Allah — The Unique Name of God

Research into the Names of God in over 150 Languages and their Meanings

by Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi

Chapter 2: The Names of God among 155 Nations of the World

1. The Abipones, a savage tribe of South America. Their chief deity is Aharaigichi or Queevet.

“He gave us valour and Spaniards riches.” (H., vol. 1, p. 29a)1

2. The Abor, Abor-Miri, a people of the northern frontier of Assam. They acknowledge and adore one supreme being, Jam, as the father of all, who will judge all men. (H., vol. 1, p. 33a)

3. The Kaitish aborigines of South Australia have Atnatu as their God. It means ‘one without anus’, or ‘without flaw’. The god who eats and drinks should have an anus. The Quran says:

قُلۡ اَغَیۡرَ اللّٰہِ اَتَّخِذُ وَلِیًّا فَاطِرِ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ وَ ہُوَ یُطۡعِمُ وَ لَا یُطۡعَمُ

“Say: Shall I take for a protector other than Allah, the Originator of the heavens and the earth, and He feeds and is not fed?” (The Holy Quran, 6:14)

These aborigines also declare that Atnatu is prior to the Beginning. He appeared in the sky in a far remote past. He made Himself and gave Himself His name. He is very great, Whose law tribes obey. He established the rule that tribes at a fishing ground should keep peace. His name also means ‘The Great’. (H., vol. 6, p. 243a, lower; vol. 2, p. 889b)

4. Some aborigines of South Australia say that they believe in Baiame. It means maker and father of all. (H., vol. 2, p. 246a; vol. 6, p. 244). They circumcise with a stone knife (H., vol. 1, p. 298a).

5. The Hamitic tribes of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) adore Waq, pronounced Waqay. Originally, it meant ‘heaven’ (or ‘one who is in heaven’). They say there is only one God Who is omnipresent, or everywhere. (H., vol. 1, p. 56b)

6. The ancient Aegeans, people of the coast isles of the Aegean sea, said that they believed in Rhea, which means the spirit of nature. (H., vol. 1, p. 147a)

7. The Afrikaaners say that they have been taught His name as God. In their language godin is ‘goddess’ and godjie is a little tin god.2

8. The Agaos, High Cushites of East Africa, say their chief god is Deban or Jar. It means sky or heaven. (H., vol. 6, p. 488b)

9. The Ahoms, who belong to the Tai family, extending from the gulf of Thailand to Assam, say that they believe in Phu-Ra-Ta-Ra. It means God, the Creator. (H., vol. 1, p. 236a)

10. The Ainu are an historic race at one time inhabiting the region extending from Siberia to Japan. Their God is Kamui. They were originally monotheists. Kamui means ‘heaven’ and ‘above’. It has no plural number.

“When speaking of the ‘God of gods’, the Ainu give Him the name Pase-Kamui, ‘Creator and Possessor of heaven’. All the rest are termed Yaiyan Kamui.” (H., vol. 1, pp. 239–241)

11. The Aiyanar of South India worship Hari-Hara or Vishnushiva, a Dravidian god recognised by the Aryans. (H., vol. 1, p. 257b)

12. The people of Akra (an African tribe) say that they believe in Jongmaa, meaning the highest god.3

13. The Akwapim (Africans) believe in Jankkupong; it denotes God.4

14. The Alakhnamis of Northern India worship Alakh-Nam, or the ‘unseeable god’. (H., vol. 1, p. 276a)

15. The Albanians of the Balkan peninsula call their god Hyjní, which means ‘celestial god’.5

16. The Aleuts (of the Aleutian Islands, Alaska) worship Kugan. It means ‘the spirit who has power to create’. (H., vol. 1, p. 305)

17. The Algonquins, a well-known Algic race of North America, say that they believe in Kuloskap or Kuloskabe.6 It means the god ‘Liar and Deceiver’, not because he deceives or injures man, but because he leads his enemies astray. He is the creator and friend of man, who named animals and discovered that man was the lord of all. (H., vol. 1, p. 320)

18. The Andamanese say that Puluga, their chief deity, is the cause of all things, and sins are displeasing to Him. He taught His teachings to Tomo, the first teacher. (H., vol. 1, p. 468b, 469a)

19. The Annamese7 call their god Dôc-Cu’ó’c, i.e., the one-footed god. They praise his merits thus:

“The one-footed spirit has only one eye and only one foot, but he is swift as lightning and sees all that happens in the world.” (H., vol. 1, p. 539a)

20. The Arabs call their highest god Allah.8 He comprises all the attributes of perfection. It is said in the Quran:

وَ لِلّٰہِ الۡاَسۡمَآءُ الۡحُسۡنٰی

“All the most beautiful names are of Allah.”9

He is the being Who exists necessarily by Himself. The word Allah is not applied to any being except the True God. They never gave this name to an idol or an honoured person. It has no feminine gender, nor a plural number. It is not derived from any root. There is no equivalent for this word in any language of the world. It is a challenge from the All-Knowing Allah:

ہَلۡ تَعۡلَمُ لَہٗ سَمِیًّا

“(O man!) Do you know one that can be named along with Him?” — The Holy Quran, 19:65.

