Is it wrong to use the word "GOD"?

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Mar 15, 2007
Is it wrong to use the word "GOD"?

Should we only use the word "Allah" ?

The internet has indeed brought many Muslims of various backgrounds, languages and cultures into direct contact. The ease of information exchange on our computers monitors has highlighted the role of written communications as opposed to verbal communications.

Recently, one issue has raised considerable controversy between the readers. This is the issue of whether to use the word "Allah" or the word "God" when we are speaking about our Lord. Invariably, there seems to be someone who feels offended that we use the word "God" when we talk about the One and Only God (Allah in Arabic).

It is surprising to notice that many Muslim brothers and sisters do not know that the word "Allah" is the Arabic word for the word "God". Many of them believe that "Allah" is the actual name of the Muslim God! They do not realize that the word "Allah" does not belong exclusively to the Muslims and that it has always been used before (and after) the revelation of the Quran by the Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians when they speak about God.

Talking to English speaking people about God using the word "Allah" is very much the same like speaking to Arabic speaking people about "Allah" using the word God. It makes all the sense to show respect to the people and their language by speaking to them in the language they use.

Insisting on the use of the word "Allah" which is the Arabic word for God immediately creates the illusion that "Allah" is a whole different deity than God of the whole world. It creates a god that belongs ONLY to the Muslims, and takes the universality of Islam out of it.

Those who insist that Allah is the actual name of God are somewhat short on Quranic knowledge. Let us read the following verse together:

"Say, "Call Him Allah, or call Him the Rahman (Most Gracious); whichever name you use, to Him belongs the 'Asma al-Husna' (most beautiful names)." 17:110

This verse makes the issue very clear. God here is telling us that He does not have one specific name ..... In God's infinite Greatness, there is not one name that is sufficient to make reference to Him. Indeed to God belongs all the beautiful names. The Quran lists over 90 names for God and not just the word Allah. We can call Him Allah, we can call Him the Most Gracious, or we can call him by any of the beautiful names that are worthy of Him. Whether we use the Arabic word for the name like Rahman or the English equivelant which is The Most Gracious does not make any difference. The restriction to use the Arabic words to call God is not a condition set by God.

Moreover, if God wanted us to call Him specifically by the name Allah, He would not include the words

".....whichever name you use ......." in this verse.

Moreover, if we analyse the word Allah we find that it is a combination of two Arabic words:

Al .... which means THE

Illah ...which means GOD

The combination of the two words (the GOD) is nothing more (or less) than what the word GOD indicates in any language.

The word 'Illah' has been used in pre-Quranic times, and it bears an uncanny resemblence to the Jewish word eloha, which also denotes God.

Therefore, for anyone to claim that the word Allah is the personal name of God or that the word Allah denotes the God of the Quran must indeed revise their knowledge in the light of all the issues discussed in this paper.

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