lit. the (al) - God (`ilah). name of God in the Qur'an. The feminine form is al-`ilat.
Although the above is the most popular explanation of the name, this is probably not correct, and the source of the name has to be sought in the Aramaic language. See the article on Alaha, the Syriac Christian term for God.
In the Bible, God is most often called by two names, namely 'el (and its more commonly used plural form, 'elohim) and Jehovah (YHWH, Yehovah or Yahweh). The Jews, being very reverential of God, do not pronounce the latter, and many Bible translations uses the translational device of LORD (all in capital letters) to translate the latter name. When Moses asked for God's name, God described Himself to be "I AM THAT I AM" (hayah hayah):
And Moses said unto God ('elohim), Behold, [when] I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God ('elohim) of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What [is] his name? what shall I say unto them? And God ('elohim) said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM (hayah hayah): and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God ('elohim) said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD (Yehovah) God ('elohim) of your fathers, the God ('elohim) of Abraham, the God ('elohim) of Isaac, and the God ('elohim) of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this [is] my name for ever, and this [is] my memorial unto all generations. (Exodus 3:13-15, KJV),Later on, He revealed to Moses again:
And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by [the name of] God Almighty (el shaddai), but by my name JEHOVAH (Yehovah) was I not known to them. (Exodus 6:3, KJV),It is hard to see how the name of God in the Bible became lost in the Qur'an.
Some people argue that Allah is the moon-god of the pagan Arabs before the advent of Islam. Whatever the merits of this theory, there is a clear concensus: the name "Allah" is not unfamiliar to the Arabs. Muhammad was not bringing a message about a new and so far unknown God. The following is a list of statements of very uneven authority.
* Attributes of Allah include existence without a body, without beginning, without end, self-subsistence, non-resemblance to anything in creation, oneness, life without food, spirit, body, air and blood, will (predestination), power, knowledge, hearing without ears, or or organ, seeing without eyes, light or organ, al-Kalam (speech without sounds, letters and languages). Allah is not attributed with color, brightness, spirit, image, body, dimensions, rest, motion, gender, relationship (son, wife, sister, brother, children). He is the only creator and no creates except him. Creator of everything, including evil, good, nature. Everything other than Allah is created.
* ``The name of Allah, as the Quran 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 Jeffery, Islam: Muhammed and his religion, p 85).
* ``'Allah' is a proper name, applicable only to their [Arabs] peculiar god. (Hastings, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, I.326).
* ``'Allah' is a pre-Islamic name...corresponding to the Babylonian Bel.'' (Paul Meagher,Thomas O' Brein, in ERE, I.117).
* ``The Arabs, before the time of Muhammed accepted and worshipped, after a fashion, a supreme god called 'Allah'. (Encyclopaedia of Islam, I.302).
* "The name of 'Allah' is also evident in archeological and literary remains of pre-Islamic Arabia". (Kenneth Cragg, The Call of the Minaret, p. 31).
* 'Allah' was known to the pre-Islamic Arabs and it was one of the Meccan deities. (H. Gibb, Encyclopedia of Islam, I.46).
* "The origin of the name Allah goes back before Muhammed ... Along with Allah, however, they worshipped a host of lesser gods and daughters of Allah." (Anthony Mercatante, The Facts on File Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, I:41.)
* "There is no reason, therefore, to accept that Allah passed to the Muslims from the Jews and Christians." (Caesar Farah, Islam : Beliefs and Observations, p. 28).
* According to Middle East scholar E.M. Wherry, in pre-Islamic times, Allah-worship, as well as the worship of Baal, were both astral religions in that they involved the worship of the stars, the sun and the moon. (A Comprehensive Commentary on the Quran, p. 36).
* "The relation of this name, which in Babylonia and Assyrian became a generic term simply meaning 'god', to the Arabian Ilah familiar to us in the form Allah, which is compounded of al, the definite article, and Ilah by eliding the vowel 'i', is not clear. Some scholars trace the name to the South Arabian Ilah, a title of the Moon god, but this is a matter of antiquarian interest" (Islam, Alfred Guillaume, 1956, p. 7).
* Ahmad Deedat, a Muslim apologist, contends that the Bible contains the name Allah. He refers to a footnote in the Scoffield Bible where it says that the Hebrew word for God, Elohim is derived from "El" (strength) and "Alah" (to swear). (God).It was in common use before the time of Muhammad. His father was Abdullah, meaning "abd" (servant) of Allah
The word for bear is walad, a biological (i.e. physical) begetting. In other words, the Qur'an says that God does not physically give birth to a son, and charged Christians of believing so. Christians never believed that God physically (by having sex with a women) gave birth to Jesus. This is Greek mythology.
Jesus also claimed to have the power to give life:
For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it. (John 5:21)
Muslim belief is that God wills everything, whether good or evil. See also PREDESTINATION.
The clerk of Al-Mughira bin Shu'ba narrated, "Muawiya wrote to Al-Mughira bin Shu'ba: Write to me something which you have heard from the Prophet." So Al-Mughira wrote: I heard the Prophet saying, "Allah has hated for you three things:
(Sahih Bukhari 2.555)
- Vain talks, (useless talk) that you talk too much or about others.
- Wasting of wealth (by extravagance)
- And asking too many questions (in disputed religious matters) or asking others for something (except in great need).
Interestingly, the above verse is the only passage affirming that Allah is holy, and as a mere passing remark. In the Qur'an, the attribute of God's Holiness pale in comparison to the predominant theme of Allah's omnipotence and omniscience, which are attributes repeated many times in the Qur'an.
* The aqueeda of Ahl-es-Sunna wal Jama'a is that Allah exists without a place. Saying that Allah is above 7 skies separate from his creation means that he is a body and body is impossible to Allah. Al-Imam al-Ash'ariyy said: The person who believe that Allah is a body ignores his Lord and is a Kafir. Cited in his book an-Nawadir.
While Islam does not give a definite statement about Allah's body, it also does not say definitely that Allah is a spirit. In the Bible, we find Jesus teaching that God is a is spirit,
[Jesus said:] God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
In the Bible, God used this title for Himself:
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Revelation 1:8)
This title is used of Jesus in the Bible:
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. (Revelation 1:17) He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. (Revelation 21:6)
"Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." (Revelation 22:12-16)
Muslims do not believe that God loves the sinner, whereas Christians believe that God loves everyone, including sinners.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:28)However, this does not mean that God condones the sins of the sinner.
Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, (John 5:22)
Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, `Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, `Get up and walk'? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today. (Luke 5:18-26)
For four centuries after Muhammad, theologians tried to describe Allah, but to no avail. Finally, it was concludend that Allah is unknowable, even though "he is closer to man than his jugular vein" (Qaf 50:15). But the following attributes are affirmed:
* [Jesus said:] Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11)This teaching of the tender love of God is alien to most Muslims, except perhaps for the Sufis.
Compare this with guides and leads astray who He will. See also PREDESTINATION.
Further recommended reading:
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