Translating 'Allah' as 'God'
Fatwa No: 86082

  • Fatwa Date:27-7-2003 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 28, 1424
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Question

I have been in a discussion with two friends about the name of Allah. Both said that the meaning of La Ilaha Illa Allah is there is no god but GOD. So they translated Allah in God. They also went on saying that Allah is an Arabic name and the translation into other languages is sinful and not allowed. They insisted that Allah should be translated into God and not Allah. In attempt to react on this to the best of my Islamic knowledge though am not a scholar at all I said that in the Qur'an many verses are telling us that God's name is Allah for example Bismillah Arrahmani Arrahiim translating into In the Name of Allah (not the name of God) the Most beneficent, the Most Merciful most and that Allah knows best. They rejected this and said how come you translated the last two words but not the first. So I said referring to them a verse saying: ask the scholars if you don't know. Here I ask you for an elaboration on this so that further misconception can be avoided.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The Name "Allaah" can be translated as 'God' for new Muslims who do not know Arabic language, just as we translate for them the meanings of the Quran and Ahadeeth in order to teach them the religion of Islam.

As for translating the name "Allaah" with 'God' while translating the meaning of the Quran or Hadeeth or books of Islamic knowledge, we do not think that this is permissible.  Rather, it is an obligation to leave the name of Allaah in its original form as it is pronounced "Allaah".  This is because, the name Allaah is the proper name of our Lord, Allaah. Besides, the Name Allaah demonstrates all His other Beautiful Names.  Allaah Says (what means): {And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allaah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do.}[Quran 7:180].

Moreover, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: "Indeed, Allaah has ninety-nine names, one hundred less one; and he who memorizes them all by heart (and acts upon their implications) will enter Paradise." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The name "Allaah" is different from the word "God" which only means a deity and does not in any way indicate deeming Allaah far from being likened to false deities that are worshipped besides Him. The proper meaning of Laa Ilaaha Illa Allaah, is: "There is no deity worthy of being worshipped except Allaah".

Allaah Knows best.

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