There is No Monopoly on Allah

I read with sadness the attacks on churches in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya.  What is to become of our country?  The hooligans (to use a mild term) behind the attacks have no right to use religion as a justification for their action.

The Semitic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, share much in common.  None can claim a monopoly on Allah.  The  squabble is unjustified.

In the Old Testament, the Jews refer to God as “Elohim” {el-o-heem}. Elohim is the plural form of “‘elowahh” {el-o’-ah}, which means “god.”  The plural form is used to refer to the of majesty of God, not to indicate the plurality of God.

The word for God in Genesis 1:1 is elohim.  Furthermore, the Arabic translation of the Jewish Bible  uses the name “Allah” to refer to God in Genesis 1:1

Fee al-badi’ khalaqa Allahu as-Samaawaat wa al-Ard . . .”

In addition to the etymological connection based on sound, we also discover the connections of the two names based on roots, spelling, meaning, and geography.

If one were to find the word (eloh) (alef-lamed-heh) in an inscription written in paleo-Hebrew, Aramaic, or some sort of Nabatean script, it could be pronounced in numerous ways (without the diacritical marks to guide the reader).  When treated as a verb root, this letter combination (proncounced alah) is the root for the verb “to swear” or “to take an oath,” as well as the verb “to deify” or “to worship”.  The root itself finds its origin with an older root, el, which means God, deity, power, strength.

So, one of the basic Hebrew words for God, (eloh), can easily be pronounced alah without the diacritical marks. Not surprisingly, the Aramaic word for God is (alah).

This word, in the standard script (), or the Estrangela script (), is spelled alap-lamad-heh (ALH), which are the exact corresponding letters to the Hebrew eloh. The Aramaic is closely related to the more ancient root word for God, eel.

The Arabic word for God, Allah, is spelled in a very similar way, and is remotely related to the more generic word for deity, ilah.  Notice the obvious linguistic and etymological connections between the respective words for God in these closely related Semitic languages (e.g. Allah, Alah, and Eloh being related to Ilah, Eel, and El, respectively).

Let’s make it clearer:

  1. We have made the connection in terms of spelling, as all these words are spelled similar to one another.
  2. The geographic connection is there, as these respective languages originate in regions that are very close to one another.
  3. The roots are basically the same.
  4. The meanings are essentially the same.

In conclusion, the ancient Semitic names for God (Allah and Elohim) are actually the same.

So there you have it.  Are we going to continue the squabble over who has the right to use the word Allah and in the process drive our beloved country to ruin, or are we going to unite based on what we have in common?


No good Muslims in their right mind would condone the attack on the churches.  What the aggressors did is against the teaching of the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not, aggressors.” (Al-Baqarah: 190)

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is reported to have said: Beware of the prayer of the oppressed; for there is no barrier between it and Allah.

Since last year, certain people have been hinting at racial tension and riots.  Are we going to give them the satisfaction of being right?  Or are we going to unite as Malaysians, regardless of faith, and say NO to intolerance and violence.

Are we going to allow a minority of narrow-minded people drive this beautiful country of ours to ruin, or are we going tell them, “NO, this is not what Malaysia is about.  We are proud of our diversity of culture and faith and we will not allow anyone to destroy what we have built.”

Let us find a common ground for unity and peace.

Allah in the Jewish Bible

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16 thoughts on “There is No Monopoly on Allah

  1. Foo Wy Len

    Dear Mazliza,
    Just have a closer look at our school curriculum especially our History syllabus and tell me what’s the main or rather the ONLY theme throughout the school years? Is Malaysia for all? EVERY Malaysia IS equal? I have to give a emphatic NO to all the questions. We are all in a animal farm; yes we are all equal but some are more equal IN EVERY thing. Am I surprised at what is happening? Frankly I’d be surprised if it DIDN’T happen.


  2. Enstein

    Hi Mazliza, If every Malay muslims in Malaysia think like you,smart like you,there will be no conflict on the usage of the word ‘ALLAH’.How can anybody or Gov. claims that the word belongs to them.Its makes no sense.Its just a translation fr.English to Bahasa Malaysia.


  3. Anak Malaysia but still 2nd Class Citizen


    Well-written. If only there were more Muslims like you who are willing to speak out. Please join these Facebook groups and let your voice be heard:

    We support the use of the name Allah by all Malaysians



  4. Lion

    An extremely commendable work !

    No matter if one is a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim, fighting over a word “Allah” (or Eloh or Alah) is in itself a very idiotic and sinful act.


  5. Anthony Tan

    Thank you for being a true Malaysian

    I believe you are from the older generation of Malaysian that has lived in those years where the kampong folks have no dividing line. I was brought up in the kampong where the mixed community lived in harmony and mixed together freely.

    Sad to say, we are so divided now by the selfish politicians even after 52 years of Merdeka.

    I hope Malaysian like you, Mazliza, will help to promote goodwill among the component races in Malaysia.

    Do we need to throw stones or fire bomb at places of worship to live together? We are now facing so many other problems that we shared together like “How much can we get out of ONE RINGGIT today” issues.

    How to keep the family sheltered with an average salary of RM1,200 per month for most Malaysian when cost of living is going up day by day.

    If we prolong this stupid act of destructions, we are only driving away the investors, tourists and we Malaysian will end ups losers. We used to be among the top three economies in ASEAN, now we are slowly moving downwards.

    When our currency get less in value, not only the Malaysian Chinese, Indians, Sabahans, Sarawakians but the Malays as well will suffer especially the lower income group. For recessions do not recognise race, religion or age group.


    1. Mazliza Post author

      Errr… I’m not that old. Really. 🙂

      Yes, I grew up among many non-Muslim friends. I’ve never had any problems mixing with people of other races and religions… even atheists. I just find it really distasteful when people try to cause discord among Malaysians by playing up the racial game. Those people should be exiled to some remote island.


  6. romerz

    You must rant more for you make far better sense than those who rule over us!

    Thanks for visiting my blog and keep up the good fight to return some common sense to our beloved country.


  7. malaysianman

    i would like to predict that we’re going to doom if umno still in government even before GE 13. We cant afford this political and religion senario remains. We’re living in multiracial country, mutual respect in every aspects are very vital in order to maintain country harmony and stability worth to live on.



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