Many people attack Muslims saying: “You people have no understanding whatsoever, you don’t even know who it is whom you worship. For your own good, know that you are worshipping the moon, for Allah is the name of the “Moon god.” You even follow in your traditions the lunar calendar. Can’t you understand that all this is not a coincidence? You actually worship the moon!”
Well in order to unravel the truth about this misconception we need to ask ourselves the following question: “Was Prophet Muhammad P.B.U.H. the only prophet who used the name “Allah” in referring to the creator of this amazing universe?”
The prophets of the previous nations mentioned in the Bible mostly spoke Hebrew, while some spoke Aramaic. Though Moses and Aaron P.B.U.T. most probably spoke the language of Pharaonic Egypt known as the “Coptic language,” written in Hieroglyphic and Demotic letters, yet, the claim of the Jewish nation is that the Torah’s original language was Hebrew. It should be cleared here that the Hebrew language reached its most mature form in the tenth century before delivery during the reign of Prophet Solomon P.B.U.H. Some scholars say that it was originated from an old Hebrew that was spoken by Abraham after he escaped from Egypt to Philistine (i.e. Palestine). They suggest that this is the Old Hebrew which was inherited and spoken by the Jews besides the Pharaonic Egyptian language. During Solomon’s reign P.B.U.H., Jews settled in Philistine and established their temple. Hebrew became the formal language of their state, and consequently the language of all Jewish prophets after that. After the demise of their kingdom under the attacks of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar 597 B.C., they were enslaved in Babylon for centuries; consequently, they were forced to speak the language of their masters who spoke a subset language of the Syriac tongue. Decades later, Jews returned to Jerusalem; the dominant language of the ancient world back then was Aramaic, especially in the area where Canaanites dwelled. Thenceforth, Aramaic became the language of the Jews, and later on, the language of Jesus P.B.U.H.
Hebrew and Aramaic are both Semitic languages. They are read and written from right to left like Arabic. If we were to check those two languages for the words used to refer to “God”, we will find the following:
In Hebrew scriptures many words are used to refer to God, some as His attributes, some as names; but the words that are translated as God in the English Bible are the following:
- “אל” pronounced as “Al.” It originally means “power” as explained by Rashi (the famous French rabbi) and Onkelos (the famous Roman rabbi). It’s the smallest word which refers to God in Hebrew. For example read [Job (33:29)] where it says:
“הן-כל-אלה יפעל-אל פעמים שלוש עם-גבר”
Pronounced as follows: “En kol ellè yef‘al al f‘amaim shalosh ‘m gaber”
Translated in English as: “Lo, all these [things] worketh God oftentimes with man”
To listen to a rabbi reciting the verse download “Job 33” from the following link and go to 3:07 on the time bar. http://aoal.org/hebrew_audiobible.htm
- “אלה” which is used to refer to “God.” It is pronounced as “Alah.” For example, read [Daniel (2:28)] where it says:
“ברם איתי אלה בשמיא גלא רזין”
Pronounced as follows: “Beram itai Alah bishmaia galae razin”
Translated in English as: “But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets”
The book of Daniel reverts from Hebrew to Aramaic at several places, but the word is understood and translated as God throughout the book. You can easily notice its closeness to the next frequently used Hebrew word.
To listen to a rabbi reciting the verse download “Daniel 2” from the following link and go to 6:58. http://aoal.org/hebrew_audiobible.htm
- “אל.ה,” sometimes written “אלוה.” It means “the one with powers,” but always translated to “God.” It is pronounced as “Aloh.” For example read [Job (33:12)] where it says:
“…אענך כי-ירבה אלוה מאנוש”
Pronounced as follows: “… e‘eneka ki-ierbeh Aloh me’enosh.”
Translated in English as: “… I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.”
To listen to a rabbi reciting the verse download “Job 33” from the following link and go to 1:10. http://aoal.org/hebrew_audiobible.htm
- “אל.הים”, sometimes written as “אלוהים.” It is pronounced as “Alohim”, which is the linguistic plural of the previous word “אל.ה” and means “these with powers.” It is simply the plural of the attribute. Hebrew plurals can be quantitative –more than one, or qualitative –large or great. The word was originally “Aloh,” but “ים” or “im” –which identifies Hebrew nouns as masculine plural– was added to the attribute as a plural of respect. Its main function is to confirm that the attribute is boundless, and stress on its absoluteness. For example read [Genesis (1:1)] where it says:
“בראשית ברא אל.הים את השמים ואת הארץ.”
