Ask Pastor Re’uben
Should Jehovah God
Be Called Allah?
S H A L O M !
______ A MESSIANIC JEWISH SCRIPTURAL VIEW ______
Dear Pastor Reuben,
I am in a group that has Arab Christians in it and they refer to Jehovah/God as "Allah”.
They say that Arab Christians before the onset of Mohammed and Islam called Jehovah "Allah”
I responded that Jehovah should never be called "Allah" because "Allah" was a pre-Islamic god worshipped by pagan Arabs at the Kaaba. I appreciate your help as this does not seem to have an easy answer and I do not want to irritate Arab Christians if I'm wrong.
I appreciate your thoughts on this.
Pastor Reuben's Answer:
I greatly appreciate your concerns and stand with you. We work a lot in face to face witnessing situations taking the Gospel to Muslims. Two Islamic scholar Christian friends gave me these answers as I revisited the topic with them:
1. There are factual errors here. The pre-Islamic use of “Allah” was widely used in the polytheistic Arab communities. The reason that “Allah” became a name for the Judeo-Christian Jehovah was that Christian missionaries in the Middle East (late 2nd century-600 A.D.) used the name “El-Ilah” or “Allah” for the Arabs to understand that Jehovah was above their other gods. The use of “Allah” by Arab Christians in the early centuries after Christ ascended is attributable to lax missionary language in their attempt to get the polytheistic Arabs to understand a monotheistic God. Mohammed simply co-opted “El-Ilah” or “Allah” after this to help bring Arab polytheists into monotheism.
2. Yes, Allah was used by pagan, pre-Islamic Arabs to refer to a specific idol, who had three daughters named Al'Lat, Manat, and 'Uzzah (or al-Uzzah). Muslims claim the Allah they worship is the same God that Christians and Jews worship - except in Malaysia, where it is against the law in this Muslim nation for any Christian literature to claim Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
There is vague ambiguity among Muslims, because Allah is the name of their God, and it is also a generic name for God. So if you ask them, does Hinduism have thousands of Allahs, they might say no, because there is just one Allah. Then you can ask what about Hinduism having thousands of that they worship? They would say idols. Then what did the pre-Islamic Arabs worship that had three daughters named Al-Lat, Manat, and 'Uzzah? Why did Mohammed never explain to these same pre-Islamic Arabs who Allah was?
Mohammed's father was named 'Abdullah meaning "slave of Allah". A tribe of Jews was called 'Abdullah bin Salam in Bukhari vol.5 book 59 ch.13 no.362 p.241
It is true the Christians prior to Mohammed used the named "Allah" for the One True God. It may have come from the Semitic word for El. The people of Ugarit (in northern Phoenicia) also used the word "El" for God, and they used it for a specific deity in their pantheon.
Today, many Arabic Bibles use the name "Allah" for God. Other Arabic Bibles do not. Arabic-speaking Christians disagree about the best name to use today for God. Indonesian Bibles also use the word "Allah" for God.
So while I would not use the name "Allah" for God in English, I would not get too hung up on whether a particular Arabic-speaking Christian used the word Allah for God or not. However, we need to make it clear that regardless of names, Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God, any more than all religions that worship a Creator worship the same God. Likewise Muslims claim to honor Jesus, but it is a different Jesus than Christians have, not the Son of God.
When a Muslims tells me that Christians and Muslims worship the same God, one response I give is as follows:
Christians worship the Father. Do Muslims worship the Father. [No]
Christians worship Jesus, God the Son. Do Muslims worship Jesus, God the Son. [No]
Christians worship the Holy Spirit. Do Muslims worship the Holy Spirit as the third person of the Godhead. [No]
Who told you that Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Which part of the Trinity do Christians and Muslims both worship?
We Brad, clearly see the error as you do. That it is not correct in a true Christians life to insist on using a name that is primarily used to = the god of Islam when most of the world understands it as such. Why confuse the matter among the unsaved or misguided/misinformed? Certainly seems only to further worship of a false god to me.
Hope I have been of some help. See: False and Near Christian Religions
God bless you,
Pastor Reuben Drebenstedt, director Menorah-Menorah Ministries-
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