For those thinking I have not studied the bible, the Quran and other religious texts. Let’s delve into the Origins of Allah. Weather or not it’s a biblical name or not. If you’d like to debate my “facts” feel free to comment and we can have some fun but what is fun for me will probably just annoy you since facts aren’t on your side. I happen to read hebrew. Why because it was offered as a language in school.
Multi part series on The origin of Allah Part 1
The God of the Old Testament is known as YHWH or, when pointed with the correct vowels, Yahweh. This translates as “The Self-Existent One”, being derived from the Hebrew háwáh, meaning “to exist”. As Allah is the name of God on the Muslim Holy Scriptures, the Koran (or Quran), so Yahweh is the Name of God in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Bible.
What is particularly interesting and significant is the fact that Yahweh never appears as the name of of any deity outside the Bible. There is no record anywhere of any other tribe or religion which worshiped Yahweh. The Hebrew Name of God is unique to the Bible and its chosen people. From this alone we may deduce that the Name “Yahweh” was not borrowed from some other culture or religion. It emerged uniquely within the Bible revelation.
It is claimed by Muslims that Allah is the God of the Bible and that he is mentioned in the sacred texts. This is absolutely not true. The name “Allah” does not appear once in either the Old or New Testaments. The only time God is referred to by name in the Old Testament is either as YAHWEH (meaning “He (who) is”) or as a contraction, YAH.
Since we are discussing something sacred and I would not wish to offend anyone I would like to note now:
** Please note that the name “Jehovah” is not a biblical name of God but was especially ‘created’ by Jews afraid to pronounce the Sacred Name by combining the consonants YHWH with the vowels from adonai, meaning “Lord”. **
It’s important when discussing the name of a God of any people we do so accurately. I hope so far I have not offended with truth as accurately as I can tell it.
The word Allah does exist in Hebrew but it is not a proper name and it never refers to God. Depending on sentence structure, vowel placement and context within a sentence Allah would mean in Hebrew one of the three things below:
. (a) to curse, swear, or adjure;
. (b) to lament (weep);
. (c) to arise, ascend, climb, go away, leap, etc..
Again for the purpose of accuracy and truth I wish to note the following:
** Please note it is an indisputable “fact” that ALLAH does not appear even once as the Name of God, or even of a man, in the Hebrew Scriptures which have written copies dating back a thousand years or more BEFORE Islam was even a concept. **
** Further note: There is no word ‘alah’ or ‘allah’ in the Greek New Testament at all. The Greek new testament is also 100s of years older than the formation or birth of Islam as even a concept. Mohhamed had not been born and wouldn’t be born for another several hundred years. **
It was, quite simply, unknown in the Biblical world. To therefore claim that ‘Allah’ was the name of God in the Bible is without one single shred of evidence. God has always been known as Yahweh, or (much less frequently) by the contraction Yah. The only names of God in the Hebrew language are as follows.
Another important note are the names Jews call God and have since the times of Abraham.
** The name of God in Judaism used most often in the Hebrew Bible is the four-letter name יהוה (YHWH), also known as the Tetragrammaton. El (god), Elohim (god, singular and plural form, depending on the context), El Shaddai(god almighty), Adonai (master), Elyon (highest) and Avinu (our father) are regarded by many religious Jews not as names, but as epithets or titles highlighting different aspects and ‘roles’ of God.
It is common Jewish practice to restrict the use of the word Adonai to prayer only. In conversation, some Jewish people, even when not speaking Hebrew, will call God HaShem, השם, which is Hebrew for “the Name” (this appears in Leviticus 24:11). Some religious Jews extend this prohibition to some of the other names listed below, and will add additional sounds to alter the pronunciation of a name when using it outside of a liturgical context, such as replacing the “h” or “e” or “d” with a “k” in names of God such as “kel” and “eloki’m” and “shakai”.
While other names of God in Judaism are generally restricted to use in a liturgical context, HaShem is used in more casual circumstances. HaShem is used by some Orthodox Jews so as to avoid saying Adonai outside of a ritual context. For example, when some Orthodox Jews make audio recordings of prayer services, they generally substitute HaShem for Adonai; a few others have used Amonai. On some occasions, similar sounds are used for authenticity, as in the movie Ushpizin, where Abonai Elokenu [sic] is used throughout.
There are a few more I will discuss below Eloah and Elah. Neither translates to or sounds like Allah. And both are simple derivatives of El and Elohim. Both only simply means God which can be used to describe any religions god. There are many Gods and many faiths and these two words are often used in defining the false gods. **
Ok that marked the end of a large note so let’s continue.
Now that we know all or most of the names Jews will call God (Though he has only one NAME as proper and given in the bible Yahweh which is on occasion shortened to Yah.) we can also see where Christians hold true to the name of God. Since they got the names from Jesus who by the way was also a Jew.
Muslim scholars have gone to great lengths to try and prove that the Arabic “Allah” is, in fact, the same as the Hebrew “Eloah”, which is not a proper name and simply translates as “God”. The words “El” and “Elohim” also translate the same way, appear far more numerously than Eloah, and may be used to designate either the true God, pagan deities, idols, or even human judges.
It is for this reason that I have heard Muslim apologists get annoyed when other Muslims talk about “God” instead of “Allah” because the word “God” can be applied to any religion’s god. They recognize that Allah is a proper name which distinguishes the God of the Muslims from the God of the Jews and Christians, or the gods of the Hindus and others. “Eloah” is, in any case, a derivative of “El” and its plural “Elohim” which doesn’t remotely sound like “Allah”.
You will not find many (if any) Muslims insisting that they worship the Hebrew Eloah – the only time they ever try to make a connection is when trying to recruit Jews and Christians to Islam. If I were confess that “Eloah” were my God and that Mohammed was his prophet I doubt any Muslim would believe I had converted to Islam!
There is another El-derived word for “God” in the Old Testament which sounds similar to Allah and that is Elah. It is only used by the prophets Ezra, Daniel and once by Jeremiah. It is, again, not a proper name, and actually also means an “oak tree” and was thus also used by pagans as a title for their tree deities, i.e. idols. I doubt somehow that Muslims would wish their Allah to be associated with an idol.
Even if the Muslim scholars were right about “Eloah” (which the evidence strongly repudiates) we would then be faced with the problem that God has two proper names – Yahweh and Eloah/Allah – which contradicts God’s own testimony in the Old Testament that He is only known as Yahweh.
The Name Yahweh is enshrined in the Third Commandment:
Thou shalt not take the Name of Yahweh thy Elohim [God] in vain” (Ex.20:7)
The word “vain” is the Hebrew shoaw, meaning “to rush over, to bring devastation, uselessness, or ruin”. In other words, this is THE Sacred Name above all names. This Name is not to be blasphemed (Lev.24:16) or desecrated. It is to be treated with reverential awe because it is the essence of the True God Himself.
More on the name of God and modern religion in part 2