Names of God, in the Holy Bible and Holy Qur’an

By Paul Salahuddin Armstrong

Introduction

When looking at the names of God used in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, it is important to remember a few things. Firstly, Christianity grew out of the Jewish community. Jesus himself was a practising Jew and initially seen by his followers as a Great Rabbi and a Prophet of God. Jesus lived in a Jewish society, and he spoke Hebrew and Aramaic, the languages of his people.

The Jews and Arabs are Semitic peoples, both they and their languages are related. Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic are in the same subfamily of languages. Neither Jesus or Moses referred to God as ‘God’ but rather as Elah, Elohim, El-Shaddai or another of His many names. Today, there seems to be some doubt in the minds of certain people on whether ‘Allah’ of Islam, is really the same ‘God’ of the Holy Bible. As I shall illustrate, the Lord Almighty has been known by many names even in the Holy Bible. But the names of God, found in the Holy Bible and the Holy Qur’an, are names of the same Almighty God.

Elohim, Eloah and Allah

Eloah (or Elah in Aramaic) is roughly equivalent to Ilah in Arabic, which means a god, any god. In Hebrew when the suffix ‘-im’ is added to Eloah, it donotes plurality, and ‘Elohim’ can refer to either Almighty God, or ‘gods’. Although, in most incidences where Elohim appears in the Holy Bible, Elohim refers to God rather than gods. In Arabic, if you add the prefix ‘Al-‘ meaning ‘The’ to ‘Ilah’ it becomes ‘Al-Ilah’ or ‘The God’. However, due to the nature of Arabic, ‘Al-Ilah’ never appears in this form, as it always is written as ‘Allah’. Allah always refers to Almighty God, whereas Elohim usually refers to Almighty God, but their root in Eloah/Elah/Ilah is the same.

Elohim is the first name of God to appear the Holy Bible, in the first few words of Genesis;

“In the beginning God [Elohim] created the Heavens and the Earth” Genesis (1:1)

Echad / Ahad

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.” Mark (12:29) NIV

Here Jesus was quoting “Shema Yisrael“, the regularly recited declaration in Jewish tradition of belief in the One True God.

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” Deuteronomy (6:4) NIV

In this verse, ‘One’ is a translation of the Hebrew ‘Echad’. LORD is a translation of YHWH. So YHWH is Echad! In Surah Ikhlas in the Holy Qur’an, Allah is also descibed as the One;

“Say: He is Allah, The One and Only, Allah the Eternel, Absolute” Holy Qur’an (112:1-2)

Here, ‘One’ is a translation of the Arabic ‘Ahad’. Ahad is the Arabic variant of ‘Echad’ and both mean One, Only and Alone”.

Rakhuwm / Rahman

“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful [Rakhuwm] and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth” Exodus (34:6)

“(For the LORD thy God is a merciful [Rakhuwm] God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.” Deuteronomy (4:31)

“BismAllah-ir Rahman-ir Raheem” – “In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful” – Each chapter of the Holy Qur’an begins with this phrase, and this is read by Muslims before undertaking most actions to bless their outcome.

The Hebrew ‘Rachuwm’ and the Arabic ‘Rahman’, share the same Semitic root, R-H-M. Both Rachuwm and Rahman mean Compassionate and Merciful.

YHWH-Shalom / Al-Salaam

“Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.” Judges (6:24)

Jehovah-Shalom ‘YHWH Shalom’ is rendered ‘The Lord is Peace’ in the NASB. In Arabic, God is known as ‘Al-Salaam’, which translates as ‘The Peace’ or ‘The Source Of Peace’.

Shekhinah / Sakina

Shekhinah is the presence or manifestation of God which has descended to “dwell” among humanity. The Arabic form of Shekhinah, ‘Sakina’ also appears in the Holy Qur’an.

Melech / Malik

Melech means King, this name is found in the Holy Qur’an in its Arabic form ‘Al-Malik’, ‘The King’. A more emphasised version of this name ‘Melech ha-Melachim’ means The King of Kings’, and accurately indicates God’s ultimate sovereignty over all His creation. In Arabic, God is also known as ‘Malik Al-Mulk’.

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh

When Moses asked God for His name, as recorded in the book of Exodus. God replies, ‘Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh’ or ‘I Am That I Am’.

