What’s in a name? Would you like to be called by someone else’s name?
When one asks for Coke in a restaurant that serves Pepsi, the server asks, “Is Pepsi OK?”
Why? Because Pepsi is not Coke, and Coke is not Pepsi; there is significance in the name. (In fact companies go to great lengths to protect their name through trademark law.)
Do you think that Barack Obama would appreciate being called George W. Bush? Of course not.
Do you think the Creator of the Universe, the one who declared His name to be YHWH (“The LORD” in English) would be pleased if I called Him Allah? I guess it depends on what the word “Allah” means and who “Allah” is.
Pepsi is not Coke. James is not John, but James could be Jimmy. Each name is significant because it identifies a specific, unique person – unless that person goes by two names such as James and Jimmy.
So does the name “Allah” refer to YHWH the same way “The LORD” refers to YHWH and “Jimmy” refers to James, or does “Allah” actually refer to someone else?
How do we determine if a person we think of as James is really James, or if the person we call Jimmy is actually James? First we scrutinize physical appearance; if we can’t see the person, then we examine action. Action includes both communication (speech and writing), and behavior (deeds, mannerisms, telltale characteristics, including any agreed upon secret signals).
We can apply the same techniques to determine if Allah is the same person as YHWH. Since we cannot scrutinize physical appearance, we must compare how each reveals himself to us through action: The LORD in The Bible, and Allah in the Quran. If the actions in the two revelations correspond, the names refer to the same person; otherwise the names refer to different individuals.
Although there are a number of similarities between the two individuals, the differences are significant, as demonstrated in the partial listing in the table below:
The LORD God
|Claims to be the only true God to whom all creation bows; the self-existent eternal one who created everything||Claims to be the highest and only god (Allahu Akbar)|
|Personally revealed Himself to Moses||Revealed his will to Mohammed in secret through an intermediary, but did not reveal himself|
|Relates to humans personally and experientially||Aloof from humans and relates to them through his will and laws|
|Personally revealed Himself to all humans through Christ Jesus||Remains mysterious and unpredictable|
|Complete in everything, including fellowship, due to his triune nature: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit||Singular; therefore alone and inexperienced in fellowship|
|Loving, approachable, truthful, just, merciful, patient, constant||Impersonal, authoritarian, and capricious subduer (angry, wrathful, punishing, severe, harsh, stern)|
|For The LORD God so loved the world… (John 3:16)||The recompense of those who fight ‘Allah and His messenger’, … is that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from alternate sides ” (Qur’an 5:33)|
|Cherishes all life, including non-believers||Non-believers are sub-human|
|Urges all humans to come reason with Him and see that His ways are good||Demands non-believers to convert or die|
|Our heavenly father; believers are his sons and daughters and call him “Abba, Father”||Impersonal; cannot be a father; nor does he have sons, daughters, parents, or relatives of any kind|
|Made an everlasting, unbreakable promise to give the Promised Land (Israel) to Isaac and his descendants||Made a promise to give the Promised Land (Israel) to Ishmael and his descendants.|
|The LORD God in the flesh, Jesus, was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin||Allah has no sons and is invisible; Jesus was just another human prophet|
|Jesus, the LORD in the flesh, died on the cross to reconcile sinful humanity to himself||Jesus did not die on the cross; humanity is not sinful – man is basically good|
|Jesus, the LORD in the flesh and the Messiah, is a descendant of King David and will rescue Israel||The Mahdi will be a descendant of Mohammed and will destroy Israel|
|Jesus will come as the Messiah to save and rule the world in peace and righteousness||Jesus will come to serve the Mahdi, and force everyone to convert to Islam or be destroyed (especially Jews and Christians)|
Table based on “In Defense of Israel” by John Hagee Pp. 63-4
Based on the above, one can only conclude that YHWH and Allah are indeed quite different individuals.
Which brings us back to the original question, “Does YHWH (The LORD) mind being called Allah?”
I believe He absolutely abhors it because “Allah” refers to a person who claims to be another god before Him; one who exhibits many antithetical characteristics, an impostor! Stating that YHWH and Allah are the same person is like stating that Doctor John and murderer James are the same person.
Therefore a Christian who affirms that “Allah” refers to YHWH (The LORD) is breaking the first two commandments:
- You shall have no other gods before me (he is placing Allah equal to or before The LORD)
- You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God (he is defiling the name of the LORD by associating false characteristics with the name)
Conversely, a Muslim who states that YHWH and Allah are the same person is also contradicting and violating the Quran (he is admitting the existence of another god besides Allah!)
Therefore do not believe anyone who says, “Allah and The LORD are the same.” It’s absolutely untrue.
And since many use the English name “God” in lieu of either Allah and The LORD, always be sure to whom they are referring, for there is significance in the name.
All is not as it looks
- Islam and Christianity: A Revealing Contrast
- What’s the difference between Christianity and Islam?
- Christianity and Islam – Comparison and Contrast
- The Muslim Jesus