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Allaah calligraphy in the Old Mosque (Eski Cami) , Edirne , Turkey

Allah ( Arabic الله, DMG Allāh , ʔalˤːɑːh pronunciation ? / i ) is the Arabic word for (the) God . The term is also used in the sacred scriptures of the Sikhs ( Adi Granth ) and in Maltese , which is derived from the Arabic language. Audio file / audio sample

In Islam , the term is used exclusively to denote a God who is understood as the only one. Probably the word ellipse emerged as a syllable when the article al- (الـ' Der , die, das') and ʾilāh (إله / 'God, deity').

The word is also used by Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians as a designation for God and is therefore also used in Arabic translations of the Bible . In western countries (with the exception of Malta), however, the word Allah is understood almost exclusively as a designation for the one God according to the Islamic concept of God. In the Islamized areas of Central Asia , the creator god Tengri also assimilated the word Allah.

Word origin

In terms of linguistic history, allāh is related to the Hebrew ʾelô a h, more commonly in the plural form ʾelōhîm ( Hebrew אלהים). ʾElô a h / ʾelōhîm probably originally meant “strong”, “mighty”. ʾElōhîm is usually translated as “God” in the Bible , but also for angels in certain places. In Jewish tradition, God is referred to by the expression ʾelōhîm as creator and judge, while YHWH mainly contains the merciful aspects of God. Also in Aramaic , which also belongs to the Semitic language family, one says alah or alāhā, depending on the dialect also with the language coloring alōhō, i.e. H. with open  o.

The traditional Islamic literature reports that allah was known to the polytheists and that Muhammad's father bore the name Abdullah . In contrast, the pre-Islamic use of Allah by Christians in Umm al-Ǧimāl is archaeologically proven .

Two alternative linguistic historical hypotheses are presented. According to the first, the word allah is ellipse from Arabic by syllablesالإله / al-ʾilāh  / 'the deity' arose; according to the second by adopting the Aramaic alāhā , which Joshua Blau rejects as unfounded. In favor of the first hypothesis:

  • the beginning with the letter combination connection alif + lām , which occurs exclusively in the specific article al- and related language elements
  • the phonetic reinforcement of the lām, which also refers to the article
  • the typeface that has two lām in a row and thus also allows the article to emerge
  • the typical occurrence of the syllable ellipse in other words of Arabic (e.g. "people": an-nās from al-unās )
  • the pre-Islamic inscription from Zabad , in which God is referred to using the form al-ilāh .

Since Arabic , Hebrew and Aramaic are related to each other as Semitic languages , the following linguistic comparisons can also be made here:

  • In the Aramaic language: Alaha
  • In the Hebrew language: Eloah. Form pluralis majestatis: Elohim
  • In the Arabic language: Allah. Form pluralis majestatis: Allahumma

The majestic form "Allahumma" also explains the plural form in the Quran z. B. in sura 2 , verse 35: “And we said: O Adam, you and your wife stay in the garden and eat freely of its fruits wherever you want! However, do not come close to this tree, otherwise you would belong to the unjust. "

One of the 99 names of Allah is Arabic. Maliku l-Mulk translated: King of kings which also explains the form of the pluralis majestatis .

Pronunciation of the word Allah

The correct pronunciation of the word "Allah" depends on the vowel spoken immediately before the / l / sound reproduced by Lām : After an a or u , the Lām becomes in a clearly emphasized way - Arabic mufachcham  /مفخم, IPA : [ ] - pronounced, for example in Quran verse 58 : 22:من حادَّ الله / man ḥādda llāh  / 'those who oppose Allah'.

However, if the preceding vowel is an i , then the lām in the word Allah is light and is only spoken with the tip of the tongue ( IPA : [ l ]). This is for example in the so-called Basmala (بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحيم bismi llāhi r-raḥmāni r-raḥīmi ) the case.

Allah in pre-Islamic Arabia

In pre-Islamic Arabia people believed in different gods, among whom there was an Allah, whose exact function is not certain. This is how Julius Wellhausen formulated the idea that Allah was another name for the deity Hubal and acted as the moon god. The Quraish also considered the Kaaba to be a shrine of Hubal, just as it was considered a shrine of Allah. However, only the Quraish worshiped Hubal, while Allah was known to many other tribes as the highest god to whom the Kaaba was once dedicated as a shrine. The Kaaba would once have been consecrated to Allah, but later ousted by Hubal, by the Quraish, about 100 years before Muhammad's time. In this epoch, Allah is understood as the high god in the background or deus otiosus , who is traced back to the Semitic concept of God El and took on the role of a creator god, but otherwise did not intervene in human events.

