The Loudmouth Protestant

August 16, 2007

You Could Call Him “Allah”

Filed under: Allah,christianity,God,Islam,Muslim,the catholic church — nickisym @ 4:08 am

Or you can continue to call him God, but one Roman Catholic Bishop in the Netherlands by the name of Tiny Muskens seems to think that calling God “Allah” will ease relations between religions.

Muskens believes that “Allah” is a very beautiful word for God and I agree, but not to the point where I will call him “Allah” for the sake of religion relations. One man that was polled on Bishop Musken’s suggestion cynically said “Sure. Lets call God Allah. Lets then call a church a mosque and pray five times a day. Ramadan sounds like fun.”

His response was strange and it was mainly because I think we do need to embrace some of what our Muslim brothers and sisters consider spiritual practice, if only conceptually to make our walk better. We should in essence treat our churches like mosques, but for some reason we have gotten too used to coming in any way we please with the least amount of reverence we can muster up after dragging ourselves out of bed. Instead of respecting the sanctity of the space as many Muslim respects their mosques, we come into the Lord’s house ready to feign interest during sermons while text-messaging, eating, passing notes and doing other random acts of rudeness during what is supposed to be the most reverent hours of our week.

And what is wrong with praying five times a day? I fully respect this tenet of the Muslim faith and wish that I had the discipline to drop everything I am doing on any given day of the week to pray to God and thank him for giving me another hour on this earth. Matter of fact, I might have to try this…

And Ramadan, the ninth month on the Muslim calendar, a time for great fasting and prayer, is no different from the seasons that we all must spend in fasting and prayer–if we will–and I’m not just talking about Lent.

I acknowledge that the solution to religious relations is not going to be in ascribing God some universally accepted. But somehow I feel that attempting to understand the spiritual practices of other faiths might help us along further. I personally would love to engage in the spiritual discipline that Muslim take part of by praying five time daily. Can you imagine what our relationship with God and our lives would be like if we prayer to him five times daily? Talk about going to another level. Or what about if we really took our worship seriously on Sunday? And that means from the moment you hit the door you go straight to the altar and pray until worship begins and you stay in a constant state of prayer and worship through service and stay in the zone with God.

This has really got me thinking about the benefits of blending spiritual practices. Is it wrong if it is done for the betterment of my relationship with the one true God? Can I take a little from the meditation practices of Buddhist, the dietary habits of Jews, the yogi habits of Hindus??? Hmm…



  1. Isn’t “Allah” just the Arabic word for “God”?

    As for your question, have you ever heard of “The Blind Men and the Elephant”? It’s a story from the Buddhist Sutra. You should read it.

    Comment by threebooksandamovie — August 16, 2007 @ 4:34 am | Reply

  2. Interesting ideas and thought-provoking questions!

    I think that as long as Christians are careful not to worship other gods, as we are forbidden to do, then it is fine to consider what other religions teach and practice. All truth is God’s truth, even if it is being presented incidentally by non-Chistians.

    Comment by renaissanceguy — August 16, 2007 @ 5:24 am | Reply

  3. One of my favorite movies is Coming to America. One of my favorite scenes in the movie is when the barbers are arguing about “the greatest boxer that ever lived.” One barber asserts disappointment that Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali. Another barber concurs, “His momma named him Clay, I’ma call him Clay!”

    Allah may or may not be a beautiful word for God. That’s not my issue. My issue is that God gave us His name for us to use. In fact, He gave us MANY names for Him (Jehova, Adonai, Elohim, El Shaddai, Abba, etc.) He also gave us many beautiful discriptions of who He is (The Lord our banner, The Rock that is higher than I, Resting Place, etc.) As a believer, I enjoy finding, learning, exploring, and experiencing these names of God. The word “Allah” doesn’t do much for me.

    Also, less than diligent non-believers and less than diligent believers may accept that Jehovah God is the same being as the one described in the Koran because believers are calling Him “Allah.” The only way to understand the distinction is to study and relate to God. But if he or she is less than diligent, he or she may not being studying and relating and therefore may not understand the difference. That is dangerous. We should address God as He described Himself to us.

    Comment by Jay — August 16, 2007 @ 1:15 pm | Reply

  4. Very intriguing. To me, God just is. He said, “I am that I am.” For me to qualify God with one name, in an effort to relate to others, doesn’t sit right with me. Even to qualify Him with the generally accepted gender reference of “He” and “Him” doesn’t necessarily sit right with me, but it requires more energy than necessary to “unqualify” God in that regard and takes away from my worship.

