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Is Allah Just Another Name for God?

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By Dr. Robert A. Morey

Introduction

The essence of religion is to tell people what to believe and how to live. The motive that is given as to WHY we should believe and live according to the dictates of a particular religion is that it is telling us the “truth.” Thus the making of “truth claims” is part of the essence of any religion.

The religion of Islam is no exception to this general observation. Islam demands that we believe its creed and practice its rituals because it is the “true” religion in opposition to all other religions that they declare are “false”. Its creed makes various truth claims concerning a deity called “Allah.” Our goal in this article is to examine those claims in the light of logic, linguistics, history, and biblical revelation.

1. The Deity of Islam

First, Islam claims that the Arabian deity called “Allah” is the one “true” God as opposed to all the other “false” gods of pagan religions. For example, in India the Muslims tell the Hindus that their three billion deities are all “false” gods. Second, Muslims in the West claim that the Arabic word “allah” is just another name for the same god that Christians worship.

A. The Question Before Us

Those who enjoy the freedom of religion in the West need to be educated to see why this freedom is not granted in Muslim countries. They also need to understand the contradiction between what the Muslims say in the West and what they do in the Middle East.

B. Two Basic Errors

Why do so many Westerners fail to understand the danger Islam poses to our most basic civil and human rights? They fail to be alarmed because they assume two very basic errors. What are these two errors?

1. All religions worship the same God under different names.


2. Muslims worship the same God Christians do.

Since the second error proceeds from the first, we will deal with them in the order given above.

II. Part 1: The First Error

Do all religions worship the same God just under different names? Are all religions “true” in the sense that they worship the same God? Since it is claimed that the God of the Bible can be worshiped under any name, it would only be logical to examine the scriptures to see if it does in fact teach this. But when we look into the Bible we find that it does not teach that all religions worship the same God just under different names. That this is true is demonstrated by the following propositions:

A. In the First and Second Commandments, the Bible says that we are not to worship any other God than the One who has revealed himself in the Bible. (Exodus 20:3–4).


B. If all religions worshiped the same God just under different names, there would be no idolatry, no false prophets, and no false religions. Yet, the Bible condemns all three. For example, Jesus warned us about “false prophets” in Matthew 7:15. Yet, if all religions were true, there would be no “false” prophets.


C. Throughout biblical history, the worship of Baal, Molech, or any of the other gods of the Fertile Crescent was not viewed as the worship of the God of Israel just under different names. Any attempt to mix other gods with the God of Israel was condemned by the Prophets and the Apostles. For example, 2 Cor. 6:14–17 condemns any attempt to mingle Christ and Baal as if they were the same deity.


D. According to Romans 1:18–25, all the gods of other religions were invented by those who rejected the light of natural revelation and created gods in their own image. Thus pagan religions are not the result of man’s search for God but the result of his running from God. As a matter of fact, no one is searching for the true God according to Romans 3:10–18.


E. The God of the Bible revealed the names by which he wishes to be addressed and worshiped (YHWH, Elohim, Adonai, Theos, Kurios, etc.). The Jews were not allowed to make up their own names for God but were limited to revealed names.


F. Even though some of the names of the pagan gods such as Baal (A1) may have come from the same basic Semitic linguistic root as Elohim (E1) this does not linguistically, logically, or historically imply that Baal was just another name for the God of Israel. While a linguistic root may imply a common language, this does not logically imply a common deity. The prophets never viewed Baal as the God of Israel because of a shared linguistic stem.


G. When the Jews and Christians translated the biblical names for God into other languages they never used the specific names for specific pagan deities. For example, the Septuagint did not use the Greek names Zeus or the Egyptian name Ra as a translation for the Hebrew YHWH as that would confuse pagan gods with the true God.


H. When a word for a pagan “god” evolved into a generic term for “deity” in general, and it no longer had a specific reference to a specific pagan deity, the Jews and Christians would use it as a translation for the names of God found in the Hebrew and Greek bible. Thus YHWH became Kurios and Elohim became Theos.


I. The use of a generic term for “deity” in a foreign language translation of the Bible does not logically or historically imply that the translators believed that the God of the Bible was synonymous with the old original pagan god wohse name was now a generic term. Thus hte use of Theos as a translation of Elohim did not logically imply that the Jews believed that Zeus or some other Greek god was the God of the Bible.


J. The fact that Jews and Christians would translate the names of God into different languages long after the Bible was completed does not logically imply that the pagan god whose generic name was used was viewed as being the God of the Bible. They could have done this out of ignorance, fear, or to conform to the culture.


