Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Prophet Muhammad the Meccan and Not the Yemeni

Hadith on Muhammad: Allah had chosen the Prophet from the best descendants of Ishmael

 | August 6, 2012
Wathila ibn Al-Asqa reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, saying, “Verily, Allah has chosen Kinana from the sons of Ishmael, and He has chosen the Quraish from Kinana, and He has chosen the tribe of Hashim from the Quraish, and He has chosen me from the tribe of Hashim.”
Source: Sahih Muslim 2276

Wathila b. al-Asqa' reported: I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Verily Allah granted eminence to Kinana from amongst the descendants of Isma'il and he granted eminence to the Quraish amongst Kinana and he granted eminence to the Quraish amongst Banu hashim and he granted me eminencece from the tribe of Banu hashim.  (Muslim Book #030, Hadith #5653)

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Imam Muslim
وَاثِلَةَ بْنَ الْأَسْقَعِ يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَى كِنَانَةَ مِنْ وَلَدِ إِسْمَعِيلَ وَاصْطَفَى قُرَيْشًا مِنْ كِنَانَةَ وَاصْطَفَى مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ بَنِي هَاشِمٍ وَاصْطَفَانِي مِنْ بَنِي هَاشِمٍ
2276 صحيح مسلم كتاب الفضائل باب فضل نسب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وتسليم الحجر عليه قبل النبوة

Prophet Muhammad always knew he was a North Arab

Hadith on Muhammad: Allah had chosen the Prophet from the best descendants of Ishmael

 | August 6, 2012
Wathila ibn Al-Asqa reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, saying, “Verily, Allah has chosen Kinana from the sons of Ishmael, and He has chosen the Quraish from Kinana, and He has chosen the tribe of Hashim from the Quraish, and He has chosen me from the tribe of Hashim.”
Source: Sahih Muslim 2276
Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Imam Muslim
وَاثِلَةَ بْنَ الْأَسْقَعِ يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَى كِنَانَةَ مِنْ وَلَدِ إِسْمَعِيلَ وَاصْطَفَى قُرَيْشًا مِنْ كِنَانَةَ وَاصْطَفَى مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ بَنِي هَاشِمٍ وَاصْطَفَانِي مِنْ بَنِي هَاشِمٍ
2276 صحيح مسلم كتاب الفضائل باب فضل نسب النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وتسليم الحجر عليه قبل النبوة

The Origin of the Afro Asaictic Languages

Out of Africa hypothesis[edit source]

Expansion of Afroasiatic languages. The second stage shows the formation of Semitic languages.
According to the proponents of this theory, Syria and Mesopotamia was originally inhabited by a non-Semitic population as the earlier linguistic tradition of those areas can be seen from the non-Semitic toponyms preserved in Akkadian and Palaeosyrian languages. The African origin may be firmly confirmed with the relationship between Afro-Asiatic and the Niger–Congo languages, whose urheimat probably lies in Nigeria-Cameroon.[4] It appears that the most numerous isoglosses and lexicostatistical convergences link proto-Semitic to Libyco-Berber. Evidently, proto-Semitic speakers were still living in the Neolithic Subpluvial in the 5th millennium BC when the Sahara was much wetter, retaining a link with Berber long after other Egyptic andProto-Chadic separated.[4]
Rock drawing attest to vibrant Neolithic culture in the Sahara that collapsed due to desertification and climate change ca. 3500 BC, forcing the Proto-Semites to emigrate en masse through the Nile Delta to western Asia. They were probably responsible for the collapsing of the Ghassulian culture in Palestine around 3300 BC. Another indication to the arrival of the proto-Semitic culture is the appearance of tumuli in 4th and 3rd millennium Palestine, which were typical characteristic of Neolithic North Africa.[5] It is possible that at this point, the ancestors of the speakers of Elamite moved towards Iran, although the inclusion of Elamite in Afroasiatic is only contemplated by a tiny minority.[6] The earliest wave of Semitic speakers were theAkkadians, who entered the fertile crescent via Palestine and Syria and eventually founded the first Semitic empire at Kish. Their relatives, theAmorites, followed them and settled Syria before 2500 BC.[5] The collapse of the Bronze Age culture in Palestine led the Southern Semites southwards, where they reached the highlands of Yemen after 2000 BC. Those crossed back to the Horn of Africa between 1500–500 BC.[5]

More on Ishamel and Arab connections

Misconception: Arabs are descended from Ishmael. Both Jewish and Arab tradition say this.
Truth: The modern Arab nation has no connection to Ishmael. Neither Jewish nor Arab tradition makes such a claim.

