The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church tells us “the name is
used also by modern Arab Christians who say concerning future contingencies: ‘In sha’
This phrase In sha’ Allah is translated as “Allah willing” or “If Allah wills.”
The Encyclopaedia Britannica confirms the shared Arabic usage of the name “Allah”:
“Allah is the standard Arabic word for ‘God’ and is used by Arab Christians as well as by
In fact, from the Orthodox Christians of the land that was birthplace to Abraham
(now modernday Iraq), to the Coptic Christians of the Egypt of Moses, to the Palestinian
Christians of the Holy Land trod by Jesus Christ, to the entire Middle Eastern epicenter
from which the shockwaves of revelation radiated out to the entire world, Allah is
recognized as the proper name for what Western religions call God. The Christian Arabs
are known to call Jesus ibn Allah—ibn meaning “son.”
Pick up any copy of an Arabic
Bible and a person will find the Creator identified as Allah. So Allah is recognized as the name of God in the land of revelation of the Old and New Testaments, as well as of the
What is not recognized by Christian and Muslim purists in the Holy Land is the
generic Westernized name, God. This word is completely foreign to the untranslated
scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as well as the Qur’an—it simply doesn’t exist
in the foundational manuscripts of any of the three Abrahamic religions.
So while the concept of God is readily recognized, a little research reveals that the
word God has an uncertain origin. It may have arisen from the IndoEuropean root, ghut,
it may have the underlying meaning of “that which is invoked,” and may bear the prehistoric Germanic guth as a distant ancestor (from which the modern German Gott,
the Dutch God, and the Swedish and Danish Gud are derived). 30 Lots of maybes, but nothing definitive.
No matter how the origin of the word is traced, the name God is of
Western and nonbiblical derivation, and its etymological origin and meaning are lost in history.
In short, we don’t know where the word God came from, but we do know where it
didn’t come from—it didn’t come from any of the biblical scriptures, whether Old or
Nonetheless, the fact that Middle Eastern Christians equate God with Allah is an
affront to the sensitivities of those who associate Allah with heathens.
Be that as it may, the relevant question is whether Allah can be substantiated as the name of our Creator. Most people would like to be assured that their religious beliefs and practices have a
basis in scripture and not just local custom, so one may reasonably question whether the
Old and New Testaments support use of the name Allah in Judaism and/or Christianity.
The answer is yes. In Judaic texts, God is referred to as Yahweh, Elohim, Eloah, and El. In Christian
texts the terminology is little different, for the Greek theos is nothing more than the translation of Elohim. Eloi and Eli are also encountered.
In the Old Testament, Yahweh is used more than 6,000 times as God’s name, and
Elohim in excess of 2,500 times as a generic name for God; Eloah is encountered 57 times and El more that 200.
How do these Old Testament names tie in with the name Allah? Simple. Elohim is the royal plural (a plural of majesty, not numbers) of Eloah.
The Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics confirms that the Arabic word ilah (the generic Arabic word for “god”) is “identical with the eloah of Job.”
The linguistic explanation
of the origin of the name “Allah” is that the contraction of the Arabic definite article al
(the) and ilah (god), according to the rules of Arabic grammar, becomes Allah (The God).
Consequently, the 2,500plus entries of Elohim and the 57 entries of Eloah in the Old Testament bear direct relation to the name of God as Allah, for Elohim is the plural of Eloah, which itself is identical with the Arabic ilah, from which Allah appears to be linguistically derived.
Muslim scholars offer yet another tantalizing thought, for when calling upon their Creator, Muslims beseech Allah by the appellation of Allahuma, which means ”Oh,
Allah.” The Siamese twin similarity of the Semitic cousins Allahuma and Elohim cannot
escape easy recognition.