owns the word “Allah” ?
Friday, July 4, 2008
Who owns the word “Allah” ?
The Malaysian Government need to learn that no one owns the word
"Allah" nor does any one own "Allah". Same formula applies
to the other names of God be it Yahweh, Ahura Mazda, Krishna, Allah, Ahura
Mazda or any other name one can imagine to call on the creator.
Perhaps, one single event led to the other and the whole cosmos came into
being. Thus the concept of oneness creation, oneness of the humanity and
oneness the people translates into Oneness of God, One all loving God. I hope
you find the answer in various ways of praising the lord; your lord, my lord
and every one's lord; the same causer and sustainer of the creation.
The phrases like One God, One family or Vasudeva Kutumbam is all about peaceful
co-existence of diverse people as one family. If we can learn to accept and
respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then
conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
The Qur’aan starts with this verse:
1:2 All praise is due to God alone, the Sustainer of all the worlds,
Topics discussed in this Verse: [Allah:Praise
be to Him] [Allah's
attributes:Cherisher and Sustainer] [Allah's
attributes:Lord of the Worlds]
Alhamdu lillahi rabbi alAAalameena
In this instance, the term "worlds" denotes all categories of
existence both in the physical and the spiritual sense. The Arabic expression
rabb - rendered by me as ',`Sustainer" - embraces a wide complex of
meanings not easily expressed by a single term in another language. It
comprises the ideas of having a just claim to the possession of anything and,
consequently, authority over it, as well as of rearing, sustaining and
fostering anything from its inception to its final completion. Thus, the head
of a family is called rabb ad-dar ("master of the house") because he
has authority over it and is responsible for its maintenance; similarly, his
wife is called rabbat ad-dar ("mistress of the house"). Preceded by
the definite article al, the designation rabb is applied, in the Qur'an,
exclusively to God as the sole fosterer and sustainer of all creation -
objective as well as conceptual - and therefore the ultimate source of all
authority.(Quran Ref: 1:2 )
Here is how the last chapter begins :
114:1 SAY: "I seek refuge with the Sustainer of men,
Topics discussed in this Verse: [Allah:seek
refuge with Him] [Allah's
attributes:Cherisher and Sustainer] [Mankind]
Qul aAAoothu birabbi alnnasi
The most important aspect of quoting both the first and last chapters of
Qur'aan has a purpose in it. Both verses do not address Muslims exclusively, in
turn they address the whole cosmos and the human beings.
God belongs to all, we don't need to own him (her or it), let him remain the
creator and owner of our lives and let us call him whichever way we can.
The Neocons Muslims (Equal and opposite counterparts of Neocons in all faiths)
need to be happy that the Christians and Sikhs want to keep "Allah"
as one of the names of God.
Indeed, the Arab Christians and Jews do call God "Allah".
Allah is God's name in Arabic. Allah, the creator and sustainer has no problems
if we call him Yahweh, Ahura Mazda, Buddha, God, Ishwar, Mahavir, Wahe Guru or
Allah. Let's not limit the capabilities of God to a language and a religion. He
is the creator and sustainer of all worlds.
As a Muslim I welcome every one to call God with his name in Arabic –
"Allah" with equal devotion and honor. Quietly and peacefully this
would be the response of over 99% of Muslims in the world. It is time for us
not to run over by the few.
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker, Writer and a Moderator. He is a frequent
guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism,
politics, Islam, Religion, Terrorism, India and civic issues. He is the founder
of the World Muslim Congress,
a group committed to building bridges and nurturing a world of co-existence. He
also heads the foundation
for pluralism, an organization committed to studying religious pluralism
and pluralistic governance. His personal website is http://www.mikeghouse.net/
and his writings are on the above websites as well as several of the ancillary
Blogs listed on the sites.
Malaysian Sikhs join debate over use of the word 'Allah'
4 Jul, 2008, 1042 hrs IST,
IANS KUALA LUMPUR:
Malaysia's 100,000-strong Sikh community is the latest party seeking to
intervene in the suit by the Catholic church over the use of the word Allah.
The Malaysian Gurdwaras Council filed an application to intervene in the suit
In a supporting affidavit, its president Jagir Singh said the word Allah in
reference to god was an integral part of the original version of the Sikh holy
book, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. As such, he said, no followers of the Sikh
religion would tolerate any form of obstruction on the use of the original
terms taken fromthe holy book, The Star newspaper reported Friday.
