Allah and God, are they two separate beings?
One day a gentleman came to visit me. During the conversation, he stated that when he presents my books to some people, they object that the word God (Khuda) is used for Allah in these books. He explained that people think that using the word God (Khuda) for the Almighty is equal to insulting Him. So he cannot pass on my books and writings to others even though he considers them effective. This is not the only incident. Many people have told me the same thing about using the word God (Khuda). Therefore, it is essential to discuss this important issue in detail.
The verdict of the Qur’an:
What is the correct name of the Almighty, and what is not? Which name to be refered to him and which not, it was decided at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an that. In the Holy Qur’an, one of the names of the Almighty is Ar-Rahman. The word Ar-Rahman was a well-known Arabic word with which the polytheistic Arabs were familiar. However, they used the word Allah for the Almighty.
In contrast, the word Ar-Rahman was generally used by the People of the Book for the Almighty. Holy Qur’an also used the word Ar-Rehman in different places as a personal name of Allah. For example, in Surah Rehman of Quran (55:1-2)
“Ar-Rahman, who taught the Qur’an.”
When the Qur’an used the word Ar-Rahman, the polytheistic Arabs, who were in opposition, began to raise the issue. The reaction of the polytheists was described in the Holy Qur’an like this:
When it is said to them, “Prostrate to the Ar-Rahman, they ask, What is Ar-Rahman? Will we prostrate to whatever you order us to? And This increases their aversion. (Quran 25:60)
Since this was a matter of monotheism which is the central theme of the Qur’an, the Almighty removed their misconception that it is wrong to call on the Almighty by any name other than Allah. He said:
“Say, O Prophet, “Call upon Allah or call upon the Ar-Rahman—His are the finest names.” (Quran 17-110)
This verse also gives a definite verdict on the issue we are facing today regarding the word God (Khuda). This text is substantial, which clearly states that it is not only right to call the Almighty by the name of Ar-Rahman, instead, every good name common in any language, region, or nation for the sake of the existence of the Almighty is perfectly permissible to call. Because the Almighty is not the lord of any particular nation or region, but the Lord of the worlds. His concept has been found in every group and every age. People have used different words for the Almighty in their particular languages, but all these names refer to the same being, what the Arabs used to call ‘Allah’ at the time of the revelation of the Qur’an.
For instance, the concept of land is present in every nation, group, and region. However, the Arabs call it Ard, the English Earth, and we call it Zameen. Did these three different names change the concept of the Earth? That is what the Almighty has made clear in this verse. The only question left is whether ‘God'(Khuda) is a good word in our language or not. We can find the answer in the dictionary. Urdu Dictionary board published the most significant and most authentic Urdu language dictionary. Written under the definition of God (Khuda) is that
“In contrast to the servant, the personal name of the Creator of the universe and His personal essence whose attribute names are ninety-nine and Who is present everywhere with His essence and attributes, is from eternity and will last forever, He is one, and no one is like Him.” 460/8
After this explanation, is there any doubt about the use of the word God? Urdu lexicographers have not created this meaning of the word God sitting at home. Whenever the people of the language utter the word God with their tongues, when they swear by God, and when they make witnesses, they do not even think of anyone other than Almighty Allah. The original certificate of a language is the word of its educators. See how the mentors of the Urdu language use the word of God for Allah Almighty.
Mir, a famous Urdu poet, says:
ب تو جاتے ہیں بتکدے سے میرI
پھر ملیں گے اگر خدا لایا
نہ تھا کچھ تو خدا تھا کچھ نہ ہوتا تو خدا ہوتا
ڈبویا مجھ کو ہونے نے نہ ہوتا میں تو کیا ہوتا
خدا کے بندے تو ہیں ہزاروں بنو ں میں پھرتے ہیں مارے مارے
میں ا س کا بندہ بنوں گا جس کو خدا کے بندوں سے پیار ہوگا
This verse of present day’s famous poet is known to everybody:
کوئی تو ہے جو نظام ہستی چلارہا ہے
وہی خدا ہے وہی خدا ہے
When we hear these verses, no one but the Almighty comes to mind.
The practice of the prophets:
The verse of Surah Bani Isra’il is decisive in this discussion. However, go a little farther and see what the way of the prophets was. The title of Jacob was Israel. The word is a combination of two components, Isr and El. In the ancient Hebrew language, the Almighty was entitled by the term ‘El.’
In contrast, Isr means servant, so his title Israel means ‘El,’ meaning servant of Allah. Similarly, the language of Abraham (P.B.U.H) was Hebrew. When the Almighty blessed him with a son at the age of 86 in response to his prayers, he named him Ishmael, which means the Almighty heard.
