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Nice of you to ask ...

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

Submitted by Oliver (United States), Mar 20, 2008 at 23:15

What's the difference between the Hebrew and Greek words for God being translated into English as "God", and the Hebrew and Greek words for God being translated into Arabic as "Allah"? What word should be used for God in the Arabic translation of the Greek and Hebrew?

It is my contention that God/god in English is not the Name of god but simply a word used to direct your attention toward any 'god'. This is very much the usage of theos in Greek and IMO el/elohim in Hebrew. Thru conversations with Muslims on other sites I have confirmed that ilah is the Arabic word that comes closest to the above usage. While I was unaware of the pre-Islamic usage of the non-contracted form of ilah WITH THE ARTICLE - it makes perfect sense to use al-ilah to refer to god when the article is required by the context. So to answer your question, I feel al-ilah would be 'more' appropriate than Allah when there is the need for the article and just ilah otherwise. We are, afterall, in a time after the advent of Islam - and like it or not - Islam has obscured the usage of al-ilah while forcing the usage of Allah - both as a reference to and the NAME of the god of Islam. Who, due to its' intense hatred of the 'Jews' cannot be the god of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob.

My point is that "god" is an English word used to describe deity in pagan religion, idolatry, etc. But the English translation of the Bible also uses it.

Again, my contention is that God/god is 'generic' in nature - as a result, it can be used to refer to ANY god.

Since the word "Allah" is so thoroughly identified with the religion of Islam and it's scripture, as well as poly-theism before that (various tribes would use the term for their own particularly favored "god" out of the 360 "gods", "Allah" was not always one specific "god"), THAT is reason enough to NOT use it in the Arabic translation of the Bible, in my opinion. Had the translator of the Bible into Arabic during the 9th century not been so intimidated, what would have been wrong with simply adopting the Hebrew or Greek terminology with regards to references to God?

It is my understanding that by the time of Mohammad, The NAME Allah had become associated with a 'father' figure god who ahd three daughter gods (al-lot, al-uzza and manat, as I recall) and this Allah had, by this time, risen to a position of pre-eminence. It is my contention that either the Name of this god - or more likely the entire identity of this god was transferred to the new monotheism that is Islam. There seems to be a degree of 'national language pride' involved in this insistance on the usage of Allah by Arabic speaking 'christians' (and Jews also) that I simply can't resolve.

From what I understand, the Arabic translation does differentiate between Christ and God the Father, (although I have to wonder how accurate the whole translation is).

Yes - well - I am told that Arabic speaking 'christians' address God the Father as Allah - how they translate the word Father in the New Testament - say when Jesus said 'I and the Father are one' - I haven't a clue. I do know that that Allah is used for both instances of theos in John 1:1 - making it read 'In the beginning was the Word(?), and the Word(?) was with Allah, and the Word(?) was Allah.' I don't know what word they use for Word as Muslims think the 'Word' of John 1:1 is the Quran - go figure? Does that mean the Quran is in every way Allah? What it all boils down to is:

Mohammad lied - and people are still dying ...

Submitting....

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