‘Allah’ is the Arabic term for the one and only Creator of the universe. It is not a name for a tribal Arabian God or the God of Muslims.
Both Christian and Muslim Arabs referred to God as ‘Allah’ although their concept of God difer.
Allah is recognised as the name of God in the land of revelation of the Old and New testaments, as well as of the Qur’an.
The new International Dictionary of the Christian Church tell us that “the name is used by modern Arab Christians who say concerning future contingencies: ‘insha Allah’ this phrase is translated as “Allah willing” or if “Allah wills”.
The encyclopedia Britannica confirms the shared Arabic usage of the name “Allah”:
Allah is the standard Arabic word for “God” and is used by Arab Christians and Muslims.
“Allah” is recognised as the proper name for what the western religious call “God”. The Christian Arabs are known to call Jesus ibn Allah meaning “the son of God”
ETYMOLOGY OF THE WORD ALLAH
Allah (اللَّه) is driven from the root aleha (اَلِهَ) to mean ‘worshiped’. Thus, any deity whether false or true objects or humans is referred to as ‘Elah’ where as ‘Allah’ is a distinguished name to refer to the Creator. Similarly, the name “Allah” is gender free.
The testimony of faith in Islam is expressed as ‘la elaha ela Allah meaning ‘there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah.
SLANG AMONG MUSLIMS, PERMISSIBLE OR NOT?
THE TIE BETWEEN THE NAME “ALLAH” AND “ELOHIM”
In Judaic text, God is referred to as Yahweh, Elohim, Eloah and El. In Christian text the terminology is little different. For the Greek “theos” is nothing more than the translation of Elohim. Eloi and Eli are also encountered.
How do these Old testaments name tie with the name Allah?
Elohim is the Royal plural (a plural of majesty) of Eloah.
The Encyclopedia of religion and ethics confirms that the Arabic word “ilah” (the generic Arabic word for “god”) is identical with 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 2500-plus entries of Elohim and 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 appears to be linguistically derived.
TERRORISM IN THE BIBLE
THE GENERIC WESTERNIZED NAME “GOD”
This word (God) is completely foreign to the untranslated Scriptures of the Old and New testaments, as well as the Qur’an, it doesn’t exist in the foundational manuscript 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 uncertain origin. It may have arisen from the indo-European root “ghut” it may have the meaning of “that which is invoked” and may bear the prehistoric Germany guth as a distant ancestor from which (the modern German gut, Dutch God and Swedish God are derived).
No matter how the origin of the word is traced, the name God is of western and non biblical 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 doesn’t come from. It didn’t come from any of the biblical Scriptures, whether Old or New Testaments.
DIVINE BEAUTIFUL NAME “ALLAH”
It is important to note that as Muslims, we do not worship the name of ‘Allah’. Thus, you may refer to the reality of the one and only Creator using any good name.
وَلِلَّهِ ٱلْأَسْمَآءُ ٱلْحُسْنَىٰ فَٱدْعُوهُ بِهَا ۖ وَذَرُوا۟ ٱلَّذِينَ يُلْحِدُونَ فِىٓ أَسْمَٰٓئِهِۦ ۚ سَيُجْزَوْنَ مَا كَانُوا۟ يَعْمَلُونَ
And to Allah belong the best names, so invoke Him by them. And leave [the company of] those who practice deviation concerning His names. They will be recompensed for what they have been doing.
However, we believe the term ‘Allah’ expresses the monotheistic concept of the Creator more accurately than the English ‘God’. Literally speaking, unlike ‘god’ there is no plurality for ‘Allah’. Similarly, the term ‘Allah’ is free gender.
The Divine names and attributes of ‘Allah’ are countless. The Almighty God has manifested himself in the Qur’an with more than 200 Divine names, of which 99 Names are known as ‘The Most Beautiful Names’. According to some traditions there is also a divine name that the Almighty Allah has kept to Himself often known as ‘The Greatest name’ Each divine name introduces one of the attributes of the nature of God. For example, one of the divine names is ‘the most Gracious’. Which means His Grace is universally inclusive and infinite.
ALLAH INTRODUCES HIMSELF
Almighty Allah has introduced himself to prophet Mohammad (s.a.w) in various verses of the Quran.
The following are some examples and divine names of Allah as revealed to prophet Muhammad (s.a.w)
The Most Merciful
هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلَّذِى لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ عَٰلِمُ ٱلْغَيْبِ وَٱلشَّهَٰدَةِ ۖ هُوَ ٱلرَّحْمَٰنُ ٱلرَّحِيمُ
He is Allah, other than whom there is no deity, Knower of the unseen and the witnessed. He is the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
هُوَ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْخَٰلِقُ ٱلْبَارِئُ ٱلْمُصَوِّرُ ۖ لَهُ ٱلْأَسْمَآءُ ٱلْحُسْنَىٰ ۚ يُسَبِّحُ لَهُۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ ٱلْعَزِيزُ ٱلْحَكِيمُ
He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor, the Fashioner; to Him belong the best names. Whatever is in the heavens and earth is exalting Him. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.
ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ۖ لَهُ ٱلْأَسْمَآءُ ٱلْحُسْنَىٰ
Allah – there is no deity except Him. To Him belong the best names.
There are hundreds of revelations that talked about the names of Allah.
Bashir Habeeb for knowislam.com.ng