Who is Allah?

Who-is-AllahAllah is the Creator and Judge of mankind, the Omnipotent, the Omnipresent, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Belonging to an old Semitic root word meaning Divine and used in the Canaanite El and the biblical Elohim, the term Allah is used by most of the Arabic-speaking Muslims, Christians, Jews and others alike. If one picks up an Arabic Christian Bible it will be seen in the book of Genesis, the word Allah is mentioned six times in the first paragraph, seventeen times in the whole page and hundreds of time throughout the Bible. They could have chosen the word “God” for Allah in Arabic but we see they chose no to. Muslims eliminate any anthropomorphism (human qualities) to their understanding and concept of Allah.

His attributes in no way resemble the attributes possessed by humans, despite similar labels or appellations. Prior to the advent of Islam, Jews and other tribes in Arabic also referred to the supreme creator as Allah. The belief that mediation is necessary in order for one’s prayers to be accepted finds no place in Islamic thought. Allah is too holy to be approached is negated in Islam in the following Quranic verse:

“And indeed We have created man, and We know what his own self-whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein.” (Quran 50:16)

It should be emphasized first that the term Allah has no connotation at all of a tribal God, an Arabian or even a Muslim God. The term Allah in Arabic simply means the One and Only True, Universal God of all. To think that Allah is different from God with a capital “G” is no more valid than saying the french Christians worship a different God because they call him “Dieu”. The uniqueness of the name Allah is that it remains singular and is free from any form of pluralism like ‘Gods’ and gender attribution such as ‘Goddesses’. For Muslims to consider addressing Allah as Allahess will seem only absurd. It is a name that He Himself has told us to call Him. Imagine calling Chris by the name of Jim and expecting Chris to respond.

The word for God used in Aramaic is Alaha which comes from the same Proto-Semitic word (ilah-) as the Arabic and Hebrew terms. In fact, the word Allah existed much before Muhammad PBUH for thousands of years. It is probably one of the oldest names man has used to address God. According to the Quran, Adam used the word Allah to call the Lord. On the contrary, the word “God” emerged along with the English language which is not as old as the Semitic languages.

What are the basic attributes of Allah? In total there are ninety-nine of the “most beautiful names” (or attributes) of Allah. The Saviour, the Knower of All, Hearer of All, the Seer of All, the Judge, the Just, the Magnificent, the Forgiver of Sins, the Highest, the Greatest, the Preserver, the Mighty, the Generous, the Watchful one, the Responder to Prayers, the Perfectly wise, the Majestic one, the Resurrector, the Truth, the Possessor of all strength, the Ever-living one, the Self-existing one, the all-Powerful, the Supreme one, the Patient one and the Guide to all repentance, etc.

“Allah is He, other than Whom there is no God; the Sovereign, the Holy One, the Source of Peace (and Perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of Safety, the Irresistible. The Exalted in Might, the Supreme: Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners, they attribute to Him.” (Quran 59:23)
“He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colours). To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His Praises and Glory; and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Quran 59:24)
“Say: Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names.” (Quran 17:110)

 

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