According to Jewish tradition G-d promised that Ishmael would be the ancestor of a great nation (Gen 20:17 [1]). This was the Ishmaelite nation (Gen 37:25 et al. [1]), an ancient Hebrew people who lived in the desert regions of Biblical Israel (Gen 25:18) - it was not the modern Arab nation!  The modern Arab nation only came into being in late antiquity, it did not exist in Biblical times [2a]. The Ishmaelites lived in twelve encampments named after Ishmael's sons - Nebaioth, Kedar, Adbeel, Mibsam, Mishma, Dumah, Massa, Hadad, Tema, Jetur, Naphish and Kedemah. They had indeed become a great nation during the days of the Israelite sojourn in Egypt (Gen 25:12-18, 1 Ch 1:29-31 [1]).
What happened to the Ishmaelites? In the book of Judges we start to see evidence that they were assimilating into other peoples - the Midianites against whom Gideon fought are said to be Ishmaelites (Jdg 8:24 [1]). David's sister Abigail was married to an Ishmaelite (1 Ch 2:17 [1]). The last time we find mention of a distinct Ishmaelite identity in history is during the reign of David (Psa 83:7, 1 Ch 2:17, 1 Ch 27:30 [1]). The people of Jetur and Naphish, together with those of the region called Nodab, had by that stage become a separate group to the Ishmaelites, called Hagrites (Psa 83:7, 1 Ch 5:19 [1]) - a name derived from Hagar, the mother of Ishmael (Gen 25:12-15 [1]).  They had been conquered during the days of Saul by the Israelites of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh in Gilead with many being killed (1 Ch 5:10-22 [1]). As with the Ishmaelites, a distinct Hagrite identity is last mentioned during the reign of David - the last Ishmaelite (1 Ch 25:30 [1]) and last Hagrite (1 Ch 25:31 [1]) to be mentioned being servants of David listed together with Israelite servants (1 Ch 27:25-31 [1]).(The Agraeans and Gerrhaeans mentioned by classical historians are not the Hagrites [3], but two distinct peoples living in the An-Nafud desert and the Arabian side of the Persian Gulf respectively, many centuries after the absorption of the Hagrites by the Israelites [4] [28].)
During the reign of Solomon we find that the outlying desert regions of Israel where the Ishmaelites had lived, called the 'Arav (2 Ch 9:14, Isa 12:13 et al. [1]), had become inhabited by a people of mixed origin, an 'erev (1Ki 10:15 [1]). These people were also called 'Arvim (Neh 4:1 [1]), a name harking back to both 'erev and 'Arav. The name 'Arav became Arabia in Greek and the word 'Arvim is usually translated as Arabians or Arabs. This is the main cause of the misconception that the modern Arabs are descended from the Ishmaelites. However it must be emphasized that in the same way that that Brittany in France is not Britain and the Bretons are not the British, and in the same way that Dutch is not Deutsch and Romania is not Rome, so too this Arabia of the Tanach was not the modern Arabia i.e. the Arabian peninsula, nor were these Biblical Arabians the modern Arabs. It was the desert region north of the Arabian peninsula (Isa 21:13-17 [1]). In the classical period the meaning of the name Arabia came to include the Arabian peninsula and the word Arabian came to be used for all the different nations of the region [5a]. The former Ishmaelite regions came to be known as Nabatene [6b] and the 'Arvim came to be known as Nabateans. In more recent times Arabia has come to be used only for the Arabian peninsula - the homeland of the modern Arab people. The modern Arabs are 'Aravim in Hebrew, not 'Arvim.
Another factor contributing to the misconception that the Arabs are Ishmaelites, is the use by Jewish writers of the name Ishmaelites for Muslims (regardless of ethnicity) [7] [8]. This was partly a pun resulting from the similarity of the names and partly the Jewish practice of using the names of extinct ancient peoples for new peoples they encountered. Similarly the Crusaders were called Edomites [9] even though the original Edomites had been converted to Judaism by John Hyrcanus I and had subsequently disappeared by assimilating into the Jewish people many centuries earlier [2b].
The 'Arvim of the Tanach were only partly descended from the Ishmaelites which is precisely why they are called mixed people and not Ishmaelites. Josephus refers to Ishmael as their founder, not ancestor. Indeed he refers to the descendants of Ishmael as an Arabian people (meaning a people who had lived in the region called Arabia), not the Arabian people [6b]. Further ethnic mixing occurred as a result of the Assyrian and Babylonian invasions and their practice of transplanting peoples: The Assyrians captured the people of Adbeel and used them to guard the approaches to Egypt [10a]. Massa and Tema had also been conquered by the Assyrians [10b] [10d]. All the people of the former Hagrite regions were displaced as result of the Assyrian invasion (1 Ch 5:22 [1]). The Assyrians exiled many people from Kedar [11a] (v. Isa 21:16 [1]) and later the Babylonians laid waste to the region and the people fled (Jer 49:28-33 [1]).
