Is Allah the Name of God?
Allah is the name of the only God in Islam. Allah is a pre-Islamic name coming from the compound Arabic word Al-ilah which means the God, which is derived from al (the) ilah (deity).
The Arabic name for “God” is the word “Al-ilah.” It is a generic title for whatever god was considered the highest god. Different Arab tribes used “Allah” to refer to its personal high god. “Allah” was being worshipped at the Kaa’ba in Mecca by Arabs prior to the time of Mohammed. It was formerly the name of the chief god among the numerous idols (360) in the Kaaba in Mecca before Mohammed made them into monotheists. Historians have shown that the moon god called “Hubal” was the god to whom Arabs prayed at the Kaa’ba and they used the name “Allah” when they prayed.
Today a Muslim is one who submits to the God Allah.
Islam means submission to (Allah), but originally it meant that strength which characterized a desert warrior who, even when faced with impossible odds, would fight to the death for his tribe. (Dr. M. Baravmann, The Spiritual Background of Early Islam, E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1972)
Many believe the word “Allah” was derived from the mid- eastern word “el” which in Ugaritic, Caananite and Hebrew can mean a true or false God. This is not the case, “The source of this (Allah) goes back to pre-Muslim times. Allah is not a common name meaning “God” (or a “god”), and the Muslim must use another word or form if he wishes to indicate any other than his own peculiar deity.” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (ed. Hastings), I:326.)
According to the Encyclopedia of Religion, Allah corresponded to the Babylonian god Baal, and Arabs knew of him long before Mohammed worshipped him as the supreme God. Before Islam the Arabs recognized many gods and goddesses, each tribe had their own deity. There were also nature deities. Allah was the god of the local Quarish tribe, which was Mohammed's tribe before he invented Islam to lead his people out of their polytheism. Allah was then known as the Moon God, who had 3 daughters who were viewed as intercessors for the people into Allah. Their names were Al-at, Al-uzza, and Al-Manat, which were three goddesses; the first two daughters of Allah had names which were feminine forms of Allah. Hubal was the chief God of the Kaaba among the other 360 deities. Hubal was the chief God of the Kaaba among the other 360 deities. Hubal was a statue likeness of a man whose body was made of red precious stones whose arms were made of gold. (Reference Islam George Braswell Jr.)
“Historians like Vaqqidi have said Allah was actually the chief of the 360 gods being worshipped in Arabia at the time Mohammed rose to prominence. Ibn Al-Kalbi gave 27 names of pre-Islamic deities...Interestingly, not many Muslims want to accept that Allah was already being worshipped at the Ka'ba in Mecca by Arab pagans before Mohammed came. Some Muslims become angry when they are confronted with this fact. But history is not on their side. Pre-Islamic literature has proved this.” (G. J. O. Moshay, Who Is This Allah? (Dorchester House, Bucks, UK, 1994), pg. 138).
History has shown Mecca and the holy stone al-Kaaba were holy sites for pre-Islamic pagan Arabs. The Kaaba in Mecca was formerly named Beit-Allah meaning House of Allah. We are told it was first built in heaven. This is in contradistinction to what Moses was instructed to build, something overlooked by the Muslims in their reading of the Bible.
The Koran tells us that Mohammed drove the other idols away; he made one God now the only god and he was its messenger. He kept the Kaaba as a holy, sacred place and confirmed that the black stone had the power to take away man's sins. He obligated every believer to make a pilgrimage to the stone at least once in his lifetime. (Sura 22:26-37) No Old Testament saint ever had a pilgrimage to the Kaaba and kissed its black stone despite stories that Abraham and Ishmael restored it.
Mohammed used the name Allah which was formerly the name of a specific idol without ever distinguishing it from the idol the Meccan’s were already worshipping. This was a modification of their former worship but never a complete break. He never did say for the people to stop their worship of the wrong Allah, for the right one. It can still be monotheism and not be the God of the Bible
Al-Lat which is a T at the end of the name of Allah, was represented by a square stone whose major sanctuary was in the city of Taif. In the sanctuary was a black stone in the town of Qudayd between Mecca and Medina. She was the goddess of fate, a female counterpart of Allah. Al-uzza was the goddess of east Mecca. It has been said there were human sacrifices made to her and Islamic tradition tells of a story of Mohammed’s grandfather almost sacrificing his son the father of Mohammed to her. What prevented this was his seeking counsel from a fortune teller which told him to ransom his son with one hundred camels. Muslims look to this as the will of Allah to bring Mohammed into existence. (Reference Muhammad husain haykal, Hayat mohammed)
“The name Allah, as the Qur'an itself is witness, was well known in pre-Islamic Arabia. Indeed, both it and its feminine form, Allat, are found not infrequently among the theophorous names in inscriptions from North Africa.” (Arthur Jeffrey, ed., Islam: Muhammad and His Religion (1958), p. 85.)
The literal name of Mohammed's father in Arabic is Abd Allah. His uncle's name Obred Allah. These names show the devotion of Mohammed's families pagan roots, and also prove that Allah was part of a polytheistic system of worship before Allah was made the supreme and only god from the other God's. This should be proof to the pre- Islamic root of the name of Allah to the Muslim. Remember they were pagans who used this name. He kept his family name above all the other names. Mohammad had good intentions in removing the people from their polytheistic worship however he did not go far enough in his reform.
