Sunday, September 12, 2010



Before 9/11 hit the USA, I was not much of a student of Islam. I had read the Qur'an, but without much interest or understanding. After 9/11, we were all shocked into a crash course on terrorism and Islam. Sermons, articles, books and Christian talk shows spewed out the Christian talking points on "Islam" and most everyone bought into them without much personal research.

One of the biggest and most common of the "talking points" was in the analysis of the Muslim name for their God-Allah. What was taught and bought was that Allah was an ancient Moon god and therefore had no connection with the God of the Bible. The battle lines were drawn again between Christian and Muslim. Certainly Jesus must be opposed to using the term Allah and we must separate ourselves from it and Allah's followers. But, I have come to understand this as a myth-a deadly misunderstanding.

Congressman Mark Siljander in his groundbreaking book, A Deadly Misunderstanding, says, "This is one of the most painful misunderstandings among Christians. Nearly all Christians universally feel that Allah is not the same God as the God of the Hebrews, or Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Ishmael." He goes on to say, "Televangelist Benny Hinn also commented, 'This is not a war between Arabs and Jews. It's a war between God and the devil.'"

You may be able to demonstrate that the name Allah was originally the name given for a moon god, but there is no Moslem today who believes he is praying or submitting to the moon god, but to the God of gods-Allah. But once this is said, someone inevitably points out that the Muslim world is actually calling on the moon god unknowingly.

This doesn't hold water at all. The people of Israel used the name of a Canaanite god "El"-a god that was worshipped as a bull deity (hence the idea of forming a golden calf)-and they came to call their God of gods "Elohim"-a plural form of El to denote the Godhead. In the Aramaic language of Jesus' day, the language Jesus used, Elohim would have been spoken as "Alah". And before Mohammed was born, Arab-speaking followers of Jesus would have used this same word-Alah.

The same thing can be said for the English word we use, "god". The Latin for God is "dios", which was originally used by pagans. Siljander notes: "'God' is derived from a proto-Germanic pagan word for a water god, water spirit, or idol (pronounced 'gut')." Or, take the Latin word for god "dios", which became "theos". This has a heathen Greek origin, taken from the same root for the god Zeus. So, when you use the name "God", do you really mean or are you calling up a "water god"? Or, when you use the word "theos" where we get our word theology-the study of god, are you calling up Zeus? Absolutely not! We have taken these terms and infused them with the meaning of the God of gods.

Siljander points out: "For over 500 years before the Prophet Mohammed, Arab Christians and even some Jews in the Arabian Peninsula used the Arabic word 'Allah' for God. How about the 10-12 millions of Christian Arabs who use Allah every day as their Arabic word for God? Do they remotely consider that they are praying to a Moon -god? Not at all! What of the five million Assyrian and Chaldean Christians who pray to 'Alaha,' being the same derivative of Allah?"

The Aramaic word for God is "Elahh" or "Alaha" and the Arabic word for God is "Elahh" or "Allah". If you saw Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ, you know that it was filmed in Aramaic. Jesus spoke Aramaic. Therefore, when Jesus spoke of God, He would have used "Alaha" and this is simply the Arabic version of "Allah". When Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God, He used "Alaha" or in the Arabic Bible, "Allah".

So, is Jesus opposed to Allah? No way! That's a bad myth. On the contrary, Jesus came as the fleshed-out form of Allah to the Muslims, of Alaha to the Assyrians and Chaldeans, of Elohim to the Jews, of God to the Germanic Christians and to every other cultural name given to the God of gods. You see, Jesus trumps everything! JESUS is the name above all names and someday everyone will come to acknowledge Him. Jesus, simply and wonderfully and irresistibly Jesus!