21. The Arawak tribes of Brazil worship Jurupari or Juru-para-i. It means: ‘issue from the mouth of a river’. He was born from a virgin who possessed no sex. This river is the river of shoreless time. (H., vol. 2, p. 835b)

22. Tando is the principal god of the Ashanti (negroes of West Africa). He is hostile to Bobowissi, because the people of Ashanti were at war with the worshippers of Bobowissi. (H., vol. 9, p. 277b)

23. The ancient Armenians’ chief deity was Aramazd. He is the father of the gods, the maker of the heavens and the earth. (H., vol. 1, p. 795a)

24. The Assyrians adored Baal or Bel.10 It was considered the chief deity. It means ‘owner’ orpossessor’. It was also worshipped by the Israelites. Says the Bible:

“As their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal.”11

25. The Babylonians served the god Anu, i.e., the god of heaven. It is the Sumerian ana, ‘heaven’. (H., vol. 2, p. 310a)

26. The Bulgarians worship Bora.12 It has many forms, plural and feminine. It means ‘the chief object of worship’.

27. The Bantu, an African tribe, name their god Ambe or Nyambe. It means ‘God’.13

28. The Basques, an ancient people of Spain, worshipped Jaungoiko, Jaun-Goiko. Jaun means ‘lord’, and goiko means ‘height’, hence, ‘master of the height’. It applied to men as well as to God. They have their own language, distinct from Spanish. Some say goiko means ‘moon’, and so Jaun-Goiko means ‘lord of the moon’. (H., vol. 2, p. 436b)

29. The Buddhists of Burma worship Nats and they believe them to be supernatural beings. (H., vol. 3, p. 22b)

30. The Buddhists of Nepal serve Adibuddha. They are a unitarian and theistic people. Adibuddha means ‘Buddha from the beginning’. They believe that He exists by Himself and is called Svayambhu or Svayambhulokanatha or self-existing protector of the world. They believe Him to be pure light. He is worshipped in His temple at Katmandu. (H., vol. 1, p. 94)

31. Some sects of the Buddhists worship Avalokiteshvara.14 There are different interpretations of Avalokiteshvara. The Tibetans take it to mean ‘the Lord Who looks both at the Buddha and at the creatures with compassion’.

32. The Buriats,15 a branch of the eastern Mongols, called their god Tengri, ‘one who lives in heaven’ (tangara means ‘heaven’). There are two heavens. For the physical heaven they use Oktorgoi. (H., vol. 3, pp. 2–3)

33. Among the islanders of Buru (Indonesia) the highest god is called Opo-geba-snulat, the lord creator of man. His messenger in very old time was Nabiata. Messengers of God who descend to earth are prevalent among all Indonesians. (H., vol. 7, p. 248b)

34. The Canaanites said their god was El. In Hebrew it means ‘power’. Their other chief deity was Adon, from which the Israelites took Adonai as a substitute for the name Yahweh (‘Jehovah’). (H., vol. 3, p. 178b, 179b)

35. The Caribs of South America worshipped Tamu. It means ‘grandfather’ or ‘old deity of the sky’. (H., vol. 2, p. 836b)

36. The Chaldeans’ god was Elāh, a very old Semitic name of God. It means ‘the highest’.16

37. The Chibchas17 of Colombia (South America) named their God Chimizapagua. It means ‘the supreme creator’. Their prophet’s name was Bochica, who taught them all they knew. (H., vol. 3, p. 515a)

38. The people of Chile18 (South America) invoke their god Pillan. It denotes ‘the soul’ or ‘the supreme essence’. (H., vol. 3, p. 547a)

39. The Chinese god is Shang Ti. Shên (spirits) is the plural.19 The ancient books express a sort of Supreme Being by Shang Ti. Genii of particular places are also expressed by shên, as ho shên, god of the river, shan shên, god of the hill. But they say that all these are inferior to T’ien (‘heaven’ or ‘above’), the sovereign. They say:

“It is not lawful to use the name Shang Ti lightly; therefore, we name Him by His residence, i.e., heaven.”

40. The Confucians (China), though considered polytheists, believe Shên to be the chief god, living in heaven. He rules and controls all spectres and their actions; no spirit can harm men without authority from Him or His silent consent. (H., vol. 4, p. 13a)

41. The Coptic Christians of Egypt call their god Noute, used as singular and plural and feminine and masculine.20

42. In the Cornish language (one of the languages of the Celts — inhabitants of Northern and Western Europe) God is called Dew (or Deu, Du, Dhew, Dhyw, Theu, Thu, Thyu, Thev, Thyw, all these being different pronunciations). Its plural is dewow; dués is ‘goddess’.21

43. The ancient Cretans, the people of Crete in the Mediterranean Sea, invoked Theos (heaven) as in Greek.22

44. In the Czech (pronounced ‘Tchek’) language of Bohemia and Moravia23 the name of God is Bůh; bohynĕ is ‘goddess’.24

45. In Danish, the language of the Danes of Denmark, God is pronounced Gud as in the Norwegian; gudder is plural, i.e., gods; gudeverden means ‘world of the gods’; gudinde is the word for a goddess.25

46. The Dene26 (North American) tribes are a most important aboriginal group. Their chief god is Yuttœre, ‘That which is on high’, or, among the eastern Dene Inkfwin-Wetay, which means, ‘He who sits on the zenith’. He is creator as well as ruler of the universe. (H., vol. 4, p. 639b)

47. The Dinka are an independent tribe of Africa, 300 miles away from Khartoum. They are a deeply religious people and worship a high god whose name is Dengdit, literally meaning ‘Great Rain’, or Nyalich, meaning ‘Who is above or in the above’. He sends rain. He created the world. (H., vol. 4, p. 707a)

48. The chief deity of the Dutch of Holland is God, godheid; godin is the feminine and goden is the plural.27

49. The Edîyahs of Fernando Po28 call their Supreme Being Rupi.29

50. The Ancient Egyptians called their god Neter, Nether.30 It denotes God or a god. Netrit is ‘goddess’. Ḥunu31 means a youthful god; as the Quran says:

کُلَّ یَوۡمٍ ہُوَ فِیۡ شَاۡنٍ

“Every moment He is in a state of glory” (The Holy Quran, 55:29).

51. Another Egyptian hieroglyphic name of God is Khem-ren-f, ‘He whose name is unknown’.32 Compare it with the Vedic deity Ka (deva), or ‘Who?’ Ka is the god of Chapter 10, Section 121 of the Rig Veda. The whole section is ascribed in the name of Ka Deva, or the ‘unknown god’.

