The Info List - Allah

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ALLAH (/ˈælə, ˈɑːlə, əlˈlɑː/ ; Arabic : الله‎, translit. _Allāh_‎, pronounced (_ listen )) is the Arabic word for God in Abrahamic religions . In the English language, the word generally refers to God in Islam . The word is thought to be derived by contraction from al -ilāh _, which means "the god", and is related to _El _ and _ Elohim _, the Hebrew words for God.

The word _Allah_ has been used by Arabic people of different religions since pre-Islamic times. More specifically, it has been used as a term for God by Muslims (both Arab and non-Arab) and Arab Christians . It is now mainly used by Muslims and Arab Christians to refer to God. It is also often, albeit not exclusively, used in this way by Bábists , Bahá\'ís , Indonesian and Maltese Christians, and Mizrahi Jews . Similar usage by Christians and Sikhs in West Malaysia has recently led to political and legal controversies.


* 1 Etymology

* 2 Usage

* 2.1 Pre-Islamic Arabians * 2.2 Christianity * 2.3 Islam

* 3 As a loanword

* 3.1 English and other European languages * 3.2 Malaysian and Indonesian language * 3.3 In other scripts and languages

* 4 Typography

* 4.1 Unicode

* 5 See also * 6 Notes * 7 References * 8 External links


The Arabic components that build up the word "Allah":

* alif * hamzat waṣl (همزة وصل) * lām * lām * shadda (شدة) * dagger alif (ألف خنجرية) * hāʾ

The etymology of the word _Allāh_ has been discussed extensively by classical Arab philologists. Grammarians of the Basra school regarded it as either formed "spontaneously" (_murtajal_) or as the definite form of _lāh_ (from the verbal root _lyh_ with the meaning of "lofty" or "hidden"). Others held that it was borrowed from Syriac or Hebrew, but most considered it to be derived from a contraction of the Arabic definite article _al- _ "the" and _ilāh_ "deity , god" to _al-lāh_ meaning "the deity", or "the God". The majority of modern scholars subscribe to the latter theory, and view the loanword hypothesis with skepticism.

Cognates of the name "Allāh" exist in other Semitic languages , including Hebrew and Aramaic . The corresponding Aramaic form is _Elah_ (אלה), but its emphatic state is _Elaha_ (אלהא). It is written as ܐܠܗܐ (_ʼĔlāhā_) in Biblical Aramaic and ܐܲܠܵܗܵܐ (_ʼAlâhâ_) in Syriac as used by the Assyrian Church , both meaning simply "God". Biblical Hebrew mostly uses the plural (but functional singular) form _ Elohim _ (אלהים), but more rarely it also uses the singular form _Eloah_ (אלוהּ).



Main article: Religion in pre-Islamic Arabia

Regional variants of the word _Allah_ occur in both pagan and Christian pre-Islamic inscriptions. Different theories have been proposed regarding the role of Allah in pre-Islamic polytheistic cults . Some authors have suggested that polytheistic Arabs used the name as a reference to a creator god or a supreme deity of their pantheon . The term may have been vague in the Meccan religion . According to one hypothesis, which goes back to Julius Wellhausen , Allah (the supreme deity of the tribal federation around Quraysh ) was a designation that consecrated the superiority of Hubal (the supreme deity of Quraysh) over the other gods. However, there is also evidence that Allah and Hubal were two distinct deities. According to that hypothesis, the Kaaba was first consecrated to a supreme deity named Allah and then hosted the pantheon of Quraysh after their conquest of Mecca, about a century before the time of Muhammad. Some inscriptions seem to indicate the use of Allah as a name of a polytheist deity centuries earlier, but we know nothing precise about this use. Some scholars have suggested that Allah may have represented a remote creator god who was gradually eclipsed by more particularized local deities. There is disagreement on whether Allah played a major role in the Meccan religious cult. No iconic representation of Allah is known to have existed. Muhammad\'s father\'s name was ʿAbd-Allāh meaning "the slave of Allāh".


