When a translator interprets an Arab speaker, is there an actual difference in Arabic (phonetically, contextually, or any other way) between the word for god, God, and Allah? Within the Hussein/Rather interview, I heard both “god” and “allah” used in the interpretation, sometimes within the same response. I’m wondering if when they interpret it as “Allah” that it’s like an English speaker might say “Jehovah” or “God-almighty” instead of just "God, or write “God” vs “god” – or is the translator just being arbitrary, or possibly even inserting a bias? I was always under the impression that the word “allah” was equivalent to the word “god” and that a person would use the same word whether they were Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or Hindu, and speaking of God. Is there more to it than that?

There’s also the word Khuda although Jomo Mojo should be here to set things straight.

OK, I’m no expert, but I believ

Sorry. It was supposed to say “I believe there are multiple words in Hebrew, too. Elohim, Adonai, and Yahweh. Maybe someone can set these straight, too.”

n. Islam. the Muslim name for God; the one Supreme Being.
[from Arabic, from al the + Ilah god; compare Hebrew eloah]


By the way, Allah has no plural and no gender.

Also, I noticed that even the translator mispronounced it by putting the accent on the first syllable.
It is not pronounced “AHlah”; it is pronounced “ahLAH”.

Allah in Arabic is pretty much equivalent to the word title/name (in Islam Allah is strictly not a name, but a title) ‘God’ in English, Arabic-speaking Christians also use the word ‘Allah’ too. The word itself (which pre-dates Islam) is a derivation of the Hebrew word ‘Elohim’ (‘I am’) word for God.

“Yahweh” is the True Name, and is never, ever spoken; in fact, only a scribe is alowed to writeit down, and then only in specific places. “Adonai” is a specific form of “Lord”, and is used as a replacement for “Yaweh” (for instance, whenever the word “Yaweh” is read aloud, it’s pronounced “Adonai”), and only when directly adressing the Almighty. “Elohim” is the title, like “God” (capital “G” only), and is used when discussing Him, rather than adressing Him. “El” means lower-case-“g” “god”.

From the definition I provided then yes. “Ilah” is the Arabic word for god; “Allah” is the Arabic word for (The) God.

  1. God is sometimes capitalized and sometimes not although the translator may of had nothing to do with the transcription.
  2. Use of the term “bandwagon” not something I’d expect from an Arabic speaker.
  3. Opal is never mentioned.
  4. Mispronounciation of Allah.
  5. Rather asked if the translator was acceptable.
    So yes, there was a bias as all translations are. But I don’t think the bias affected the content very much, just the use of the word god and God. This opinion is pending another translation by another Arabic speaker.

Again, “Allah” is the equivalent to the word God, while “ilah” is the equivalent to the word god.

It’s really not correct to say that Yahweh is the true Hebrew name of God. All we know is that the consonants are YHWH. Written Hebrew (and Arabic) typically does not contain the vowels of words, and since “no one says God’s name”, we really don’t know what vowels to put in. By convention, it is “a” and “e”, and I believe those are chosen because they teh ones which are used in another Hebrew word for “God” (can’t remember which one).

Point taken; actually, I was just trying to simplify things. If you read a Hebrew Bible, you’d notice that the YHVH is the only word without added vowels. Obviously, there is no proper way to pronounce the word for the simple reason that it’s not supposed to be pronounced, unless of course you’re the High Priest and today’s Yom Kippur, and even then, it’s supposed to be divinely inspired.

The rhyming word you’re thinking of is probably “HaShem” - “The Name”.

My understanding is the Asians more concerned with names and language than Christians (sorry, no info on the Jews). Therefore, when Christianity was being spread around Europe, the separate cultures just used a word from their own language to refer to the Big Guy.

Islam, OTOH, expanded throughout Asia and Africa. The people who converted to Islam were concerned with language, so rather than using their own words to refer to Him, they borrowed the Arabic name for Him, Allah. Then, when Muslims from Asia visited or relocated to English speaking countries, they still referred to the Big Guy as Allah.

I doubt this, especially where the French are concerned.

Whenever I hear discussions that get into how we’re not supposed to say the name of God, I always flash back to Vincent “The Chin” Gigante, who eluded indictment for years in part because the Feds couldn’t get anybody saying his name on tape. Whenever somebody needed to refer to him, they would just point to their chin.

I’m going to Hell now, aren’t I?

But, the French technically didn’t exist when Christianity was spreading throughout Europe, unless you count the Franks, but that’s unimportant. What’s important is that they weren’t using their separate languages as a means of national identity.

Okay, I know I’m going right to the edge of GD with this, but I cannot help asking.

Would Arabic speaking Christians refer to Jesus using “Allah”?

Would Muslum Arabs use “Allah” when refering to Jesus? Or would they use “Ilah”?

Right away I feel the need to clarify what I just asked. I didn’t mean to ask what term Muslums would use for Jesus within their own religion. I’m asking which word they’d use to fill in: “Christians believe that Jesus is ____”. Allah or Ilah?

And then you can remind me how to spell Muslim.

(sheesh, I’m going to bed now)

Race Bannon, Isa is Arabic for Jesus, considered a prophet in Islam.

The fill in the blank question would be answered this way.

Muslim Arabs would say Isa was a prophet of Allah.

Christian Arabs would say Isa was the son of Allah.

Thanks, Gyan9, but AcidKid has already nailed it quite well before I found this thread. I haven’t anything to add. Just a note that I’ve heard some vehement debates between Muslims who when writing in English translate Allâh as ‘God’ and others who insist you must not translate but say “Allah” in English. Personally, I don’t see what’s wrong with translating the name as “God” in English, because that’s exactly what it means. God with the capital G.

One more thing, Gyan9, you mentioned khudâ. This is the Persian word for ‘Lord’, equivalent to Arabic rabb. The little-used Persian word for ‘God’ is yazd or îzad. The word khudâ is the word most frequently used in Urdu to mean ‘God’. It was a loanword into Middle Persian from the ancient Sogdian term khwa-taw- meaning ‘one who has power in himself’.

The Arabic name Allâh is unique in that it is the only word in the whole language that uses the emphatic/velar [L] sound. Arabic has six “emphatic” sounds [.D, .H, q, .S, .T, .Z], but its [l] is not one of them; it only occurs in the name Allâh.

For you Goddess people, the Arabic word for ‘goddess’ is ilâhah (as a combining form, it’s ilâhat-).

Arabic ilâh, Allâh and Hebrew El, Elohim, and Akkadian ilu all come from the same Proto-Semitic root: ’l meaning ‘god’. I. Common Semitic basic form ’il-, god. II. Central Semitic extended form ’ilâh-, god (see the American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed., 2000, Appendix II, Table of Semitic Roots). Most unfortunately, the AHD got the pronunciation all wrong, putting the stress accent on the first syllable. AcidKid got it right. Thanks, AcidKid.