52. In English the Deity is God,33 plural gods; feminine goddess. It will be discussed separately.

53. The Eskimos (it means ‘eaters of raw flesh’): their main habitat is the Arctic coast of America. They speak an agglutinative language. In their language the name of God is Torngarsuk. Torngak means ‘spirit’ and suk means ‘great’, hence ‘the great spirit’.34

54. The Estonians: their god is Jumal, ‘lord’; jumalanna is ‘goddess’.35

55. The Fijians (people of the Fiji islands of the South Pacific) name their God Kalou-Vu (any superbeing); it originally implies wonder or esteem. (H., vol. 6, p. 14a)

56. The Fijians of Rakiraki say God’s name is Ndengei. It is a highly honoured god; the term means ‘the creator of mankind’. They say

“Ndengei is the true God, and, if Jehovah is also the true God, then Jehovah of the Bible is another name of Ndengei.”

So believe the aborigines of the Fiji islands. (H., vol. 6, p. 14b)

57. The Finns (of Finland) call their God Jumala; jumalatar is ‘goddess’; Jumalainen denotes heavenly beauty.36

58. In Formosa (i.e., Taiwan — Editor) the aboriginal people adore their god Tamagisangak. His wife is Tekarpada. It is said that thunder is heard when she scolds her husband for not sending sufficient rain on earth, which, however, he immediately does on hearing her voice. God is supposed to beautify men. Both (husband and wife) are worshipped by devotees most zealously. (H., vol. 6, p. 84b)

59. The French call their God Dieu. It means a god or idol; déesse is ‘goddess’.37

60. In the Gaelic language of Scotland the name of God is Dia, pronounced ‘jia’; the plural is dee; ban-dia is ‘goddess’.38

61. In Manx, the Gaelic language of the Isle of Man, Jee is ‘God’, plural ghyn; jallu means ‘idol’; ben-jee is ‘goddess’; Jee-an or Jeeman is the moon-god.39

62. The German name of God is Gott; der Götze is an idol; Göttin is ‘goddess’.40

63. The Gold Coast (West Africa) negro tribes: in their language the name of God is Bobowissi. They think He appointed all local gods and has control over all elements and all things. (H., vol. 9, p. 277b, para i (a) )

64. The Greek name of God is Theos (Θεός); to theion (τò θεîον) is ‘Providence’, ‘Godhead’; theothen (θεόθεν) is ‘by the will or help of the gods’.41

65. The Quiche Indians of Guatemala have a book named Popol Vuh. It means ‘the book of bark’ (i.e., written on the bark of a tree). In it, the creation of the world is narrated first. God’s name is Hurakan.42 It means ‘the one-legged god’. He is not two-legged like man. He is the creator of all. (H., vol. 10, p. 115a)

66. The Hausa (Northern Nigeria, Africa) say:

“Allah is the name of our God.”

But in their language alloli is the plural of illah, which are the heathen gods.43

67. The Hawaiians (of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean) serve Akua. It means ‘chief god’.44

68. In Hebrew, the language of the Jews (also called Israelites), Yehowah or Yahweh is God’s name. A comprehensive discussion will follow on it in this book.

69. The Hindus are an ancient people of India. In Bengal they call God Hari, or Forgiver. In other provinces, they prefer to adore Rama (‘the joyful’). The highest name according to the scriptures is Om. The origin of this word is uncertain. It has been traced to a pronominal base Aw, but then it should be Awm, not Om. However, Aw means to protect; hence Om means protector or guardian.

70. The Hungarian name for God is Isten; istenin means ‘dear me’; istennő is ‘goddess’.45

71. The Icelanders say Guð. Gyðja is ‘goddess’. Guðdómur is ‘deity’.46

72. The Incas of Peru47 (South America) called God Viracocha. It means ‘dweller in space’. They said He was the supreme creator.

73. The old Indo-Germanic nation called their god *Dyêus (‘Sky’); *deivôs is ‘heavenly ones’ (i.e., ‘gods’). (H., vol. 2, pp. 33, 35; * indicates reconstructed text)

74. The Indonesians, different tribes: one of them, the Moluccans, believe in their God Upu-lero, the creator and chief god. (H., vol. 7, p. 248b)

75. The Irish name of God is Dia. It means ‘heaven’ or ‘one who lives in heaven’. It is related to the Latin word deus. The plural is dée, or déite.48

76. The Italian name for God is Dio (heaven); dia is ‘goddess’.49

77. The Japanese call God Kami. It means ‘above’ or ‘heaven’; Kamigee is a god-tree. Kami denotes also honorific rulers and spirits.50

78. The Javanese: some of them believe in the god danghyang. It means a supernatural power. (H., vol. 8, p. 346b)

79. The Kols (a Dravidian tribe of India) have no priests or idols. They have no idea of heaven, hell or sin, but they acknowledge the existence of God whom they style Ko, a realistic title. They erected to His honour a temple which they called Ko-il or God’s house. Ko is the same Ka Deva copied by the Aryans. (H., vol. 5, p. 1b, art. ‘Dravidians’; vol. 7, p. 755a)

80. The Koreans: they have ha-na-nĭm (God), but sĭn is ‘god’ and yŏ-sĭn is ‘goddess’.51

81. Latin refers to the people and language of Latium. They say that, until the seventeenth century, this language was practically the universal language of learning and diplomacy throughout Western Europe. Many languages developed from it. In this language the name of God is Deus. It means ‘heaven’; di is its plural form, i.e., ‘gods’. It has been used frequently in ancient literature. The root of Deus, they say, is in Sanskrit dî, div-, ‘to gleam’.52

82. The Lingayats, the people of South India: they believe in one god Shiva, a creative and destructive force. (H., vol. 8, p. 69b)

83. The Lithuanians, the people of Lithuania: the name of their god is Dievas; dieve is ‘goddess’.53

84. Madagascar, an island in the Indian Ocean on the east coast of Africa: people here adore Zanahary. It means ‘the creator of all things’. They believe in one God. (H., vol. 8, p. 230a)

85. In the Malay language God is called Tuhan. It means ‘master’ or ‘lord’.54

86. The Mandeans, a Parsi sect still extant in Western Persia and Southern Iraq, have their own language, religion and sacred literature. They are a branch of the Semitic stock. Their moral code says,

“I say unto you, all who give heed to the name of God: in your standing and your sitting, in your going, coming, eating, drinking, resting, lying — in all your doings name and glorify the name of the lofty king of light.”

