Question: The word “Allah” as used in your September 1993 issue is not correct. The Hausa translation of the Bible in northern Nigeria uses Allah as a designation for the true God. Allah is therefore the same divine being in both Islamic and Jewish faiths and the one who became man for the salvation of mankind.
Response: The translators, by using a term familiar to the Muslims in northern Nigeria, no doubt thought they were being helpful. But by using Allah in the Hausa language, they have succeeded, instead, in creating confusion. Allah is no mere linguistic designation for God, as Dios in Spanish or Dieu in French. Allah is the name of the god of Islam. In fact, Allah was the name of the chief god among the numerous idols in the Ka’aba in Mecca, which represented the deities of travelers passing through in the caravans. Allah was the god of the local Quraish, Muhammad’s tribe, before Islam was invented. Muhammad smashed the idols but kept the black stone which is still kissed today by Muslims. He kept, too, the name Allah for the god of Islam (its sign was the crescent moon) in order to appeal to his own tribe.
Allah has definite characteristics: he is not a father, has no son, is not a triune being but a single (and thus incomplete) entity who destroys rather than saves sinners, has compassion on only the righteous, does not deal in grace but only rewards good deeds, has no way to redeem the lost sinners, etc. Allah is not the God of the Bible.
The God of Israel, too, has a name, YHWH, now pronounced Jehovah but more anciently as Jahweh. Most Christians are unaware of God’s name because the Old Testament substitutes Lord for YHWH. In Exodus:6:3 God says, “By my name YHWH was I not known to them”; and at the burning bush when Moses asked His name, God explained the meaning of it by saying I AM THAT I AM; thus YHWH means not just one who is, but the self-existent One who is in and of Himself (Ex 3:13-14).
The God of the Bible is love, an impossibility for Allah. As a single entity, Allah was lonely and could not love or fellowship until other entities came into existence. Not so with YHWH (Jehovah). He is three Persons in one: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, complete in Himself and in need of no others to love and fellowship with (“The Father loveth the Son” [Jn:3:35], there is communion within the Godhead, etc.). 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” (Gn 1:26) and the Muslim scholar has no explanation for this expression, which is even found in the Koran’s paraphrase of this Bible verse. We could point out other reasons, but this should be enough to show that to use in the Hausa translation the name Allah for the God of the Bible is a great error! In fact Allah is a false god on a par with any other pagan deity.