Encyclopedia > Allah

  Article Content

Allah

Allah is the Arabic word for God. It is compounded of "Al", the definite article 'the', and "ilah", meaning "a god". Therefore, Allah literally means "The God"--somewhat parallel to the capitalized "God" in English. It is used by Muslims world-wide, as well as Arabic-speaking Christians, Jews, and others.

From an Islamic point of view, Allah is the special name of God and is the most precious name because it is not a descriptive name like other Ninety-nine names of Allah, but the name of God's own presence. It is impossible to alter the word in Arabic; such as create a plural form (gods) or change the gender.

Muslims, when referring to the name, add the words "Subhanna wa Ta'ala" after it, meaning "Glorified and Exalted is He" as a sign of reverence. The entire religion of Islam is based on the idea of getting closer to Allah. Muslims consider Him eternal and uncreated, as the rest of existence was His creation.

"Allah" was also used in pre-Islamic times. The Arab Jews referred to God as Allah, and the Nomadic tribes at the time adopted Allah as the creator of lesser gods, similar to the way Hindus regard Brahma. The father of Muhammad, Islam's prophet, had the name "Abdullah"; servant of Allah. Allah was considered to be the ancestor and leader of the other gods. Up until the rise of Islam in the seventh century, people would devote their worship to Allah's "partners" which were other gods such as the goddesses al-Lat[?], al-Uzza[?] and Man'at, who were at the time worshipped as Allah's daughters.

According to Professor Carleton S. Coon in his book Southern Arabia, "The god Il or Ilah was originally a phase of the Moon God, but early in Arabian history the name became a general term for god, and it was this name that the Hebrews used prominently in their personal names, such as Emanu-el, Israel, etc." Muslims and nearly all other scholars dispute this claim, instead suggesting the name carried over from the Jewish tribes and Christians that had lived for centuries in Arabia. The Hebrew form of this name, El or Eloh[?], was used as an Old Testament synonym for Yahweh. The Aramaic word for God is also Allah, therefore it is believed that Jesus Christ also used this word in his teachings. Muslims declare that the name has existed since the time of Adam.

Muslims do not try to draw or depict Allah in any way, as it could lead to idol worship. Instead, they focus on His 99 "Attributes" that are stated in the Qur'an, the holy book of the Muslims. Nearly one third of the book is used describing Allah's attributes and actions. Also, "hadith qudsi" are special recorded sayings of Muhammad to Muslims where he quotes what Allah says to him.

See also Allahu Akbar, Bismillah[?], Alhumdulilah[?]

The word Allah is commonly written in Calligraphic Arabic:



All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

 
  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
 
 
  
  Featured Article
Flour

... or steel wheels. Today, "stone-ground" usually means that the grain has been ground in a water-operated mill, in which a revolving stone wheel turns over a stationary stone ...