Saturday, 6 November 2010
As is well known, Christian Arabs use the word "Allah," and "Allah" is found throughout the Arab Bible. But the contentious question for at least the past couple of decades has been, Did pre-Islamic Christians use the word "Allah?"
Well, a doctoral thesis recently made available online has finally put to rest the idea that "Allah" is a Muslim idol. The author analysed a medieval Arabic manuscript and was able to prove that it is a copy of a pre-Islamic Classical Arabic Gospel translated from an ancient form of Aramaic. It has proper nouns in forms that became extinct in the Islamic era, even among Christians. It even uses a spelling for 'Jesus' not used since among Christians or Muslims. But--guess what--it uses 'Allah' for God.
Allah is not an idol, any more than God is an idol. 'Allah' and 'God' are just two different ways of translating the word 'Theo' which, in turn, is the Greek word that translates "Elohim." 'Allah' is, in fact, much closer to 'Elohim' than 'God' or even 'Theo' are. Pre-Islamic Arabs were no strangers to the idea of one true God--they were, after all, descended from Abraham, who thought nothing of referring to God as "El Elyon."
Just because you name your teddy bear Theo, doesn't mean that God is a Greek teddy bear. Just because Muslims retained the pre-Islamic Arabic word for deity in their theology and creed, doesn't mean that Allah is a Muslim idol.
But alas--minds, once hardened, cannot be molded, even with the truth.