Allah — The Unique Name of God

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

by Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi

Preface by the Editors

The contents of this book are taken from the 3-volumed work Muhammad in World Scriptures by Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi, published during the years 1966–1975.1 As the title given to the present compilation indicates, the author has sought to prove, by discussing the meanings of the names of God used among a large number of nations and languages, that the Arabic name Allah used in Islam is unique in being the proper name of God, as it reflects all His attributes, rather than one particular aspect, and is applied only to the Divine Being.

In producing this book, it was essential to check for accuracy the vast number of quotations and references provided in the original material, as its printing had regrettably been marred by numerous misprints, misplaced and omitted text, and typographical errors. We, the Editors, were fortunately able to locate almost all the source works, such as encyclopaedias and dictionaries, that had been referenced, and thus make the necessary corrections in references and quotations. We have also provided fuller biblio­graphical details of the sources, which was lacking in the original book. It was felt advantageous in some cases to extend the quoted extracts from the original sources. At some points in the book, useful comments have been added, marked as Editor.

The original material contains some terms and expressions from ancient languages, often Hebrew and Greek, printed in ordinary English characters. We have typeset these, in some cases, in the characters of the original languages, and in other cases used standard diacritical marks to represent the original characters.

When quoting from the Bible, the author had used the classical King James Version (KJV). We have replaced that, except in a few cases, by the New King James Version (NKJV) due to its more modern English language, while it differs least from the version referred to by the author. Where the old version is retained we indicate it by KJV, and if necessary use the abbreviation NKJV to indicate the new version.2

Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi had emphasised in an introductory note to this research that it is the basic doctrine of the Divine message of the Holy Quran that prophets were raised among every nation and given guidance in accordance with the requirements of their people and times, culminating in the revelation of the Quran which fulfilled the universal requirements of humanity. All religions were links in a chain held by the same hand. There is one God, the Creator of all, Who has given the means of both physical and spiritual nourishment to the whole creation. This is the underlying outlook that motivated the author’s research. One of the conclusions reached by him is that the names of God in various languages are like lamps of different colours, but the source of the light shining through them is the light of Allah which comes from beyond them all.

Selim Ahmed
Zahid Aziz
The Editors,
Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore (U.K.)

September 2005

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Footnotes:

  1. Chapters 1 to 6 of the present book consist of the material in volume 1, pages 1–101, and chapter 7 consists of the material in volume 3, pages 1262–1274 of that edition of Muhammad in World Scriptures.
  2. In this online version, these abbreviations have been replaced with the actual titles.

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