Did Jesus Call God "Allah"?

In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful

Should Christians call God by the name “Allah”? They should if they heed the advice of Dutch Roman Catholic bishp Tiny Muskens. “Allah is a very beautiful word for God,” he recently told Dutch television. “Shouldn’t we all say from now on we will name God Allah?…What does God care what we call him?” He based his opinion in part on the fact that churches in Indonesia call God “Allah” in the Eucharist: “In the heart of the Eucharist, God is called Allah over there, so why can’t we start doing that together?”

This suggestion, however, has not sat well with many Catholics. In a survey published in the Dutch newspaper De Telegraf, 92% of people polled opposed the Bishop’s view. Roman Catholic priest and FOX News analyst Father Jonathan Morris said, “I’m sure his intentions are good, but his theology needs a little fine tuning. Words and names mean things. Referring God as Allah means something.” Even the chairman of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands, Gerrit De Fjiter, said “Calling God ‘Allah’ does no justice to Western identity. I see no benefit in it,” according to AP.
It is not, however, that far-fetched as many people think. Since its very beginnings, Muslims have asserted that they worship the very same God as Jews and Christians, the God of the Bible, the God of Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus Christ. Some Christian leaders have disputed this. The Rev. Pat Robertson, for example, claims that “Allah was the moon god from Mecca. That is why Islam has the crescent moon. The flag of Turkey has a crescent moon with a star in it. Well, the crescent moon is because Allah was the mood god, and that is the deal. But we don’t serve a moon god. We serve the God of creation, the Creator of everything.”
With all due respect to Rev. Robertson, that is complete nonsense. Muslims also worship the “Creator of everything.” In the Quran, it instructs the Prophet Muhammad to say: “O followers of earlier revelation [i.e., Jews and Christians]! Come unto that tenet which we and you hold in common: that we shall worship none but God, and that we shall not ascribe divinity to aught beside Him, and that we shall not take human beings for our lords beside God.’ And if they turn away, then say: ‘Bear witness that it is we who have surrendered ourselves unto Him.’” (3:64)

There was a moon god that was worshiped by the Arabs and others. His name was “Sin (pronounced “seen”),” and no pagan Arab ever understood that to be the supreme diety “Allah.” In fact, the pagan Arabs acknowledged the supremacy of the One God of Abraham, whom they called “Allah,” and claimed that their worship of idols was done to bring them closer to God.

The Quran derides this theology: “and [neither will] they [who] worship, side by side with God, things or beings that can neither harm nor benefit them, saying [to themselves], “These are our intercessors with God!” Say: “Do you [think that you could] inform God of anything in the heavens or on earth that He does not know? Limitless is He in His glory, and sublimely exalted above anything to which men may ascribe a share in His divinity!” (10:18)

If, as Rev. Robertson asserts, “Allah” was the moon god of Mecca, then Arabic-speaking Christians must be worshiping the wrong god. They call God “Allah,” and every Arabic translation of the Bible translates God as “Allah.” There is not an Arab Christian I have ever known or met that has not called God “Allah.” When we part, we frequently say to each other Allah ma’akum, or “May God be with you.”

The name “Allah” is the Arabic form of the ancient semitic name for the supreme diety. Its proto-Semtic root word is “LH,” which means “to worship.” In Arabic, it comes from the words Al Ilah, which means “The God.” The root word of ilah, which means “god,” is aliha, which means “to bewilder.” This makes perfect sense because, when one contemplates over the awesome nature of God, one cannot but be bewildered. In fact, a Muslim scholar once said, “The non-believer is bewildered by creation, but the believer is bewildered by the Creator.”

The Hebrew “eloh,” which is the name used for God in the Hebrew Bible, also comes from the proto-Semitic root “LH.” In Aramaic, the language related to Arabic and Hebrew and the one which Jesus spoke, the word for God is “alaha.” Morover, the name “Eloi,” which Jesus calls out on the cross in Mark 15:34, is nothing but the Hebrew translation of the Aramaic “alaha,” and therefore Jesus would have called God “alaha,” which is very similar to “Allah.” In other words, Jesus would have called God by the name “Allah.”

This begs the question: why do Muslims frequently have a crescent moon as their symbol (on the tops of minarets, on many flags of Muslim countries, etc.)? According to Pat Robertson, the reason why the flag of Turkey has a crescent moon symbol is because Muslims worship the “moon god,” which, as we have shown, could not be furthest from the truth. Nevertheless, why is Islam associated with the crescent and the star?

