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Please consider the Pre-Islamic paleographic evidence for Christian usage of "al-Ilah"

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: Reality check please

Submitted by zzazzeefrazzee (United States), Mar 4, 2008 at 23:06

Oliver, First off, you should read in my reply to Dhimmi about the tri-lingual Christian inscription written in Greek, Syriac, and Nabatean Arabic from "Zabad" (or "Zebed"), that was written in prior to the advent of Islam. It clearly mentions "al-ilah", which as has repeatedly been stated here numerous times is elided to form"Allah". "Allah is simply the elision of the definite article "al" with the word "ilah".

This inscription is in an early, transitional form of the Arabic script, but an important point it made with this discovery; that Christians directly influenced the development of the written Arabic script in the years before the advent of Islam. So there does appear to be more of a historical record that contradicts your claim that the usage of the term Ilah with the definite article al is intrinsically Islamic, and therefore a different God. So your premises have been correct premise, but your conclusion highly erroneous and rejected by credible scholars.

Now, you should ask yourself, why would Christians use this term "ilah" with the definite article? To distinguish their beliefs from pagan Arabs, of course, in the period PRIOR to Islam. Is this really so hard to fathom? Christians helped to develop the script and used the term "al-ilah" or Allah as a part of their missionary activity?

For more info, please refer to:

[1] M. A. Kugener, "Nouvelle Note Sur L'Inscription Trilingue De Zébed", Rivista Degli Studi Orientali, 1907, pp. 577-586. Pl. I facing p. 586.

[2] A. Grohmann, Arabische Paläographie II: Das Schriftwesen. Die Lapidarschrift, 1971, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften Philosophisch - Historische Klasse: Denkschriften 94/2. Hermann Böhlaus Nachf.: Wein, p. 14 and p. 16.

[3] B. Gruendler, The Development Of The Arabic Scripts: From The Nabatean Era To The First Islamic Century According To The Dated Texts, 1993, Harvard Semitic Series No. 43, Scholars Press: Atlanta (GA), pp. 13-14.

now to reply to certain points:

"Correct me if I am wrong, you maintain that the word Allah simply means '(the) God' and you site as proof the 'use' of the word allah by Arab Jews and Arab Christians both in their Arabic translations of their holy writ and, presumably, in their daily conversations and prayers."

OK, let me correct you. Yes, I did state that "Allah" was used by Jews and Christians in Arabic, meaning translations in general, and in conversation, but I never implied that all collectively used the word for their prayers. Arab Christians do, Jews do not.

About your dictionary searches- selectively quoting what you prefer to emphasize is not exactly ethical, is tit? Of course, you are opposed to engaging in a nuanced debate as you are inherently biased to begin with. Note that the Catholic Encyclopedia doesn't exactly support your line of though:

"Gradually, with the addition of the article, it was restricted to one of them who took precedence of the others; finally, with the triumph of monotheism, He was recognized as the only true God."

Note that it says "triumph of monotheism", not "triumph of Islam". "One and only God" is an assertion of monotheism, not solely Islam. Could that be why Arab Catholics really have no problem whatsoever with the word "Allah", like you have? Could it be that your argument essentially implies that Christians are NOT monotheists?

As far as your request for the verses from the book of John (Yuhanna) see below. Quite honestly there is no reason to suggest there be any kind of "deal" about this issue to begin with. the only problem is that the very first verse will not type the number "1" in the correct position, as the text box doesn't like switching from RTL to LTR scripts:

في البدء كان الكلمة والكلمة كان عند الله وكان الكلمة الله.

2 هذا كان في البدء عند الله.

3 كل شيء به كان وبغيره لم يكن شيء مما كان.

4 فيه كانت الحياة والحياة كانت نور الناس.

5 والنور يضيء في الظلمة والظلمة لم تدركه

6 كان انسان مرسل من الله اسمه يوحنا.

7 هذا جاء للشهادة ليشهد للنور لكي يؤمن الكل بواسطته.

8 لم يكن هو النور بل ليشهد للنور.

9 كان النور الحقيقي الذي ينير كل انسان آتيا الى العالم.

10 كان في العالم وكوّن العالم به ولم يعرفه العالم.

11 الى خاصته جاء وخاصته لم تقبله.

12 واما كل الذين قبلوه فاعطاهم سلطانا ان يصيروا اولاد الله أي المؤمنون باسمه.

13 الذين ولدوا ليس من دم ولا من مشيئة جسد ولا من مشيئة رجل بل من الله

14 والكلمة صار جسدا وحلّ بيننا ورأينا مجده مجدا كما لوحيد من الآب مملوءا نعمة وحقا.

15 .يوحنا شهد له ونادى قائلا هذا هو الذي قلت عنه ان الذي يأتي بعدي صار قدامي لانه كان قبل


If you don't like using the term "Allah", well, then fine; Have it your way! More power to you! That said, to state that it is an entirely different God is only accomplished with a certain disregard for the history of the region in general, and paleographic evidence in particular.

Submitting....

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