The Name of God in the Bible and the Quran

Part Two: The Name of Allah

We have already presented proof that God’s name in the Bible is YHWH. We must now look at what the Quran calls the name of its god. After doing this, we shall see the implication of this on the relationship between the picture of God found in the Bible and the picture of God in the Quran.

What is the name of God in the Quran? Some passages give us an indication (quotations will be from Pickthall’s version):

Surah 1.1 (and before every Surah except #9)
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Surah 11.41
And he said: Embark therein! In the name of Allah be its course and its mooring. Lo! my Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.

Surah 12.66
He said: I will not send him with you till ye give me an undertaking in the name of Allah that ye will bring him back to me, unless ye are surrounded. And when they gave him their undertaking he said: Allah is the Warden over what we say.

Surah 12.80
So, When they despaired of (moving) him, they conferred together apart. The eldest of them said: Know ye not how your father took an undertaking from you in Allah's name and how ye failed in the case of Joseph aforetime? Therefore I shall not go forth from the land until my father giveth leave or Allah judgeth for me. He is the Best of Judges.

Surah 16.115
He hath forbidden for you only carrion and blood and swineflesh and that which hath been immolated in the name of any other than Allah; but he who is driven thereto, neither craving nor transgressing, lo! then Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

Surah 27.30
Lo! it is from Solomon, and lo! it is: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful;

By analogy with the use of the name Jehovah (YHWH) in the following passages in the Bible, one could conclude that the name of God is Allah in the Quran (New American Standard Bible):

Deuteronomy 18:7
then he shall serve in the name of the LORD [YHWH] his God, like all his fellow Levites who stand there before the LORD.

1 Samuel 20:42
Jonathan said to David, "Go in safety, inasmuch as we have sworn to each other in the name of the LORD [YHWH], saying, ‘The LORD will be between me and you, and between my descendants and your descendants forever.’" Then he rose and departed, while Jonathan went into the city.

2 Kings 2:24
When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD [YHWH]. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.

2 Chronicles 33:18
Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh even his prayer to his God, and the words of the seers who spoke to him in the name of the LORD [YHWH] God of Israel, behold, they are among the records of the kings of Israel.

Psalms 124:8
Our help is in the name of the LORD [YHWH], Who made heaven and earth.

Jeremiah 26:9
"Why have you prophesied in the name of the LORD [YHWH] saying, ‘This house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate, without inhabitant’?" And all the people gathered about Jeremiah in the house of the LORD.

Micah 4:5
Though all the peoples walk Each in the name of his god, As for us, we will walk In the name of the LORD [YHWH] our God forever and ever.

Similar passages are Deuteronomy 18:22; 21:5; 1 Samuel 17:45; 2 Samuel 6:18; 1 Kings 18:32; 22:16; 1 Chronicles 16:2; 21:19; 2 Chronicles 18:15; Psalm 118:10-12, 26; 129:8; Isaiah 50:10; Jeremiah 11:21; 26:16, 20; 44:16; Zephaniah 3:12; Zechariah 13:3. As YHWH is most frequently used of the Supreme Being in the Old Testament, as Allah is used in the Quran, it would appear that Allah is the name of God in the Quran, like YHWH is the name of God in the Bible.

We see a similar pattern in the following passages in the Quran:

Surah 2.114
And who doth greater wrong than he who forbiddeth the approach to the sanctuaries of Allah lest His name should be mentioned therein, and striveth for their ruin. As for such, it was never meant that they should enter them except in fear. Theirs in the world is ignominy and theirs in the Hereafter is an awful doom.

Surah 5.4
They ask thee (O Muhammad) what is made lawful for them. Say: (all) good things are made lawful for you. And those beasts and birds of prey which ye have trained as hounds are trained, ye teach them that which Allah taught you; so eat of that which they catch for you and mention Allah's name upon it, and observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is swift to take account.