Jagir Singh said the council, the umbrella body of some 130 gurdwaras
nationwide, had an interest in the declaration sought by the applicant of the
suit. In the original suit, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur
Murphy Pakiam is seeking to declare that the Catholic weekly Herald is entitled
to use the word Allah. He is also seeking to declare that its usage was not
exclusive to Islam.
Pakiam, 70, had named the then internal security minister and the government as
respondents in the application filed March 19. The archbishop is named as an
applicant in the action in his capacity as publisher of the Herald. Other
parties which have applied to intervene in the suit are the Penang Islamic
Religious Council, Terengganu Islamic Religious and Malay Custom Council,
Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council and Perak Islamic Religious and
Malay Custom Council. Practised by the majority Malays, Islam is the official
religion of Malaysia. But it is not an Islamic state as per the constitution,
which permits religious minorities to practise their respective faiths.
Multi-ethnic Malaysia has significant populations of over two million Hindu
settlers from India, Buddhists and Christians of various denominations, and
smaller numbers of people practising other faiths.
Profile of Mike Ghouse at 9:40
Labels: Allah, Christians,
for Pluralism, Interfaith
Some of the biggest misconceptions that many non-Muslims have about Islam have
to do with the word “Allah”. For various reasons, many people have come to
believe that Muslims worship a different God than Christians and Jews. This is
totally false, since “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for “God” - and there is
only One God. Let there be no doubt - Muslims worship the God of Noah, Abraham,
Moses, David and Jesus - peace 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 beliefs of the Trinity
and the Divine Incarnation. This, however, doesn’t mean that each of these
three religions worships 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”, and all of them are also classified as “monotheistic”.
However, Islam teaches that other religions have, in one 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. First of all, it is
important to note that “Allah” is the same word that Arabic-speaking Christians
and Jews use for God. If you pick up an Arabic Bible, you will see the word
“Allah” being used where “God” is used in English. This is because “Allah” is
the only word in the Arabic language equivalent to the English word “God” with
a capital “G”. Additionally, the word “Allah” cannot be made plural or given
gender (i.e. masculine or feminine), which goes hand-in-hand with the Islamic
concept of God. Because of this, and also because the Qur’an, which is the holy
scripture of Muslims, was revealed in the Arabic language, some Muslims use the
word “Allah” for “God”, even when they are speaking other languages. This is
not unique to the word “Allah”, since many Muslims tend to use Arabic words
when discussing Islamic issues, regardless of the language which they speak.
This is because the universal teachings of Islam - even though they have been
translated iin every major language - have been preserved in the Arabic
language.It is interesting to note that the Aramaic word “El”, which is the
word for God in the language that Jesus spoke, is certainly more similar in
sound to the word “Allah” than the English word “God”. This also holds true for
the various Hebrew words for God, which are “El” and “Elah”, and the plural
form “Elohim”. The reason for these similarities is that Aramaic, Hebrew and
Arabic are all Semitic languages with common origins. It should also be noted
that in translating the Bible into English, the Hebrew word “El” is translated
variously as “God”, “god” and “angel”! This imprecise language allows different
translators, based on their preconceived notions, to translate the word to fit
their own views. The Arabic word “Allah” presents no such difficulty or
ambiguity, since it is only used for Almighty God alone. Additionally, in
English, the only difference between “god”, meaning a false god, and “God”,
meaning the One True God, is the capital “G”. In the Arabic alphabet, since it
does not have capital letters, the word for God (i.e. Allah) is formed by
adding the equivalent to the English word “the” (Al-) to the Arabic word for
“god/God” (ilah). So the Arabic word “Allah” literally it means “The God” - the
“Al-” in Arabic basically serving the same function as the capital “G” in
English. Due to the above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of the
word “Allah” into English might be “The One -and-Only God” or “The One Truee
More importantly, it should also be noted that the Arabic word “Allah” contains
a deep religious message due to its root meaning and origin. This is because it
stems from the Arabic verb ta’allaha (or alaha), which means “to be
worshipped”. Thus in Arabic, the word “Allah” means “The One who deserves all
worship”. This, in a nutshell, is the Pure Monotheistic message of Islam. You see,
according to Islam, “monotheism” is much more than simply believing in the
existence of “only One God” - as seemingly opposed to two, three or more. If
one understands the root meaning of the word “Allah”, this point should become
clear. One should understand that Islam’s criticism of the other religions that
claim to be “monotheistic” is not because they are “polytheistic” in the
classic sense, but because they direct various forms of worship to other than
Almighty God. We will discuss the meaning of worship in Islam below, however,
before moving on it should be noted that many non-Muslims are unaware of the
distinction between simply believing in the existence of only One God and
reserving all worship for Him alone. Many Christians are painfully unaware of
this point, and thus you often find them asking how Muslims can accuse the
followers of Jesus, peace be upon him, of being “polytheists” when they were
all “monotheistic Jews”. First of all, it should be clarified that the word
“polytheist” doesn’t really sound right in this context, since to many it
implies simply believing in the existence of more than one God. So in an
Islamic context, “associators”, “man-worshippers” or “creature worshippers”
might be more accurate and appropriate terms - especially since Christians
believe Jesus to be both “100% God and 100% man”, while still paying
lip-service to God’s “Oneness”. However, as we’re previously touched upon, what
is really at the root of this problem is the fact that Christians - as well as
the members of other religions - don’t really know what “monotheism” means -
especially in the Islamic sense. All of the books, articles and papers that
I’ve read which were written by Christians invariably limit “monotheism” to
believing in the existence of “One Sovereign and Creator God”. Islam, however,
teaches much more than this.
