Should Muslims use the word Allah or God?

Should Muslims use the word Allah or God?

Should Muslims use the word Allah or God?

Recently, there has been some controversy between non Arabic speaking Muslims. The subject of the controversy is whether to use the word Allah or the word God when Muslims are speaking about God in a language other than Arabic. For some reason, there seem to be those who are quite enraged when the word God is used to speak about God.

Many Muslims believe that Allah is the actual name of God in the Quran, rather than Allah being the Arabic word for the word God. They do not realize that it is wrong to personalise God as He is not a person. Most assuredly, God is much greater than to be confined to a single name

Neither do they 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 and using the word Allah is very much the same as speaking to Arabic speaking people about Allah and using the word God. It makes better sense to use the equivalent word of each language.

Whether the word Allah is used or the word God is used, the subject is not any different; it is the One God who is the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists.

Insisting on the use of the word Allah immediately creates the illusion that Allah is a totally different god than God of the Torah and the Gospels. All that does is to create a god that belongs only to Muslims and subsequently alienate non Muslims thinking that Muslims worship a “different god”!

Moreover, those who insist that Allah is the personal name of God need to read and reflect on the following Quranic words:

“Say, “Call upon Allah, or call upon Al-Rahman (The Almighty). Whichever you call upon, to Him belong the 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. If God had one specific name, which is Allah, He would not tell us to call Him “Al-Rahman”, nor would God tell us “whichever (name) you call upon.”

Whether we use the Arabic word for a name like ‘Al-Wahid’ for example, or the English equivalant which is ‘The One’ does not make any difference. The restriction to use the Arabic words to call God is not a condition set by God. This restriction falsely implies that only the Arabic language is worthy of calling on God! What about the receivers of the previous Scriptures, in Hebrew and Aramaic, did they not call on God?

The Quran lists 80 names for God and not just the word Allah. These “Beautiful Names” are names of God and not just attributes of God. In 17:110 we are told that to God belongs the Beautiful Names. The word used is “asmaa”. This word is the plural of the word ‘ism’ which means name. Naturally every name of God has a meaning and denotes an attribute of God, but each one is primarily a name of God. It follows that labelling these titles as merely attributes of God, rather than names of God, is in contradiction to Quranic truth. In actual fact, there is not any Quranic verse which speaks of these titles as attributes of God, all the Quranic verses speak of these as names of God.

Therefore, if all these beautiful names are God’s names, would we still be justified to say that the word Allah is the personal name of God? Would anyone be justified to claim that we cannot call God except by the name of Allah? How can we say that when God Himself told us that to Him belongs ALL the Beautiful Names and not just one name.

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