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al-llah

English translation: AL-ILAH = “the god;” ALLAH = "God "

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
Arabic term or phrase:AL-ILAH
English translation:AL-ILAH = “the god;” ALLAH = "God "
Entered by: Fuad Yahya
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05:20 Nov 21, 2001
Arabic to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Religion / Religion
Arabic term or phrase: al-llah
Al-llah, as I understand it is the Arabic root word for Allah the name of God to Islam. What does it mean? And Where did it come from?
Michael McAvoy
AL-ILAH = “the god;” ALLAH = ‘God ‘
Explanation:
“AL” is the Arabic definite article (“the”).

ILAH is the Arabic generic term for “deity” or “god” (with a small G). The feminine form is ILAHA, and the plural is ALIHA. The adjectival form is ILAHIYY (“divine”).

What does it mean? That is precisely what it means: god, or deity. It refers to nothing else, just as the English word “god” means nothing else, except by way of figurative use.

Where does it come from? Nobody knows with certainty, but the words for “god” or “deity” in all Semitic languages, extinct and extant, are all similar in that they consist of an initial glottal stop (represented by A, E, or I, when written in Latin letters), followed by the L sound, sometimes followed by the sound AH (or OH), variously pronounced. Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew cognates seem to derive from an ancient root, possibly pronounced EL, and thought to signify power.

ALLAH is the Arabic term that refers to the Jewish-Christian-Muslim notion of God (with a capital G). The word is used in the Arabic versions of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur’an.

The Old Testament uses a variety of terms that reflect the evolution of Hebraic theology from polytheism to simple monotheism to more sophisticated monotheism. The different appellations also reflect the different attitudes exhibited at different times regarding the explicit uttering of the Hebrew Divine name, some times represented by the tetragram (or tetragrammaton), and at others by ADONAI (“Lord”). The Arabic Old Testaments, use the word ALLAH wherever the Hebrew version uses Eloh or Elohim, provided the reference is clearly to the God of the Bible. For instance, Genisis 1:1 states

في البدء خلق الله السموات والأرض

Likewise, in the New Testament, John 1:1 reads:

في البدء كان الكلمة والكلمة كان عند الله وكان الكلمة الله

The Qur’an is consistent with the same tradition, as in the BASMALA:

بسـم الله الرحـمن الرحيم

It is surmised by some that AL-RAHMAN was the southern Arabian name for God the Father, and that the BASMALA represented Islam’s recognition of the Father as the unique God, exclusive of the Son the Holy Ghost.

It is important to note that although ALLAH is used in reference to a unique being (and as such may be called a “name” or a “proper noun”), it is not a name in the sense that Dick and Harry are names. Dick and Harry distinguish their referents from similar members of the same species, whereas the referent that ALLAH signifies, in a sense, needs no such distinguishing name, since that being is not a member of a species. In a loosely analogous way, one can give a distinguishing name to a planet, like Venus, since there are so many planets, but not to the sky, since there is only one. In this sense, “The Sky” may be thought of as a name, but not in the same sense as Venus is a name.

Arab etymologists have often sought to explain ALLAH as a contraction of AL-ILAH (“the deity”). This is an attractive theory, but by no means certain or well substantiated.

From the very beginning of the Prophet Muhammad’s mission, he consistently used the Arabic word ALLAH, used by his Jewish and Christian contemporaries, in reference to the one true deity. His preaching and the scriptures that he mediated clearly identified this deity as the God of Abraham, worshiped by Jews and Christians. It is true that the Islamic conception of God vastly differs from the Christian conception (not so much from the Jewish conception), but that difference never impelled Muhammad to use a different name. Semiotically, this is understandable. We often have different conceptions of the same notion, but we continue using the same appellation. Those who thought the earth was flat still called it “the earth.”

