Who is “Allah”?
Question: “Allah,” contrary to what you have written in A Cup of Trembling, Judgment Day!, and elsewhere, is the one true God of the Bible. This is proved by the fact that the Hausa translation of the Bible in northern Nigeria, where there are many Muslims, uses Allah as a designation for the true God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Jehovah of the Old Testament, and the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. What better way could we encourage Muslims to believe the Bible?
Response: Unfortunately, this is a common error that is found in Arabic translations of the Bible as well, which are used in some Muslim countries. It is a serious mistake. Far from helping Muslims, it leaves them trusting their false god, Allah. Identifying Allah as Jehovah has caused a great deal of confusion and harm.
One of the major promoters of this delusion is the Roman Catholic Church....For example, Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Vol. 1 declares that Allah is the “Creator...the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge”—in other words, the one true God of the Bible. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.
The Moon God of Muhammad’s Tribe
Allah is not the generic Arabic word for God but the name of a particular god among many deities....Allah was the chief god among the approximately 360 idols in the Ka’aba in Mecca. In that pagan idol temple...there was a deity to suit each of the thousands of travelers passing through in the trade caravans.
Allah is a contraction of al-Ilah, the name of the moon god of the local Quraish, Muhammad’s tribe, which they had worshiped with animal and human sacrifices for centuries before Islam was invented. Ibn Ishaq, Muhammad’s earliest biographer, tells how Muhammad’s grandfather was about to sacrifice one of his sons, Abdullah (who would later become the prophet Muhammad’s father), when a sorceress persuaded him to sacrifice a camel instead. The name of Muhammad’s father, Abdullah, is a contraction of Abd ul Allah, which means “servant of Allah.” It is a historic fact that Allah was worshiped long before Muhammad was born. When Muhammad rejected polytheism, he took the name of his own tribe’s traditional deity, the moon god, as the designation for the one God of Islam, his allegedly new religion.
Pagan Practices Continue in Islam Today
Much of Islam is a carryover of primitive tribal laws and customs already in existence in Muhammad’s day. Even the holy month of Ramadan had long been established. Nor can Muslims deny that for centuries before Muhammad, Allah had been one of the many pagan deities (such as Baal or Molech) whom the God of the Bible, Jehovah, had forbidden His people, the Israelites, to worship....
Allah’s symbol was the crescent moon, which Muhammad also carried over into Islam. This symbol is still seen on mosques, minarets, shrines, and Arab flags. When he conquered Mecca...Muhammad smashed the idols in the Ka’aba, including Allah, and began preaching against idolatry. Nevertheless, the new self-proclaimed prophet kept the idol temple and retained the pagan ritual (long an integral part of the worship of the idols) of kissing the black stone....That stone, actually of “dark red material, oval in shape, some seven inches in diameter,” remains in its centuries-old position to this day and must still be kissed by Muslims on their required pilgrimage to Mecca....
Deceptive and Grievous Confusion
...Allah is no mere linguistic designation for God, as Dios in Spanish or Dieu in French. Allah is the name of an ancient pagan idol adopted as the god of Islam. If Allah were merely the generic Arabic word for God, then Muslims would not hesitate to use the word for God in each language into which the Qur’an has been translated. Instead, they insist that Allah must be used in every language....The God of Israel, too, has a name, YHWH, now pronounced Jehovah but anciently as Jahweh or Yahweh....God told Moses, “By my name YHWH was I not known to them” (Exodus:6:3); and at the burning bush God explained the meaning of His name: “I AM THAT I AM” (Exodus:3:13–14). YHWH means not just one who is, but the self-existent One who is in and of Himself.
Contrasting “Allah” and “Yahweh”
That Allah is not the God of the Bible is very clear—His very character and characteristics are the opposite of the biblical God’s. The Qur’an says that Allah is not a father, has no son..., and is not a triune being but a single and unknowable entity. Allah destroys rather than saves sinners, has compassion on only the righteous, does not deal in grace but only rewards good deeds, and has no just and righteous way to redeem the lost....That Allah should become a man to die for the sins of the world would be heresy to a Muslim....
In contrast, the God of the Bible is love, an impossibility for Allah. As a single entity, Allah is incomplete: He was lonely and could not love or fellowship until other entities came into existence. Not so with YHWH or Jehovah. YHWH is three Persons in One: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, complete in perfection and in need of no others to love and fellowship with....Only of this God could it be said that He is love in Himself.
Allah could never say, “Let us make man in our image” (Genesis:1:26). The Muslim scholar has no explanation for this expression, which is even found in the Qur’an’s paraphrase of this Bible verse. We could point out other reasons, but this should be enough to show that to use the name Allah for the God of the Bible in the Hausa translation or in any other translation is a grave error!
— An excerpt from In Defense of the Faith (pp. 39-42) by Dave Hunt