The Name of God in the Bible and the Quran

Part Three: Allah the Oak?

In an article responding to Al-Kadhi’s What Did Jesus Really Say? and in Part Two of this study, I have pointed out that Muhammad called on a god by the name of Allah, and therefore he was a false prophet for not pointing people toward YHWH, the true, living God of the Bible. Others, such as Quennel Gale, have also demonstrated that the name Allah was never God’s name in the Bible, but that the word "allah" exists in the Bible in the Hebrew word for "oak" (and also in the Greek word for "but").

Some Muslim "apologists", however, have tried to overcome this problem. One of these individuals is Osama Abdallah of and, who has attempted to refute Quennel’s work. As we shall see, however, his attempt was unsuccessful. Let us look at some of Abdallah’s arguments to see why they fail.

In his article, Abdallah and some others whom he quotes try to use various lexicons to prove that Allah’s affinity in pronunciation to "elohim," "elah," and "el" prove that "Allah" is in the Bible as God’s name. While these words are used with reference to the Creator, they are descriptive titles (like "missionary" or "apologist"), not the name of the Supreme Being, which is YHWH. In addition to this problem, though, they are not pronounced the same.

However, the words that are in the Bible that are pronounced more similarly to "Allah" are found below, with definitions and references where these words are found.

As one can see, as far as phonetics are concerned, "Allah" is in the Bible with several meanings. None of these meanings, however, is the name of God. If we examine the etymology, however, we will see even more evidence against Abdallah’s claim.

One problem in Abdallah’s article is that he produces several contradictions that give away his whole argument for Allah being the name of God in the Bible. At one point in his article, he says, "It's the pronunciation that counts" but later quotes someone else, who says,

"The correct comparison is between "ilah/elah" (Arabic) and "elahh" (Aramaic) in phonetic spelling and in their meaning of "god". "elahh" is not the same as "Allah" in pronunciation, although one of its meanings is "God" and "God of Israel", but my emphasis was on the similar sound to "ilah/elah" (Arabic) and in it, "elahh", taking on the meaning of "god"." [Bold mine]

First, he argues that the pronunciation of the Hebrew words is the same as the Aramaic/Arabic to prove that Allah is God’s name in the Bible. Then he admits (in his quotation of another) that the pronunciation of the words for God in Hebrew and the word "Allah" in Arabic are not the same! By conceding this Abdallah refutes himself and proves that because the words used for God in the Bible are not pronounced the same as "Allah" that "Allah" was never God’s name in the Bible (remember that we have already seen that "allah" is in the Bible, just not meaning "God").

Second, at one point in his article, Abdallah argues,

"For one thing, "ilah" does not mean "God", it means "god" (notice that there is no capitalisation of letters in Arabic, it is used here for the western audience's sake)"

Here he tries to make a distinction between "Allah" (the name of God) and "ilah" (the word for god). However, in the same article, he quotes a letter that he received from someone where the latter cites a lexicon that poses a problem for both of them, which they apparently did not see:

Upon investigating a "Christian" Hebrew lexicon on the web at site:, i [sic] came across the word "elahh" which is Aramaic and used in the Hebrew bible.
The following is from
Thee KJV Old Testament Hebrew Lexicon
Strong's Number: 0426
Original Word: hhla
Word Origin: corresponding to (0433)
Transliterated Word: 'elahh (Aramaic)'
Phonetic Spelling: 'el-aw'
Parts of Speech: Noun Masculine
- god, God
- god, heathen deity
- God (of Israel)
From the above, it was noticed that the word "elahh" does exist in the Hebrew bible and it means the above-stated definitions.

The intent of this citation was to demonstrate that "elah," the Aramaic cognate, of "ilah," is used as God’s name in the Hebrew Bible. The problem, however, is that "elah" also means simply "god" and can even be the name of pagan gods! Are we to believe that this word, which is the same word used to describe pagan gods (examples are Daniel 4:8 and 5:4), is the personal name of our Creator? (As we saw in Part One, it is not.) It, like the English "God," the Latin "Deus," the Spanish "Dios," the Greek "theos," and the French "Dieu," carries both the meaning of any god or the Being who is the true God. (Interestingly, YHWH appears more times in the Bible than "el," "eloah," "elah," and "elohim" combined, and it always refers to the true God, demonstrating that it is His name and specific to Him.)

By resorting to this lexicon, the person whom Abdallah quotes proves that "elah" is not the name of God but is simply a word that carries both the meaning of "God" and "god" (there is no capitalization in Hebrew either). Moreover, as the person quoted by Abdallah confessed, "elah" and "Allah" are not pronounced the same, so his argument fails on that point as well. For your convenience, since, according to Abdallah, "It's the pronunciation that counts", I reproduce the list of words in the Bible that are pronounced like "Allah":

'alah (Strong’s Number: H421): to bewail :- lament.