K. In logic, a formal similarity in name does not imply a substantial agreement in concept. For example, all major pagan religions such as Hinduism and all the cults such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons use the English word “God” when referring to their deity. Yet, while they use the same English word for deity that Christians use, they do not worship the same God that Christians worship.


L. The God of the Bible is not a vague “thing” that can be defined any way you please. The true God has revealed prepositional facts about Himself in the Bible. For example, the God revealed in the Bible is a personal, infinite, and Triune Being of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Any concept of “God” that is less than that is not true according to the Bible.


M. The Apostle John used the concept of the Trinity as a way to test differing concepts of God. He tells us in I John 2:22 that:

“Such a man is an anti-Christ—he who denies the Father and the Son.”

John’s words cannot be any plainer. Any religion that denies the Father and the Son is an “anti-Christ” religion and cannot in any way be confused with true biblical religion. But what if someone claims that he worships the Father while denying the Son? John answers this in 1 John 2:23:

“No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.”

The Bible is clear that any religion that does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity is an anti-Christ religion.

Lastly, since all religions contradict each other on all essential concepts such as God, man, sin, and salvation, either one religion is true and all the others are false or they are all false. But they cannot logically all be true.

Conclusion

No matter how you look at it, the idea that all religions worship the same God just under different names is a very ignorant and foolish belief. It contradicts logic, history, and the science

of comparative religion. It is actually an insult to the major religions of this world who have very carefully defined their concept of deity so as to distinguish their god from all other gods.

II. Part 2: The Second Error

In the West, Islam claims that its god called “Allah” is not only the true God but also that it is the same God that Christians worship. Is this true?

Given the laws of logic, linguistics, history, and exegesis, the answer is “NO”!

“Allah” is not just another name for the Christian God. In reality, in its name and concept, Allah is as pagan as Baal or Zeus. That this is true can be seen from the following propositions.

A. The Facts of History

Perhaps the best way to answer these two claims is to look at them from the viewpoint of how Islam has actually treated Christians throughout history.

First, Islam’s treatment of Christians underwent a drastic change as Muhammad’s ministry developed. In the early days, when Muhammad wanted the Christians to accept him as their “apostle,” he claimed that the Arabian deity “Allah” was actually the God of the Bible. Thus Muslims supposedly worshiped the same deity that Christians worship.

In the early Surahs of the Qur’an, Muhammad praised the Christians and even called them the “people of the book.” These early statements were made in the hope that the Christians would convert to Islam.

But when it became obvious that the Christians were not going to acknowledge him, Muhammad then called for their destruction. This is why the armies of Islam have always slaughtered Christians whenever they conquered a nation. One can think of what the Muslims did in Armenia as a historical example of this.

B. An Inherent Contradiction

There is thus an inherent contradiction in the teaching of Muhammad concerning Christians. When Islam first comes into an area where there are Christians, the Muslims will say: “We Muslims worship the same God you do. Allah is the God of the Bible.” Now, if this were true, then Christianity would be as “true” as Islam and you would not expect that Muslims would persecute them. After all, they supposedly all worship the same deity.

But instead of leaving Christians free to practice their religion, as soon as Islam is in control of a country and establishes Islamic law, it then changes its approach and seeks to destroy Christianity in one Jihad after another.

C. A Present Example

What has now happened in Malaysia is a good example of how Muslims change in their attitude toward Christians depending on who is running the government. When Malaysia was under Colonial rule, the Muslims said that their god “Allah” was the God of the Bible. They encouraged Malaysian Christians to use the Arabic word “Allah” when worshipping the Christian God. But now that Islamic law has been imposed on the country, the Muslims have made it illegal for Christians to use the word “Allah” in reference to the Christian God!

The Islamic government of Malaysia is presently confiscating and destroying all Bibles, hymnals, books, and tracts that use the word “Allah” to refer to the Christian God. Why? The Islamic government of Malaysia has ruled by decree that since “Allah” is NOT the God of the Christians but only the god of the Muslims, then Christians cannot use “Allah” in reference to their God!

The Problem as We See It

Any rational person can see that the Muslims are trying to have it both ways. In the West, they tell christians that Muslims worship the same God Christians worship. But in countries under Islamic law, the Christians are persecuted as “infidels,” their churches burned, and their people murdered because they are NOT worshipping the same God! This is why Christians are now forbidden by Islamic law to even use the word “Allah” as a name for the God of the Bible. This is why Christians in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to build any churches. This is why the Pakistani Islamic government has passed Penal Codes 294 and 295 that mandate the death penalty for the “crime” of insulting Muhammad or Islam.

The Name ‘Allah’

Having examined the history of Islam and its persecution of Christians, we now turn our attention to the Arabic word “Allah” Is it really a proper name for the God that Christians worship?