Their God is Alaha (not Allah). According to al-Mas‛udi, these are the Sabians, mentioned in the Quran (2:62). They turn their faces in prayer to the North or to the Pole Star. (H., vol. 8, p. 384a)

87. The Masai are a negro tribe of East Equatorial Africa. They believe in a far-reaching divine power emanating from the sky, high above the earth. They pray to Him with real earnestness. His name is Eñ-ai. It means: the black benign God of rain who takes a real, though far-off, interest in humanity. (H., vol. 8, p. 481a)

88. The Melanesians (of the South Pacific Ocean near Fiji Isles) believe that their life and actions are carried on in the presence and under the influence of Mana, a power superior to that of living men. (H., vol. 8, p. 530a)

89. The Mikirs (a Tibeto-Burman race of Assam) name their God Arnam, ‘divine being, mighty and terrible’. (H., vol. 8, p. 629a)

90. The Mongols name their God Khormosda. They have in their language Jarlik and other names for idols and false gods.55

91. The Mordvins (a Finno-Ugrian race) have two tribes, the Erzä (or Erzya — Editor) and the Moksha. Among the Erzä the deity of the sky is called Vere-pas; i.e., ‘the god who is above’. (H., vol. 8, p. 844a)

92. The Mundas (a tribe of Northern India) believe in many deities, but at the head of the divine pantheon stands Singbonga, the high, identified with the sun or the spirit residing in the sun. It means ‘beneficent’. (H., vol. 9, p. 2a)

93. The Nabataeans (a people of North Arabia) worshipped Dushara. His wife was Allat, i.e., the mother of the gods. Dushara means ‘owner of Sirius’. (H., vol. 9, p. 122a)

94. The Nagas of Bundelkhand (India) have a nameless god. (H., vol. 9, p. 124a)

95. The Natchez (an American Indian tribe) have Coyocop-chill. It means ‘the great spirit’, and under Him, they believe, are a multitude of lesser spirits, His servants. (H., vol. 9, p. 190b)

96. The Norwegians say Gud instead of God; guder means ‘gods’; gudinne and also gydje are feminine gender; den stærke Gud (Dano-Norwegian — Editor) means ‘the Lord God of gods’.56

97. The Nuba may be regarded as the negro or negroid aborigines of the Kordofan region of Africa. Their high God is described as otiose, i.e., not having any function. Some of them believe in Kalo who created all things and in whose house (the sky) are the sun and the moon. (H., vol. 9, p. 403a)

98. The Nyanjas of Nyasaland (now Malawi): their God is Mulungu, which means ‘Supreme Being’, and is the only designation in use. (H., vol. 9, pp. 419–420)

99. The Odjis or Ashantis, natives of Ashanti in West Africa, a vigorous and warlike race of negroes, name their supreme deity by the sky, but they say:

“He created all things and is giver of all good things. He is omniscient, knowing even the thoughts of men.”57

100. The Ossetes, a people prevailing half-way along the main range of the Caucasus: their God’s name is Khutsau, the super divinity, God of gods. He is regarded as too high. They believe Muhammad to be the son of the Sun or Khori fyrt. They are not Muslims but Parsis. (H., vol. 9, pp. 573–574)

101. The Ostyaks of the Yenisei, or Yeniseians, a people of Siberia, name their God Ess. They say:

“No one ever saw him, for he lives above the seventh sky.” (H., vol. 9, p. 578b)

102. The Persian name of God is Khudā (khudā means ‘self-existent’); khudāyān is the plural. It means ‘owner’; khudāvand is a prince or king.58

103. The ancient Peruvians called their God Pachacamac, the Universal Spirit, Pacharurac, the Creator God, or Pachayachachic, the ruling or directing god. (H., vol. 9, p. 803b)

104. The Phoenicians (an ancient nation of the Lebanon): their God was Allon, ‘Tree’, i.e., worthy of worship. (H., vol. 9, p. 890a)

105. The Plains Indians of North America believe in Wakonda and they say that all experiences of life are directed by Wakonda. (H., vol. 10, p. 54a)

106. The Poles: in the Polish language God’s name is Bóg. It means rich and wealthy or opulent; bogini is ‘goddess’; bożek or bostvo is its plural, i.e., gods.59

107. The Polynesians: in the Pacific Ocean there are many tribes. The common name of God is Atua, meaning god or master, but Atua-kikito is a demon.60

108. The Polynesian Samoans also adore Etua.

109. The Polynesian Tahitians call Him Atua.

110. The Polynesian Mangrevans call Him Etua.

111. The Polynesian Tongans pronounce the word Otua.61

112. The Portuguese say the name of God is Deus (which means ‘heaven’); deusa is ‘goddess’.62

113. The Rumanians (now normally spelled Romanians Editor) serve God by the name of Dumnezeu (heaven); zeita is its feminine form (goddess).63

114. The Russian name for God is Bog. It means ‘rich’ or opulent; boginya is ‘goddess’.64

115. The Samoyed tribe of Russia (it means ‘self-eaters’ or ‘alone’ in Russian): the highest God worshipped by the Yurak Samoyed is called Numkympoi. It means ‘one who watches man from above’. (H., vol. 11, p. 175a)

116. The Santals of India (Bhagalpur Division) worship Thakur (lord) and regard him as a good god. They worship him every fifth year with goat sacrifices. (H., vol. 11, pp. 193–194)

