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Listen and learn before you rush to judgement.

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: Oliver - of course not

Submitted by zzazzeefrazzee (United States), Mar 21, 2008 at 00:24

"God" - with an upper case "G" - is used 4408 times in 3848 verses in the English translation.

"god" - with a lower case "g" - is used 235 times in 205 verses. (NASB)

Does the Arabic translation use "Allah" as well as "allah"?

The terms are "ilah" for "god" and "Allah" for God.

Note that YHWH is often translated as "Rabb", or "Lord", reflecting the Greek translation of "Kyrios".

While you are correct that MECCAN Hijazi Arabs worshipped Allah among a pantheon, you still refuse to acknowledge that ARABIC SPEAKING CHRISTIANS, meaning both Ethnic Arabs who had converted, as well as Assyrians, Copts, and other ethnic groups who traded and interacted with the Arab population. and existed prior to Islam and may very well have introduced the concept of a monotheistic god, using the name "al-Ilah" or which was then became "Allah". I also think that this notion has found some favor with Eastern Christians who argue for "Aramaic Primacy" in the development of biblical manuscripts that the Syriac word "Alaha" was translated into Arabic as Allah.

Proving this is difficult, of course, as there is little in the way of specific evidence to go on, but suffice it to say, it is certainly plausible, and certainly as much as your "Muslims made them do it" premise.

Your premise is that Arab Christians were "coerced" into using Allah by Muslims. It's very popular, but what evidence is there to support this? You have to be willing to overlook the Christian and Jewish traditions within the broader region, as well as maintain a "post hoc" argument to justify this view. many scholars (aas I have previously outlined) support the idea that the Arabic language and alphabet developed as a result of Christian missionary activity.

Finally, the Arabic Bible Ms 151 at Mt. Sinai may have arrived there due to the PERSECUTION of Christians, not by Muslims, but by Crusaders who couldn't tell the difference between who was who and what was what. Furthermore, given the sacking of Constantinople by them before the capture of Holy Land, the Greek Orthodox monks may have felt certain sympathies for Christians of other sects feeling the carnage.

Our earlier Greek new testaments are 4th century. The earliest Syriac Peshitta are 6th century. Our oldest Christian Arabic inscription (zabad) is 5th century.

As far as "picking' on Oliver goes, hey- does he REALLY need to hurl accusations of "BLASPHEMY" to make his point? There are far more civil ways to communicate disagreements than resorting to sanctimonious assertions. The fact remains that I personally happen to know quite a fair number of Arab Christians who are very much disinclined to agree with the arguments that you and Oliver have outlined.

Suffice it to say that in all fairness, one needs to know more than just Koine and Hebrew to approach this topic objectively. One needs to understand Aramaic and Syraic literature, as well as the early pre-Islamic development of Arabic scripts (Nabatean and Sabean). Finally, an extensive knowledge of a cross-cultural history of the region is imperative to this discussion (and yes, that means learning to understand the Bible from different Jewish perspective, not just the messianic ones!). Relying on a belief in scriptural inerrancy is hardly sufficient; but resorting to sanctimonious absolutist tone is simply inexcusable. That includes your telling me that something is so, "period".

that said, does it mean that i consider myself such an absolute expert? No, I do not. I am merely a student of languages. That said, I do know enough that to know that there is far more to the picture than that painted by the likes of Robert Morley, and that have some personal experiences and encounters with people espousing these various views. One may choose to disagree, but there is a big jump between disagreeing with someone and condemning them outright. I invite you to at least consider them in an objective manner, and learn more about where these views come from, rather than respond with reflective rejection based on your personal feelings about Islam.

Just a few resources that you may wish to explore, but which really just scratch at the surface:

http://albushra.org/
http://www.arabicbible.com/
http://www.iscs.or.id/do/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=15&Itemid=2

There are plenty of articles by noted scholars to look at as well, for example many in the Journal for Semitic studies, to name just one...

in peace...

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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