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خدا (Khoda) or الله (Allah) ??

Updated: May 5, 2020

In Ergun Caner and Emir Caner’s book, Unveiling Islam, in the chapter on Allah (chapter 6 – “Allah: Names of Terror and Names of Glory” pp. 102-119, Kregel Publishers, 1st edition 2002), on page 106 they wrote:

“Many Arabic speaking Christians use the Persian term khudu for God, rather than cause confusion by calling Allah by the name God.”

This is wrong, Arabic speaking Christians do not use the Farsi/Persian word for God, “Khoda”. (or “Khuda”)  The Caner’s reveal that they don’t know what they are talking about because Farsi speakers/Persians/Iranians don’t pronounce it “Khuda”; rather they pronounce it “Khoda”.

See the Wikipedia article on “Khoda” (they have “Khuda” ) – Pakistanis and Afghans and other Central Asian Muslims may pronounce it more like “Khuda”, but Iranians/Persians pronounce it, “Khoda”.

Ergun Caner, also said in an interview documented below:

“Muslims who become Christians who speak Arabic, they don’t even use the word Allah. When they speak of God, they call him ‘Khoda,’ a Persian word, because we are so terrified of confusing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with Allah, the false god that we served as Muslims.”

See the documentation at Dr. White’s web-site.  

This is just not true, Arabs or Arabic speaking former Muslims, who become Christians, have no problem with the word “Allah” for Elohim in OT and Theos in the NT. (There may be individual exceptions to this; but generally; they still love their own language.) In fact the Bible in Arabic has translated Elohim in the OT and Theos in the NT as “Allah”. The word means “The God”, meaning, the one true creator, Sovereign, Almighty, Invisible God who is eternal. The word is related to the Aramaic and Hebrew words El, Eloha, etc.

There is some excellent scholarship by Dr. Christoph Heger showing that the Arabic word Allah came from Aramaic (alaha) and the Peshitta (Syriac) translation of the Bible.

and also here. 

The El, Elohim, Eloha, alaha, Allah word-group denotes Power, Sovereignty, and Monotheism; these are the emphases of this word. Now, I agree with the Caners that the doctrine of who Allah is in Islam is wrong, incomplete, and not the God of the Bible, because Allah is defined as “not Trinitarian”, and cannot have within the Trinity ( Latin: Tri-Unitas, “three in one”), an eternal, Spiritual Father and Son relationship. (see Surah 112 of the Qur’an)

When Christians speak of The Father and the Son, we are referring to a spiritual relationship from all eternity, not physical. Muslims understand the word “Father” and “Son” to automatically mean that there was a mother and a physical, sexual relationship. (Qur’an 6:101/102) The Roman Catholics and Orthodox churches who call Mary, “The Mother of the God” and pray to her and have statues of her in worship contexts also confirm this misunderstanding in their minds. Jesus had no human father. Mary, His mother, was a virgin. Muslims also believe this. This is why giving a Muslim the gospels of Matthew and Luke are a good place to start, because they believe in the virgin birth of Al Masih. (Qur’an, Surah 19:19-21; 3:45-48)

Luke 1:34-35 tells us “for this reason” He will be called the Son of God – because of the power of the Most High, and the work of the Holy Spirit. Christians always understood the Father and Son relationship within the Trinity as spiritual, not physical. Islam rejects the Deity of Christ, and for Muslims “Holy Spirit” means an angel; so the god of Islam is not the God of the Bible doctrinally. However, linguistically, the best word in Arabic for “the one true creator God who is eternal and Sovereign and invisible”; is Allah.

What Caner is confusing is the fact that Persians (Iranians) are not Arabs, and they have their own language which is not Arabic, and their language is called Farsi or Persian. The Persians, from the word “Pars” are a Jephethite (Europeans, Indians (India), Kurds and Iranians are from Japheth) people, not Semitic. Farsi in its pure form, is actually closer to Latin, German, and English, than Arabic. But after the Islamic conquests of Persia, today Farsi has 40 % Arabic words and phrases in it, and the Arabs changed their script to the Arabic script, although Iranians had to add letters because there are four sounds that Iranians have that Arabs do not have. ( P =  پ , G = گ , jh = ژ , ch = چ  ) The Arabs could not pronounce “p” when they attacked Persia (Iran) in Jihad and conquered and converted the Iranians to Islam. That is why “Pars” became “Fars” and “Parsi” became “Farsi”. It took about 3 centuries to fully subjugate them and change their Zoroastrian religion to Islam. Most of the Zoroastrians who kept their religion fled to India. Today Mumbai has more Zoroastrians than their original homeland, Iran (Persia).

Iranians generally don’t like the Arabs.  And Arabs don’t like the Iranians either.  But we Christians are commanded to love all people and nations:  love your neighbor as yourself. (Leviticus 19:18; 33-34; Luke 10:25-37)  Remember the Iran – Iraq war from 1980-1988? Deep historical and ethnic tensions were underlying that conflict. Sadaam Hussein and Ayatollah Khomeini exchanged curses at one another. Khomeini considered Sadaam not a true Muslim [which is true, Saddam Hussein was a very secular/Stalinist Muslim; the Baath party has that as its basic philosophy of mixing Stalinism and Islam] and eventually S. Hussein attacked Iran. Remember even centuries before that the Babylonian vs. Persia history? Iranians, Farsi speakers use “Khoda” for God, even Iranian Muslims use “Khoda” mostly because that is their language.

Iranians who have turned from Islam and repented of their sin and trusted Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord use the word “Khoda” and they do indeed have a problem with “Allah”, but Arabs do not have a problem with the word, “Allah”. Arabic speaking Christians use the word “Allah”.

Iranian former Muslims still use “Allah” in compound phrases like “Inshallah” (“If God wills”; which means “I hope so”, in every day speech) and “Al Hamdolellah” (Praise God) and “Allah O Akbar” (God is great).

Modern Turks also do not like the word “Allah” as much, either, as they have their own Turkish word for God, “Tanri”. The letter “i” should be without a dot over it, as it is a special letter sound in Turkish, but my key board won’t let me do that right now. (I don’t have Turkish software.) The Turks are not Arabs either. So, Iranians, Turks, Kurds, Arabs are mostly Muslims religiously, however, they each have their own ethnicity and language that is different from one another.