117. The scarab (dung-beetle) cult of Ancient Egypt: its God was Khepera or Kheperi. It means ‘self-begetting’, as the scarab beetle, they surmised, begets itself. This name is from the Egyptian hieroglyphic. (H., vol. 11, p. 224b).65

118. The ancient Scythians (a nomadic tribe to the north of the Black Sea) revered Tabiti. They raised no statues of her. There are so many references in the Bible to them. Some think of them as Gog and Magog. They were worshippers of fire and believed that Tabiti was a goddess of fire. (H., vol. 11, p. 277b)

119. The Seminoles (a people of the southern portion of the state of Florida, America): they believe in a Supreme Being who lives above the clouds. He is the giver and taker of life. His name is E-shock-e-tom-e-see. (H., vol. 11, p. 376b)

120. The Semites (an early Arabian race, descendants of Shem, son of Noah): their God was Ashtoreth or Ishtar. They believed that she gave date-palms and children, and increase of camels, goats and sheep. (H., vol. 11, p. 382a)

121. The Shilluk, on the west bank of the Nile (Egypt). Their high god is Juok.

“He is formless and invisible and, like the air, is everywhere at once”.

They believe in their prophet Nyakang. (H., vol. 11, p. 459a)

122. Shintoism is the royal religion of Japan. Kami is the highest heavenly deity. (H., vol. 11, p. 463a)

123. The Siberians (of Russia) name God as Kutqi or Kutq (‘supreme god’). (H., vol. 11, p. 496a)

124. The people of Siau island (Indonesia): their highest god is Duata. (H., vol. 7, p. 248b, lower)

125. The Siouans (American Indians): they hold the idea of a supernatural power wakonda or wakan-tanka. They address Him as the power that moves. (H., vol. 11, p. 576a)

126. The Slavonic languages are used by Russians, Serbs and Bulgarians. The name of God in the Serbo-Croat language is Bog. It means ‘rich’. Bog ljubavi is the god of love; bog dana is the god of the day; bog is ‘idol’; boginja is ‘goddess’.66

127. In Somaliland67 people call God Abba, father or protector. (H., vol. 6, pp. 488–489, art. ‘Hamites and East Africa’)

128. The Spanish name of God is Dios. It means ‘heaven’, as also used in Latin.68

129. The Sumerian name of God was îlu, whom they served. (H., vol. 12, p. 41a, lower)

130. The Swahilis (Africa): in their language the name of God is Mungu or Mola; mkana Mungu is an atheist (godless man); Mungu is used to describe anything unaccountable or unexpected.69

131. In the Swedish language, the name of God is Gud; gudinna is ‘goddess’.70

132. The ancient Syrians or Aramaeans: their God was Hadad. In Hebrew it means ‘powerful and mighty’. He was venerated as the greatest and the highest of gods. It also signifies ‘the One’.71 Some say He was the god of lightning and thunder. He is beneficent when He sends the rain. (H., vol. 12, p. 165b)

133. One tribe of Tati, Bushmen of Southern Africa (inhabiting a region of what is now Botswana — Editor), believe in Thora, another in !Kang and //Kaggen.72

134. The Teutonic Guth is ‘god’. The term god as used to denote anthropomorphic (representation of the Deity or of a polytheistic deity under a human form or with human attributes and affections) beings of higher order is found in all the Teutonic languages. (H., vol. 6, p. 302b, lower)

135. The Tibetan name for God is Spayan-rasgzigs (pronounced ‘Chenresi’ — Editor). It means a god who looks on every side, or the lord who looks both at the Buddha and at the creation with compassion. (H., vol. 2, p. 257a, footnote)

136. The Todas of Nilgiri Hills, India, believe in one who created them and their buffaloes. (H., vol. 12, p. 354b)

137. Tonga is a group of islands in the Western Pacific, lying to the north of New Zealand. Tonga means ‘Friendly Islands’. There are three groups of Tongan gods. The great gods are the Tangaloa and the Maui. The Tangaloa include Tangaloa Eiki, meaning ‘Lord Tangaloa’ or ‘Tangaloa the Elder’. There are other gods of older origin. (H., vol. 12, 376b; circumcision is practised for spiritual purity, H., vol. 3, p. 665b, lower)

138. The second group of Tongan gods, the Maui (pronounced ‘mowy’), include Maui Motua, ‘Old Man’, or ‘Maui the Father’. (H., vol. 12, p. 376b)

139. The Tongans also say the name of God is ‛Aloalo. (H., vol. 12, p. 377a, upper)

140. The Tungus of Eastern China are pastoralists and farmers. Their chief god is Havaki (‘living in the sun’). (H., vol. 12, p. 476a, upper)

141. The Turks, before their conversion to Islam, believed in the highest god Yulgen. It means ‘sky’ or ‘one who lives in the seventh sky’. (H., vol. 12, p. 482a)

142. Another Turkish tribe invoke their god Tanrı. It means ‘glorious god’.73

143. The Tushes (now termed ‘Tushians’ — Editor) of the Caucasus: their god’s name is Kati. He is a celestial god. (H., vol. 12, p. 484a)

144. The people of Uganda (Africa) call God Mukasa. It means ‘benign’. (H., vol. 6, p. 247a)

145. The Welsh people call god Duw. Duwies is ‘goddess’; duw also denotes a false god or idol.74

146. The Yiddish language is used by German Jews (hence called Judaeo-German) and written in Hebrew characters. The name for God is Got (גאָט), plural getter (געטער); gothayt (גאָטהייט) is for ‘godhead’, ‘deity’.75

147. The Yoruba are a Negro tribe of the African slave coast, between Dahomey and the lower Niger.76 They are mostly pagan, yet they believe in their god Olorun, i.e., the Lord of Heaven.

