This is not the first time evangelical Christians have made such a claim. Indeed, I have heard of churches that have placed signs saying: "Allah is not God." When I read these comments, I think to myself, "From where do these fellow Americans get this notion that Allah is not the same God of Christians and Jews?"
Perhaps they get tripped up over the name Allah itself. This word, which is Arabic for "The God," is nothing more than the personal name for God in Arabic. Some evangelical Christians have gone so far as to claim that Allah is the pagan Arab moon god that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) wanted the Arabs to worship. What rubbish.
Allah is the Lord, Creator, and Sustainer of the entire universe. He is the God of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishamel, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Jesus. He is the only God which Muslims worship, and he is the same God as that of Christians and Jews. In fact, Jesus himself is quoted by the Qur'an as saying to the Children of Israel: "It is Allah who is my Lord and Your Lord, so worship Him. This is a straight path" (3:51).
Every single one of my Arab Christian friends call God Allah, not Jehovah. When my Arab Christian friends and I part, we frequently say to each other, "Allah ma'akum," or "God be with you." If Land were to open up an Arabic translation of the Bible, he would find that the name for God would be none other than Allah.
Furthermore, I believe that the name Allah is contained in the Bible. The comparative religion scholar Huston Smith points out that many verses in the Old Testament refer to God as Elohim in Hebrew. The "im" in Hebrew is appended for respect, and thus, the name for God is Eloh, which is very similar to the Arabic Allah. In the She'ma, the most famous Jewish devotional phrase, the Hebrew says, "Adonai Alohaynu," which means "The Lord is our God." The "aynu" means "our," and thus "Alohaynu" can be translated as "our Aloh," again very similar to "our Allah."
Another reason evangelical Christians give to support their claim that Allah is not Jehovah is that--in the words of Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals--Allah and Jehovah have "very different personalities." Haggard said, "The Christian God encourages freedom, love, forgiveness, prosperity and health while the Muslim God appears to value the opposite. The personalities of each God are evident in the cultures, civilizations and dispositions of the peoples that serve them. Muhammad's central message was submission; Jesus' central message was love. They seem to be very different personalities."
I find this quite interesting. Pope Urban II, speaking at the Council of Clermont in 1095, proclaimed: "On this account I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ's heralds to publish this everywhere and to persuade all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race [the Muslims] from the lands of our friends. I say this to those who are present, it meant also for those who are absent. Moreover, Christ commands it."
It was said that the blood of Muslims and Jews was knee deep to the horses after Jerusalem was conquered by the Crusaders in 1099. If the personality of the "Christian God" is judged by the actions of the Crusaders, one would not help but think this God to be violent and intolerant, yes?
Attorney General John Ashcroft was quoted by syndicated columnist Cal Thomas as saying, "Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you." Did not the "Christian God" also send someone's son to die for Him? Absolutely: "And he [God] said [to Abraham], Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him [in sacrifice] there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of" (Genesis 22:2).
Allah is Jehovah is Eloi is Yahweh. These names all refer to the very same One True God. Islam, in fact, teaches that God has 99 names, of which only one is Allah. Some Muslims claim that the "real" name for God is only Allah, but I disagree. I use the word "God" and Allah interchangeably when referring to my Lord and Creator, and I believe both names to be legitimate.
Although His name may change with culture, nation, tribe, and time period, there is still only one Lord and Creator, and He is the God of us all. The sooner we can get over the different names that God is called, the sooner Americans of faith can come together and do the Lord's work.