Allah

Jana337

Senior Member
čeština
Is it permissible to write the word Allah without an article (linguistically, not culturally)? Is "lah" a word you would use for the idols in polytheistic societies, or is polytheism considered a conceptually different phenomenon that requires a special name?

Thanks,

Jana
 
  • elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Jana337 said:
    Is it permissible to write the word Allah without an article (linguistically, not culturally)? Is "lah" a word you would use for the idols in polytheistic societies, or is polytheism considered a conceptually different phenomenon that requires a special name?

    Thanks,

    Jana
    It is permissible, but the word for "god" is إله (ilaah). It can be used for any god - that of a polytheistic society, the one God of Islam, or any other. In the case of Islam, it would be used in sentences such as "God is a forgiving god" (إن الله إله غفور).

    By the way, if you're wondering why there's a long "aa" without an "alef," it's because the ل gets one of those "mini-alefs" - like the ذ in ذلك.
     

    Josh_

    Senior Member
    U.S., English
    I believe it can be spelled إله or إلاه . I assume the former must be the more common spelling. The feminine form (goddess) is spelled إلاهة . Elroy is right that this word can be used to describe any god, but I believe it is only translated as god. If you want to say idol you would probably use the word وثن. From this word we get الوثنية which means paganism (in general). Of course, for pre-Islamic paganism (at least in Arabia) you would use الجاهلية . For idol you could also use the word صنم .
     

    cherine

    Moderator
    Arabic (Egypt).
    If you write the word Allah without the "al" it will be lah, or laah, and this doesn't have a meaning. But their is the word mentioned by Elroy and Josh : ilaah (=god) and it is used to refer to any god. For example : Allah is my god : Allahu 2ilaahi. but there is another word too : rabb رب and its feminine form is rabbah (like : Venus is the goddess of beauty فينوس ربة الجمال) or فينوس إلهة الجمال .

    There's a theory about the origin of the word Allah : that it was al-ilaah (The god), then in some sort of merging إضغام (were some letters are merged together, or others omitted), it's pronounced Allah. But i don't know if it's true or not. (and maybe this can explain the "mini alef" mentioned by Elroy :) )

    Last thing i'd like to add : Allah refers to God not only in Islam but in Christianity too (i've just asked a Christian friend of mine about this) . Christians mostly use the word Ar-rabb الرب, but Allah is used as well (and not only in the spoken, colloquial language, but in written texts and in the church too).
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    As a Christian I can confirm what Cherine said. الله is the word used in Arabic translations of the Bible, for example.

    Josh, I've never seen الاه or الاهة. They may exist in some obscure texts, but the vastly more common spellings do not have a second "alef" (i.e. اله and الهة).

    As for الرب, the literal translation is "the lord." I would personally use الهة to describe Venus.
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    There's a theory about the origin of the word Allah : that it was al-ilaah (The god), then in some sort of merging


    It seems to be more than a theory. The first teaching of Islam is -- sorry, my spelling will be off, "Laa 7ilaah [except] 7al [7i]laah, muhammad rasuul 7al [7i]laahi". I forget the word for "except". Being a well informed person, I have known this statement in its English translation, "there is no god but God, and Muhammed is the messenger of God". But then I saw the inscription on a coffin in a photo that was published in Time magazine last summer. The deceased was the victim of a suicide bombing in Iraq. Anyway, that's how I have come to believe that "al laah" really does mean "THE God". Now I don't know, maybe the original word 7ilaah has lapsed from use except in a few set phrases such as this one.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    DaleC said:
    It seems to be more than a theory. The first teaching of Islam is -- sorry, my spelling will be off, "Laa 2ilaaha [except] illa 7al 'l-[2i]laah, mu7ammada(n) rasuulu 7al 'l-[2i]laahi". (the "i" at the end is correct grammatically, but no one says it.) I forget the word for "except". Being a well informed person, I have known this statement in its English translation, "there is no god but God, and Muhammed is the messenger of God". But then I saw the inscription on a coffin in a photo that was published in Time magazine last summer. The deceased was the victim of a suicide bombing in Iraq. Anyway, that's how I have come to believe that "al laah" really does mean "THE God". Now I don't know, maybe the original word 2ilaah has lapsed from use except in a few set phrases such as this one.
    There is no doubt that Allah/الله means "the God." What Cherine was wondering about was why we say الله (Al-laah)and not الإله (Al-ilaah).

    The word إله (l2ilaah) has not lapsed from use - it is used anytime to mean "god" without an article.
     
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