    But I feel you on the adoption of certain practices. Discipline is so essential, and unfortunately, Christians are not as disciplined because it’s a come-one, come-all kind of message. Which is great in some respects, but if we are supposed to be in a daily, constant state of renewal, I see nothing wrong with adopting the art of praying several times a day. Shoot…even three times would do as Daniel did and he was found to be excellent and able to commune with lions and all that.

    More important than a mosque or church building, I think is God’s temple, which is us. So rather than watch what we wear or do at church, how about the things we do outside of Church when we’re not supposed to be following some sort of protocol. How do we treat God’s temple when it’s only us and God? Things that make you go “hmmmmm”… 🙂

    Comment by Tarani — August 16, 2007 @ 2:15 pm | Reply

  5. Allah may or may not be a beautiful word for God. That’s not my issue. My issue is that God gave us His name for us to use. In fact, He gave us MANY names for Him (Jehova, Adonai, Elohim, El Shaddai, Abba, etc.) He also gave us many beautiful discriptions of who He is (The Lord our banner, The Rock that is higher than I, Resting Place, etc.) As a believer, I enjoy finding, learning, exploring, and experiencing these names of God. The word “Allah” doesn’t do much for me.

    I do agree with this whole-heartedly and it actually one of the points that I meant to bring up. We do have a number of names for our awesome God. The multitude of names express his beauty more than any single word could.

    Comment by loudmouthprotestant — August 16, 2007 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

  6. I always thought that ‘God’ supported the ideals of Christianity more. We believe that God is all powerful, and is an entity. In this way, referring to him as God takes the human aspect from him that I think calling Him Yahweh or Allah would. I think calling God by an actual name personifies something that none of us understand. ‘God’ conveys that we know He exists and He is behind everything. But from a practical standpoint, ‘God’ seems more like a generic term so if anything I would think to unite religions we should all use that name.

    Comment by Kristen Copeland — August 16, 2007 @ 3:02 pm | Reply

  7. “‘God’ seems more like a generic term so if anything I would think to unite religions we should all use that name.”

    People call me Jay. But no one has called me “a jay.” I don’t want to sound antagonistic, but “God” is not a name. That’s why I think calling God “Allah,” and not by the names He has given us for Him, is insufficient.

    I’ll even go as far as to say that it’s a cop out. Why do we say “Happy Holidays?” Because no one wants to offend or to appear politically insensetive. But I hear “Happy Holidays” as saying, “I don’t really know what you celebrate and therefore believe and I’m not taking the time to explore it so I’m taking the easy way out about giving a generic ‘well wish’ so you think I care even though I haven’t done much to show that I care.” I know this is extreme, but my point is, calling God “Allah” without taking the time to explore while muslims call him that is ineffective because you’re not really relating to them. So what’s the point?

    Secondly, shouldn’t we be trying to introduce them to our God?

    Comment by Jay — August 16, 2007 @ 11:36 pm | Reply

  8. I stumbled across your blog while researching something else, and decided to read around it a little bit – and that is how I came upon this post and the ensuing replies that are so distressing.

    The entire argument that the God of Christianity, of Judaism, and of Islam are all one and the same is so theologically weak that it is a straw man already ablaze when first erected.

    There cannot be “unity” among these belief systems, and we cannot combine them into one faith, it is impossible; to do so is to do nothing but be totally unfaithful to the faiths involved. The Bible teaches that there is but one God, and we are to worship no others. To do so is idol worship, and to attempt to blend them together in any way is blasphemous. This exact same theological stance is held by Muslims, and Jews, and Hindus, etc. ALL serious faith systems teach and believe that they hold THE truth to the exclusion of all others. Anyone who tells you differently is either lying to you, or does not understand the foundational nature of the faith they profess to hold.

    The PC crowd (who are mostly unbelievers of any real stripe) want to label this way of thinking as intolerant, disrespectful and hateful; and that too is an outright lie.

    My affirmation (as a Christian) that Muslims believe (and as Muslims they should) that Allah is the one true God and Islam the one true faith while not agreeing with it myself is more than cheap social tolerance, it is truly respectful of what their faith teaches them.

    We (Christians) cannot do injury to the gospel of Christ in trying to create some false man-centered unity among differing believers – that is treason. Pure and simple.

    We can befriend them (folks in other faiths), we can treat them with dignity, kindness, and compassion as our neighbors, co-workers, and friends. BUT, so long as we place our faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and they (others) place theirs in Allah, Buddha, Gaia, etc we cannot be unified, and we are not spiritual “brothers and sisters”.

    Comment by simple servant — April 29, 2009 @ 1:38 am | Reply

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