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reply to Ifrahim on right faith

Reader comment on item: Ban Islam?
in response to reader comment: a response to Keith Williams-The right faith-The right destination

Submitted by Keith Williams (United States), Feb 13, 2009 at 02:14

You are correct on content versus name in respect that the theological differences are many, yet there remains an immense common holding as well. All three believe that God is the Creator and that God will someday end the world that he created. All three believe that God is a judge as well, that he will show himself as such on the last day, and that the criterion for his judgment will be not worldly greatness but moral integrity. And this list can be extended just as easily as the list of differences.

In the Hebrew texts YHWH which is the Tetragrammaton of God's divine name in the Hebrew Bible is used thousands of times in the Bible. The meaning of these four syllables is debated by scholars as well as the pronunciation because the original vowels are not written in the texts. Some say that the vowels from Adonai were used with the consonants YHWH and why I don't know but there is much conjecture on why the real vowels were not used as well as what they really are. That maybe why it is not used and Adonai or Elohim is used in the translations for the LORD is used where YHWH appears. Some claim that the pronunciation of YHWH has been lost; other authorities say it has not and that it is pronounced Yahweh. I accept your use of either YHWH or Yahweh because I know that you are talking about the same God whom I worship which is the point I was making and what I have been saying all along. Sometimes we discredit what people call God without stopping to think and look at the definition to see if we are talking about the same thing but in a different language. Also of note it seems that some of the Hebrew-Aramaic titles or characteristic for YHWH for example, El, Elah, Eloha and Elohim which are used throughout the Bible sound linguistically the same as Allah and ilah. Again the intention of the heart is what matters. Also again look at the sound of God in Spanish (Dios), Italian (Dio), French (Dieu), German (Gott) English (God) and other romantic languages and you will hear slight differences in a lot of similar words but they all mean the same thing. Now let's carry that analogy to Hebrew, Arabic and other Semitic languages and bingo, we have the same thing with El, Elohim, elah, ilah, Allah, etc…

You are right that you will not see the exact spelling of Allah in the Bible except the Arab Christian and Jewish Bibles but you will find that Allah is linguistically the same as the other names of God in the Hebrew Bible. I found this out by asking a Jewish friend of mine what do they call God and he said, which I asked him to repeat several times, "Allahim" http://tv.muxlim.com/video/7y_tPmoLfPW/YEMENI-JEW-EXPLAINS-THAT-ALLAH-IS-A-NAME-OF-GOD/ . That is the sound I heard. I researched that and found that it is spelled in english "Elohim". That is one example of linguistically speaking the name Allah is in the Bible. Also the Hebrew characters for El and Elohim are almost the same for the Arabic for Allah. This is the closes linguistically speaking of Allah found in the Bible. Lastly, I want to remind you that millions of Jews and Christians in the Middle East still use Allah for God in their Arabic Bibles http://www.arabicbible.com/bible/codex_151.htm which has been used over 1100 years or more.

Good luck on trying to make them take Allah out of their Bibles. It would be like trying to make English speakers take the words LORD and God and all English references for God as well as the prophets like Jesus, Abraham, Moses, etc… and change them all to the original Biblical Hebrew words. Probably not going to happen right? We should keep an open mind that we all have different languages that we are comfortable with and that helps us to communicate and it is hard to speak Hebrew and Arabic so we have the translations in English to make it easy.

As for your comment on the Hindu names for God, I must admit that I am ignorant in that area. I don't know a whole lot about Hindu so I must respect and revere their names for God just as much as the abrahamic and English translated names. Maybe all their names mean the same as ours and are the same as ours as far as the different aspects of God when in our abrahamic faiths we call him by different aspects too, for example in the Qur'an/TaNaKh(Torah, Nevi'im, Ketuvim)/English Bible we find the words describing God as: al-salaam/ El shalom (the God of peace), al ahad / El echad (the one God), al jabbar / El Gibbor (the mighty God). Al-Quddūs / El Hakkadosh. (Sometimes transliterated Hakadosh). (The Holy God) (Isa. 5:16). Kaddosh means sacred, holy, set apart, utterly unique and one of a kind, Al-rahman/El Rachum (the most compassionate God), al rahim / El malei Rachamim (the most merciful God) etc...

So, the names that you gave for God in Hindi may be different aspects of the one true almighty God as we have in our abrahamic traditions. I am not sure. There, I just used five words to describe God in English. If I did that in Hindi would you not agree that we were talking about the same thing? I know that there are non-Trinitarian Christian traditions that worship YHWH and not Yeshua as well and assume that you are from your comments on YHWH. Think of it this way. If I can accept all these beautiful as well as the name Isa/Yeshua by the name Jesus and YHWH, El, or Elohim and Allah by the English names LORD or God then why come I can't accept Hindi names such as Bhagavan, Ishvara, Brahmā etc… as names of God in Hindi?

Obviously all "Names" of God are intended to humble us and to remind us that God Himself is Al-Ṣamad / Ayn Sof - without End or limitation of any kind. God is always greater than our greatest thoughts about Him, even if we attempt to express His transcendence by means of our tiny human intellect and feelings expressed by our unique tongues and languages his names and attributes could be endless. He has revealed many to us for which we are very grateful. He is beyond his creation and creatures. He is the uncreated creator. We have to keep in mind that we may not see him, he always sees us.

"The most beautiful names belong to God: so call on Him by them;..." (Qur'an 7:180)

"...There is nothing whatever like unto Him, and He is the One that hears and sees (all things). Qur'an [42:11]



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