Two of the names of former Ishmaelite encampments survived into later times: Kedar [12] (Eze 27:21 [1]) and Tema, the latter is still in use today [10d]. The names of certain other regions in Nabatene during the classical period are suspected of being derived from the names of Ishmaelite encampments: Iturea and Domatha are possibly derived from Jetur [13a] and Dumah [14a] respectively and Nabatene itself is possibly derived from Nebaioth [15a]. However, there are other proposed derivations of these names [14a] [16a] [17]. Certain divisions of the Nabateans were named after these regions: The Kedarenes (Kedar), Itureans (Iturea) and Dumathii (Domatha). (No group is associated with Tema despite the survival of the name - under the Babylonian king Nabonidus it had become a Babylonian outpost with a Jewish mercenary army [18].) None of these peoples are pure descendants of the original Ishmaelites of those regions - in the case of the former Hagrite regions, the previous population had been absorbed into the Jews who were later displaced by the Assyrians (1 Ch 5:10-22[1]) Nor are any of these people the ancestors of the modern Arabs. Most of the Nabateans were absorbed into the Jewish people during the Hasmonean and Herodian periods. The Nabatean group known as the Zabadeans were the first, having already been conquered by Jonathan Maccabeus around 143 BCE (1 Ma 12:31 [19][20] [6e]). The Itureans had been converted to Judaism by the High Priest John Hyrcanus I around 126 BCE [6c] [21] and by his son King Judah Aristobulus in 104-103 BCE [6d] [21]. During the Herodian period, Iturea became a Jewish tetrarchy [5b]. Many other Nabateans had been conquered by King Jonathan (Alexander Jannaeus), the brother of Aristobulus, and became Jews [22]. The mother of Herod the Great was a Nabatean [23a] as was one of the wives of Herod Antipas [6f]. The Dumathii were merely a geographical division of the Nabateans mentioned only once in history (by Porphyry in the 3rd century CE [24]) after which they disappear as a distinct group. The last time the Kedarenes appear in history is in 5th century CE where they are mentioned by Theodoret as living near Babylonia and worshipping heavenly bodies [11a]. The last pagans in Arabia were killed by the Muslims [25although the Kedarenes might have already been extinct by the time Islam arrived. The remaining Nabateans who did not become Jewish eventually converted to Christianity [26] [41and became part of the Byzantine Greek and Syriac cultures [26] [41] [42] [44a. The last remnant of the Nabateans at Petra were a small group of Christian monks who were conquered by the Muslims [27]. The last remaining traditionally Nabatean cities were destroyed in an earthquake in 747 CE [43]. The Arabs used the term Nabatean as a name for the Syriac people in general [44a], the last use of the term being in 900 CE [43].
Jewish sources in fact tell us that the earliest inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula were descended from Raamah the son of Cush the son of Ham [6a] [10c] (Gen 10:6-7 [1]), not Ishmael. Later the population of Arabia was supplemented by descendants of a man named Joktan who was descended from Shem (Gen 10:22-30 [1]). (Raamah and Joktan were remembered in Arabia in the names of places bearing their names: Raamah (Eze 27:22[1]) - which lay near Ma'in [10c] - and the Seat of Joktan, the ruins of which are near Mecca.)  From the Romans we know that by the 4th century CE Arabia was dominated by Saracens, a people originally of African origin[28]. Thus the population from which the modern Arab nation emerged was a blend of different ethnic groups having no connection to Ishmael.
In addition, the so-called Druze and Shi'ite "Arabs" are mainly of Persian extraction [29] [30] and many so-called Christian "Arabs" are in fact of European extraction [31]. Many other people viewed by westerners as "Arabs" are really Berbers, Nubians, Copts or Assyrians who claim to be distinct from the Arab nation.
Arab historians divide the peoples of Arabia into three groups [32]:
  1.  'Arab Ba'ida - lost Arabians
  2.  'Arab 'Ariba - genuine Arab Arabians
  3.  'Arab Musta'riba - Arabians who became Arab
The first are the extinct ancient peoples of Arabia, the later Arabians being members of the other two groups [32]. The second are the southern Arabians [32who were the first people of the Arabian peninsula to consider themselves part of the modern Arab nation. The term Arab as a name for their nation means "those who speak clearly" in contrast to other nations who were called Ajam meaning "ones who lack distinctive patterns of speech" [33]. The term Arabian, referring to all inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula whether Ba'ida'Ariba or Musta'riba, is in fact a different word. The third are the northern Arabians [32- the people who assimilated into the original Arabs of the south. Northern here refers to the region of Mecca and Medina [32], not Nabatene where the Ishmaelites had lived.