The Aramaic word for "God" in the language of Assyrian Christians is _ʼĔlāhā_, or _Alaha_. Arabic -speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, use the word "Allah" to mean "God". The Christian Arabs of today have no other word for "God" than "Allah". (Even the Arabic-descended Maltese language of Malta , whose population is almost entirely Roman Catholic, uses _Alla_ for "God".) Arab Christians, for example, use the terms _Allāh al-ab_ (الله الأب) for God the Father , _Allāh al-ibn_ (الله الابن) for God the Son , and _Allāh al-rūḥ al-quds_ (الله الروح القدس) for God the Holy Spirit . (See God in Christianity for the Christian concept of God.)

Arab Christians have used two forms of invocations that were affixed to the beginning of their written works. They adopted the Muslim _bismillāh_, and also created their own Trinitized _bismillāh_ as early as the 8th century. The Muslim _bismillāh_ reads: "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful." The Trinitized _bismillāh_ reads: "In the name of Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God." The Syriac , Latin and Greek invocations do not have the words "One God" at the end. This addition was made to emphasize the monotheistic aspect of Trinitarian belief and also to make it more palatable to Muslims.

According to Marshall Hodgson , it seems that in the pre-Islamic times, some Arab Christians made pilgrimage to the Kaaba , a pagan temple at that time, honoring Allah there as God the Creator.

Some archaeological excavation quests have led to the discovery of ancient pre-Islamic inscriptions and tombs made by Arab Christians in the ruins of a church at Umm el-Jimal in Northern Jordan , which contained references to Allah as the proper name of God, and some of the graves contained names such as "Abd Allah" which means "the servant/slave of Allah".

The name Allah can be found countless times in the reports and the lists of names of Christian martyrs in South Arabia, as reported by antique Syriac documents of the names of those martyrs from the era of the Himyarite and Aksumite kingdoms.

A Christian leader named Abd Allah ibn Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad was martyred in Najran in 523, as he had worn a ring that said " Allah is my lord".

In an inscription of Christian martyrion dated back to 512, references to Allah can be found in both Arabic and Aramaic, which called him "Allah" and "Alaha", and the inscription starts with the statement "By the Help of Allah".

In pre-Islamic Gospels, the name used for God was "Allah", as evidenced by some discovered Arabic versions of the New Testament written by Arab Christians during the pre-Islamic era in Northern and Southern Arabia .

Pre-Islamic Arab Christians have been reported to have raised the battle cry "_Ya La Ibad Allah_" (O slaves of Allah) to invoke each other into battle.

"Allah" was also mentioned in pre-Islamic Christian poems by some Ghassanid and Tanukhid poets in Syria and Northern Arabia .


Main article: God in Islam See also: Names of God in Islam Medallion showing " Allah Jalla Jalaluhu " in the Hagia Sophia , Istanbul , Turkey.

In Islam, _Allah_ is the unique, omnipotent and only deity and creator of the universe and is equivalent to God in other Abrahamic religions .

According to Islamic belief, Allah is the most common word to represent God, and humble submission to his will, divine ordinances and commandments is the pivot of the Muslim faith. "He is the only God, creator of the universe, and the judge of humankind." "He is unique (_wāḥid_) and inherently one (_aḥad_), all-merciful and omnipotent." The Qur'an declares "the reality of Allah, His inaccessible mystery, His various names, and His actions on behalf of His creatures." Allah script outside Eski Cami (The Old Mosque) in Edirne , Turkey.

In Islamic tradition, there are 99 Names of God (_al-asmā’ al-ḥusná_ lit. meaning: 'the best names' or 'the most beautiful names'), each of which evoke a distinct characteristic of Allah. All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name. Among the 99 names of God, the most famous and most frequent of these names are "the Merciful" (_al-Raḥmān _) and "the Compassionate" (_al-Raḥīm_).

