Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Using "Allah" for God

Church Matters forwards an interesting clarification about using "Allah" in reference to God. It would seem appropriate in some languages, but perhaps not for Christians using English.

As for the use of Allah for God I have no problem with it where it is the natural word for God in a given language. I don't tend to use it in English, but there are languages in the Islamic world where it is the only word available, and in such languages, it is altogether appropriate. Arabic, Indonesian and Tatar are such languages. Allah is actually from the same Semitic root as Elohim, and is pronounced almost identically to the Aramaic word Jesus would have used for His Father. It is also the word that Jewish and Christian Arabs used for God long before Islam came on the scene, and they still use it to this day. In Turkish and Persian I tend to use a more neutral word for God, since such a word is available in each of those languages, but when I am using Arabic phrases that have passed into Turkish and Persian, I use Allah as well.

Church Matters: 9Marks Blog

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