Is Allah God?

Malaysia has confiscated 10,000 Bibles, because they refer to God as Allah. Apparently this may upset Muslims. No doubt there are aspects of all religions that many people, of all religions and none, might find offensive.

It is a key factor of belief that there is no universal philosophy held by all and known to be true. Religious beliefs are a matter of faith because doubt must have its place. Faith without doubt cannot be true faith.  One who does not doubt may claim to know; but not all knowledge is true! Read John Ortberg on “Faith and Doubt” for more on this.


What do we call God?

All the monotheistic Abrahamic religions have in common the belief in one God. A single Creator and Ruler of all.

The word used in Arabic for God is Allah. No surprise then that God should choose to be known as Allah in the Koran in His revelation to the Arabic-speaking Prophet Muhammad. But for Muslim believers, the Allah of the Koran is also the God of the Christian and Jewish Scripture. So why all the fuss?

Well Arabic is not the first tongue for Malays. So are the Christians seeking to win over Muslims by adopting the Arabic expression for God? Perhaps there might be an element of proselytising. I don’t know. But I do understand that Islam is the largest official religion of Malaysia, so the word “Allah” is widely understood to mean God. In the UK, we use the word “God” and even many Muslims will use this word interchangeably with “Allah”. Certainly “Allah” is the word Arabic-speaking Christians will have used before the dawn of Islam.

It’s a circular argument. Allah is God. God is Allah. It’s much more important to consider who is God/Allah than what we call Him. I imagine most Muslims in Malaysia feel the same. Just don’t say Jehovah!