Suffice it to say that just because someone claims to be a “monotheistic” Jew,
Christian or Muslim, that doesn’t keep them from falling into corrupt beliefs
and idolatrous practices. Many people, including some Muslims, claim belief in
“One God” even though they’ve fallen into acts of idolatry. Certainly, many
Protestants accuse Roman Catholics of idolatrous practices in regards to the
saints and the Virgin Mary. Likewise, the Greek Orthodox Church is considered
“idolatrous” by many other Christians because in much of their worship they use
icons. However, if you ask a Roman Catholic or a Greek Orthodox person if God
is “One”, they will invariably answer: “Yes!”. This lip-service, however, does
not stop them from being “creature worshipping” idolaters. The same goes for
Hindus, who just consider their gods to be “manifestations” or “incarnations”
of the One Supreme God.
Everyone should be aware of the fact that throughout the long history of the
“Abrahamic Faiths”, there have people who, while believing in “One God”, have
adopted beliefs and practices that completely nullify their claim to
“monotheism”. This is the Muslim view of Christians. We’re well aware of the
fact that they claim belief in “One God” with their lips, but this doesn’t mean
that they don’t nullify their claim in other ways. This is because many people
simply haven’t been taught everything that Pure Monotheism entails. From an
Islamic point of view, “monotheism” can be nullified in many ways. For example,
simply believing that it is permissible to rule by Western “liberal” and
“democratic” laws in lieu of the Divinely Revealed Law of Almighty God makes
one a “polytheist”. Certainly, a person who does such a thing, whether Jewish,
Christian or Muslim, doesn’t ever believe that there is another Almighty
Creator and Sovereign Lord. However, for all practical purposes, such a person
has take another “god”, whether they choose to admit it or not. In this way
they are associating partners with Almighty God (Arabic: shirk), and thus
become a “polytheist” in a practical sense, regardless of their lip-service to
“monotheism”. This holds true even if the person doesn’t believe what they are
doing is “worship”. For example, Roman Catholics who pray to the Virgin Mary
will staunchly deny that they are “worshipping” her. They instead call it
“adoration” or some other watered-down term. However, from an Islamic point of
view, what is worship if not this? Islam teaches that prayer and supplication
are the marrow of worship, so if one directs their prayers to an intermediary
(even if the pray is “ultimately” meant for God), then what is left of worship?
Additionally, how can someone who believes in Almighty God follow man-made laws
instead of God’s Law, without admitting that they’ve begun worshipping other
than God? Do they know better than God?
Additionally, the Old Testament makes it perfectly clear that making a “graven
image” of any created thing (not to mention ones which are supposed to
“represent” Almighty God) is prohibited. Please see Exodus 20:4-6, Leviticus
26:1 and Deuteronomy 4:16, 23, 25, 5:8 and Nehemiah 9:6 for some statements in
regards to this point. Without addressing the issue that Christians commonly
violate the unambiguous commandment not to even “make” representations of
anything that is in the “heavens above or on the earth beneath”, these verses
not only teach that worshipping idols is prohibited, but also that Almighty God
is eternally distinct from His creation and thus nothing in His creation can
represent Him. To believe otherwise is to be a de facto idol worshipper - even
if one claims belief in one, and only one, “True God”. In Exodus 20:4-6 and
Deuteronomy 4:16, Almighty God - who is a “Jealous God” - makes it perfectly
clear that He is distinct from His creation.