Surah 6.118
Eat of that over which the name of Allah hath been mentioned, if ye are believers in His revelations.

Surah 6.119
How should ye not eat of that over which the name of Allah hath been mentioned, when He hath explained unto you that which is forbidden unto you unless ye are compelled thereto. But lo! many are led astray by their own lusts through ignorance. Lo! thy Lord, He is Best Aware of the transgressors.

Surah 6.121
And eat not of that whereon Allah's name hath not been mentioned, for lo! it is abomination. Lo! the devils do inspire their minions to dispute with you. But if ye obey them, ye will be in truth idolaters.

Surah 6.138
And they say: Such cattle and crops are forbidden. No-one is to eat of them save whom we will - in their make-believe - cattle whose backs are forbidden, cattle over which they mention not the name of Allah. (All that is) a lie against Him. He will repay them for that which they invent.

Surah 6.145
Say: I find not in that which is revealed unto me aught prohibited to an eater that he eat thereof, except it be carrion, or blood poured forth, or swineflesh - for that verily is foul - or the abomination which was immolated to the name of other than Allah. But whoso is compelled (thereto), neither craving nor transgressing, (for him) lo! thy Lord is Forgiving, Merciful.

Surah 22.28
That they may witness things that are of benefit to them, and mention the name of Allah on appointed days over the beast of cattle that He hath bestowed upon them. Then eat thereof and feed therewith the poor unfortunate.

Surah 22.34
And for every nation have We appointed a ritual, that they may mention the name of Allah over the beast of cattle that He hath given them for food; and your god is One God, therefor surrender unto Him. And give good tidings (O Muhammad) to the humble,

Surah 22.36
And the camels! We have appointed them among the ceremonies of Allah. Therein ye have much good. So mention the name of Allah over them when they are drawn up in lines. Then when their flanks fall (dead), eat thereof and feed the beggar and the suppliant. Thus have We made them subject unto you, that haply ye may give thanks.

Surah 22.40
Those who have been driven from their homes unjustly only because they said: Our Lord is Allah - For had it not been for Allah's repelling some men by means of others, cloisters and churches and oratories and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft mentioned, would assuredly have been pulled down. Verily Allah helpeth one who helpeth Him. Lo! Allah is Strong, Almighty

Surah 24.36
(This lamp is found) in houses which Allah hath allowed to be exalted and that His name shall be remembered therein. Therein do offer praise to Him at morn and evening.

What is the name that should be mentioned over food? What is the name that should be remembered? It appears that it would have to be Allah. By analogy with the Bible in its use of the name YHWH, we would get that Allah is this name in the Quran:

Genesis 4:26
To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then {men} began to call upon the name of the LORD [YHWH].

Genesis 21:33
{Abraham} planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD [YHWH], the Everlasting God.

Exodus 34:5
The LORD descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the LORD [YHWH].

Leviticus 24:16
‘Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the LORD [YHWH] shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.’

1 Kings 5:5
"Behold, I intend to build a house for the name of the LORD [YHWH] my God, as the LORD spoke to David my father, saying, ‘Your son, whom I will set on your throne in your place, he will build the house for My name.’"

1 Kings 18:24
"Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD [YHWH], and the God who answers by fire, He is God." And all the people said, "That is a good idea."

2 Chronicles 2:1
Now Solomon decided to build a house for the name of the LORD [YHWH] and a royal palace for himself.

Job 1:21
He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD [YHWH]."

Psalms 102:21
That {men} may tell of the name of the LORD [YHWH] in Zion And His praise in Jerusalem,

Psalms 116:13
I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the LORD [YHWH].

Psalms 148:5
Let them praise the name of the LORD [YHWH], For He commanded and they were created.

Isaiah 24:15
Therefore glorify the LORD [YHWH] in the east, The name of the LORD [YHWH], the God of Israel, In the coastlands of the sea.