148. The Zoroastrians are originally natives of Iran. They believe that many prophets were raised in their country, the most famous among them being Zoroaster. Their sacred languages are Zendi and Pahlavi. In the Zend Avesta the highest name of God is Ahura Mazda or Ormuzd. It means ‘the light’. (H., vol. 12, p. 864b)

149. The Zulus, natives of Natal (South Africa), are one of the great Bantu tribes. They are mostly Christians. They are the tallest people in the world, intelligent and strong. In their language the name of God is Unkulunkulu. It means an ‘old, old one’. (H., vol. 2, p. 364a, upper)

150–155. There are some tribes who believe in a nameless god, like Australian Mungan-ngaur, Pawnee Ti-ra-wa, Huichol Tatevali, Bahnar Bōk Glaih, Guiana Wacinaci, Ifilici Wacinaci. All these names mean ‘our father’, ‘father-spirit’, ‘grandfather’. (H., vol. 9, p. 178b, upper, art. ‘Nameless Gods’)



  1. The abbreviation H in this chapter refers to the following reference work: J. Hastings (editor), Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Edinburgh, T. & T. Clark, New York, C. Scribner’s Sons, 1908–1926.
  2. Dr. D. B. Bosman, I. W. van der Merwe and L. W. Hiemstra, Tweetalige Woordeboek: Engels-Afrikaans, Afrikaans-Engels, 2 vols, Cape Town, 1931–1936; H. J. Terblanche, Nuwe Praktiese Woordeboek, Engels-Afrikaans, Afrikaans-Engels: New Practical Dictionary, English-Afrikaans, Afrikaans-English, Johannesburg, Afrikaanse Pers-Boekhandel, 1966.
  3. F. Max Müller, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the Religions of India: delivered in the Chapter House, Westminster Abbey, in April, May, and June, 1878 (The Hibbert lectures 1878), London, Longmans, Green / Williams and Norgate, 1878, Lecture No. 2, p. 110.
  4. F. Max Müller, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the Religions of India: delivered in the Chapter House, Westminster Abbey, in April, May, and June, 1878 (The Hibbert lectures 1878), London, Longmans, Green / Williams and Norgate, 1878, Lecture No. 2, p. 111.
  5. Angelo Leotti, Dizionario Albanese-Italiano, with preface by Prof. Norbert Jokl, Rome, Istituto per l’Europa Orientale, 1937; Stuart E. Mann, An English-Albanian Dictionary, Cambridge University Press, 1957, pp. 92, 105, 158.
  6. Modern spellings GlusKap, GlusKabeEditor.
  7. They belong to what is now Vietnam — Editor.
  8. The Al is inseparable from Allah. Al-ilah is a different word. See E. W. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon, article ‘Allah’. In Hastings we read: “It may be observed that the retention of the article in the vocative (ya Allah) indicates that this form was used as a proper name from an early period” — H., vol. 6, p. 248b, art. ‘God (Arabian, pre-Islamic)’.
  9. The Holy Quran, 7:180; and see 20:8 and 59:24.
  10. W. Muss-Arnolt, A Concise Dictionary of the Assyrian Language, Berlin, [1854]–1905.
  11. Jeremiah, 23:27.
  12. Konstantin Stefanov, English-Bulgarian Dictionary, Pronouncing and Explanatory, 2nd ed., Sofia, Khemus, 1944.
  13. Sir Harry H. Johnston, A Comparative Study of the Bantu and Semi-Bantu Languages, Oxford, The Clarendon Press, 1919–1922.
  14. Sarat Chandra Das, A Tibetan-English Dictionary with Sanskrit Synonyms, revised and edited by Graham Sandberg and A. William Heyde, Calcutta, Bengal Secretariat Book Depot, 1902, p. 806.
  15. Now spelt BuryatsEditor.
  16. Julius Fuerst, A Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament, 3rd ed., translated from the German by Samuel Davidson, Leipzig, B. Tauchnitz, London, Williams & Norgate, 1867, p. 1055.
  17. The Chibchas are now virtually extinct as a separate tribe — Editor.
  18. This refers to the Araucanians — Editor.
  19. Herbert A. Giles, A Chinese-English Dictionary, London, B. Quaritch, 1892; Hastings, vol. 3, p. 550–551.
  20. W. E. Crum, A Coptic Dictionary, Oxford, The Clarendon Press, 1939. (Coptic is the final stage in the evolution of the Ancient Egyptian language. Noute corresponds to the hieroglyphic ntr, ‘god’, for which see below, no. 50, ‘The Ancient Egyptians’. Coptic is written with vowels as its alphabet is based on the Greek alphabet, but we can only make informed guesses at the vowels for the earlier forms of the language, hence the convention of adding dummy vowels when reading or transliterating Ancient Egyptian, as in ‘netjer’ or ‘neter’ for ntr or ntr. — Editor.)
  21. Fred W. P. Jago, An English-Cornish Dictionary, London, Simpkin and Marshall, 1887.
  22. See below no. 64,the Greek name of God, Theos.
  23. The modern Czech Republic — Editor.
  24. Prof. F. Krupicka, Anglicko-Český Česko-Anglický Slovník, Prague, Československá Akademie Ved.
  25. J. McLaughlin, McLaughlin’s Danish-Norwegian-English Dictionary, in two parts, Danish-Norwegian-English, English-Danish-Norwegian, Philadelphia, David McKay company [1941]; John Brynildsen, A Dictionary of the English and Dano-Norwegian Languages, Copenhagen, Gyldendal, 2 vols, 1902–1907. (McLaughlin’s and Brynildsen’s dictionaries are based on the Dano-Norwegian language, which is essentially Danish and is distinct from the modern Norwegian language — Editor.) Gyldendal’s English-Norwegian & Norwegian-English Dictionary, Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1941 (comprising Gyldendals Ordbøker: Engelsk-Norsk, ved B. Berulfsen, Oslo, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1938 and Gyldendal’s Ordbøker: Norsk-Engelsk, ved H. Scavenius, Oslo, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1933).