By giving such clear and merciful guidance to human beings, God is establishing
a universal and eternal Truth for the benefit of mankind. This eternal Truth is
the bedrock of religious guidance, since once people begin to believe that
Almighty God mixes with or can be represented by His creation, they can be
duped into believing almost anything. Once someone accepts that God has become
“incarnate” in His creation, or that someone or something is a “manifestation”
- and thus representation - of Him, the floodgates are open and “Truth” becomes
a matter of subjective guesswork. Once the first and most basic concept is
violated - regardless of how complicated and sophisticated the rationale for it
might be - it is very easy to fall further and further away from the Eternal
Truth of Pure Monotheism. In the final analysis, it is not a question of
whether God is capable of becoming a man, but rather a question of whether one
bases their beliefs about God on clear, unambiguous and authentic guidance.
Once it is left up to the human mind to decide what Almighty God can and cannot
do, the stage is set for misguidance to take root. Human speculation about God
only ends up leading to misguidance and despair, since no clear conclusions can
ever be reached. For example, is God capable of creating an object so heavy
that He is incapable of moving it? If not, does that mean that He is incapable?
It is because of misguided questions like this that Islam clearly teaches that
mankind should only say about God what He has said about Himself. This means
all of our ideas about God must be based on Revelation - not human speculation.
In short, the final prophet of Islam - Muhammad - was sent by Almighty God to
preach the same Pure Monotheism that was practiced by Noah, Abraham, Moses,
David and Jesus - peace be upon them all. This Pure Monotheism means not only
believing that there is only One God in existence, but realizing that He is
transcedent above His creation and that all worship is due to Him alone.
Before concluding, we should probably address the practice of those Muslims who
insist on using the Arabic word “Allah” even when speaking English. Even though
this practice certainly is not to be condemned when it is done around those who
understand the meaning of the Arabic word “Allah”, it is my experience - both
during my years as a non-Muslim and my years as a Muslim - that such a practice
can (and usually ddoes) breed misunderstanding. It seems that often times, many
of the Muslims who use the word “Allah” in lieu of the word “God”, even when
trying to attract people to Islam, are unaware of the severe misunderstandings
that many non-Muslims have about Islam (and the distorted way which Islam has
been portrayed in the West). Insisting on using the word “Allah” only fuels the
flames of misunderstanding - so there’s no good reason to do it. I’ve often
wondered what value some Muslims think that using the word “Allah” adds to the
Pure Message that they are trying to convey. ( . . . and I’m still waiting for
an answer!) Unfortunately, those Muslims who insist on using the word “Allah”
even when addressing non-Muslims who are unfamiliar with Islam and the Arabic
language, do both a disservice to themselves and their religion. Unfortunately,
this practice is usually based on the false assumption - by a non-native
speaker of English - that the word “God” in English is incapable of expressing
a pure and proper belief in Almighty God. This is certainly false. If someone
says that the English word “God” cannot be used to express the Pure Islamic
Belief in Tawhid, they are wrong not because they don’t understand Tawhid, but
simply because they don’t understand the English language. Many people who
insist on using the Arabic word “Allah” usually don’t realize this, because in
reality, they are not so much affirming the word “Allah” as they are rejecting
the word “God” as unsuitable - based on incorrect assumptions. For someone to
assume that the word “God” presupposes a certain theological point-of-view
(such as the Trinity) is simply Wrong - and that’s Wrong with a capital “W”. To
say the word “God” should be rejected because it can be changed into “god”,
“gods” or “goddess” is illogical because each of these words has a distinctive
meaning and a distinctive spelling - at least to someone who knows how to speak
English correctly. Using the same logic, I can demonstrate that the root
letters “ktb” can be used to form the Arabic words “kitab” (book), “maktabah”
(library), “maktab” (office) and “kaatib” (writer), but does that mean that
these words have the same meaning? Do Arabic-speaking people go through life
confusing libraries with writers and offices with books (both in conversation
and in reality)? I think not! This is not to mention the fact that if the
Arabic “Al-” was put in front of these words in order to make them definite,
confusion would be even less likely! So the logic in both cases is the same,
and this is because even though the same letters are used in “God” and “god”,
these two words have two different meanings in the English language. The
capital “G” implies something different than the small “g” - and anyone who
denies this simply doesn’t know how to speak the English language.