Isaiah 59:19
So they will fear the name of the LORD [YHWH] from the west And His glory from the rising of the sun, For He will come like a rushing stream Which the wind of the LORD drives.

Joel 2:32
"And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD [YHWH] Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

Other passages include Genesis 12:8;13:4; 16:13; 26:25; Exodus 20:7; 33:19; Leviticus 18:21; 19:12; 21:6; Deuteronomy 5:11; 28:10; 32:3; 2 Samuel 6:2; 1 Kings 3:2; 5:3; 8:17, 20; 10:1; 2 Kings 5:11; 1 Chronicles 22:7, 19; 2 Chronicles 2:4; 6:7, 10; Psalms 7:17; 20:7; 102:15; 113:1, 2; 116:4, 17; 122:4;135:1; 148:13; Proverbs 18:10; Isaiah 18:7; 30:27; 48:1; 56:6; 60:9; Jeremiah 3:17; Joel 2:26; Amos 6:10; Micah 5:4; Zephaniah 3:9. Thus, we see that YHWH is the name on which the people called.

Finally, one can see that sometimes the god of the Quran is called "Lord":

Surah 56.74
Therefor [sic] (O Muhammad), praise the name of thy Lord, the Tremendous.

Surah 57.96
Therefor [sic] (O Muhammad) praise the name of thy Lord, the Tremendous.

Surah 69.52
So glorify the name of thy Tremendous Lord.

Surah 73.8
So remember the name of thy Lord and devote thyself with a complete devotion

Surah 76.25
Remember the name of thy Lord at morn and evening.

Surah 87.1
Praise the name of thy Lord the Most High,

Surah 87.14, 15
He is successful who groweth,
And remembereth the name of his Lord, so prayeth,

Surah 96.1, 2
Read: In the name of thy Lord Who createth,
Createth man from a clot.

In these verses we see that the descriptive title "Lord" ("rabb") is used to refer to the deity of the Quran. In the same way, the word "God" ("our God", "my God", "the God of ...") is used as a descriptor for YHWH:

Ezra 5:1
When the prophets, Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them,

Psalms 20:1
May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you {securely} on high!

Psalms 20:5
We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.

Psalms 44:20, 21
[20] If we had forgotten the name of our God Or extended our hands to a strange god, [21] Would not God find this out? For He knows the secrets of the heart.

Psalms 69:30
I will praise the name of God with song And magnify Him with thanksgiving.

Proverbs 30:9
That I not be full and deny {You} and say, "Who is the LORD?" Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.

Daniel 2:20
Daniel said, "Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him.

Similarly, in the Quran we find many verses where the descriptive title "God" ("ilah") is used for the one true God:

Surah 2.133
Or were ye present when death came to Jacob, when he said unto his sons: What will ye worship after me? They said: We shall worship thy God, the God of thy fathers, Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac, One God, and unto Him we have surrendered.

Surah 2.163
Your God is One God; there is no God save Him, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Surah 5.73
They surely disbelieve who say: Lo! Allah is the third of three; when there is no God save the One God. If they desist not from so saying a painful doom will fall on those of them who disbelieve.

Surah 9.31
They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were bidden to worship only One God. There is no God save Him. Be He Glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)!

Surah 14.52
This is a clear message for mankind in order that they may be warned thereby, and that they may know that He is only One God, and that men of understanding may take heed.

Surah 29.46
And argue not with the People of the Scripture unless it be in (a way) that is better, save with such of them as do wrong; and say: We believe in that which hath been revealed unto us and revealed unto you; our God and your God is One, and unto Him we surrender.

Surah 114.1-3
Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind,
The King of mankind,
The God of mankind,

What is one to make of this? We have seen that the Quran seems to teach that the name of the Supreme Being is "Allah" and it uses the terms "Lord" and "God" as descriptive titles, just as the Bible calls the name of the Supreme Being "YHWH" and uses "God" and "Lord" as descriptive titles. There are many dozen passages where YHWH is addressed as or spoken about as "Lord" ("adonai"), of which I will present just a couple:

1 Kings 3:10
It was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing.

Isaiah 6:1
In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple.