“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.” Exodus (3:13-15)

A little later on, God refers to Himself as YHWH.

“And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty [El-Shaddai], but by my name JEHOVAH [YHWH] was I not known to them.” Exodus (6:3)

The pronunciation and translation of YHWH is uncertain. There are currently many theories on the correct pronunciation. YHWH was rarely pronounced by the Jewish priests out of respect for God and His most Holy Name. They would usually read Adonai (Lord) in its place during services, this is where medieval Europeans got the idea of pronouncing YHWH with the vowels of Adonai, and came up with Jehovah. Today, Jehovah is recognised by most serious scholars as being inaccurate. Yahweh is currently the preferred pronunciation, although there are many, and no conclusive proof that any particular one is accurate.

‘Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh’
or ‘I Am That I Am’, indicates a number of divine qualities of God, which are mentioned in the Holy Qur’an;

1.The One “Al-Ahad”
2.The Eternal “As-Samad”
3.The Alive “Al-Hayy”
4.The Self-Subsisting “Al-Qayyum”
5.The Great One “Al-Azim”
6.The Truth “Al-Haqq”
7.The Aware “Al-Khabir”

Hence, the God described by these Arabic Divine Names in the Holy Qur’an, is none other than ‘Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh’ the God of Moses. As YHWH is a derivative of this Divine Name, then YHWH is Allah, Al-Ahad, As-Samad, Al-Hayy, Al-Qayyum, Al-Azim, Al-Haqq, and Al-Khabir. In Islam, Allah is known by 99 Divine Names recorded in the Holy Qur’an, some of these have a linguistic connection with their Hebrew counterparts, and some don’t. But if their meanings are understood, it becomes immediately obvious they are referring to the same Almighty God described in the Holy Bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…

“We have sent thee inspiration as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him; We sent inspiration to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon and to David We gave the Psalms.” Holy Qur’an (4:163)

“Say: ‘We believe in Allah and in what has been revealed to us and what was revealed to Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes and in (Books) given to Moses, Jesus and the Prophets from their Lord; we make no distinction between one and another among them and to Allah do we bow our will (in Islam).’ Holy Qur’an (3:84)

Today, some people are trying to create discord amongst Jews, Christians and Muslims by creating suspicion amongst them. This is to suit their own agenda’s and has nothing to do with reality. Some of their claims are really quite absurd, to suggest for instance, that Muslims worship a false god who used to be one of the Arabian idols, or to suggest Christians worship a false god called ‘Yah’, the Ancient Egyptian moon god. Both of these are ridiculous assertions, which cause unnecessary confusion and misunderstanding amongst people, who otherwise have so much in common. Both Christians and Muslims believe in, and worship their Creator, Almighty God. Even if it were true that the names of their God, were at some point given to idols, would that really change anything? None of the Abrahamic faiths believe in idols!

Allah, Eloah, and YHWH are all names of the same Almighty God. The real differences between Christianity and Islam are theological; as in whether God is a Trinity? Was Jesus God incarnated in human form? Or did God beget a Son? On these points Islam has very similar views to Judaism, or Arian / Unitarian Christianity. These are things which can be discussed in a fair and open way.

Ultimately people will believe what they understand to be true. It is quite wrong for people to tell lies about another faith, or the people of that faith, simply to increase their own congregation. People who believe their religion to be the true, will most likely want to promote the ‘good news’. But surely the best and most ethical way of doing this, is to present their own and other faiths with fairness and honesty, and let people decide for themselves.

“Thou shalt not bear false witness…” Exodus (20:16)

“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from error” Holy Qur’an (2:256)

All quotes from the Holy Qur’an use Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English translation. While all the quotes from the Holy Bible are taken from the KJV, except where indicated.

9 Responses to Names of God, in the Holy Bible and Holy Qur’an

  1. Robert D. Walker says:

    The Father, Ha’abba was never called Gawd, but the title was given to a born Son who was called by name Gawd, but in most translations comes out as GAD. Melek or Melik stands for King, while Malik or Malak stands for Messenger. What does IHW stand for? A’nee in Hebrew means IAM I do think man has added the term Elohim to the text after going into the land of Canaan from the Canaanites of their religious deities El, Eloah and Elohim. I do believe that it would be suitable to use Chok’mah/Wisdom in place of, what we have, for it does take a great deal of know how to do what HE, The Father has done, out there and down here upon this erets. Ehieh chok’mah will stand in and proclaim all in due time. It has been nice talking with you. Have a great day and my the blessing from on High be with you.