Prior to modern European colonialism, Muslims have had no experience in talking or writing about Islam in European languages. European Orientalists, especially the British and French, sought to define Islam to their European readers as something different from, opposite to, and ultimately inferior to the Western culture as a whole, whatever “Western culture” meant. One of the means used to accomplish this end was verbal engineering, a process involving redefinition of terms, renaming of common notions, and the use of untranslated non-European terms (mostly Arabic) to drive home the notion that the “East,” as the realm of non-Europeans was insultingly called, could not be represented in “Western” vocabulary, because the two entities were mutually exclusive, despite appearances to the contrary. Islam was to be thought of as so entirely outlandish that a simple English word like “God” failed to represent anything Islamic (without actually saying that in so many words). Talking about Islam had to involve “foreign” sounding words to give the discourse a dreamy, exotic flavor, in support of the notion that the East was inscrutably mysterious. Today’s mass media use a similar technique to give their reports an aura of authenticity and high learning.

Muslims, especially in the Indian subcontinent, borrowed the style of writing about Islam in English from English Orientalists. They particularly bought the notion that when writing about Islam in English, one should use the term ALLAH. This practice spread throughout the Muslim world, and continues to be followed today by many Muslims, giving rise to the bizarre idea that ALLAH is the “name” of the Muslim deity.

As should be amply clear, ALLAH is Arabic, just as “God” is English, and “Gott” is German. ALLAH is no more Muslim than “God” is Christian or Jewish. Yet, many contemporary Muslims use the word ALLAH the same way some Christians speak of love: they think it is theirs alone.

For further online reading on the subject, try these links:

http://jews-for-allah.org/Why-Believe-in-Allah/Allah-inthe-J...

http://www.plim.org/1Allah.html

http://www.cyberspace.org/~jh/wgh/name.html


Fuad
Selected response from:

Fuad Yahya
Grading comment
Thank you for being thurough and unbiased. I'm strictly interested in the etymology of the word. I appreciate your time and work.

a soldier of Christ
2Tim.2:3-4
Mike McAvoy
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
4 +2AL-ILAH = “the god;” ALLAH = ‘God ‘Fuad Yahya
5GodILA
4ALLAH Tuhan Yang Satusatriopanulis
4Goddasheed6
3THE GOD
Kamran Nadeem


  

Answers


10 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5
God


Explanation:
Al-llah is the same as Allah is the Arabic aquivalent to God
but the difference is that God in English or Dieu in French can apply to other divinities(Egyptian or Greek) but the Arabic word applies to one God the one in Heaven who has created us
its origin comes from the Quran, the holy book of Muslims

ILA
Local time: 09:22
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic
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13 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
THE GOD


Explanation:
AL LAH is the name of THE GOD given by AL QURAN and islam,according to AL QURAN he is the creator of universe and of all the existing things.
AL LAH is one of the 99 names given to the GOD in ISLAM.
According to AL QURAN, AL LAH is ultimate,and i think the word ALLAH is derived from HEBREW from EEL like ISRSFEEL etc.

Kamran Nadeem
United States
Local time: 04:22
Native speaker of: Native in UrduUrdu, Native in PanjabiPanjabi
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3 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
God


Explanation:
Allah is the name of God in Arabic. The Al in the beginning does not mean "the". It is simply one word, a name. God in Arabic has 99 names. the first and most prominent is Allah.

Examples of other names are: Al-Amin (The honest), Al-Rahman (The merciful), Al Kareem (The generious), Al- Atheem (the "th" is pronounced thickly like the "th" in although) means The Great, ..etc. I hope you get the idea.

The exact translation for "God" or "Lord" is: "Ilaah" (the I is snappy short (accented) and you emphasize the "h" sound.

dasheed6
United States
Local time: 04:22
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8 hrs   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
AL-ILAH = “the god;” ALLAH = ‘God ‘


Explanation:
“AL” is the Arabic definite article (“the”).

ILAH is the Arabic generic term for “deity” or “god” (with a small G). The feminine form is ILAHA, and the plural is ALIHA. The adjectival form is ILAHIYY (“divine”).

What does it mean? That is precisely what it means: god, or deity. It refers to nothing else, just as the English word “god” means nothing else, except by way of figurative use.

Where does it come from? Nobody knows with certainty, but the words for “god” or “deity” in all Semitic languages, extinct and extant, are all similar in that they consist of an initial glottal stop (represented by A, E, or I, when written in Latin letters), followed by the L sound, sometimes followed by the sound AH (or OH), variously pronounced. Arabic, Aramaic, and Hebrew cognates seem to derive from an ancient root, possibly pronounced EL, and thought to signify power.