Psalm 16:2
I said to the LORD, "You are my Lord; I have no good besides You."

Psalm 35:22
You have seen it, O LORD, do not keep silent;
O Lord, do not be far from me.

Micah 1:2
Hear, O peoples, all of you;
Listen, O earth and all it contains,
And let the Lord GOD be a witness against you,
The Lord from His holy temple.

Zechariah 4:14
Then he said, "These are the two anointed ones who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth."

What are the consequences of this doctrine? If the name of God is not "Allah", then the Quran does not specify the name of God, and if this is the case, the Quran is not an all-sufficient book. This is because it gives the command to mention Allah’s name over any meat that will be consumed, yet it does not contain this name. Thus, if "Allah" is not the name of God in the Quran, then the Quran gives a command that is impossible to fulfill without using outside sources. If one goes by the assumption that the Quran is all-sufficient, the only conclusion to which one can arrive is that Allah is God’s name. (This is exactly the view to which Osama Abdallah and others have been driven.) If one believes that the name of God is found in the previous revelation, then one must concede that these revelations are reliable sources of information concerning doctrine.

We saw in Part One that the Bible teaches that God’s name is YHWH. This has important theological implications:

Deuteronomy 13:1-3
[1] "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,[2] and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ [3] you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

Deuteronomy 18:20
‘But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’

Any prophet who speaks in a name other than that of YHWH is a false prophet, no matter how successful his or her predictions may be. If the name of God in the Quran is Allah, then the god of the Quran is not the same as the God of Moses and Jesus. (This is why Osama Abdallah and others are trying to prove that God’s name has always been Allah.) The Quran makes a similar declaration:

Surah 4.82
Will they not then ponder on the Qur'an? If it had been from other than Allah they would have found therein much incongruity.

What is the incongruity in the Quran? Simply put, it claims to be a confirmation of the previous scriptures (the Torah, the Psalms, the Prophets, and the Gospel):

Surah 2.41
And believe in that which I reveal, confirming that which ye possess already (of the Scripture), and be not first to disbelieve therein, and part not with My revelations for a trifling price, and keep your duty unto Me.

Surah 2.89
And when there cometh unto them a scripture from Allah, confirming that in their possession - though before that they were asking for a signal triumph over those who disbelieved - and when there cometh unto them that which they know (to be the truth) they disbelieve therein. The curse of Allah is on disbelievers.

However, because the name of God in the Bible is YHWH and the name of God in the Quran is Allah, there is an incongruity in the Quran: it claims to be a confirmation of the previous scriptures while at the same time contradicting them on the subject of the name of God. One can see, therefore, that it is impossible for the God of the Bible and the god of the Quran to be the same. YHWH is God’s name in the Bible, but not in the Quran.

Since the Quran claims to be a confirmation of the Bible while contradicting the Bible on a point as simple as the name of God, we must conclude that the two do not have the same origin. If the Quran is correct in its claim that the name of God is Allah, then this means that the Bible contains error, and since the Quran elsewhere affirms the trustworthiness of the Bible, the Quran itself must not have divine origins (or it would not affirm the trustworthiness of a false book). If the Quran is simply wrong about God’s name, then it should be rejected as having divine origins. Thus, while it may be possible (in the theoretical realm) that neither book is true, it is impossible for the Quran to be right about the trustworthiness of the Bible and its own trustworthiness at the same time. This would mean that the Quran actively teaches falsehood concerning the doctrinal soundness of the previous scriptures, its own self-sufficiency, its claim to be in total harmony with the previous scriptures and to have no contradictions, or any combination of these areas. Since this is the case, it is therefore impossible for the Quran to be a totally truthful book and it is not profitable for doctrine or a divinely inspired composition.

Alano Perez

Continue with Part Three: Allah the Oak

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