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I just think it's interesting how many revisions this has gone through ... here's the original 1911 "Gutenberg" Encyclopedia article that I pasted here originally, that has had the so-called "Islamic bias" removed. I do know it needed editing, revising, expanding, and to be "brought up to the times." Just something interesting to think about.

ALLAH, the Arabic name used by Moslems of all nationalities for the one true God. It is compounded of al, the definite article, and ilah, meaning a god. The same word is found in Hebrew and Aramaic as well as in ancient Arabic (Sabaean). The meaning of the root from which it is derived is very doubtful; cf. Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, p. 82, and the Oxford Hebrew and English Lexicon, pp. 61 ff.

A previous version of the "Allah" article included the following:

"Allah" was also the proper name for the pre-Islamic god of the moon and travel worshiped by nomadic Arabic tribes. The name and has no femminine or plural forms. Allah was considered to be the ancestor and leader of the other gods, such as the goddesses al-Lat? and Man'at?.

Anybody know why was this removed?

It seems that the moon god theory is heavily disputed and has limited support. It appears to be based on the poor quality work of only one man (Robert Mory) in the last 10 years.

Well, insofar as 'Allah' doubles as the name 'God' in Arabic we're up against the problem solved in English by capitalization, capital G for the monotheistic god of the Jews and Christians (who prefers that we NOT use his first name) versus the gods with a small G. "Allah" was undoubtedly used about all SORTS of deities, and that's where the Moon-deity argument falls down. And watch out about publishing the female-trinity bit -- isn't that what got Salman Rushdie in trouble? --Michael Tinkler.

I authored the paragraph about the moon-god theory. I read about this in "Islam" [1] by Jamal J. Elias, a Muslim author. The book is an intorduction to Islam from the POV of a liberal Muslim scholar. As Elias is Associate Professor of Religion at Amherst College, Massachusetts, and he writes on this theory as if it were fact, it seems there is more to this picture than the "poor" work of one scholar. Therefore, I have restored the paragrah, with a note on it's contoversy.

I also authored the bit about Yahweh that was taken out. Critism accepeted, it belongs in its own article. So i have put it in Yahweh. - Asa

It does seem true that Allah was the name of a moon god - and that Mohammed's father had allah as part of his name. But the name does have a feminine form - al Lat. It is not clear the connection of the moon god to the Muslim god.

Ok, first of all: Allah does simply mean "the god", rather equivalent to our capitalized "God". Hence, any major god (like this moon god, apparently) would have very likely been called "God". I did some [admittely Internet-based] research on this topic just now, and clarified a few things in the actual text. Let me know how it reads now.

Here's a question. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, not a dictionary, so its articles should be about topics, not words per se. So is the "Allah" article the appropriate place to provide a discussion of the Islamic concept of God? My initial thought would be yes.

But Arabic-speaking Christians would use the word to refer to the Christian God. Does that complicate the issue? Maybe. But one might argue that the wikipedia is in English (this one at least), and in English the word "Allah" is generally used to refer to God specifically with reference to Islam. Right? So the discussion of the Islamic concept of God should be under "Allah". Does this make sense? Anyone disagree?

Another question - Do Muslims take Allah to be the personal name for God or just the Arabic language word meaning God. This could be tricky since by way of comparison some Christians take Yahweh to be the personal name of God while others see it as just another description "I am what I am" (If there is only one of a class, i.e. one God, why would he need a personal name?)

Well. In the listing I have that is based on Hadith (the teaching tradition of Islam), Allah is listed as the first name among the 99 names. The names read more like titles "the Compassionate, the Merciful, etc.", but the tradition is that they are names. I'll add the list as an entry. --MichaelTinkler

Actually we already have a page under ninety-nine names of Allah

Regarding: discussion of the Islamic concept of God

I personally think the discussion of the Islamic concept of God should be listed under Islam, not Allah. Under Allah should be listed, basically, what is there right now--what the word is used for, its origins, and other basic things about it. If you're worried about it becoming to "dictionary"-ish, see the top of this page for the entirety of an Allah article from a 1911 encyclopedia--it is, I would say, less detailed than our article currently is. I think there's nothing to worry about in that respect.

Regarding: is Allah the name of God or just a word meaning God?

What's the difference? It's not an attribute, like the rest of the 99 are (the compassionate, and so forth). Do Christians/Jews? consider the capitalized "God" to be the name of God or just a word meaning God? It's usually considered to be both, much, I think, the way that "God" is in English.

Again, something to think about is that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews do use the word Allah to refer to God ... it's not specifically Islamic.

There is little doubt that Jews do not consider God the name of God. In their religion one does not pronounce the name of God YHWH. Many Christians may have forgotten it and confusingly most Bible translations use LORD in small capital letters as the translation. Certainly it is an important distinction - look at the emphasis mystery religions put on names of gods.
And if you look at the list of the 99 names you'll see that lots of them end up as personal names in Arabic, much as the Protestant Puritans used names like "Mercy" or "Chastity." --MichaelTinkler
I will try to bring an answer to the problem from Turkish point of view. I am not sure about other Muslim nations but Turkish people usually (although there are no definite rules for that) use the word Allah as the special name of God. We use a different and genuinely Turkish word (tanri) to specify other gods (as ancient Egyptian gods, Celtic gods etc.). As to the gods of other monotheistic religions, I think there is some confusion for that and people may use both Allah and tanri. On the other hand, from Islamic point of view, other than being simply Al Ilah (the God) in Arabic language, Allah is indeed the special name of God and it is the most precious name for it is not a descriptive name like other Ninety-nine names of Allah, but the name of God's own presence. This is a difficult concept to define. The name Allah is accepted to comprise the meanings of all other names of the God, as well. All the names including Allah are referred to as "asma ul husna" (beautiful names) and Allah is regarded as greatest of these names. ErdemTuzun
ErdemTuzun: thanks, you managed to say that a lot better than I could have. It is indeed more than simply Al Ilah to Muslims--the greatest of the names of God, as you said. Conversely, it is true that Arabic-speaking Christians use the term Allah to speak of God.

Do you think that the most recent revision says this aptly enough? Perhaps an extra sentence somewhere stating that Allah does have special significance to Muslims, more than simply meaning "the God", as it is used by others. Hm. I'll contemplate it. --Dlugar?

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