Pronounced as follows: “Bereshit bara Alohim et haShamaim ve’et ha’aretz.”
Translated in English as: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”
To listen to a rabbi reciting the verse download “Genesis 1” from the following link and go to 0:10. http://aoal.org/hebrew_audiobible.htm
- “יהוה” pronounced as “Yahuwah,” usually translated as “The Lord.” It was used to refer to God as His most important name or attribute after being revealed to Moses as mentioned in [Exodus (6:3)]. It is always mistakenly written and pronounced in English as “Jehovah;” it’s obvious from the Hebrew letters that it has no “J” in it. Some even argue that its accurate pronunciation is unknown for sure. It is mentioned more than 6000 times in the Old Testament (OT). All Jews replace it with the word: “אדני” pronounced as “Adony” in recitation.
According to the dictionary of the Bible, the Arabic orthodox Christian Biblical encyclopedia: “The term Yahuwah is a name among the names of Allah, it serves protecting religion from two dangerous ideas: firstly, the idea that Allah is a thought, or an imaginary being; secondly, the idea of pantheism, and that all creation melts in Allah’s existence. The name makes Allah a specific declared God upon whom any human can call with a clear decisive term. The term Yahuwah linguistically means: The one always existing… By the end of the 4th century B.C., fear increased for the holy name from being profaned; consequently, people were completely forbidden from uttering it. No one can say the Holy name anymore except the chief rabbi while reciting the prayers inside the temple.”
For example read [Deuteronomy (6:4)], where it says:
“שמע ישראל יהוה אל.הינו יהוה אחד”
Pronounced as follows: “Shema‘-Israel, Adony aloheno, Adony akhad.”
Translated in English as: “Hear O Israel: the lord is our God, the lord is one”
To listen to a rabbi reciting the verse download “Deuteronomy 6” from the following link and go to 0:52. http://aoal.org/hebrew_audiobible.htm
Hence, actually “the lord” is not the translation of “Yahuwah,” but of “Adony.” “Yahuwah” is very likely to be either the most important name of God, or His most important attribute.
That was a quick overview of the Hebrew words which were most frequently used in the OT to refer to God. Now let’s move to Aramaic (Jesus’ language):
Muslims believe that Jesus P.B.U.H. was a mighty prophet and messenger sent to the sons of Israel, which is what he himself says in the bible [Matthew (15:24)]: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The language which most Israelites spoke at the time when he was born was the Syriac Aramaic, besides Hebrew, the language of their holy scriptures. It’s important here to clarify that no Aramaic scriptures were preserved for us to study and discuss except a very few scripts for the book of Daniel, whose date and authors are unknown. The church utterly destroyed all ancient manuscripts written in the original language of Jesus P.B.U.H. back in 325 CE after the ‘Council of Nicaea.’ Consequently, there is only one way left, which is to check the “Peshitta” (i.e. the Eastern Aramaic Syriac bible), so that we may find out the correct translation and pronunciation of the word “God.”
The originality of the Peshitta was confirmed by the words of Patriarch Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII who said: “With reference to the originality of the Peshitta text, as the Patriarch and Head of the Holy Apostolic and Catholic Church of the East, we wish to state, that the Church of the East received the scriptures from the hands of the blessed Apostles themselves in the Aramaic original, the language spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and that the Peshitta is the text of the Church of the East which has come down from the Biblical times without any change or revision.”
In Aramaic, the word “God” is written in one of the following forms :
- “אלה” or “ܐܠܗ” pronounced as “Alah,” like word number 2 in Hebrew. It was used about 3 times in the letters of Paul. For example read [Peshitta Corinthians (8:4)] where it says:
“…ܘܕܠܝܬ ܐܠܗ ܐܚܪܝܢ ܐܠܐ ܐܢ ܚܕ “
“…ודלית אלה אחרין אלא אנ חד”
Pronounced as follows: “…Wadalyt Alah akhareen illa en khad”.