Statements in the Koran

The word Allah containing the creed of Islam as lettering on the flag of Saudi Arabia

The Quran describes Allah as follows:

“(22) He is God, besides whom there is no God. It is he who knows what is hidden and what is generally known. It is he who is merciful and gracious.
(23) He is God, besides whom there is no God. (He is) the most holy King, (in whom) salvation (dwells). (It is he) who gives security and certainty (?), The mighty, mighty and proud. God be praised! (He is exalted) over what they (i.e. the unbelievers) associate (with him in other gods).
(24) He (alone) is God, the creator, creator and designer. He deserves (all) the beautiful names. Praise him (everything) that is in heaven and on earth. He is the mighty and wise. "

- 59: 22-24 after Paret

"(1) Say: God is one,
(2) one eternally pure,
(3) hath not begotten and no one has begotten him,
(4) and there is no one like him."

- 112: 1–4 ( Al-Ichlas ) after Friedrich Rückert

There are other statements about Allah in the Koran. Thus it is stated in sura 14:19 that he actually created the heavens and the earth. He causes water to rain down from heaven, from which people can drink, and from the bushes arise in which they can graze their cattle ( Sura 16:10 ). Allah's central quality is that he is independent of his creations. It is independent of time - God was before time and will remain after time is up. He is not part of the material world. According to the Islamic definition, God has no gender, no children and in general no partners, nor are there beings of equal value. Furthermore, God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, i. That is, he knows at every point in time what is happening, happened and will happen in every place, as well as what could happen if a (foreseen) event did not take place.

The 99 names of Allah

Allāh (the God) is the only (quasi) proper name of God in Islam. The 99 names of Allah that have become proverbial are merely attributes , but not all of them are anchored in the Koran. Some of the names of God on this list come from the hadith , the traditional words of the prophet Mohammed . For example, the 91st name Ad-Dārr ("The infringer / endangerer") appears only in the hadiths. There are actually more than 99 attributes in the Quran. There are about 114. The list of 99 names in the Koran represents the “most beautiful names” (al-asmāʾu l-ḥusnā) in addition to a number of other attributes . Common Arabic first names are derived from all the attributes mentioned in the Koran, e.g. B. next to Abdullah ("servant of Allah") also Abdul Hayy ("servant of the living"), Abdul Madschid ("servant of the glorious"). It should be noted that it is the superlative of the properties mentioned ("the all-merciful", "the almighty", "the all-seeing" etc.)

Role in Islam

According to sura 112, Allah is the creator of the universe, who was neither conceived nor created and whose existence is proven by the magnificence and lawfulness of the universe. The uniqueness and unity ( tauhid ) of Allah forms the basis of the Islamic faith and is also emphasized in the confession ( Shahada ). Allah is mentioned 2699 times in the Koran. Different ideas and interpretations about the attributes of Allah have developed since Muhammad . The idea of ​​Allah as a ruler sitting on a throne, who has hands and face ( anthropomorphization ) and who created people and djinn as his servants, extends to pantheistic interpretations according to which Allah is hidden in creation itself. This aspect is particularly emphasized in Islamic mysticism .

Belief concepts

  • Salafism , Wahhabism : The attributes of God explained in the Koran are taken literally. Accordingly, God see and sit on the throne in heaven.
  • Muʿtazila : The attributes of God are rejected, because an eternal God must be incomparable. The anthropomorphizing attributes of God in the Koran are understood allegorically .
  • Sufism : God is omnipresent, all-embracing and identical with pure reality (al-haqq).
  • Aleviteism : God is omnipresent, but reveals himself above all in people's hearts.
  • Sunni : Only attributes taken from the Koran may be ascribed to God, whereby they may not be compared with humans or understood allegorically.

Reception in Christianity

For Christianity - especially with a view to interreligious dialogue  - the question arises whether Allah and the God of the Bible are identical. The Roman Catholic Church , for example, adopted on 28 October 1965 in the wake of Vatican II mandatory for all Roman Catholics declaration Nostra Aetate , in which it in part 3 but only after Arab protests against the single focus of the Declaration on Judaism added was called:

“The Church also regards with great respect the Muslims who worship the only God, the living and self-contained, merciful and almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth who spoke to men. They strive to submit to his hidden advice with all their soul, just as Abraham submitted to God, to whom the Islamic faith is happy to appeal. Jesus, whom they do not recognize as God, they venerate as a prophet, and they honor his virgin mother Mary, whom they sometimes invoke in piety. They also await the day of judgment when God will raise and forgive all people. That is why they value a moral standard of living and especially worship God through prayer, alms and fasting. "

Christians and Muslims together believe in the Creator God , who created heaven and earth for their faith:

"In the beginning God created heaven and earth."