Mecca was the place where the idol Allah was located, so the people would face in that direction when they prayed. Prior to Islam the people would pray 5 times a day facing Mecca (The Encyclopedia of Islam p.303) Prior to Islam's beginning each Arab tribe used Allah to refer to its own particular high god. This is why Hubal, the Moon god, (known by other names) was the central focus of prayer at the Kaabah and people prayed to Hubal and they used the name Allah. The crescent moon was the symbol of the moon God Allah (Hubal) and is still used as a symbol of Islam today (although they have changed the meaning to be -from Mecca to the moon Islam will spread). Today there is hardly a Muslim that knows its ancient origin. History records it as an ancient pagan fertility symbol that is found throughout the Middle East. Mohammed smashed all the idols that led the people into idolatry but the black stone was kept which Muslims continue to kiss today. This was another practice that preceded Mohammad.
Mohammed made Allah into a single being who, unlike the Bible's God who is called Father, has no Son. Because of this portrayal, there is no fellowship or love among the godhead before God created man. Creation and man therefore become a necessity for God to express His attributes or characteristic's. This God has never revealed Himself to man but revealed only His will. This God is so removed from man that it is impossible to know him in a personal way, he relates to man only through his will and law. It is a religion of obedience no different than any other.
To the Muslim God is strictly singular, all seeing, all hearing, almighty, He is the first and the last. But what differs is that he has no Son and he cannot be called Father who relates to His son in a unique way (Son and Father does not mean offspring in historic Christianity).
Of the 99 names of God in Islam, not one is “Father” or has a personal connotation. The difference is not to be overlooked. The God of the Bible is personal and wants an ongoing friendship with each of us. Islam portrays God as one who expects us to do our religious duty or He angers. There are rules to be obeyed and one can only please him but not know him personally. No Muslim would ever consider being able to have a personal relationship with him, by talking to him, and loving him. Jesus instead taught Christians to pray “our Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:9). Throughout the Old Testament God was real to the prophets who had him personally speak to them and they to him. “Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously with one another by profaning the covenant of the fathers?” (Mal 2:10)
In Islam some state that if one memorizes the 99 names of Allah and repeats them he will get into paradise because they give the believer power, making them conscious of God. Neither the Koran nor the Hadith speak of these names in such a way. The Suras in the Koran begin with “In the name of Allah, most gracious, most merciful. Yet in practice Islam's god is portrayed as stern, harsh, having compassion on those who do right and deals severely with those who do not.
To a Muslim the God of the Bible who is described as triune is offensive and pagan, reminding them of what Mohammed destroyed. This is recorded in their Qu'ran. They interpret this as 3 separate Gods and not a unified one. “ They are unbelievers who say God is a third of three. No God is there but one God.” While Muslims affirm Jesus' virgin conception, they deny He had any pre-existence that would imply He is God. To call a prophet God is the ultimate in blasphemy to them. “ Verily God will not forgive the union of other gods with himself.” This is a true statement; however if Jesus is who He said He is, the true God, then it is they who are in union with another than the true God.
Muslims claim that the name Allah can be found in the Bible. This is no different than what the Jehovah's Witnesses do for the name Jehovah. Allah is not called Yahweh once in the Koran but neither is Yahweh called Allah in the Bible. So they can't be the same God. Neither is the word Elohim which is applied to Yahweh over 2,500 times in the Bible used in the Koran. Neither is he called I Am, which He said to Moses would be His name forever.
The God of the Bible identifies himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jacobs name is later changed to the name Israel, being the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. The God of the Bible calls Jerusalem the city of David and that the Messiah would descend from his lineage. Neither does the God of the Bible does not mention Mecca or Medina but instead Jerusalem 800 times. Yet Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran, which the Muslim claims as their own.
The God in the Bible is called the God of the Jews, an impossibility with Allah. They are called his chosen people, but they are not Allah's chosen. Allah commands the Muslim to not take the Jews or Christians as friends, Sura.5:51 disdains the Jews. Mohammed said, “The last hour will not come before the Muslims fight the Jews, and the Muslims kill them.” (Mishkat Al Masabih Sh.M. Ashraf pp.147, 721, 810-11, 1130). So how could Israel inherit the land or any of God's promises from Allah, if he is their God. Clearly he is not the same God of the Bible.
Muslims trying to prove their position from the Bible point to the Old Testament with the word alleluyah, interpreting the first portion of the word alle as Allah. The word [H]alleluyah is not a compound Hebrew word. It is not two words but a singular word meaning praise to Yahweh. (alle- praise, lu-to, yah-Yaweh). The beginning of the word is Hallel meaning praise. This has nothing to do with an Allah, and the last syllable of the word is a reference to Yahweh the God of the Bible, this is hardly any evidence for their assertions. They are also confusing Aramaic with Arabic. This is not unusual, as Muslims will often take words and meanings set in another language and culture and adopt them for proof of their own book or religion.
This word play only gets more ludicrous as they try to have Jesus saying the name of their God. When Jesus was on the cross they claim when he cried out Eli, Eli it was really is Allah, Allah. The New Testament was written in Greek, however it points us to him speaking the Aramaic language, not Arabic. Jesus was quoting Psalm 22:1 which read in full says, Eli, Eli Sabbathani “My God, My God why have you forsaken me.” What makes even less sense for this position is the fact that they don't believe that it was Jesus on the cross in the first place, but that another took His place. Some think it was Judas; so it was Judas crying out Allah, Allah?
The first Arabic translation of the Bible was made about the 9th century. Nowhere is the name of Allah found in the Old or New Testament as a name for God. When Islam became the dominant political force people were coerced to use the name Allah for God or suffer the consequences from the hands of militant Muslims. Because of Islam's dominance Allah became the common name of God. The translators of the Bible gave in to the religious pressures and substituted Allah for Yahweh in the Arabic Bibles, but this is not the name of the God of the Hebrews, nor of the creator who made heaven and earth because of its source in paganism. His nature and attributes have only a few basic similarities and many more differences. And the most important point is that all through the Qu'ran it says Allah has no son.