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Question: Is Allah God? Answer: Yes … and no.

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued

Submitted by Oliver (United States), Mar 8, 2008 at 16:01

Question: Is Allah God? Answer: Yes … and no.

1] Allah is the name of the most prominent god of the pre-Islamic Arabian pantheon of gods.

I know that many have proffered the notion that Allah was the Moon God of this pantheon but – I will not ‘go there' – I don't know if the pre-Islamic Allah was considered the ‘creator god' but it was the ‘chief god'.

2] ‘Christian Missionaries' were active in Arabia during pre-Islamic times and apparently were involved in the development of the ‘written' language of Arabic. Evidence indicates that they used the pre-Islamic term ‘al-ilah' to differentiate the Christian god (Jesus) from the pre-Islamic Arabian pagan god (Allah).

3] With the advent of Islam and monotheism in Arabia, the name Allah took on the aspect of ‘the one and only god' and ‘the creator god'. Islamic tradition demands that ‘the one and only god' be called Allah. ‘Let it be noted that although Allah is an Arabic term, it is used by all Muslims, whatever be their language, as the name of god.' (Catholic Encyclopedia) Other Internet sources indicate that nothing but ‘the one and only god' can be called Allah. "There is no ‘ilah' but ‘Allah'" The name Allah, due to its inherent meaning ‘the god', was either transferred to this ‘new' monotheistic concept of ‘the deity' OR the ‘chief god' of the ancient polytheistic pre-Islamic Arabian pantheon was ‘declared' to be ‘the one and only god' and ‘the creator god'.

4] ‘Christian' translations of the ‘Tanakh' (Hebrew) and the ‘New Testament' (Greek) into Arabic, dating from about the 9th century CE, use the word Allah, as opposed to al-ilah (the ‘word' used by pre-Islamic Christian Missionaries to differentiate their god from Allah), in reference to the both the Jewish god and the Christian god, respectively. This usage has ‘recently' prompted concern among some Muslims that it can cause confusion within the Muslim community and is possibly, in the case of Christian Missionaries, an attempt to deceive unsuspecting Muslims and convert them to Christianity.

5] The word ‘ilah' in both pre-Islamic and post-Islamic Arabic is a generic word ‘in nature' as it can be used to refer to any deity. The word Allah in pre-Islamic Arabic was the name applied to the ‘chief god' of the Arabian pantheon of pagan gods, but in post-Islamic Arabic the word Allah must be used as the name of ‘the one and only god' – ‘the creator god'. The pre-Islamic non-contracted term ‘al-ilah' is not to be found in use in post-Islamic Arabic. Put another way, the pre-Islamic term ‘al-ilah' is, apparently, unavailable for use in post-Islamic Arabic. It may be surmised that the non-contracted term ‘al-ilah' is (like the word ‘ilah' that it contains) a generic term ‘in nature' that could be used to refer to ‘any deity' and ‘the deity'. In essence, in post-Islamic Arabic reference to ‘the deity' is restricted to the use of the name Allah – therefore, this restriction precludes the use of the pre-Islamic term ‘al-ilah' as a reference to ‘the deity' – therefore, Arabic has been effectively ‘hi-jacked' by Islam, Arabic is Islamized – therefore, the very use, by non-Muslims, of the Islamized Arabic term / word / name for god (Allah), to refer to ‘their' god, amounts to a tacit approval and agreement with the underlying Islamic connotation and meaning of that term / word / name for god – that being, only Allah is ‘the one and only god' – ‘the creator god'.

6a] There are passages in the Tanakh that taken together identify ‘the one and only god' – ‘the creator god' as YHVH – the god of Judaism.

Gen 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

This verse, for the sake of argument, could be rewritten as:

Gen 1:1 In the beginning, YHVH created the heavens and the earth.

And not do any violence to its meaning – as far as Judaism is concerned. Will any Jewish readers, please, either affirm or deny (with explanation) the validity of this statement?

Are there Muslim or Christian readers who find this statement objectionable?

6b] There are passages in the New Testament that taken together identify ‘the one and only god' – ‘the creator god' as the Logos (aka Jesus Christ) – the god of Christianity.

Gen 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

This verse, for the sake of argument, could be rewritten as:

Gen 1:1 In the beginning, Jesus Christ created the heavens and the earth.

And not do any violence to its meaning – as far as Christianity is concerned. Will any Christian readers, please, either affirm or deny (with explanation) the validity of this statement?

Are there Muslim or Jewish readers who find this statement objectionable?

6c] There are passages in the Quran that taken together identify ‘the one and only god' – ‘the creator god' as Allah – the god of Islam.

Gen 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

This verse, for the sake of argument, could be rewritten as:

Gen 1:1 In the beginning, Allah created the heavens and the earth.

And not do any violence to its meaning – as far as Islam is concerned. Will any Muslim readers, please, either affirm or deny (with explanation) the validity of this statement?

Are there Christian or Jewish readers who find this statement objectionable?

6d] If all we had to go on was Genesis 1, we could not deduce what god was involved in the creation activities described therein. The Hebrew word elohim, taken by itself, is generic ‘in nature'. It is used elsewhere in the Tanakh to refer to: ‘the one and only god' – ‘other gods' – ‘Abraham' – ‘Rachel' – ‘Angels' – etc. – because its basic meaning is ‘mighty or powerful', so it is a word that has many uses in the Tanakh.

7] So – Is Allah God? Absolutely – Allah is the god of Islam. But, Allah is not the god of Judaism nor is Allah the god of Christianity.

Are there Christian, Jewish or Muslim readers who find this statement objectionable?

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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