Should Muslims use the word Allah or God?

Recently, there has been some controversy between non-Arabic speaking Muslims. The subject of the controversy is whether to use the word Allah or the word God when Muslims are speaking about God in a language other than Arabic. For some reason, there seems to be those who are quite enraged when the word God is used to speak about God.

Many Muslims believe that Allah is the personal name of God in the Quran, rather than Allah being the Arabic word for the word God. They do not realise that it is wrong to personalise God as He is not a person. Most assuredly, God is much greater than to be confined to a single name (see: Greatness of God).

Moreover, they do they realise that the word Allah does not belong exclusively to the Muslims and that it has always been used before (and after) the revelation of the Quran by the Arabic-speaking Jews and Christians when they speak about God.

Talking to English speaking people about God and using the word Allah is very much the same as speaking to Arabic speaking people about Allah and using the word God. It makes better sense to use the equivalent word of each language.

Whether the word Allah is used or the word God is used, the subject is not any different; it is the One God who is the Creator and Sustainer of all that exists.

Insisting on the use of the word Allah immediately creates the illusion that Allah is a totally different god than God of the Torah and the Gospels. All that does is to create a false understanding of a god called Allah who belongs only to Muslims! Subsequently, this alienates non Muslims and leads them to think that Muslims worship a "different" god!

Moreover, those who insist that Allah is the "personal" name of God need to read and reflect on the following Quranic words:

"Say, "Call upon Allah, or call upon Al-Rahman (The Almighty). Whichever you call upon, to Him belong the Beautiful Names." 17:110

This verse makes the issue very clear. God here is telling us that He does not have one Name. In God's infinite Greatness, there is not one name that is sufficient to make reference to Him. If God had one specific name, then God would not tell us to call Him by any of His other Names, like "Al-Rahman" for example.

The words in 17:110 confirm that God has Beautiful Names (plural) and not just one name. To claim that the name (singular) of our God is "Allah", then what becomes of all the other Beautiful Names? Should we stop calling them the Names of God?

One of God's Beautiful Names is 'Al-Wahid' which means 'The One'. Whether we use the Arabic word 'Al-Wahid' or the English equivalent 'The One' does not make any difference. The same Muslims who insist on using the word Allah when they speak English do not insist on using the Arabic versions of God's other Names when they speak English. As an example, when they speak English they would say 'The Most Merciful' rather than insisting on using the Arabic word 'Al-Raheem'.

We may also inquire about the receivers of the previous Scriptures which were not revealed in Arabic, but in languages like Hebrew and Aramaic. Where the receivers of those Scriptures not given the correct name of God?

The Quran lists numerous Names of God besides the word Allah. These "Beautiful Names" are Names of God and not just attributes of God. In 17:110 we are told that to God belongs the Beautiful Names. The word used is "asmaa". This word is the plural of the word 'ism' which means name. Naturally every Name of God has a meaning and denotes an attribute of God, but each one is primarily a Name of God. It follows that labelling these titles as merely attributes of God, rather than Names of God, is in contradiction to Quranic truth. In actual fact, there is not any Quranic verse which speaks of these titles as attributes of God, all the Quranic verses speak of these as Names of God.

Since all the Beautiful Names are God's Names, there would be no justification in stating that the word Allah is the personal Name of God.