There are several theories as to the origin of the crescent moon and star. According to Wikipedia, the crescent moon and star predates Islam by several thousand years:

Information on the origins of the symbol are difficult to ascertain, but most sources agree that these ancient celestial symbols were in use by the peoples of Central Asia and Siberia in their worship of sun, moon, and sky gods. The star and crescent (with the crescent under the star, which was simply a round circle) were also widely used in ancient Ethiopia and South Arabia (modern day Yemen and southern Saudi Arabia).

Its image can still be seen on the Hawulti at Matara, Eritrea and all of the Aksumite coins prior to its conversion to Christianity, for example. According to some reports, the Greek colony of Byzantium also used the emblem on their flag as an official governing symbol. According to legend in 339 BC the city of Byzantium, (later known as Constantinople and then Istanbul), won a decisive battle under a brilliant waxing moon which they attributed to their patron Goddess Artemis (Diana in Roman mythology) whose symbol was the crescent moon.[1] In honor of Artemis the citizens adopted the crescent moon as their symbol (though some legends attribute the adoption to a Roman victory against the Goths on the first day of the lunar month).

When the city became the Christian Roman Constantinople in 330 AD, Constantine also added the Virgin Mary‘s star on the flag.[citation needed] As such, it has been claimed that when the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople (Istanbul) in 1453, they adopted the city’s existing flag and symbol.[2][3] However, the most common theory in Turkey is that crescent and star symbol was adopted by Ottoman Empire after a bloody war in Balkans.[citation needed] After seeing the reflection of crescent and star on to the blood of soldiers, Ottoman Sultan decided to adopt a new flag to honor the soldiers who died for the sake of their country.

What does all this mean? Should Western Christians call God “Allah” in their liturgies? No, I am not in favor of that at all. The English word “God” is a beautiful name, and it dates back to at least the Neolithic Period. It is derived from the proto-Indo-European word “gheu,” which means “to invoke” or “to supplicate.” “God,” in fact, is a past participle of “gheu,” and thus is means “the one who is invoked,” very similar to the meaning of the word “Allah,” which is “the one whom is worshiped.”

What’s more, the word “God” dates back to before Christianity, and its earliest documented use is in the poem Beowulf. Thus, to use the word “God” to refer to “Allah” is not only proper, it is linguistically correct for me as a native English speaker. Some Muslims believe that the only name Muslims should use for God is “Allah.” I do not ascribe to this belief. While the name “Allah” is the most beautiful of all the names for God, it is not the only one that has been used in history, and there are many other beautiful names for God that are used today that are completely appropriate. To me, the names are interchangeable, and whichever word I use – “God” or “Allah” – is completely immaterial. I will use both, depending on the situation in which I find myself.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that “Allah” is the very same God worshipped by Jews and Christians, and Muslims do not worship an alien or pagan god. Rather than heed the calls of those who would seek to divide us, we should learn about and appreciate our similarities – as followers of the Abrahamic tradition – so that we can learn to work together for the common good. The God upon whom we call is one and the same; the name each particular community chooses to call Him is completely immaterial.


9 thoughts on “Did Jesus Call God "Allah"?

    • Read the bible for yourself and stop living on probability, my King Jesus the Christ did not once call the One trueh God “Allah”, he knew that the name “Allah” originated from Meccan diety in which they praised many gods (demon gods). Jesus calls God:

      Abba: Our Father or daddy father.
      El Elyon: Most High God

      There are other names for the one true God you can find by reading the bible.
      Now for my King Jesus the Christ he refers to himself as Alpha & Omega: the beginning and the end. Abba Father and my King Jesus the Christ are one.

  1. Generally I don’t read post on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thanks, quite nice article.

  2. A rose called by any other name will still be as beautiful as Rose. Honey called by any other name will still be as sweet as the honey.

  3. Allah is not the God of the Bible and my King Jesus the Christ did not call Elohim “Allah”. The name “Allah” was previously used by pagan Meccans (demonic gods) as a reference to a creator deity, possibly the supreme deity in pre-Islamic Arabia. The concepts associated with the term Allah (as a deity) differ among religious traditions. In pre-Islamic Arabia amongst pagan Arabs, Allah was not considered the sole divinity, having associates and companions, sons and daughters–a concept that was deleted under the process of Islamization.

  4. Howdy! This is my first visit to your blog! We are
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  5. You said it dates to before Christianity, but mention “Beowulf” which was written well after Christianity was founded. It was written in 1000 AD.

  6. Having a crescent moon and star is more in line with nature then having the symbol of a crucifix which is simply a Roman torture device.

    • We do not worship Nature. The Crescent Moon was associated with those who worshipped the Moon. As for the Cross we do not worship the cross…but because of it and the blood shed by Jesus upon that cross – we can have eternal life with God and the forgiveness of our sins. The cross remains the symbol of What Jesus accomplished for us – the redemption of our souls.

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