  26. The Dene live in Alaska and Canada. — Editor.
  27. I. M. Calisch, Nieuw Volledig Engelsch-Nederlandschen Nederlandsch-Engelsch Woordenboek = New Complete Dictionary of the English and Dutch Languages, Tiel, Campagne, 1890–1892; Cassell’s English-Dutch, Dutch-English Dictionary compiled by Dr. F. P. H. Prick Van Wely, London, Cassell, [1951].
  28. An island off the West African coast, now called Bioko — Editor.
  29. F. Max Müller, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the Religions of India: delivered in the Chapter House, Westminster Abbey, in April, May, and June, 1878 (The Hibbert lectures 1878), London, Longmans, Green / Williams and Norgate, 1878, Lecture No. 2, p. 109.
  30. Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, London, Murray, 1920, p. 401. (Budge’s neter, nether is ntr, ntr in the modern Egyptological transliteration system, conventionally pronounced as ‘neter’ and ‘netjer’ respectively — Editor.)
  31. Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, London, Murray, 1920, p. 471. (See also ibid., p. 401, ḥunu neteri, ‘divine youth’; Ḥunu and ḥunu neteri are Ḥwnw and ḥwnw ntry in modern transliteration — Editor.)
  32. Sir E. A. Wallis Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, London, Murray, 1920, p. 546. (Budge’s Dictionary lists several phrases compounded with the verb khem, ‘not to know’, including this one, but does not transliterate them. Budge’s practice is to transliterate each key word and follow it by any phrases in which it occurs without the transliteration, in order to save space. The hieroglyphs are as shown below. In the modern Egyptological transliteration system they read ḫm-rn.f.Editor.)
    Egyptian Image
  33. God is probably from the Indo-European root Ǵ́HEDYŌ appearing in Sanskrit , to call upon, to invoke, Webster’s International Dictionary of the English Language, London and Springfield, Massachussetts, 1907, pp. xlvii, 636.
  34. H., vol. 1, p. 257a; vol. 2, p. 682a; vol. 5, p. 394a; vol. 9, p. 178b; Christian Wilhelm Schultz-Lorentzen, Dictionary of the West Greenland Eskimo Language, Copenhagen, C. A. Reitzel, 1927; Arthur Thibert, English-Eskimo, Eskimo-English Dictionary, revised edition, University of Ottawa, 1958.
  35. J. Silvet, Eesti-Inglise Sonaraamat (Estonian-English Dictionary), Toronto, Orto, 1964.
  36. Aune Tuomikoski, Englantilais-Suomalainen Sanakirja (English-Finnish Dictionary), edited by Aune Tuomikoski and Anna Sloor, Helsinki, Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 1973; Aino Wuolle, Finnish-English Dictionary, 3rd ed., Helsinki, W. Söderström, [1947].
  37. Jules Giraud, Dictionnaire Anglais-Français, Paris.
  38. Malcolm MacLennan, D.D., A Pronouncing and Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language: Gaelic-English, English-Gaelic, Edinburgh, J. Grant, 1925.
  39. John Kelly (Juan y Kelly), The Manx Dictionary in Two Parts (Part 1, Fockleyr Manninagh as Baarlagh by John Kelly, Part 2, An English and Manx Dictionary prepared from Dr. Kelly’s Triglot Dictionaryby the Rev. W. Gilland the Rev. J. T. Clarke, etc.), Douglas, [Isle of Man], Manx Society, 1866, pp. 107, 286, 298.
  40. A. Pinloche, Etymologisches Wörterbuch der Deutschen Sprache, Paris, Larousse, 1922; Karl Breul, A New German and English Dictionary, New York, London, Funk & Wagnalls Company (= Cassell’s New German Dictionary: German-English and English-German), [1909?].
  41. S. C. Woodhouse, English-Greek Dictionary: a Vocabulary of the Attic Language, 2nd Impression with a Supplement, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1932, p. 365.
  42. This name is the origin of the English word ‘hurricane’ — Editor.
  43. Charles Henry Robinson, Dictionary of the Hausa Language, 2 vols, Cambridge University Press, 1913–1914.
  44. Henry P. Judd, The Hawaiian Language, Honolulu, Hawaii, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Ltd., 1939.
  45. Arthur B. Yolland, A Dictionary of the Hungarian and English Languages, Budapest, Franklin-Tarsulat, 1924; L. Országh, Angol-Magyar Kéziszótár (A Concise Dictionary of the English and Hungarian Languages), Budapest, Franklin-Tarsulat, 1950; L. Országh, Magyar-Angol Szótár (Hungarian-English Dictionary), Budapest, Akademiai Kiadó, 1953.
  46. G. J. Zoëga, Ensk-Íslenzk Orðabók, Reykjavík, Bókaverzlun Sigurdar Kristjánssonar, 3rd ed. 1932, reprinted 1951. (The letter ð is pronounced ‘th’ as in ‘with’, or ‘that’ — Editor.)
  47. H., vol. 1, p. 470a. Inca means ‘people of the sun’, H., vol. 9, p. 803b.
  48. Tomás Bhaldraithe, English-Irish Dictionary, Baile Atha Cliath [Dublin], Oifig an tSoláthair, 1959; Patrick S. Dinneen, A Concise English-Irish Dictionary for the Use of Schools, Dublin, M. H. Gill & Son Ltd., 1945.
  49. Arthur Enenkel, A New Dictionary of the English and Italian Language, revised and corrected by J. McLaughlin, Paris, Garnier Brothers, [1908].
  50. Sir Ernest Mason Satow, An English-Japanese Dictionary of the Spoken Language, 4th ed., Tokyo, Sanseido, 1936; Takenobu Yoshitaro (ed.), Kenkyusha’s New Japanese-English Dictionary, Cambridge, Massachussetts, Harvard University Press, 1942.
  51. Hyungki J. Lew (editor), New Life Korean-English Dictionary, Washington D.C., Educational Services, 1952. (Cf. Joan V. Underwood, Concise English-Korean Dictionary, Rutland, Vermont, and Tokyo, Charles E. Tuttle Co., 1954, frequently reprinted — Editor.)