'alah (Strong’s Number: H422): to adjure, that is, (usually in a bad sense) imprecate :- adjure, curse, swear.

'alah (Strong’s Number: H423): an imprecation :- curse, cursing, execration, oath, swearing.

'allah (Strong’s Number: H427): oak.

Please take note that the Hebrew word for "oak" (aleph, lamed, lamed, he) agrees with the Arabic "Allah" (alif, lam, lam, ha) not only in its pronounced consonants but even has basically the same vowels (twice an "a" sound). [More precisely, in the Hebrew word there is only one lamed written, but this lamed bears a dagesh forte, showing that it is really a double consonant. For that reason the transliteration correctly renders it as ‘ll’. On the other hand, in the Arabic word there is actually a triple lam since the second lam bears a tashdeed ('al-llah), i.e. the second lam is doubled, but since the first lam in the Arabic name of God is silent the pronunciation is 'allah in both the Hebrew and the Arabic.] Abdallah apparently missed H427, the word right after "elah" (the word for "God" or "god" in Aramaic), which was the word to which Quennel Gale was most likely referring.

al-lah' (Strong’s Number: G235): properly other things, that is, (adverbially) contrariwise (in many relations): - and, but (even), howbeit, indeed, nay, nevertheless, no, notwithstanding, save, therefore, yea, yet.

We see therefore that the words that are pronounced the same as "Allah" in no way mean God, nor are they the name of God.

Moreover, we have seen that Abdallah has not proved in any way that "Allah" is God’s name in the Bible. He spends the article showing proof that "elah" is in the Bible. However, as we have seen, he himself points out that "elah" is not the name of God, but is simply a word that means "god." Since "elah" and not "Allah" is used to mean "God," Abdallah himself proves that "Allah" was not God’s name in the Bible.

We see, therefore, that far from proving that "Allah" is God’s name, Abdallah proves thrice that "Allah" has nothing to do with the name of God in the Bible. The Aramaic word that is related to "Allah" and "ilah" in Arabic is not the name of God but is merely a word that means "God" or "god," like its English counterparts.


The claim that "Allah" is used as God’s name in the Indonesian Bible is not true. "Allah" is used to mean "God", but it is not used in place of YHWH:

Exodus 6:3 (ASV)
and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty; but by my name Jehovah I was not known to them.

Exodus 6:2 Indonesian Terjemahan Baru (same as Exodus 6:3 above)
Aku telah menampakkan diri kepada Abraham, Ishak dan Yakub sebagai Allah Yang Mahakuasa, tetapi dengan nama-Ku TUHAN Aku belum menyatakan diri.

Exodus 6:2 Bahasa Indonesia Sehari-Hari (same as Exodus 6:3 in the ASV)
Aku menampakkan diri kepada Abraham, Ishak dan Yakub sebagai Allah Yang Mahakuasa, tetapi Aku tidak memperkenalkan diri kepada mereka dengan nama 'TUHAN'.

Isaiah 42:8 (ASV)
I am Jehovah, that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise unto graven images.

Idonesian TB
Aku ini TUHAN, itulah nama-Ku; Aku tidak akan memberikan kemuliaan-Ku kepada yang lain atau kemasyhuran-Ku kepada patung.

Indonesian BHSH
Akulah TUHAN, itulah nama-Ku; keagungan-Ku tidak Kuberikan kepada siapa pun; kemasyhuran-Ku tidak Kuserahkan kepada patung.

Amos 9:6 (ASV)
it is he that buildeth his chambers in the heavens, and hath founded his vault upon the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth; Jehovah is his name.

yang mendirikan anjung-Nya di langit dan mendasarkan kubah-Nya di atas bumi; yang memanggil air laut dan mencurahkannya ke atas permukaan bumi--TUHAN itulah nama-Nya.

TUHAN membangun rumah-Nya jauh di angkasa, di atas bumi dipasang-Nya langit sebagai kubah, dan air dari laut dituangkan-Nya ke daratan, yang melakukan semua itu nama-Nya ialah TUHAN!

We see, therefore, that "Allah" is used to mean "God" but that "TUHAN" is used to signify YHWH, the name of God.

As for any Indonesian Bible of which I am unaware that may use Allah in place of YHWH, one must keep in mind that Indonesia is a predominantly Muslim country. This use of Allah for YHWH would come not from the fact that Allah is God’s name in the Bible, but because the god of the Quran is called Allah, and this is what the people there are accustomed to hearing. The word "ilah" is used to mean "god" in the IBHSH and "allah" is often used to mean "god" generically in the ITB, which shows the effect that Islam has had on the language. The use in the Indonesian Bibles of the Arabic names "Musa" and "Harun" for Moses and Aaron (Moshe and Aharon in Hebrew) also shows the effect that Arabic has had on the language.

Alano Perez

Continue with One Last Note

Articles by Alano Perez
Answering Islam Home Page