God or Allah
Dr. Ahmad Shafaat
The question has often been raised
whether in English we should use the word God or Allah to designate
the Creator and master of the Universe. The answer to the question
has, in fact, been given by the Holy Qur'an itself. In Surah Bani
Israel the Holy Qur'an says:
"Say! Call upon Allah or call
upon Rahman: by whatever name you call upon Him (it is
well): for to Him belong (all) the most beautiful names."
Thus it is of no
great importance by what name or word we call upon our Creator.
What is important is that we
have the right beliefs about Him, that we have faith and trust in
Him and that we develop an inner relationship with Him through
prayer and remembrance.
Those who insist that we must use the
name Allah at all times, they do so on the grounds that the concept
of God is associated with all kinds of pagan and Trinitarian ideas.
But when the Holy Qur'an used the name Allah the concept of Allah
was also corrupted by a lot of blasphemous ideas. The pagan Arabs,
for example, considered their idols - Lat, Uzza, etc. as
intermediaries between man and Allah. They believed angels to be the
daughters of Allah while Arabic speaking Christians and Jews
believed their prophets to be sons of Allah. Even so, the Holy
Qur'an used the word Allah to talk about the Creator. It corrected
many of the wrong ideas about Him, but it did so using the same word
that was commonly used at the time in the Arabic language to talk
Consequently, we see nothing wrong if an
English writer or speaker uses the word that is most commonly used
in that language for the Creator, provided what we say about Him is
consistent with the Qur'anic teachings. This is also the view of
some of the reputed Muslim scholars who have written in English. For
example, both Yusuf 'Ali and Muhammad Asad, the authors of the two
best existing commentaries of the Holy Qur`an in English,
consistently use "God" for "Allah" in their translations and
explanations of the Qur`an.