  2. learnquranonline1 says:

    mashallah keep it up is a good site where people could learn more about quran and islam i have also seen a site where people could learn quran online and learn quran with tajweed on http://www.learningquranonline.com
    learn quran online, learn quran

  3. amitabh says:

    if christian believes in prophet abraham then why dont they believe in the kabba in mecca ??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    • Paul Salahuddin Armstrong says:

      Salaam alaikum Amitabh,

      Some Christians do accept this, on an individual basis. The reason many don’t, derives from the fact they are completely unaware of the tremendous connections between Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The same is true of many ignorant Muslims, who do not realise Jews and Christians have a share in God’s blessings too… Unfortunately, religion for many people is completely black and white, there are no shades in between or different colours of interpretation… Like today, for instance, I was told by a lovely Christian lady who I’ve known for years, “the only way to God is through Jesus”! (peace be upon him). Does this mean she believes I’m destined for an eternity in hellfire, unless I convert to Christianity? Some Muslims too, hold a very similar belief, that unless one converts to Islam they will burn in the fires of hell! I could not believe in any ideology that condemns so many people to burn in hell! At the end of the day, all Jews, Christians and Muslims must accept that what becomes of us in the afterlife, remains completely in the hands of the Almighty! Interestingly, no one would suggest a baby or young child who dies will go to hell, unless they’ve proclaimed a belief in Jesus, peace be upon him, Islam or another religion… All would believe the child will go to Heaven! We really could benefit from a new spiritual renaissance in religious thinking, accepting of our interconnectedness and individuality…

      “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:11-13 (NIV)

      With blessings,

      Paul

      • The Persian says:

        Salam,
        First off, we should seek the knowledge in the Holy Quran about where is the place of worship for MANKIND, The BAITULLAH – The House of ALLAH. Is it really in Makkah or Bakkah? The answer to this question is in verse 21:83 and 34:12. Lets study carefully the verses…..
        AQ 21:81. And to Sulayman (We subjected) the wind strongly raging, running by his command towards the land which We had blessed. And of everything We are the All-Knower.)

        The continuation of the above verse, with regards, what is the distance between the Blessed land and his kingdom and where…….

        AQ 34:12 And to Sulayman (We subjected) the wind, its morning, a month’s (journey), and its departure, a month’s (journey) and we continue eyeing his territory…….

        A. In Chapter 12 & 34 verses 81 & 12 respectively, ALLAH tells us that the wind took Sulayman to the bless land, first light in the morning (ghuduwwuha), that is, he travel through out the morning and reach the Blessed Land before midday. It is just like flying in a Boeing 737, which travel about 730 km/h, through out the morning, say a 4 hrs flight, in which you travel at a distance of 2000 or so km!

        Further the Holy Quran says that Sulayman kingdom was very near Saba (Sheba) – AQ 27:22. As such and since Saba was in South Arabia, the Kingdom of Sulayman was, strong possibility in Yemen or Oman. If The Blessed Land is in Jerusalem. The distance between Jerusalem and South Arabia is a about 2000 or so km!

        B. If one travel by land, that is, by riding a camel – Ship of the Desert, a strong young camel can travel up to 65 to 70 km per day. If you multiply 65-70 km/day by 30 days, you will find that the camel travel about 2000 or so km in a month, which is exactly the same amount of distance if Sulayman travel by air in 4 hours!

        ALLAH KNOWS BEST

  4. Very nice post and right to the point. I don’t know if this is truly the best place to ask but do you folks have any ideea where to hire some professional writers? Thank you :)

  5. samuel.m says:

    praise the lord for your effort will blessing to us.findout more
    thanq.sir.

  6. Sai Krishna says:

    Praise Our God Who loves us more than we love him

  7. Ali says:

    Rachuwm is a the Hebrew equivalent of Arabic RaHeem. For example, Arabic IbRaHeem = Hebrew Av-Rachuwm. This means Mercy or Compassion.

    Rahman is a pre-Islamic God mentioned in Arabic inscriptions as early as the third century. I don’t think a name similar to this is in the Bible.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s