Most Muslims use the untranslated Arabic phrase _in shā’ Allāh _ (meaning 'if God wills') after references to future events. Muslim discursive piety encourages beginning things with the invocation of _bismillāh _ (meaning 'in the name of God').

There are certain phrases in praise of God that are favored by Muslims, including "Subḥān Allāh " (Holiness be to God), "al-ḥamdu lillāh " (Praise be to God), "lā ilāha illā Allāh " (There is no deity but God) and "Allāhu akbar " ( God is greater) as a devotional exercise of remembering God (dhikr ). In a Sufi practice known as _dhikr Allah_ (lit. remembrance of God), the Sufi repeats and contemplates on the name _Allah_ or other divine names while controlling his or her breath.

Some scholars have suggested that Muḥammad used the term _Allah_ in addressing both pagan Arabs and Jews or Christians in order to establish a common ground for the understanding of the name for God, a claim Gerhard Böwering says is doubtful. According to Böwering, in contrast with pre-Islamic Arabian polytheism , God in Islam does not have associates and companions, nor is there any kinship between God and jinn . Pre-Islamic pagan Arabs believed in a blind, powerful, inexorable and insensible fate over which man had no control. This was replaced with the Islamic notion of a powerful but provident and merciful God.

According to Francis Edwards Peters , "The Qur’ān insists, Muslims believe, and historians affirm that Muhammad and his followers worship the same God as the Jews (29:46). The Qur’an's Allah is the same Creator God who covenanted with Abraham ". Peters states that the Qur'an portrays Allah as both more powerful and more remote than Yahweh, and as a universal deity, unlike Yahweh who closely follows Israelites .



The history of the name _Allāh_ in English was probably influenced by the study of comparative religion in the 19th century; for example, Thomas Carlyle (1840) sometimes used the term Allah but without any implication that Allah was anything different from God. However, in his biography of Muḥammad (1934), Tor Andræ always used the term _Allah_, though he allows that this "conception of God" seems to imply that it is different from that of the Jewish and Christian theologies.

Languages which may not commonly use the term _Allah_ to denote God may still contain popular expressions which use the word. For example, because of the centuries long Muslim presence in the Iberian Peninsula , the word _ojalá_ in the Spanish language and _oxalá_ in the Portuguese language exist today, borrowed from Arabic (Arabic: إن شاء الله). This phrase literally means 'if God wills' (in the sense of "I hope so"). The German poet Mahlmann used the form "Allah" as the title of a poem about the ultimate deity, though it is unclear how much Islamic thought he intended to convey.

Some Muslims leave the name "Allāh" untranslated in English. The word has also been applied to certain living human beings as personifications of the term and concept.


The first dictionary of Dutch-Malay by A.C. Ruyl , Justus Heurnius, and Caspar Wiltens in 1650 recorded "Allah" as the translation of the Dutch word "Godt ". Main articles: Titular Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur v. Menteri Dalam Negeri and 2010 attacks against places of worship in Malaysia

Christians in Malaysia and Indonesia use _Allah_ to refer to God in the Malaysian and Indonesian languages (both of which are standardized forms of the Malay language .) Mainstream Bible translations in the language use _Allah_ as the translation of Hebrew Elohim (translated in English Bibles as "God"). This goes back to early translation work by Francis Xavier in the 16th century. The first dictionary of Dutch-Malay by Albert Cornelius Ruyl, Justus Heurnius, and Caspar Wiltens in 1650 (revised edition from 1623 edition and 1631 Latin-edition) recorded "Allah" as the translation of the Dutch word "Godt ". Ruyl also translated Matthew in 1612 to Malay language (first Bible translation to non-European language, only a year after King James Version was published ), which was printed in the Netherlands in 1629. Then he translated Mark which was published in 1638.

