Unfortunately, such facts are not acknowledged by those who approach scriptural analysis more as a religious turf war than as an objective search for truth. An example of
the extreme sensitivity over this issue concerns the Scofield Reference Bible, edited by
the American theologian and minister, Cyrus I. Scofield, and published in 1909 by Oxford University Press. Its original publication incited Christian censure for invoking the name “Alah” (sic).
Specifically, a footnote to Genesis 1:1 explained that the name
Elohim is derived from the contraction of El and Alah. The fact that this explanation
closely matches the aforementioned linguistic explanation that the origin of the name “Allah” may derive from the contraction of the Arabic definite article al (the) and ilah (god) to Allah (the God) did not escape the notice of certain Muslim apologists, the South
African Ahmed Deedat in particular.
However, the conclusions that can be drawn from the circumstance are speculative, for the Scofield Reference Bible did not identify “Alah” as the proper name of the Creator, but rather offered the definition: “El—strength, or the
strong one, and Alah, to swear, to bind oneself by an oath, so implying faithfulness.”
Certainly the claim that the Scofield Reference Bible in any way implied that the proper
name of the Creator is “Allah” would be inappropriate. However, their comment has relevance to what they meant to convey, and does not seem in any way improper, incorrect, or inflammatory. Yet the least suggestion that the name of God in the Old Testament matches that of the Holy Qur’an excited Christian sensitivities.
As a result, this footnote was edited from all subsequent editions. To move from Old to New Testaments, the Christian reader can fairly ask, “How does the New Testament fit into the abovedescribed scheme?” Once again the answer is fairly simple, boiling down to a few concrete points. The first is that the most frequently used word for God (1,344 of the 1,356 entries) in the Greek New Testament is theos.
This word is found in the Septuagint (the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament) primarily as the translation of Elohim, the Hebrew name for God.
The seventytwo Jewish scholars entrusted to translate the Septuagint (six from each of the twelve tribes of
Israel) stuck to tradition by translating Elohim to theos. The New Testament is no different. The theos of the Greek New Testament is the same as the theos of the Greek
Old Testament (i.e., the Septuagint), both derived from Elohim.
Recognizing that the basis of the theos of the New Testament is the Elohim of the
Old Testament, a person is led back to the abovedescribed link between Elohim and
Allah. And truly, a person should not be surprised. The Eli and Eloi allegedly found on the lips of Jesus in the New Testament (Mathew 27:46 and Mark 15:34) are immeasurably closer to “Allah” than to the word “God.” As is the case with Elohim and
Eloah, Eloi and Eli sound like “Allah” and linguistically match “Allah” in form and
All four of these biblical names are Hebrew, a sister language to Arabic and Aramaic. The languages commonly acknowledged by scholars to have been spoken by
Jesus are Hebrew and Aramaic. For example, in the phrase “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani” (Mark 15:34), the words Eloi and lama are transliterated from Hebrew,
while sabachthani is transliterated from Aramaic. Hence, being sister languages, it is not surprising that Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic words having similar or the same meaning
sound like phonetic m cousins. All three are Semitic languages, with slight pronunciation
differences for words of the same meaning, as in the Hebrew greeting, shalom, and the Arabic greeting, salaam, both meaning peace. Suspicion that the Hebrew Elohim, Eloah, Eloi, and Eli equate to the Arabic Allah in the same way that the Hebrew shalom equatest to the Arabic salaam seems wellfounded.