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Although the Qur'an of Islam lists ninety-nine names for God, it says most emphatically that la ilah illa' Allah-"there is no God but Allah." Allah is not so much a name as a title. The word means "the God," and it is the name revealed to the prophet Muhammad of the god worshiped by other "people of the book"-that is, Christians and Jews-although they use other names. Because the Qur'an cannot be translated-that is, any translation is considered merely a study aid, not the true Qur'an-these words are an approximation, but they carry the weight and the essential meaning of Allah. There is no god but he; That is the witness of Allah, His angels, and those endued with knowledge, standing firm on justice. There is no god but he, the Exalted in Power, the Wise. (Qur'an 3:18) He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in Six Days, and is moreover firmly established on the Throne [of Authority]. He knows what enters within the earth and what comes forth out of it, what comes down from heaven and what mounts up to it. And he is with you wheresoever ye may be. And Allah sees well all that you do. (57:4) To Allah belongeth all that is in the heavens and on the earth. Whether ye show what is in your minds or conceal it, Allah calleth you to account for it. He forgiveth whom he pleaseth, and punisheth whom He pleaseth, for Allah hath power over all things. (2:284) Allah (ăl'ə, ä'lə) , [Arab.,=the God]. Derived from an old Semitic root refering to the Divine and used in the Canaanite El, the Mesopotamian ilu, and the biblical Elohim, the word Allah is used by all Arabic-speaking Muslims, Christians, Jews, and others. Allah, as a deity, was probably known in pre-Islamic Arabia. Arabic chronicles suggest a preIslamic recognition of Allah as a supreme God, with the three goddesses al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat as his “daughters.” The Prophet Muhammad, declaring Allah the God of Abraham, demanded a return to a strict monotheism. Islam supplements Allah as the name of God with the 99 most beautiful names (asma Allah al-husna), understood as nondescriptive mnemonic guides to the Divine attributes. A likely etymology of the term is that it is an ancient contraction of al-ilah (Arabic for "the god") and was probably first used in Arabian cosmologies before Islam to refer to some kind of high deity who may have been considered the progenitor of a number of lesser divinities. The word Allah is best known in the West as the name Muslims ascribe to the one and only God, whom they believe to be the transcendent and partnerless creator, lord, and judge of the universe. It is important to note that according to Muslim teaching, Allah is not only the God of the prophet Muhammad but also the God of Moses and Jesus - and is therefore identical to the divine being of Jewish and Christian sacred history.
While Muslim tradition recognizes Allah to be the comprehensive name of God encompassing all the divine attributes, it also ascribes to the deity an additional ninetynine "beautiful names" (al-asma al-husna), each of which evoke a distinct characteristic of the godhead. The most famous and most frequently referenced of these are "the Merciful" (al-rahman) and "the Compassionate" (al-rahim). Allah (Arabic: ,الAllāh, IPA: [ʔalˤːɑːh] pronunciation (help·info)) is the standard Arabic word for 'God.' While the term is best known in the West for its use by Muslims as a reference to God, it is used by Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, in reference to "God". The term was also used by pagan Meccans as a reference to the creator-god, possibly the supreme deity in pre-Islamic Arabia. The concepts associated with the term Allah (as a deity) differ among the traditions. In pre-Islamic Arabia amongst pagan Arabs, Allah was not the sole divinity, having associates and companions, sons and daughters, a concept strongly opposed by Islam. In Islam, the name Allah is the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name. All other divine names are believed to refer back to Allah. Allah is unique, the only Deity, creator of the universe and omnipotent. Arab Christians today, having no other word for 'God' than Allah, use terms such as Allāh al-Āb (" )ال البGod the Father". There are both similarities and differences between the concept of God as portrayed in the Qur'an and the Hebrew Bible. Unicode has a codepoint reserved for Allāh, = لU+FDF2. Many Arabic type fonts feature The term Allāh is derived from a contraction of the Arabic definite article al- "the" and ʾilāh "deity, god" to al-lāh meaning "the [sole] deity, God" (ho theos monos). Cognates of the name "Allāh" exist in other Semitic languages, including Hebrew and Aramaic. ܳ ܰ The corresponding Aramaic form is אֱלָהָאˀĔlāhā in Biblical Aramaic and ܐܳܠܗܐ ˀAlâhâ or ˀĀlōho in Syriac. The contraction of al- and ʾilāh in forming the term Allāh ("the god", masculine form) parallels the contraction of al- and ʾilāha in forming the term Allāt ("the goddess", feminine form).
Usage in Arabic
In pre-Islamic Arabia, Allah was used by Meccans as a reference to the creator-god, possibly the supreme deity. Allah was not the sole divinity and the notion of the term may have been vague in the Meccan religion. Allah had associates and companions, whom pre-Islamic Arabs considered as subordinate deities. Meccans held that a kind of kinship existed between Allah and the jinn. Allah had sons and the local deities of al-‘Uzzá, Manāt and al-Lāt were his daughters. The Meccans possibly associated
angels with Allah. Allah was invoked in times of distress. Muhammad's father's name was ʿAbdallāh meaning the “servant of Allāh.” or "the slave of Allāh" In Islam, Allah is the proper name of God, and humble submission to His Will, Divine Ordinances and Commandments is the pivot of the Muslim faith. "He is the only God, creator of the universe, and the judge of humankind." "He is unique (wahid) and inherently one (ahad), all-merciful and omnipotent." The Qur'an insists upon "the reality of Allah, His inaccessible mystery, His various names, and His actions on behalf of His creatures."
Allah script outside Eski Cami (The Old Mosque) in Edirne, Turkey. According to the tradition of Islam there are 99 Names of God (al-asma al-husna lit. meaning: "The best names") each of which evoke a distinct characteristic of Allah. All these names refer to Allah, the supreme and all-comprehensive divine name. Among the 99 names of God, the most famous and most frequent of these names are "the Merciful" (al-rahman) and "the Compassionate" (al-rahim). Most Muslims use the untranslated Arabic phrase "insha' Allah" (meaning "God willing") after references to future events. Muslim discursive piety encourages beginning things with the invocation of "bismillah"(meaning "In the name of God"). Muslims are recommended to repeat phrases like "Subhan-Allah" (Holiness be to God), "Alhamdulillah" (Praise be to God), "La-il-la-ha-illa-Allah" (There is no deity but God) and "Allāhu Akbar" (God is great) as a devotional exercise of remembering God (zikr). In a Sufi practice known as zikr Allah (lit. remembrance of God), the Sufi repeats and contemplates on the name Allah or other divine names while controlling his or her breath.
Arabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, use the word "Allah" to mean "God". The Christian Arabs of today have no other word for 'God' than
'Allah'. Arab Christians for example use terms Allāh al-ab ( )ال البmeaning God the father, Allāh al-ibn ( )ال البنmean God the son, and Allāh al-rūḥ al qudus ()ال الروح القدس meaning God the Holy Spirit (See God in Christianity for the Christian concept of God). Arab Christians have used two forms of invocations that were affixed to the beginning of their written works. They adopted the Muslim basm-allah, and also created their own Trinitized basm-allah as early as the eight century CE. The Muslim basm-allah reads: "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful." The Trinitized basm-allah reads: "In the name of Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God." The Syriac, Latin and Greek invocations do not have the words "One God" at the end. This addition was made to emphasize the monotheistic aspect of Trinitian belief and also to make it more palatable to Muslims. According to Marshall Hodgson, it seems that in the pre-Islamic times, some Arab Christians made pilgrimage to the Kaaba, a pagan temple at that time, honoring Allah there as God the Creator.
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