The Almighty not only allowed this practice in the era of these prophets but also mentioned these two names in the Qur’an. Thus He sealed the truth till the Day of Resurrection that whatever word is common to the Almighty in any language is acceptable to the Almighty, whether it is in Arabic or Hebrew, Hindi or Greek, Urdu or Persian. Allah has no particular language, and all languages belong to Him. From this point, it became clear that the Almighty has no objection by using any word other than Arabic for Himself. Otherwise, the Qur’an must have changed the names of these Prophets or corrected their names at the time of these prophets.
The suspected flaws of Word God:
It is mainly stated that the word God (khuda) has significant sharia restrictions. For example, it is used for others, has a plural form in the Urdu language, and is also used in Persian for the power of evil.
Let us also consider these objections. The first thing in this regard is that when the word ‘God’ (Khuda) is used alone in the Urdu language, it means the same being called Almighty as stated above in the Urdu dictionary under the meaning of God.
Secondly, the word Ahriman is used in Persian for the power of evil and not as the word of God. When the word God comes alone, it never means the God of evil. However, in Urdu and Persian, God is also used as master, king, and lord.
Similarly, in both Urdu and Persian languages, the word Khuda (God) can be attached with another word and applied to others. Like in Persian, the power of evil is called Khuda-e-Ahriman, and in Urdu, Mir Taqi Mir is called Khuda-e-Sokhan. In the Urdu language, the word God (khuda) is also used as a plural form.
Nevertheless, did the use of the word God is wrong for these reasons? No way. Another Arabic word for the Almighty is frequently used in the Qur’an, which contains not only all these Shari’ah issue but also some other imperfections which are not in the word God. Let us see what that word is.
In various places in the Qur’an, the Almighty is called Lord (Rabb) Numerous supplications narrated in the Qur’an and Hadith begin with this word. However, this word is commonly used in the Arabic language for human beings. The Holy Qur’an also used this word. For example, in Surah Yusuf, when two prisoners asked Prophet Joseph (P.B.U.H) the interpretation of their dream, the Qur’an used the word “Lord” (Rabb) for the word he said to their master while interpreting it.
“One of you will give his Lord a drink.” (Quran 12:41)
Shortly before this verse the plural of this word “Arbab” was used for the Egyptian gods and goddesses, whom the Egyptians worshiped.
“Are many separate lords better or or God, the One, the Almighty??” (Quran 12:39)
In addition to the plural, this word is also used as feminine in Arabic, while the word God is at least free from this defect. A very famous hadith which is called Hadith of Gabriel, has its words (Muslim 8).
“(One of the signs of the day of Judgment) is that the slave-girl will give birth to her Lord (mistress).”
Despite all that, the Qur’an has used this word withput hesitation for the Almighty; then what hinders using the word of God for the Almighty? Remember that in the present Urdu language, this word has now become notable for the Almighty. Anyone who doubts this should call their teacher, office or shop owner, or the President with this word and see what the people around will do with him.
This issue is a hindrance in preaching Islam
Without any reasonable and clear argument, some people establish the opinion that it is wrong to use any word other than Allah. To us, this kind of view is equal to making the Almighty our national deity. As a result, this would severely damage the call to Islam (da’wah). Afterwards, when a Muslim gets up for da’wah, he will tell an English Christian that the deity you call God is entirely wrong and you should worship Allah. In the same way, he will tell a Hindu that you are a believer in Ishwar (the name of the Almighty in Sanskrit) while you should be a believer of Allah. As a result, the other party will think that I am being taken away from my God and taken to another God. Then alienation
and fear will arise in his heart, and this alienation may become an obstacle in the way of accepting the truth.
That is the reason that the prophet’s preaching style is quite different. They never discussed names and instead discussed polytheism. They discuss the attributes that had been credited to Allah. You read the conversation in the Qur’an that took place between the prophets and their nations.The emphasis is on monotheism. The Qur’an states that all the apostles spoke the language of their people (Quran 14:4). The nations of these apostles will surely call on Allah by some name in their language. Those apostles also used to call Allah by the same name. However, they used to emphasize the point to not associate anyone with Him whom they believe to be the Lord of the worlds and worship Him alone.
That is the ideal way for us today. Moreover, we can only act this way if we go beyond appearances and know that Allah is one and all good names belong to Him. Then we can tell an American to keep worshiping God but do not associate anyone with Him and do not call anyone His son or wife. We can say to a Hindu that it is true that the creator of the universe is Ishwar. However, do not consider a deity or an incarnation as a deity or a god with Him.
After that, when the person converts to Islam and offers prayers, recites the Qur’an, and performs other deeds prescribed by the religion, he will take the name of Allah. However, no one has the right to change his language, and he should be allowed to call Allah whatever he wants in his own language because all good names are for Him. This right has been given to him by the Almighty, and no one can take away this right from him.