The claim that the “Allah” of Islam is the Arabic name for the God of the Bible is being popularized by some interfaith movements. Some Arabic and Turkish translations of the New Testament produced by Wycliffe, and the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) have even gone to the extent of removing words like “Father”, “Son” and “the Son of God” used in reference to the Triune God of the Bible replacing them with terms like “Allah” and “Messiah.”
For example, in Matthew 28:19 which says “…baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit“, this mutant translation reads: “Cleanse them by water in the name of Allah, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit.”
This aberration has attracted protest e-mails and letters from many Christian websites and periodicals to the translators to correct this spurious redaction. The Wycliffe organization posted a response on its website which I can only describe as a toe-dancing of the issues.
To show how illegitimate and blasphemous it is to associate the Bible’s God with the “Allah” of Islam, I will quote different scholars pointing out the pagan origins of the “Allah” of Islam:
1. “Allah: perceived in pre-islamic times as the creator of the earth and water though not at that time considered monotheistically.
Allat: Astral and tutelary goddess. Pre-Islamic … one of the 3 daughters of Allah” (Encyclopedia of Gods, Michael Jordan, 1993, 11)
2. “Before Islam, the religions of the Arabic world involved the worship of many spirits called jinn. Allah was but one of the many gods worshipped in Mecca. But then Muhammad taught the worship of Allah as the only God, whom he identified as the same God worshipped by Christians and Jews” (A Short History of Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 130).
3. “The verses of the Qur’an make it clear that the very name Allah existed in the Jahiliyya or pre-islamic Arabia. Certain pagan tribes believed in a god whom they call ‘Allah’ and whom they believed to be the creator of heaven and earth and holder of the highest rank in the hierarchy of the gods … It is therefore clear that the Qur’anic conception of Allah is not entirely new” (A Guide to the Contents of the Qur’an, Faruq Sherif, 1985, 21-22)
4. “The name Allah, as the Quran itself is witness, was well known in pre-Islamic Arabia. Indeed, both it and its feminine form, Allat, are found not infrequently among the theophorous names in inscriptions from North Arabia” (Dr Arthur Jeffery, Islam: Muhammad and His Religion, New York: The Liberal Arts Press, 1958, 85)
5. “Islam owes the term ‘Allah’ to the heathen Arabs. We have evidence that it entered into numerous personal names in Northern Arabia and among the Nabateans” (Ibn Warraq, Why I am Not A Muslim, Prometheus Book, 1995, 42)
6. “The origin of this [Allah] goes back to pre-Muslim times. Allah is not a common name meaning ‘God’ (or a god), and the Muslim must use another word or form if he wishes to indicate any other than his own peculiar deity” (Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, James Hastings, I:326)
7.”‘Allah’ is a pre-Islamic name … corresponding to the Babylonian Bel” (Encyclopedia of Religion, eds Paul Meagher, Thomas O’ Brian, Washington D.C: Corpus Pub., 1979, 1:117)
8. “The use of the phrase ‘the Lord of this house’ ([Sura] 106:3) makes it likely that those Meccans who believed in Allah, as a high god – and they may have been numerous – regarded the Kaaba as his shrine even though there were images of other gods in it. There are stories in the sira of pagan Meccans praying to Allah while standing beside the image of Hubal” (Muhammad’s Mecca, W. Montgomery Watt, 1953, 39).
9. “Within the Ka’aba, in pre-Moslem days, were several idols representing gods. One was called Allah … three others were Allah’s daughters – al-Uzza, al-Lat, and Manat. We may judge the antiquity of this Arab pantheon from the mention of Al-il-Lat (Al-Lat) by Herodotus [5th century BC Greek historian] as a major Arabian deity. The Quraish [Muhammad’s tribe] paved the way for monotheism by worshiping Allah as chief god; He was presented to the Meccans as the Lord of their soil to Whom they must pay a tithe of their crops and the first-born of their herds” (Will Durant, The Story of Civilization, Simon and Schuster, 1959, IV:160-161)
10. “There is no reason, therefore, to accept the idea that Allah passed to the Muslims from the Christians and Jews” (Caesar Farah, Islam: Beliefs and Observations. New York, 1987, 28).
The evidence of history proves that the “Allah” of Islam is as pagan as Baal, Osiris, Zeus or Obatala. It is blasphemy to identify the God of the Bible with him.