Why Do Muslims Use The Name ‘Allah’ For God?
Is ‘Allah’ the God of the Muslims? Some make the error in believing this, and some even claim that Allah is an Arabian moon god.
However, the word Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. Allah can be found in the Arabic translation of the Bible too.
Is Arabic a Semitic language? Yes, it is considered a Semitic language, just like Hebrew and Aramaic; the language spoken by Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). As such, Allah is very similar to the Hebrew word for God: El or Eloh, and the Aramaic word for God is Elah or Elaha.
Whatever the name used by the Prophets (peace be upon them all) of God, we understand they were all making reference to the same Being: Allah. Allah, who is recognised as the single Creator of the entire universe.
When the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked by the Creator he was referring to, Allah replied,
“Say, “He is Allah, [who is] One,
Allah, the Eternal Refuge.
He does not give birth [have children], nor was he born [to anyone],
And there is nothing like Him.” (Qur’an, 112:1-4).
Did you know? Only a relatively small percentage of Muslims speak Arabic as their first language, yet Muslims around the world use the same word for God: Allah.
So why don’t Muslims just use the word for God in their own language? Well, one reason is that since the Qur’an was revealed in Arabic and Muslims use Arabic multiple times a day in prayer, the word has something of a unifying quality for Muslims. Regardless of which part of the world we’re from, or the language we speak, Allah is one word we can all understand.
While there’s nothing wrong with using other words for God, most Muslims usually use the name “Allah” and many prefer to use it in place of the word for God in their own language. However, a deeper reason that’s often mentioned is the uniqueness of the name “Allah”.
For example, take the English word, God. It’s spelt it with a capital G, and we understand it to mean the One True God. But make it a lowercase G, and it can be referring to Zeus, Ganesh, or anything else that people worship. Since capitalisation doesn’t come across in speech, there’s really no way to distinguish between God and god. If you add an ‘S’, it very easily becomes gods and this can become male or female.
However, the Arabic language has two different words for God and god. The word for god is “ilah” and the word for God is “Allah”. In addition, the name “Allah” is unlike most Arabic words in that it cannot be made plural nor can it take gender. It’s genderless! So, when you say Allah, there’s no confusion! You’re talking not about one of many gods but the One and Only God. You’re talking not about a man nor a woman, but the Creator of men and women, capital G-O-D, God.
“And to Allah belong the best names…”(Qur’an, 7:180).