In concluding this point, it should be mentioned that Arabic-speaking Muslims
who believe in Pure Tawhid, Arabic-speaking Christians, the idol worshippers of
Mecca and (so-called) Muslims who believe in “Wahdat al-Wujud” all use the word
“Allah”. However, does this guarantee all of them proper belief in “Allah”?
Certainly not, because if they have a corrupt concept of “Allah” it doesn’t
matter what word they use!
This brings us to a more important point: It should be clearly understood that
what Islam is primarily concerned with is correcting mankind’s concept of
Almighty God. What we are ultimately going to be held accountable at the end of
our life is not whether we prefer the word “Allah” over the word “God”, but
what our concept of God is. Language is only a side issue. A person can have an
incorrect concept of God while using the word “Allah”, and likewise a person
can have a correct concept of God while using the word “God”. This is because
both of these words are equally capable of being misused and being improperly
defined. As we’ve already mentioned, using the word “Allah” no more insinuates
belief in the Unity of God than the use of the word “God” insinuates belief in
the Trinity - or any other theological opinion. Naturally, when God sends a
revelation to mankind through a prophet, He is going to send it in a language
that the people who receive it can understand and relate to. Almighty God makes
this clear in the Qur’an, when He states:
“Never did We send a Messenger except (to teach) in the language of his (own)
people in order to make (things) clear to them.”
(Qur’an, Chapter 14 - “Abraham”, Verse 4)
As Muslims, we think that it is unfortunate that we have to go into details on
such seemingly minor issues, but so many falsehoods have been heaped upon our
religion, that we feel that it is our duty to try to break down the barriers of
falsehood. This isn’t always easy, since there is a lot of anti-Islamic
literature in existence which tries to make Islam look like something strange
and foreign to Westerners. There are some people out there, who are obviously
not on the side of truth, that want to get people to believe that “Allah” is
just some Arabian “god”, and that Islam is completely “other” - meaning that it
has no common roots with the other Abrahamic religions (i.e. Christianity and Judaism).
To say that Muslims worship a different “God” because they say “Allah” is just
as illogical as saying that French people worship another God because they use
the word “Dieu”, that Spanish-speaking people worship a different God because
they say “Dios” or that the Hebrews worshipped a different God because they
sometimes call Him “Yahweh”. Certainly, reasoning like this is quite
ridiculous! It should also be mentioned, that claiming that any one language
uses the only the correct word for God is tantamount to denying the
universality of God’s message to mankind, which was to all nations, tribes and
people through various prophets who spoke different languages.
Before closing, we would like everyone to be aware of the fact that some
Christian missionary organizations print English literature intended to teach
Christians about Islam which say such things as: “Allah is the god of the
Muslims” and that “Muhammad came to get people to believe in the god Allah” -
implying that “Allah” is some sort of false “god”. However, when these same
organizations print literature in the Arabic language, hoping to lead
Arabic-speaking Muslims “to Christ”, they use the word “Allah” for God. It
seems that if they were on the side of truth, they would not have to resort to
such inconsistencies. And on an even more ridiculous note . . . there are also
missionary organizations that exceed this in ignorance (or deceit) by writing
books that call on Muslims to give up their belief in “Allah”, and instead
worship the “Lord” Jesus, “the Son of God”. Besides making it abundantly clear
that they are outside the community of Pure Monotheism, the people who write
such material don’t even realize that if they wrote such a pamphlet in Arabic,
it would be self-contradictory. This is because in an Arabic Bible Jesus is the
“Son of Allah”! If an Arabic-speaking person gave up the worship of “Allah”,
they would have no God to worship, since “Allah” is simply the Arabic word for
Before we conclude, however, we would like to ask our readers to ask themselves
what they think the reasons are behind all of these lies? If Islam was just
some false religion that didn’t make any sense, would so many people, from
Western scholars to Christian missionaries, have to tell so many lies about it?
The reason is that the Ultimate Truth of Islam stands on solid ground and its
unshakable belief in the Unity of God is above reproach. Due to this,
Christians can’t criticize its doctrines directly, but instead make up things
about Islam that aren’t true so that people lose the desire to learn more. If
Muslims were able to present Islam in the proper way to people in the West, it
surely might make many people reconsider and re-evaluate their own beliefs. It
is quite likely that Christians, when they find out that there is a universal
religion in the world that teaches people to worship and love God, while also
practicing Pure Monotheism, would at least feel that they should re-examine the
basis for their own beliefs and doctrines
4, 2008 2:16 PM
of Mike Ghouse said...
