Who is Allah? ‘Do Muslims worship a different God?’
Some people believe that Muslims worship a God that is different from the one worshipped by Christians and Jews. This might due to the fact that Muslims often refer to God as ‘Allah’. This concept is false, since ‘Allah’ is simply the Arabic word for the One true ‘Almighty, the Only Worthy of Worship,’ Who created the universe and all humanity. Let there be no doubt – Muslims worship the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus (peace and blessings be upon them all). However, it is certainly true that Jews, Christians and Muslims all have different concepts of Almighty God. For example, Muslims – like Jews – reject the Christian belief of the Trinity and the Divine Incarnation. This, however, does not mean that each of these three religions worship a different God – because, as we have already said, there is only One True God. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to be ‘Abrahamic Faiths.’ However, Islam teaches that other religions have, in once way or another, distorted and nullified a pure and proper belief in Almighty God by neglecting His true teachings and mixing them with man-made ideas.
Arabic speaking people of all religions refer to God as ‘Allah.’ For example, if you pick up an Arabic translation of the Christian Bible you will see the word ‘Allah’ where ‘God’ is used in English. Therefore, ‘Allah’ is not the God of the Muslims only, but the same God worshipped by all faiths. This idea that ‘Allah’ is different from ‘God’ is illogical since it is tantamount to saying that the French worship a different ‘God’ because they use the word ‘Dieu,’ and that the Hebrews worship a different ‘God’ because they called him “Yahweh.’
However, the word “ALLAH” is the most suitable name for the Almighty, because it does’nt have a plural form and nor does it have any gender, while the word God has a plural and gender i-e. gods and goddess.
The Glorious Quran, which is the divine scripture of Muslims, was revealed in the Arabic language, so Muslims use the word ‘Allah’ for ‘God’ even when they are speaking other languages. A more literal translation of ‘Allah’ into English might be ‘the-one-and-only God’ or ‘the one true God.’
Clarifying the linguistic connections between the Names Allah and Elohim.
First we see the identical pronunciation in Scripture:
The word for God in Genesis 1:1 is elohim, which is essentially a plural form of a more basic root-Hebrew word for God, (eloh).
Furthermore, the Arabic translation of the Jewish Bible uses the name “Allah” to refer to God in Genesis 1:1
” Fee al-badi’ khalaqa Allahu as-Samaawaat wa al-Ard . . .”
In addition to the etymological connection based on sound, we also discover the connections of the two Names based on roots, spelling, meaning, and geography.
If one were to find the word (eloh) (alef-lamed-heh) in an inscription written in paleo-hebrew, aramaic, or some sort of Nabataean script, it could be pronounced numerous ways without the diacritical marks to guide the reader.
When treated as a verb root, this letter combination (pronounced alah) is the root for the verb “to swear” or “to take an oath,” as well as the verb “to deify” or “to worship”
[look up alef-lamed-heh (ALH) in Milon Ben-Y’hudaah, Ivri-Angli (Ben Yehuda’s Hebrew-English Dictionary)]. The root itself finds its origin with an older root, el, which means God, deity, power, strength..
So, one of the basic Hebrew words for God, (eloh), can easily be pronounced alah without the diacritical marks. Not surprisingly, the Aramaic word for God, according to the Lexicon offered at http://peshitta.org, is (alah).
This word, in the standard script (), or the Estrangela script (), is spelled alap-lamad-heh (ALH), which are the exact corresponding letters to the Hebrew eloh.
The Aramaic is closely related to the more ancient root word for God, eel (according to Robert Oshana’s on-line introduction to basic Assyrian Aramaic atwww.learnassyrian.com).
The Arabic word for God, Allah, is spelled in a very similar way, and is remotely related to the more generic word for deity, ilah. We’re quickly starting to notice the obvious linguistic and etymological connections between the respective words for God in these closely related Semitic languages (e.g. Allah, Alah, and Eloh being related to Ilah, Eel, and El, respectively).
Let me make it more clear….
- We have made the connection in terms of spelling, as all these words are spelled similar to one another.
- The geographic connection is there, as these respective languages originate in regions that are very close to one another.
- The roots are also basically the same.
- The meanings are essentially the same.
In conclusion, the ancient Semitic names for God (Allah and Elohim) are actually the same.
The Quran uses the word “We” when quoting Almighty Allah. Does that mean that Muslims believe in more than one God?
Islam adheres to uncompromising and strict monotheism. It teaches that God is One and indivisible. In the Glorious Quran, Almighty Allah (azza’w’ajal) often refers to Himself as “We”. But it does not mean that there is more than one God. The reference of Almighty Allah to Himself as “We” in many Quranic verses is necessarily understood in the Arabic language to denote power and grandeur.
In some languages there are two types of plural forms. One is related to quantity and used to refer to two or more persons, places or things. The other kind of plural is one of majesty, power and distinction. For example, in proper English, the Queen of England refers to herself as “we”. This is known as the ‘majestic plural or royal plural.’