ALLAH is the Arabic term that refers to the Jewish-Christian-Muslim notion of God (with a capital G). The word is used in the Arabic versions of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Qur’an.

The Old Testament uses a variety of terms that reflect the evolution of Hebraic theology from polytheism to simple monotheism to more sophisticated monotheism. The different appellations also reflect the different attitudes exhibited at different times regarding the explicit uttering of the Hebrew Divine name, some times represented by the tetragram (or tetragrammaton), and at others by ADONAI (“Lord”). The Arabic Old Testaments, use the word ALLAH wherever the Hebrew version uses Eloh or Elohim, provided the reference is clearly to the God of the Bible. For instance, Genisis 1:1 states

في البدء خلق الله السموات والأرض

Likewise, in the New Testament, John 1:1 reads:

في البدء كان الكلمة والكلمة كان عند الله وكان الكلمة الله

The Qur’an is consistent with the same tradition, as in the BASMALA:

بسـم الله الرحـمن الرحيم

It is surmised by some that AL-RAHMAN was the southern Arabian name for God the Father, and that the BASMALA represented Islam’s recognition of the Father as the unique God, exclusive of the Son the Holy Ghost.

It is important to note that although ALLAH is used in reference to a unique being (and as such may be called a “name” or a “proper noun”), it is not a name in the sense that Dick and Harry are names. Dick and Harry distinguish their referents from similar members of the same species, whereas the referent that ALLAH signifies, in a sense, needs no such distinguishing name, since that being is not a member of a species. In a loosely analogous way, one can give a distinguishing name to a planet, like Venus, since there are so many planets, but not to the sky, since there is only one. In this sense, “The Sky” may be thought of as a name, but not in the same sense as Venus is a name.

Arab etymologists have often sought to explain ALLAH as a contraction of AL-ILAH (“the deity”). This is an attractive theory, but by no means certain or well substantiated.

From the very beginning of the Prophet Muhammad’s mission, he consistently used the Arabic word ALLAH, used by his Jewish and Christian contemporaries, in reference to the one true deity. His preaching and the scriptures that he mediated clearly identified this deity as the God of Abraham, worshiped by Jews and Christians. It is true that the Islamic conception of God vastly differs from the Christian conception (not so much from the Jewish conception), but that difference never impelled Muhammad to use a different name. Semiotically, this is understandable. We often have different conceptions of the same notion, but we continue using the same appellation. Those who thought the earth was flat still called it “the earth.”

Prior to modern European colonialism, Muslims have had no experience in talking or writing about Islam in European languages. European Orientalists, especially the British and French, sought to define Islam to their European readers as something different from, opposite to, and ultimately inferior to the Western culture as a whole, whatever “Western culture” meant. One of the means used to accomplish this end was verbal engineering, a process involving redefinition of terms, renaming of common notions, and the use of untranslated non-European terms (mostly Arabic) to drive home the notion that the “East,” as the realm of non-Europeans was insultingly called, could not be represented in “Western” vocabulary, because the two entities were mutually exclusive, despite appearances to the contrary. Islam was to be thought of as so entirely outlandish that a simple English word like “God” failed to represent anything Islamic (without actually saying that in so many words). Talking about Islam had to involve “foreign” sounding words to give the discourse a dreamy, exotic flavor, in support of the notion that the East was inscrutably mysterious. Today’s mass media use a similar technique to give their reports an aura of authenticity and high learning.

Muslims, especially in the Indian subcontinent, borrowed the style of writing about Islam in English from English Orientalists. They particularly bought the notion that when writing about Islam in English, one should use the term ALLAH. This practice spread throughout the Muslim world, and continues to be followed today by many Muslims, giving rise to the bizarre idea that ALLAH is the “name” of the Muslim deity.

As should be amply clear, ALLAH is Arabic, just as “God” is English, and “Gott” is German. ALLAH is no more Muslim than “God” is Christian or Jewish. Yet, many contemporary Muslims use the word ALLAH the same way some Christians speak of love: they think it is theirs alone.