Your comment about Muslims insisting on the use of Allah instead of God, when
speaking in English is well written.
You might want to consider joining the disucssion group ::
4, 2008 3:06 PM
Alaikmu, here's some support for your comments on "Who owns the word
Holy Qur'an sura 17 ayat 110
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.
Freedom is to move in our intellect to a greater vision and a greater purpose.
5, 2008 8:35 AM
Dr. Javed Jamil said...
I hope you will now be more regular with the work after the chehlum of Najma
bhabhi. From now onwards, your continued involvement with the work will be the
greatest tribute to her memory.
I agree with you that "Allah" is the name of the One Lord of the
Universe, and neither there is the need to make Muslims the only owner of the
word nor to limit this word as the only one describing the True Lord. In
English, "God" can be used, as it is the word, which is the best
substitute of Allah in English. But I do not agree with you that
"Krishna" can be used as equivalent to God, Allah, or Jehovah. In
Hindi, "ishwar" or "Parmeshwar" are the appropriate words.
Krishna was the name of a great figure in Hinduism, and though there are
scholars who also use the word for the Almighty Lord, the word in more popular
imaginations, clearly refers to a man.
If we try to monopolise "Allah", others will think that our God is
different from the Only Creator and Lord of the Universe.
Moderator – Dear Javed, thanks for the note, Insha Allah, I will resume the
work. I do agree with you about using the words Ishwar and Parmeshwar and I
will use them in the future in lieu of Krishna.
5, 2008 8:36 AM
Rashid Samnakay said...
Say Allah, not
God-In the January 2008 Tolu-e-Islam an Urdu article appeared to give a message
along with on other important issues, that it is not appropriate to substitute
the word GOD for Allah, when writing in the English language. This is, it says
further, because the word God does not convey the same meaning of
lailahaa-illallah as that of “except for Khuda there is no such being which has
the right of authority” and therefore it should be written as “there is no
Sovereign except Allah”
Commonly in English language the word God is given to mean ‘the supreme being’
and as ‘the supreme Creator of monotheistic faiths’ etc. Now if we insist that
when referring to God we must write Allah, it means as if this name is
registered in some Arabic government’s Birth and Death registry and that it has
issued a birth certificate to that effect, to that ‘being’ who is now named
This gives the impression not only that this ‘being’ is for Muslims but
specifically it is a monopoly of the Arab-nation and the other Muslims adopted
HIM to qualify to be termed as Muslims. This can be extended to many other
traditions and practices of the Arabs, such as their dress mode, copied by
others to project themselves as ‘good Muslims’ or ‘complete Muslims’ . It
becomes that Allah is NOT therefore a universal supreme being for the whole
Creation. This gives rise to a comical situation when others say that your God
is not the same as ours. Your Allah is different!
Quran tells us that divine messengers had come in all ages, places and time
periods prior to Muhammad. It stands to reason therefore that they spoke
myriads of languages and conveyed the concept of a supreme being and
transmission of HIS message in their own languages, as Muhammad Rasulullah did
in Arabic Quran by combining the two words al and ilah according to the rules
that it became Allah (17-22). What is more is that the word Allah was already
in vogue then, it was not manufactured for Arabic speaking people by
There was not then and is not now an international common language in which a
compound word could be used to give the full meaning of Allah as “the only
supreme creator of the universe with total authority and control over HIS
creation”. In English language by using the word God, if an elaboration is
required then there is no logical reason that such an elaboration could not be
given. This attitude towards other people and their language smacks of
linguistic racism that, they do not posses the true concept of GOD accept
The writer of the Urdu article goes on to use the word Khuda twenty five(25)
times in it, not counting the attribute khudawandi which are repeated number of
times, because he assumes that the word Khuda in Urdu imparts the meaning
completely, which as we know is not true.
This issue is raised to highlight the broadness of the Deen Islam and its
acceptance of other Faiths as worthy of respect and consideration in the
Universality of humanity in conjunction of HIS Unity, and to dispel the myth
that Arabic and Arabs are some what holier than thou, which they are not.
Moderator - Agree, I am used to Khuda Hafiz as well. A few among us want to
tighten the noose around the name Allah.
