I:61
     
  8. donnA

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    Allah does not have a Son who died for our sins, he is not the same God of the bible, he is a false god. When the nature, or personality of God is changed, it is no longer the biblical God being talked about. The muslim god allah is not the biblical God.
    Helen, we've been doing a study in our Sunday night class on Islam, and thats exactly what one of our men said, about the moon god.
     
  9. Rev. G

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    Katie:
    Ditto. "Allah" is the Muslim name for "God," but he is not THE GOD, the living and true God, YHWH. He is not Christ.

    Rev. G
     
  10. Helen

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    With all due respect, Rev. G, I suggest you read a little of the history of the name and the religion. "Allah" was the specific name of one particular idol. It is being passed off as the generic name for "God" now, but that is not the truth.

    Here are a few links:

    http://focusonjerusalem.com/allah.html

    http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/moongod.htm

    http://www.geocities.com/umaximov/moon-god.htm

    http://www.nccg.org/islam/Islam01-Allah.html

    http://www.souldevice.org/islamgod.htm

    http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Column/7574/Islam1.htm

    http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allah

    http://www.lwbc.co.uk/islam.htm

    http://www.letusreason.org/Islam6.htm

    Many more, but that should help.
     
  11. Rev. G

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    Pardon me, Helen, but it is the name Muslims use when referring to their god, is it not?

    Rev. G
     
  12. Johnv

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    Allah is what Muslims call the Almighty God. Debate the merits of Islam all day and all night if you desire, but that one fact is undeniable.
     
  13. Mark Osgatharp

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    It seems to me that some of you are confounding "Muslim" with "Arabic." Not all Arabics are Mulsim and not all Muslims are Arabic. Arabic speaking people have to call "God" something, and it is absurd to insist that they call him by an English term for God, just as it would be absurd to insist that Spanish speaking people must call Him "God."

    The New Testament writers used the Greek term "Theos" to translate the Old Testament term "Elohim." Does that make the New Testament writers guilty of idolatry? Does the fact that Greek society had all sort of false and idolatrous conceptions of "Theos" make the use of the term itself idolatry?

    Does the fact that our pagan Anglo-Saxonc ancestors had a false conception of "God" mean that we are idolaters for calling the "God" of the Hebrews "God."

    Must we now resort to the Messianic practice of calling the Father "YHWH" and the Son "Yeshua" in order to escape the charge of idolatry?

    Frankly, although the Muslim "God" is as far from the truth as light is from darkness, it is not nearly so far as the "God" of some of the "Baptists" who frequent this forum or some Methodists and Presbyterians who preach in churches all accross this land every Sunday. It is high time we started defining God as He is revealed in the Scriptures rather than by a mere term.

    I want someone who knows what he is talking about to tell me what Arabic word you would use if you were translating the Hebrew term "Elohim" into Arabic. Until someone can prove to me that there is another suitable term in that language for "God" I will stand by my contentions.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  14. Johnv

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    Mark, my grandmother was a Muslim who converted to Christianity. She was from Indonesia, and her community referred to God as Allah. Indonesians didn't have a form of the English word at that time (this was the late 1800's/early 1900's).

    Your point is a good one. We Baptists tend to think of things through North American colored glasses.
     
  15. LadyEagle

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    Since the first Arab, Ishmael, spoke Hebrew before he spoke Arabic, the name of Elohim or El-Elyon to address God would be proper. Allah is not the same as the God of the Bible.

    Helen is correct in her post. Allah is the moon god, whose roots go back to the tower of Babel and the land of Ur.
     
  16. Johnv

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    Allah is the moon god, whose roots go back to the tower of Babel and the land of Ur.

    Not true, unless you read fundamentalist websites.

    The word "Allah" is derived from the compound Arabic word, al-ilah. "ilah" is the arabic word for god. "Al" preceeding "ilah" and capitalized makes it prpoer name. In other words, "Allah" is literally the proper name of God to arabic speaking peoples. (Literally, it's "the God", but capitalizing "Ilah" without preceding it with "Al" is incorrect arabic grammar)

    Note, the word has little to do with Islam. It has to do with the Arabic language.

    [ October 08, 2002, 04:56 PM: Message edited by: Johnv ]
     
  17. Helen

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    For Pete's sakes, then, please don't read any actual history. Your mind is made up. Why confuse you with the facts? Facts have nothing to do with fundamental or liberal or whatever. They simply are.

    Allah was originally the name of the moon god. Muhammad's family was involved in that cult. Muhammad continued it and just transformed it a little. Today the concept that Allah is just a name for God is being put forward because

    a) most Muslims are unaware of its history and think that is what it is

    b) it suits the current need for 'peace and understanding.'

    But history is still history and facts are still facts.
     
  18. kingnothing

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    The arab christians use the word Allah to mention The God,jesus' father,and they used long it before mohammed came,when many of them used to live in the nowadays Saudi Arabia where many arab tribes were christian.
    Mohammed's full name is muhammed ben abdullah,that's why many suggest that he comes from a christian family,and everybody knows that his tutor when he was young was a christian monk called Buhaira.
    It is the same word used in the arabic bible,smith vandyke,and even in the catholic arabic bible.
    jony was right about ILAH word it comes from the hebrew word ilohim which is used many times in the bible,and the word alohon in aramaic which is the language Jesus spoke.
     
  19. Johnv

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    One should also note that people who speak Aramaic also refer to God as "Allah" or "Alah". (The Aramaic word for "God" is derived from alaha, which, like arabic, means "god", or "the god"). So, when Jesus spoke in Aramaic, he referred to God as "Alah"; when he spoke in Hebrew, he referred to God as "Yahweh", or "Adonai". The NT does not use any of these words when referring to Jesus saying God. The Greek instead uses "theos", which Jesus never said.
     
  20. kingnothing

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    I totally agree with you jonv.
    Plus Adonai means also master or teacher,and it's the name of a phoenician god.
    Yahweh is mentioned just one time in the arabic bible.
     

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