For further online reading on the subject, try these links:

http://jews-for-allah.org/Why-Believe-in-Allah/Allah-inthe-J...

http://www.plim.org/1Allah.html

http://www.cyberspace.org/~jh/wgh/name.html


Fuad


    Reference: http://jews-for-allah.org/Why-Believe-in-Allah/Allah-inthe-J...
    Reference: http://www.plim.org/1Allah.html
Fuad Yahya
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in ArabicArabic, Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 199
Grading comment
Thank you for being thurough and unbiased. I'm strictly interested in the etymology of the word. I appreciate your time and work.

a soldier of Christ
2Tim.2:3-4
Mike McAvoy

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  ALWALEED: thank you
1 day10 hrs

agree  AhmedAMS
80 days
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3850 days   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
ALLAH Tuhan Yang Satu


Explanation:
Sebelum yahudi, nasrani dan agama muhammad antara lain agama hindu mereka mempercayai adanya dewa-dewa...seperti Brahma dewa pencipta, Whisnu dewa pemelihara dan Syiwa dewa pelebur atau perusak dan pada zaman tersebut alam sangat mempengaruhi manusia. Kemudian pada periode sebelum Isa Ibnu Maryam yaitu zaman sampai dengan nabi musa a.s sudah digunakan nama Tuhan atau God yang satu. Yang menjadi pertanyaan bagaimana dengan nasib sembahan-sembahan mereka sebelumnya yakni para dewa ? Yang akhirnya membuat generasi sepeninggal umat Musa A.S kembali membuat berhala disamping menyembah Tuhan seperti yang sudah diajarkan oleh para nabi. Kemudian turunlah Al Masih isa putra maryam atau kalangan nasrani menyebutnya Tuhan Yesus Kristus. Pada masa inilah terjadi persoalan tentang "NAMA" Tuhan karena menurut pengikut Isa bahwa nabi mereka itu adalah Tuhan, sementara zaman sebelumnya Tuhan adalah Pencipta, Pemelihara dan Sesembahan. Dan dikenalah konsep "Trinitas" atau Tuhan adalah 3 (tiga). Kemudian turunlah nabi terakhir muhammad saw yang membawa ajaran untuk meng-Esakan Tuhan yaitu Allah dan membawa Al Quran yang membenarkan kitab sebelumnya dan menjadi batu ujian bagi kitab-kitab tersebut. Dari rentetan sejarah itulah kita insya Allah menjadi mengetahui dan mengerti . Bahwa zaman muhammad ini (karena sesudahnya tidak ada nabi lagi) nama dewa-dewa pada zaman dahulu yang kemudian di"satukan" dengan nama Tuhan yang kemudian "nama" Tuhan sendiri dijadikan 3 (tiga) atau 2 (dua) dan akhirnya "nama" Tuhan tersebut di"satukan" kembali menjadi ALLAH. Yang menjadi "kerisauan" apakah nanti nama "ALLAH" akan kembali dijadikan lebih dari 1 (satu) ?(Na'audzubilah minzalik). Jadi sebenarnya ALLAH "lebih" dari Tuhan. Karena kalau masih "Tuhan" ALLAH akan dijadikan lebih dari 1 (satu)! (Na'audzubilah minzalik). Jadi sangat tidak benar kalau Al-ilah=Tuhan, tapi yang benar adalah ilah=Tuhan bukan Al-ilah, karena nanti masih ada kata "Rabb" dan "Malik" selain dari kata "Ilah" untuk Tuhan maupun Raja. (Lihat surat An-Naas). Jadi saya lebih setuju kalau nama"ALLAH=Al-ilah=Al-malik=Al-Rabb" dan Al-asmaul husna yang menunjuk kepada "Yang Satu" sedangkan untuk Tuhan=God=Yahwe=Gusti=Hyang Widhi=Sang Budha=Pangeran=Yesus=Ilah=Malik=Rabb=nama Dewa-Dewa=Jabatan=Kekayaan=Wanita=Kekuasaan....(maksudnya kalau manusia men"Tuhan"kan hal-hal yang disebut terakhir tadi) Jadi ALLAH adalah Tuhanku dan Tuhanmu, maka sembahlah Dia Yang Satu.....Wa'allahu bi shawab. Syukron

satriopanulis
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