- Genesis 1.1  EU

is called the first verse of the Genesis of the Bible; a similar statement regarding God can also be found in the Koran:

“It is He who created all that is on earth for you and then raised himself up to heaven and formed it into seven heavens. He knows about everything. "

- Sura 2, verse 29 after Paret

Many evangelical Christians reject the equation of the God revealed in the Bible with the Koranic Allah. One of the reasons for this view is the central confession of Islam that Allah has no son (e.g. Sura 2,116; 6,101; 72,3; 112,1-4). In contrast to this - according to the opinion of many evangelical Christians - is the basic creed of the New Testament, which God is the "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (e.g. Rom 15.6  EU ; Eph 1.3  EU ; Col 1.3  EU ; 1 Petr 1.3  EU ) identified.

The then Chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany , Wolfgang Huber , takes the view that no statement can be made about whether the God that Christians worship is identical with the God that Muslims worship. Huber sees only one statement as possible about professing God. Here he takes the view that Christians profess a different God than Muslims. Quote: “Whether God is the same God has to be left to him. As human beings, we can only judge the creed of God. As Christians, we have no reason to say that we profess the same God as Muslims. "


Web links

Wiktionary: Allah  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Allah  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikiquote: Allah  - Quotes

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Yves Bonnefoy, Wendy Doniger: Asian Mythologies. University of Chicago Press, 1993, ISBN 0-226-06456-5 , p. 331 (English).
  2. Joshua Blau: Notes on genuine and alleged aramaic loans in Arabic , in: Studies in Middle Arabic. Magnes Press, The Hebrew University Jerusalem 1988. ISBN 965-223-683-7 . P. 332.
  3. cf. How do you pronounce “Allah” ( الله) correctly? In: ARABIC for NERDS . June 16, 2018 ( online [accessed June 16, 2018]).
  4. Surah Al-Mujadila (58:22). Retrieved June 16, 2018 (American English).
  5. ^ Julius Wellhausen: Remains of Arab paganism: Collected and explained. Walter de Gruyter, 1961, p. 75.
  6. ^ Scott Johnson: The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. Oxford University Press, 2015, ISBN 978-0-19-027753-6 , pp. 304-305.
  7. Jonathan Porter Berkey: The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East, 600-1800. Cambridge University, 2003, ISBN 0-521-58813-8 , p. 42.
  8. The Koran in the translation by Friedrich Rückert, ed. v. Hartmut Bobzin, Ergon Verlag, Würzburg 2000 (3rd edition), ISBN 3-933563-70-4 .
  9. cf. Section Statements in the Quran
  10. ^ Johannes Lähnemann: World religions in the classroom: a theological didactics for schools, universities and communities. 2. Islam. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996, ISBN 3-525-61257-5 , p. 71.
  11. Cf. Ibn 'Arabī and his doctrine of the unity of being (Arabic Waḥdatu'l-wuǧūd ).
  12. ^ Studies in Semitic and Arabic Studies: Festschrift for Hartmut Bobzin. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, 2008, ISBN 978-3-447-05695-3 , p. 367.
  13. ^ John Renard: Islamic Theological Themes: A Primary Source Reader. University of California Press, 2014, ISBN 978-0-520-95771-8 , p. 138.
  14. Jean-Louis Michon, Roger Gaetani: Sufism: Love & Wisdom. World Wisdom, Inc, 2006, ISBN 978-0-941532-75-4 , p. 207 (English).
  15. Handan Aksünger: Beyond the requirement of silence: Alevi migrant self-organizations and civil society integration in Germany and the Netherlands. Waxmann Verlag, 2013, ISBN 978-3-8309-7883-1 , p. 89.
  16. Angelika Brodersen: The unknown kalam. LIT Verlag, Münster 2014, ISBN 978-3-643-12402-9 , p. 507.
  17. Holy See : Explanation: Nostra Aetate - About the relationship of the church to non-Christian religions. October 28, 1965.
  18. The Christian doctrine of the Trinity in the Koran. In: The Prophet of Islam. April 15, 2012, Retrieved March 19, 2019 .
  19. Not the same God. ( Memento of March 17, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Documentation of a focus interview. November 22, 2004.