The oneness of Allah is stressed throughout the Majestic Quran. A clear example in this short answer:
“Proclaim (O dear Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)), ‘He is Allah, He is One, Allah is Carefree. He has no offspring, nor is He born from anyone. And there is none equal to Him.”
The Quran says that Almighty Allah is Merciful and that He gives severe punishment. So is He forgiving or is He revengeful?
The Majestic Quran mentions many times that Almighty Allah is the Most Merciful. In fact, all except one of the 114 chapters of the Glorious Quran begins with “Bismillah iRahman iRaheem” which means,
Allah-beginning with the name of- the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
The Compassionate, the Merciful; however, in Arabic grammar both names are intensive forms of the word ‘merciful’. rahmaan means merciful to all creations, and justice is part of this mercy. Raheem means merciful especially to the believers and forgiveness is part of this mercy. A complimentary and comprehensive meaning is intended by the use of both of them together.
In addition, Almighty Allah speaks of His forgiveness throughout the Glorious Quran. In fact, Almighty Allah’s mercy and forgiveness have been mentioned together more than 70 times in the Holy Quran. Allah, the Most Exalted, repreatedly reminds us by saying:
“And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (al-Baqarah 2:218)
But He also gives severe punishment to those who deserve it. Almighty Allah told the Beloved and Blessed Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):
“Inform My bondmen that undoubtedly, I surely am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful. And that indeed the punishment of Mine is a painful punishment.” (Hijr 15:49-50)
Almighty Allah is ‘Just’, and His justice necessitates that He rewards those who obey and serve HIm and punishes those who disobey and rebel against Him.
If Allah, the Most Just, punishes a criminal, this would be regarded as his mercy, blessings and forgiveness.
Allah, the Most Merciful, forgives all those who repent and correct themselves at any stage in their lives, and He has invited all people to His abundant forgiveness and mercy:
“Proclaim (O dear Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)),”O my slave, who have wronged themselves, do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy; indeed Allah forgives all sins, indeed He only is the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” And incline towards your Lord and submit to Him, before the punishment comes to you and then you may not be helped. And follow this, the best among all, which has been sent down towards you from your Lord, before the punishment comes suddenly upon you whilst you are unaware.” (Zumar 39: 53-55)
Some believe that Muslims worship Muhammad (peace be upon him). Is this true?
Muslims do not worship Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) in any way. We believe that he was the last Messenger, the leader of all the Prophets, sent by Almighty Allah like all His other Prophets and Messengers. However, some people mistakenly assume that Muslims worship Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), like Jesus (peace be upon him), never claimed a divine status. He called people in worship Almighty Allah alone. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was chosen to be Almighty Allah’s final messenger and to communicate His messege to us, not only in words, but also in deeds as living example of hi impeccable and upright moral character and because he perfectly conveyed the truth from Almighty Allah and because he is the beloved, chosen and loved by Allah, the Most Wise – which indeed is the pure monotheism of Islam.
Muslims strive to follow the ideal and great example of the Beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), but do not worship him in any way. Islam teaches Muslims to love and respect all of the Almighty Allah’s Prophets and Messengers. However, respecting and loving them does not mean worshipping them. There is a distinct difference between respect and worship. Muslims know that all worship must be directed to Almighty Allah alone.
In fact, the worship of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) – or – anyone else – along with, or instead of, Almighty Allah is considered an unpardonable sin in Islam. Even if a person claims to be a Muslim but worships anything other than Allah, it invalidates ones claim to Islam. The Declaration of faith makes it clear that Muslims must worship Almighty Allah alone.
Is Islam a laid-back religion?
Most Muslims find it rather odd that their religion, which strikes a remarkable balance between faith and deeds, are sometimes accused of being ‘laid-back’. Perhaps this misconception came about because Muslims are known to say’all praise is due to Allah’ whenever anything good or bad happens. This is because Muslims know that everything comes from Almighty Allah, the Creator of the universe, and occurs by His will. Thus, a Muslim worries less about material matters and views earthly life in the proper perspective. A true Muslim relies completely on Almighty Allah and knows that whatever happens is always for the best, whether one recognizes it or not, so one graciously accepts whatever cannot be changed.
This does not mean that Muslims should simply await destiny and take no action in life. On the contrary, Islam demands action and effort to change every undesirable situation. To be more precise, action is a required part of one’s faith. If human beings did not have the ability to act, it would be unjust to expect hem to do and to avoid certain things. Far from being ‘laid-back’, Islam teaches that man’s main obligation in life is to act and exert effort in obedience to Allah, the All-Powerful.
Islam teaches that human beings should take positive action in this life and supplement it with prayer. Some people are lazy and careless and then blame the negative results on destiny and fate. Some even say that, if Allah had willed, they would not have sinned or committed crimes. All of these arguments are completely erroneous, because Allah the Most Wise always does what is right. Almighty Allah has not ordered us to do anything that we cannot do, because His justice is complete and perfect.