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A Careful Linguistic Analysis of the term Allah. PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Dr Badar Kanwar   

We will lead you through a line of reasoning, with the explanation of each step of this careful linguistic analysis, to a conclusion that the word from Al-Qu'ran اللَّهِ is not the proper noun (name) of our Rabb.  It actually stands for allathi الذي = who, La لا = not and finally illah اله.  This would mean “One who is not illah”.

If one were to incorporate the real meanings of the word “illah” into the translation;  this word which actually is a phrase would mean “One who is not a deity for adoration or worship (God)”.


This sounds so radically different. Who am I to say this?  What are my credentials?

Why should we trust this non-sense?

These questions are all defensive of held belief, so valid and legitimate questions. 

Let us instead of worrying about the credentials of the informer of this information;  Just explore the language of the Qur'an that is presented from the Qur'an itself. 

First of all let us analyse what traditionalists interpret this word to be?

And why they are wrong? 

The word is thought to be a combination of a definite article Al ال = in English “The” and illah اله, meaning “God” but in reality “a deity for adoration and worship”.

So in actuality this "Al" is a contraction of the word الذي   and legitimately could be written as "Al" ال.  How do we trust this assertion despite the references to the contrary from the Lexicon of Lane and Grammar of William Wright. 

Let us turn to Qur'an itself for evidence.  In Arabic script as well in the Qur'an, where a preposition “Lee” is added in to a word containing a definite article “Al”  ال. Alif is dropped and so Lam of the definite article “Al” joins with “Lam” of preposition.   Let us illustrate this point with some word examples from Qur'an itself.

1.     2:1  لِّلْمُتَّقِيْنَ Alif of “Al” gone, lam is present and preposition “Lee” added.

2.     4:7 and 4:32, لِّلرِّجَالِ is the word same concept.


However, for the word اللَّهِ when the same preposition is added.  We find that the “Lam” of the supposed definite article “Al” also disappears. However, following the examples above it should have been written as لِلْاله  (in reality one can not type this so called word using an Arabic type writer).

Example,  1:2 لِلَّهِ and 115 more places 2:22, 2:98 and on and on, in total 116 occurrences. 

Whereas, Allathi being a different word its whole contraction disappears.  This also proves that this word by no means is a proper name as there is no definite article "Al".

Let us continue to analyses this word further.  In the middle there is "Alif" the mark (highlighted in red) with a Shadda mark and another Alif above.  اللَّهِ 

Shadaah has several uses in script.  We will only discuss the relevant ones here.  One use is to indicate the doubling of a consonant.  It is also used to indicate such a doubling only to facilitate pronunciation in the “Moon letters of the Arabic alphabets”.  This would be a apparently plausible defensive case for the traditionalist.

Let us analysis why it is wrong.  If it were to be a correctly understood, then there would be no reason to keep this shadda in place once the “Al”, if it were really “Al” of definite article in the phrase is goneاللَّهِ, as in the example above of لِلَّهِ.  However, we find in the Qur'an that this is not the case.  Hence, this shadda is not due to “Al” of a definate article coming before the اله word to make it a proper noun, but contraction of Allathi.  Although, even if it were to be the case, as illah has already “Alif” at the start which is not considered a “Sun letter”.  Hence no shadda would be added

This clearly shows that the persistence of this shaddah is due, not to the shaddah of “Al”; but in truth, indicates a real doubling of the consonants. 

This means inescapably, that once the phonology has been clearly explained, this word is actually a sequence of words, a phrase, not just a word .  Allthi, La and illah.  This would further imply that the middle shaddah is suggesting “two lams” and two alifs”.

Hence, if you translated word for word, this word or more accurately phrase would mean “One who is not a deity for adoration and worship”.


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