5, 2008 8:37 AM
Dr. Irfan Toor said...
This is a very interesting and important debate. The commentary by Akhtar is
wonderful and exactly what I believe in. However, I also believe that in some
ways the use of word Allah is our identity and helps us stay our ground.
Getting lost in the mix of all the noise is also not advisable. Also, please
remember that reaching God through "other ways" was the practice at
the time of the prophets. Prophet Abraham (PBUH) broke the idols, Noha (PBUH)
taught against it and his son was killed for not believing, Moses (PBUH) threw
away the Tablets, and and prophet Mohammad bore all the insults and torture
they could levy against him to continue to teach against these other paths.
Therefore, in denying other ways we remain in very good company and yet I say
that Akhtar's writings are what i beleieve in. For once I find my self unable
to express this properly. I guess what I want to say is that people who remain
in their birth faith can find the true path to God if they truely seek him and
worship the real creator even if they use other words for him, we are not to
judge but shunning idolatroy of all kinds is a must also. On the other hand
many Muslims while born in the light of Islam end up worshippping
"Allah" as an idol and perform rituals without being in touch with
the creator; they are not finding the creator and salvation either. After all,
even the Quresh of Mecca called the god "ilaha" or "allah"
as is clear from the name of the prophet's fathre "Abd-Allah" who was
not of Abrahamic faith.
7, 2008 9:46 AM Profile
of Mike Ghouse said...
Appreciate your point of view and I am tune with most of it, except
"Therefore, in denying other ways we remain in very good company".
All of us struggle with words at times to say it as precisely as we can.
Perhaps I would have said that "I would not choose other paths for me as
my own path works for me." Prophet Muhammad initiated the Madinah pact and
was a signatory to it along with the Jews, Christians and other people - it was
a fine example of co-existence for peaceful communities. He would not have
intiated it, had he denied the other forms of worshipping the divine. Heaven he
even offered the Christians from Najran to offer their prayers in his Mosque.
Sura Kafirun is a shining example of civility and treating others on par,
especially when you are i power - check this out:
7, 2008 9:59 AM
Irfan Toor said...
I appreciate your position but for me denying the other ways and treating them
with respect and kindness is not not mutually exclusive. I think all faiths
should be treated with respect and we need to practice kindness with everyone.
We do not have to be disrespectful of others in rejecting the way to God
through idolatry but we know that these other paths have been taught against by
many prophets. Perhaps the best way is to just teach the Quran.
The example I quoted earlier of Hazrat Ibrahim (PBUH) did not imply that we
should be desecrating the temples in this tradition of Ibrahim (documented in
both the Bible and the Quran) but, it was meant to point out the seriousness of
There were times when drastic measures were adopted by the Prophets but they
had a special mission and did things to make a point. We are not in the same
boat and for us it is equally important to remember the mystic teachings.
Taha de masjid, taha de mandir, a te taha de jo kuj tahenda
ik bande da dil na tahavin, a ke rab dilan wich rahenda hoo (Bulleh Shah)
and wafadari basharte ustwari asl iman hemare but kahne me to Kaabe me garo
barahmin ko (Allama Iqbal)
As you can see this is a very difficult balance; a fine line indeed because
while respecting the faith of other people we must also recognize that God has
devoted a lot of teachings to keep us away from such paths. Otherwise he would
not have been so kind to his prophets who told us that these revelations and
books are from the creator.
I do believe the Surah's Kafirun and Ikhlas are true scripture from God and
they categorically reject certain ways. So help me reconcile reciting these
Surah's in namaz and accepting the legitimacy of other paths? Do you ever
recite any of these in your namaz?
Any case, you do have a good heart and I appreciate your thoughts. I do make
mistakes and always remain fearful that God may not like my words or actions,
so please forgive me if I offend you in any way. I remain of the belief that
people of all faiths can reach God just Like Akhtar has explained but sincerity
of faith in the only creator is required. How to best teach or practice this is
what I struggle with. Perhaps you can shed some light on this. I can respect
everyone's faith but then comes a time when I have to not accept food offered
to "gher Allah" as it is repeatedly mentioned in the Quran as an
abomination. I can refrain very politely but refrain I must.
7, 2008 6:41 PM
of Mike Ghouse said...
Let me respond in a random sequence, first the Surah’s; Kafirun and Ikhlas.