Translated in English as: “…and that [there is] none other God but one.”
- “אלהא” or “ܐܠܗܐ” pronounced as “Alaha,” which is the only word used in the 4 gospels meaning “God.” For example read [Peshitta Matthew (15:4)] where it says:
“ܐܠܗܐ ܓܝܪ ܐܡܪ…”
“אלהא גיר אמר…”
Pronounced as follows: “Alaha gir amar…”
Translated in English as: “for God commanded…”
Another example from what Jesus said himself is in (Peshitta Matthew 5:8):
“ܛܘܒܝܗܘܢ ܠܐܝܠܝܢ ܕܕܟܝܢ ܒܠܒܗܘܢ ܕܗܢܘܢ ܢܚܙܘܢ ܠܐܠܗܐ“
“טוביהון לאילין דדכין בלבהון דהנון נהזון לאלהא“
Pronounced as follows: “Tobèhon la-’eleen dèdèkeen bèlbèhon dèhnon nèhzon l’Alaha” (Please note that the letter ‘L’ before “Alaha” in Aramaic means ‘to’ or ‘towards’).
Translated in English as: “Blessed [are] the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
Unfortunately the Aramaic recitation is not published on the internet, but I managed to find examples on this site, this one includes the pronunciation of the word “Alaha” several times and the English translation is included on the page, hope it is enough for the truth seekers or at least a good start for their search:
and read/: http://www.v-a.com/bible/matthew-4.html where Allaha is mentined all over the chapter instead of God.
- Finally there is the word “מריא” pronounced as “Marya” in English. Its translation is as explained for the previous Hebrew word “Adony,” it means “the lord” not “God;” it’s derived from the Aramaic word “מאר” or “Mar” which means “Lord.”
From the previous insight in to Aramaic, we now know that Jesus himself called God “Alaha.”
To listen to a recitation including the word “Marya” go to the following link. The English translation is included. http://www.v-a.com/bible/marys_canticle_luke.html
Muslims believe that Allah is the only God. He is the Creator of all that exists. He is eternal and everlasting. He neither begot any children, nor was He begotten, and there is none comparable unto Him. He is Unique in all of His attributes, that is to say: He is the Most Merciful, Most Wise, Most Gracious, Most Generous, Most kind, etc. Muslims do not worship any god other than “Allah,” to Him belongs the universe and its inhabitants. He is the disposer of all affairs. He is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Powerful over all matters. The word “Allah” in Arabic doesn’t refer neither explicitly nor implicitly to any deity other than the one and only true God, the supreme being who has created all that exists, the one whom we as Muslims worship and to His will alone we submit. “Allah” literally means “The Only God.” It has been used by the Arab Jews and Christians to refer to God Almighty for centuries even before the advent of Islam. It is mentioned in the Arabic Bible more than 2000 times.
- The word “God” was never used by any prophet when referring to our Creator the Almighty; none of them even heard this word during his life. This returns to the fact that the English language evolved from the fusion of languages and dialects which were brought to the eastern coast of Great Britain by Germanic (Anglo-Saxon) settlers in the 5th century. Hence, the word “God,” and the whole English language evolved after Jesus departed by more than 400 years.
- The two words pronounced as “Adony” and “Marya” in Hebrew and Aramaic respectively do not mean “God,” they mean “Lord.” The meaning and correct pronunciation of the term “Yahuwah” are unknown for sure; this name is considered a secret of the highly knowledgeable rabbis. As quoted previously from the Arabic orthodox Christian Biblical encyclopedia, it is one of the names of Allah which means “The one always existing.”
- The remaining words used by the prophets which mean God are “Aloh,” “Alah,” “Alaha,” and finally “Allah,” which Arabs, whether Muslims, Jews, or Christians have been using for thousands of years, and will keep on doing so till the end of time. In my opinion, they are all the same word pronounced with different accents according to the region in which the pronouncer dwells.
Now I have a small question for you: “Which is the most odd among the following words?”
Aloh – Alah – Alaha – Allah – God
I leave the answer for the intelligence of the reader.
Written by: Ehab Shawky
In Response to: Unravel