Monday, November 11, 2013

Common Misconceptions About Arabic and Islam

Common Misconceptions About Arabic and Islam


Did Muslims invent Allah?
Allah was first worshiped by Arab pagans and was adopted as the supreme deity of indigenous Arab Jewish converts (who equated him to Yahweh) and Christians (who equated him to Jesus). Muhammad, who was born into a pagan Arab household, simply used the name of the supreme deity recognized by all Arabs (alongside Rahman). Even today, Arab Christians worship Allah.

Does Allah mean The-God or God?
Some say that Allah is a contraction of the term Al-Ilah(The  God), and is simply a word. Some say that the origin of Allah is the Semitic El (originally meaning Strong, but was later adopted by the Phoneticians and Babylonians as the name of the supreme deity), hence making Allah the general name of the popular middle-eastern god. There is credibility in both arguments. Similar to the pagan Arab goddess Al-Ilat(literally The-Goddess), Allah comes from the root alif-lam-ha, which in its simplest form is the word Ilah(a generic god). From this, we can see that Allah itself is not equivalent to the word god  or God (Ilah), but that is is indeed the root of the Name. Allah, through the passage of time, evolved from a generic word to an actual name. 

The process is the same that resulted in the word El(Strong) becoming the name of the middle-eastern god. El and Allah are two distinct deities. Allah is not the name of the supreme god of the Old Testament (who is El or Yahweh).  Nor is Allah the name the god of the New Testament (Eloh / Elah are generic Aramaic words for god - equivalent to Arabic word Ilah). Elohim is the plural of the Hebrew Eloh, but in most cases is equivalent to God in English. So its Arabic equivalent would be alihah or Ilah depending on the circumstances, but never Allah.

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