Sura Kafirun does not reject, indeed, it acknowledged the otherness of the
other. It addresses the believers who follow other systems in the most
dignified way, putting every one on par and without putting others down. It is
an exceptional example of civil conduct. The full Surah and Mohammad Asad’s
translation is at this link:
And here is Surah Ikhlas which sums up what God is… but does not reject any
other idea at all.
112:1 SAY: "He is the One God:
Topics discussed in this Verse:
[Allah's attributes:One God] Qul huwa Allahu ahadun قُلْ
Baset - Hussari - Minshawi
112:2 "God the Eternal, the Uncaused Cause of All Being.  This
rendering gives no more than an approximate meaning of the term as-samad, which
occurs in the Qur'an only once, and is applied to God alone. It comprises the
concepts of Primary Cause and eternal, independent Being, combined with the
idea that everything existing or conceivable goes back to Him as its source and
is therefore, dependent on Him for its beginning as well as for its continued
existence.(Quran Ref: 112:2 )
Topics discussed in this Verse:
[Allah's attributes:Eternal ( Absolute )]
Allahu alssamadu اللَّهُ
Baset - Hussari - Minshawi
112:3 "He begets not, and neither is He begotten;
Topics discussed in this Verse:
[Allah:begetteth not nor is He begotten] Lam yalid walam yooladuلَمْ
Baset - Hussari - Minshawi
112:4 "and there is nothing that could be compared with Him. 
Topics discussed in this Verse:
[Allah:there is none like unto Him]
Walam yakun lahu kufuwan ahadun وَلَمْ
Baset - Hussari - Minshawi
I beg forgiveness from God, the way the act of Prophet Ibrahim has been
described in the books needs to be studied and thoroughly researched. Neither
Christian nor Islamic scholars have bothered to look at it from a different
perspective – they have merely passed the idea of desecration.
I hope some day, some one will do the research and find out that the prophets
did not desecrate the idols but removed from their place. The Sura Kafirun
supports that idea strongly. Michael Wolfe, the producer of the movie Message
and I had a discussion about it, and in the movie he shows that the idols were
removed from inside the cube (Kaaba) and place outside. We have to find the
truth for our own selves, that is what the religion is all about.
The prophet had said, if we have to go to a distant land to find the truth
(knowledge) go for it and we need to do that for peaceful co-existence, after
all, you are not responsible for any one, other than yourselves to reckon with
God for your acts. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, adds that “ giving a
smile to others” is the least we can do, as an act of kindness and as an act of
We have not treaded this path, it is a new reality of the world, but the old
idea in Islam; co-existence. To be a Muslim is to be a peacemaker, one who
constantly seeks to mitigate conflicts and nurtures goodwill for peaceful
co-existence. God wants us to live in peace and harmony with his creation; life
and mater. Indeed, that is the purpose of religion, any religion, to me that is
the purpose of Islam.
7, 2008 9:54 PM
Marylou Ghyst said...
The Word Allah, who owns it “ Comments from Akhter”
"Everyone should be aware ... throughout the long history of the
"Abrahamic Faiths", there have been people who, while believing in
"One God", have adopted beliefs and practices that completely nullify
their claim to "monotheism". This is the Muslim view of Christians.
It should be clearly understood that what Islam is primarily concerned with is
correcting mankind's concept of Almighty God . . .
Response from Marylou:
Dear Akhter: I am responding to your above comments about Islam's concern with
correcting Christians' concept of God.
First, let us consider that Jesus healed many people of mental, emotional and physical
conditions and taught his followers to do likewise. Over the past 2,000 years,
Christians have experienced millions of healings.
I would like to ask you four questions: 1) By whose power do we heal? If you
say we heal by the power of God, then why do you criticize some Christians'
concept of God? 2) If God was offended, then why did God bestow millions of
blessings in the form of healings? 3) Why does God continue to bestow
blessings, if offended? 4) If God is not offended, then why are Muslims offended?
There is another question I would like to ask regarding your email, but first,
I would thank you immensely for taking time to answer the above questions.
7, 2008 9:55 PM Profile
of Mike Ghouse said...
Marylou, I missed the point that you have quoted from Akhter’s note, where he
says “Islam is primarily concerned with correcting mankind’s concept of
Islam no doubt focuses on the One God, the idea is that of unity and not the
integer one. The idea of oneness births the idea of conflictlessness, again
striving for just societies that produce peaceful co-existence. If there is
justice, every thing falls in place and peaceful existence is the outcome. That
is the ultimate game of the creator.
7, 2008 9:55 PM