The following propositions will reveal that the word “Allah” should not be used as a name for the God of the Bible.

1.It is not a BIBLICAL name for God. The patriarchs, prophets, Jesus, and the apostles never at any time prayed to or worshiped a god that they called “Allah.”

2. It is not a REVEALED name for God. God revealed to the prophets in the Bible many different names by which He wanted men to call Him. But not once in the Bible did He ever reveal that “Allah” was his name.

3. If, as some believe but others deny, the linguistic root or stem of Allah may share a common origin with other gods of the Fertile Crescent such as Baal or E1, this does not logically imply that they are all the same God. A common linguistic stem does not logically imply a common deity: otherwise Allah is Baal and Baal is Allah or Elohim is Baal and Baal is Elohim.

4. In pre-Islamic times, “Allah” was a pagan name for a pagan deity among pagan Arabians.

5. In Southern Arabia, “Allah” was the name of the moon god who was married to the sun goddess. Together they had three daughters who were called the “daughters of Allah.”

6. Throughout Arabia, Allah was viewed as only one of the “High” gods who were worshiped at the Kabah in Mecca.

7. The “daughters of Allah” were worshiped by the tribe into which Muhammad was born.

8. The Qur’an does not explain who “Allah” was because Muhammad assumed that the pagan Arabians already knew who he was. He was right. Allah was one of the 360 pagan gods worshiped at the Kabah!

9. As “Allah” slowly became a generic name in the Middle East and in Asia for deity in general, other religions used it as an Arabic name for their gods. But this does not logically imply that they believed that the god of Islam was their god. The name may have been the same but the concept different.

10. By the 9th Century, because of the dominance of Islam in the Middle East, the word “Allah” was used as a generic name for deity in the Arabic Bible. But this was done by Christians who out of fear for their lives used “Allah” as a means to appease their Muslim oppressors and to escape death. But the time has come to correct their error and to tell the truth that “Allah” is a pagan name for a pagan god.

11. Modern Islamic countries such as Malaysia have decreed that the name “Allah” is the exclusive name of the god of Islam and not the God of Christians. Thus the Malaysian government has decreed that Christians may NOT use “Allah” in their Bibles, books, or hymns. They are in the process of confiscating and destroying all non-Muslim literature which uses the word “Allah.”

IV. Conclusion

Since the Muslims are now saying that the word “Allah” is NOT a generic term for deity in general but it is a name that refers specifically to their anti-Christ concept of deity, the intelligent Christian cannot use the word “Allah” for God.

A. The Concept of Allah in Islam

The use of the generic Arabic word “Allah” in translations of the Bible or a common Semitic root with Elohim does not have any logical bearing on the issue of whether or not the god of Islam and the God of the Bible are the same God. In logic, formal similarities mean nothing.
The real issue is whether the concept of “Allah” in Islam is the same as that of the Christian God. If they are defined differently and if they have different and contradictory attributes, then there is no logical way to escape the conclusion that they are different deities.

The fact is that the Triune God of the Bible is not Islam’s Allah. Thus the god of Islam is not the God of the Bible any more than it would be proper to say that the “God” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is the Christian God.

The following propositions demonstrate to the rational mind that Allah is not the God of the Bible. For the documentation, please consult the book The Islamic Invasion (Harvest House).

1. Since Islam denies that Jesus is the Son of God and that God is a Father, it “denies the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22–23). Thus Islam is an

2. anti-Christ religion. It cannot be both a biblical religion and an anti-Christ religion at the same time.

3. Allah’s attributes are radically different from the biblical God. For example, Allah is unknowable and unpredictable. He is not a Trinity. He did not become incarnate for man’s salvation. He is not a person or a spirit. He is not limited by anything, not even by his own nature; it is impossible to enter into a personal relationship with Allah, etc.

4. Just because you believe in one god does not logically imply that you have the right one. A Greek pagan could have proclaimed Zeus the one true God just as Muhammad proclaimed Allah.

The irrefutable fact that Muslims have consistently persecuted Christians as “infidels” reveals that when “the rubber meets the road” Muslims believe that their god “Allah” is NOT the same God that Christians worship. Otherwise, Christians would have never been viewed or treated as infidels.

B. Conclusion

The Muslim god “Allah” is not the same God that Christians worship. The vast majority of Muslims know this to be true. This is why they call Christians “infidels” and persecute them. Those Muslims in the West who claim otherwise, do so as an evangelistic tool to convert ignorant and unwary Westerners to Islam. That they knowingly and openly use deception is not right and it doesn’t speak well of the religion of Islam.