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that's not the point

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: Use of the Arabic Word "allah" in Christian Witness to Muslims

Submitted by Oliver (United States), Jul 2, 2009 at 15:26

Hello John,

Perhaps I'm off base - but - I don't think the point of the original question (Is Allah God?) was: does allah = god or does allah 'mean' god or can allah be translated as god - the answer to these questions is YES. BUT - the question as to whether the entity known as Allah is God is not so easily answered YES.

This is a discussion of the identity of the God of Abraham - Jews (and the Tanakh) would 'say' that the NAME of this God is YHWH and Christians would be quick to agree - Muslims, however, are SO fixated on calling the NAME of the God of Abraham 'Allah' that we are left to conclude that Mohammad either didn't know the NAME of the God of Abraham (so he just called it god) OR that the entity that was communicating with Mohammad actually inferred that its NAME was Allah (so he just called it Allah).

As for the use of the Arabic 'word' allah (or al ilah) to translate Hebrew words (ie. elohem, etc.) or Greek words (ie. theos, etc.) or even the English word god - there is no linguistic issue - for the 'word' allah basically means 'god' - in a generic sense to a non-Muslim - HOWEVER - when a person of a Muslim mindset 'sees' the 'word' allah, 'he' does not 'see' it in the generic sense - for since the rise of Islam the 'word' Allah has been reserved as a reference (as in that of a NAME) to 'the one true god' of Islam. So where a non-Muslim might not 'see' an issue using the 'word' allah wherever the 'word' god appears in the text of the Tanakh and NT the Muslim might take exception - for example - in 2 Cor 4:4 there is a reference to 'the god of this world' who blinds the minds of the unbelieving - while this is an apt description of the activity of Allah toward unbelievers in the Quran - it is, in this instance in the NT, a reference to Satan at work.

What Arabic word is used 'here' in 2 Cor 4:4? - I'll wager it is 'ilah' and not 'allah' - so as not to 'offend'! It is my contention that translations by 'Christians' of the Tanakh & NT into modern Arabic should not use the word 'allah' to translate the word 'god' but instead the consistant use of the word 'ilah' must predominate because 'elohem' and 'theos' are essentially generic in nature and so is 'ilah' nowadays. In my opinion, the use of the word 'allah' to translate the generic words 'elohem' & 'theos' (or god, for that matter) into 'modern Arabic' is a gross act of deception and an attempt to confuse the seeking Muslim.

We, Christians, are called to 'speak the truth in love' - the Holy Spirit doesn't need our 'well-meaning' attempts to enlighten the seeker ...

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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