The government of Malaysia in 2007 outlawed usage of the term _Allah_ in any other but Muslim contexts, but the Malayan High Court in 2009 revoked the law, ruling that it was unconstitutional. While _Allah_ had been used for the Christian God in Malay for more than four centuries, the contemporary controversy was triggered by usage of _Allah_ by the Roman Catholic newspaper _The Herald _. The government appealed the court ruling, and the High Court suspended implementation of its verdict until the appeal was heard. In October 2013, the court ruled in favor of the government's ban. In early 2014, the Malaysian government confiscated more than 300 bibles for using the word to refer to the Christian God in Peninsular Malaysia. However, the use of Allah is not prohibited in the two Malaysian state of Sabah and Sarawak . The main reason it is not prohibited in these two states is that usage has been long-established and local Alkitab ( Bibles ) have been widely distributed freely in East Malaysia without restrictions for years. Both states also do not have similar Islamic state laws as those in West Malaysia.

As a reaction to some media criticism, the Malaysian government has introduced a "10-point solution" to avoid confusion and misleading information. The 10-point solution is in line with the spirit of the 18 - and 20-point agreements of Sarawak and Sabah.


_Allāh_ in other languages that use Arabic script is spelled in the same way. This includes Urdu , Persian /Dari , Uyghur among others.

* Assamese , Bengali : আল্লাহ _Allah_ * Bosnian : _Allah_ * Chinese (Mandarin ): 真主 _Zhēnzhǔ_ (semantic translation as "the true lord"), 安拉 _Ānlā_, 阿拉 _Ālā_; or 胡大 _Húdà_ (_Khoda_, from Farsi : "God") * Czech , Slovak : _Alláh_ * Greek : Αλλάχ _Allách_ * Filipino : Alā or _Allah_ * Hebrew : אללה‎‎ _Allah_ * Hindi : अल्लाह _Allāh_ * Malayalam : അള്ളാഹ് _Aḷḷāh_ * Japanese : アラー _Arā_, アッラー _Arrā_, アッラーフ _Arrāfu_ * Latvian : _Allāhs_ * Maltese : _Alla_ * Korean : 알라 _Alla_ * Polish : _Allah_, also archaic _Allach_ or _Ałłach_ * Russian , Ukrainian , Bulgarian : Алла́х _Allakh_ * Serbian , Belarusian , Macedonian : Алах _Alah_ * Spanish , Portuguese : _Alá_ * Sylheti : আল্লা _Alla_ * Thai : อัลลอฮ์ _Anláw_ * Punjabi (Gurmukhi ): ਅੱਲਾਹ _Allāh_, archaic ਅਲਹੁ _Alahu_ (in Sikh scriptures ) * Turkish : Allah * Vietnamese : _Thánh A-la_


_ The word Allah_ written in different writing systems .

The word _Allāh_ is always written without an alif to spell the _ā_ vowel. This is because the spelling was settled before Arabic spelling started habitually using _alif_ to spell _ā_. However, in vocalized spelling, a small diacritic _alif_ is added on top of the _shaddah _ to indicate the pronunciation.

One exception may be in the pre-Islamic Zabad inscription , where it ends with an ambiguous sign that may be a lone-standing _h_ with a lengthened start, or may be a non-standard conjoined _l-h_:-

* الاه : This reading would be _Allāh_ spelled phonetically with _alif_ for the _ā_. * الإله : This reading would be _al-Ilāh_ = 'the god' (an older form, without contraction), by older spelling practice without _alif_ for _ā_.

Many Arabic type fonts feature special ligatures for Allah.


Unicode has a codepoint reserved for _Allāh_, ﷲ‎ = U+FDF2, in the Arabic Presentation Forms-A block, which exists solely for "compatibility with some older, legacy character sets that encoded presentation forms directly"; this is discouraged for new text. Instead, the word _Allāh_ should be represented by its individual Arabic letters, while modern font technologies will render the desired ligature.

The calligraphic variant of the word used as the Coat of arms of Iran is encoded in Unicode, in the Miscellaneous Symbols range, at codepoint U+262B (☫).


* Abdullah (name) * Ilāh * Names of God


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* ^

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