  52. E. A. Andrews (editor), Harper’s Latin Dictionary: a new Latin dictionary founded on the translation of Freund’s Latin-German Lexicon, edition revised, enlarged and in great part rewritten by Charlton T. Lewis, and Charles Short, New York, Cincinnati [etc.], American Book Company, [1907]; Sir William Smith, An English-Latin Dictionary Based upon the the Works of Forcellini and Freund with Tables of the Roman Calendar, Measures, Weights, and Money, 13th ed., London, Murray, 1875.
  53. Anthony Lalis, A Dictionary of the Lithuanian and English Languages: Part 1, Lietuviškos ir angliškos kalbų (Lithuanian-English) and Part 2, Angliškos ir lietuviškos kalbų (English-Lithuanian), 3rd revised and enlarged edition, Chicago, Lietuva, 2 vols, 1915.
  54. Edward Tregear, The Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary, Lambton Quay, Wellington, New Zealand, Lyon and Blair, 1891.
  55. Folke Boberg, Mongolian-English Dictionary, 3 vols, Stockholm, Forlaget Filadelfia / Copenhagen, Ejnar Munksgaard, 1954–1955.
  56. John Brynildsen, A Dictionary of the English and Dano-Norwegian Languages, Copenhagen, Gyldendal, 2 vols, 1902–1907; Gyldendal’s English-Norwegian & Norwegian-English Dictionary, Oxford, Printed for the Shakespeare Head Press and sold for the Press by Basil Blackwell, 1941 (comprising Gyldendals Ordbøker: Engelsk-Norsk, ved B. Berulfsen, Oslo, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1938 and Gyldendal’s Ordbøker: Norsk-Engelsk, ved H. Scavenius, Oslo, Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1933). See vol. 1, 1902, p. 403.
  57. F. Max Müller, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the Religions of India: delivered in the Chapter House, Westminster Abbey, in April, May, and June, 1878 (The Hibbert lectures 1878), London, Longmans, Green / Williams and Norgate, 1878, Lecture No. 2, pp. 108–109.
  58. F. Steingass, A Comprehensive Persian-English Dictionary, London, K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1930.
  59. Kazimierz Bulas and Francis J. Whitfield, The Kosciuszko Foundation Dictionary, vol. 1, English-Polish, The Hague, Mouton, 1959.
  60. Edward Tregear, The Maori-Polynesian Comparative Dictionary, Lambton Quay, Wellington, New Zealand, Lyon and Blair, 1891.
  61. For references to Polynesians in nos. 108–111, see Tregear in last note.
  62. Julio Albino Ferreira, Portuguese-English Dictionary (Dicionario Português-Inglês), Boavista, Portugal.
  63. Marcel Schönkron, Rumanian-English and English-Rumanian Dictionary, revised edition, New York, F. Ungar, [1952]. (Dumnezeu is derived from Latin Dominus Deus, ‘the Lord God’; for Latin deus see above under no. 81Editor.)
  64. Louis Segal, New Complete Russian-English Dictionary, London, Lund Humphries, 1942.
  65. i.e., Ḥprr, Ḥpri, Ḥpry in modern transliteration, which is rendered as Khopri (see R. O. Faulkner, A Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, Oxford, Griffith Institute, 1999, p. 189) — Editor.
  66. Svetomir Ristic and Zivojin Simic, Englesko-Srpskohrvatski Recnik (An English-Serbocroatian Dictionary), Beograd, Prosveta, 1959.
  67. In East Africa, roughly corresponding to the state established in 1960 as the United Republic of Somalia — Editor.
  68. Louis Tolhausen, Neues Spanisch-Deutsches und Deutsch-Spanisches Wörterbuch (Nuevo Diccionario Español-Alemán), Leipzig, B. Tauchnitz, 1897; Edgar Allison Peers et al. (editors), Cassell’s Spanish-English, English-Spanish Dictionary, London, Cassell, 1970.
  69. Inter-Territorial Language Committee for the East African Dependencies (under the direction of the late Frederick Johnson), A Standard Swahili-English Dictionary (founded on Madan’s Swahili-English Dictionary), London, Oxford University Press, 1939.
  70. J. E. Wessely, Wessely’s Swedish-English Dictionary, Philadelphia, D. McKay Co., [1941].
  71. W. Gesenius, Scripturae linguaeque phoeniciae monumenta quotquot supersunt edita et inedita ad autographorum optimorumque exemplorum fidem edidit additisque de scriptura et lingua phoenicum commentariis illustravit Guil. Gesenius, Leipzig, F. C. G. Vogel, 1837, p. 385.
  72. H., vol. 12, p. 206b, lower. The ! and // represent two different ‘click’ sounds in the Bushman and related languages — Editor.
  73. H. C. Hony, A Turkish-English Dictionary, 2nd ed., Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1957.
  74. H. Meurig Evans, Y Geiriadur Mawr: the Complete Welsh-English, English-Welsh Dictionary, 5th ed., Llandysul, Gwasg Gomer, 1971; Rev. D. Silvan Evans, Welsh-English Dictionary, London; Daniel Silvan Evans, An English and Welsh Dictionary, adapted to the present state of science and literature; in which the English words are deduced from their originals, and explained by their synonyms in the Welsh language, 2 vols, Denbigh, Thomas Gee / London, Simpkin and Marshall, 1852–1858, vol. 1, pp. 826–827.
  75. Alexander Harkavy, Yidish-English-Hebreisher Verterbuch (Yiddish-English-Hebrew Dictionary), 2nd edition, New York, Hebrew Pub. Co., 1928.
  76. F. Max Müller, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the Religions of India: delivered in the Chapter House, Westminster Abbey, in April, May, and June, 1878 (The Hibbert lectures 1878), London, Longmans, Green / Williams and Norgate, 1878, Lecture No. 2, p. 109.