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the big "G"...

Reader comment on item: Is Allah God? - Continued
in response to reader comment: The word Allah! Is it god or is it the God?

Submitted by Taj (United States), Oct 19, 2007 at 20:14

"dhimmi no more",

I understand the criticism of my comments regarding the translation of "Allah", however there are some points you missed or weren't aware aware of (ie arabic grammar) that with consideration, reaffirm my comments.

First, I acknowledge that a common translation of "Allah" is as "the God", but I don't agree 100% and as is the case wtih translations in general - there is a degree of subjective perception. Instead, I would state that the term "al ilah" is "the god", not capitalizing the letter "g".

Now, let us turn to why the "g" in "God "is actually capitalized - This is done for two reason, because it is an English proper noun and is thus distinct and it further distinctly refers to a specific diety. Instead of referring to this god as "the god of the monotheistic religion followed by the Hebrews, Jews, Christians, and Muslims", "the one true god among the other not-so-true gods", or even "the only god there is", or "the god

Back to Arabic- there are no "proper nouns", nor any capital letters. Thus, parts of speech - articles - are used to denote distinctiveness. In this case, the term "al" is used with "ilah" to make this "god" distinct. (note that "al" is comparable to the word "the" but does not equal it, since the word "the" is a word on its own, while the term "al" is not a separate word on its own. Also not that the origin of the term actually is as a demonstrative pronoun, "that" ).

Hence the term "al" is a modifier of the arabic word for "god", in the same way that a capital "g" modifies the word "god" in English. Similarly, the term "al ilah", does not require a contraction linguistically - it is contracted to further distinguish the term as a proper noun for a specific diety.

Further evidence as to the translation of "God" to Arabic can be found among translations of the Quran to English by linguistic experts. In no English translation is "Allah" rendered as "The God". Even further, translations of Christian or Jewish texts to Arabic do not render "God" as "ilah"

So, as understood via basic arabic linguistics, it is true indeed that "Allah" literally translates as "God". The question, "Is Allah God?" is as redundant as asking "Is Dios God?"

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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