Response: The North Arabians trace their lineage back to Kedar, who settled in Arabia see Ezekiel 27:21 and Jeremiah 49:28. After Kedar, Adnan was the ancestor of these Northern Arab tribes. 

Arab historians trace the beginning of the Arab nation to a man named Qahtan, the ancestor of the original Arabs of the south [32] not to Ishmael. The northern Arabians were traced to a man named Adnan [32]. Before the rise of Islam there were no claims linking either of these men to the ancient ancestors of the Arabian peoples mentioned in Jewish traditions.
Islamic interest in Ishmael resulted from Muslim ignorance of the detailed history of Abraham well known to Jews and Christians. The account of the binding of Isaac in the Koran does not mention Isaac by name, merely a "son" [34]. Differences of opinion developed amongst Muslim writers as to who this "son" was. Some favoured Isaac while others argued that it was Ishmael [34]. The latter opinion became the dominant one with Muslims being unaware that it was well known to Jews and Christians that it was in fact Isaac (Gen 22:2 [1]). Islam thus attaches far more importance to Ishmael than he ever deserved. Muslim writers then attempted to link their holy city, Mecca, and their shrine, the Ka'ba, to Abraham and Ishmael. A story claiming that Hagar and Ishmael had settled in the region of Mecca was invented. This story further claimed that Ishmael married two Arab women of the clan of Jurhum and that he and Abraham rebuilt the Ka'ba which they claim had originally been built by Adam [35] [36a].This was all false revisionist history. It contradicted the centuries-old established history that Ishmael had settled in the wilderness of Paran in the Sinai and had married an Egyptian woman (Gen 21:21 [1]). It also contradicted the fact that the Ka'ba had been a pagan temple before Islam [35awith no known tradition connecting it to Abraham, Adam or anyone else in Jewish history.

Response: This isn't true, the Arabs long before Islam beelived that Abraham had bulit the Kabba. For proof see Yahya Snows blog and the fact that the Hadith do show pictures of Abraham and Ishamel on their walls. Also this is Well first of all, this begs the question that whatever the book of Genesis  have said is true.  From a purely historical perspective, we would have to conclude: WE DON'T KNOW the final dwelling of Ishameal, Hagar or whether they were in Mecca or not. It's possible they were put there and then they started moving around all over in Arabia and the Fertile Crescent, who knows. JUST BECAUSE A STORY IS NOT FOUND IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS OR THE BIBLE EVEN IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT IT IS A LEGEND.

Muslim writers then wanted to determine the genealogy of Mohammed. To this end they tried to establish a link from Mohammed to Abraham via Ishmael. They agreed that Mohammed was descended from Adnan by paternal lineage [35] [38]. This is an assumption based on Mohammed being a northern Arabian. However, considering that new migrants had entered Arabia (e.g. the Saracens who came from Africa) and had intermingled with previous inhabitants, it is a completely unjustified assumption. Mohammed himself did not have any real knowledge of descent from Adnan. When the people of Banu Fuhayrah told Mohammed that he belonged to their clan he denied it and instead claimed that the angel Gabriel had told him that he was of the house of Mudar (a family descended from Adnan) [35]. Moreover Islamic sources provide at least three contradictory genealogies tracing Mohammed to Adnan [35]. Besides minor differences in the rendition of names, the genealogies contain different numbers of generations. The differences result from the varied inclusion of names - e.g. one genealogy omits Mudar and only one includes Quraysh. One can attempt to reconcile such differences by claiming that each genealogy is incomplete but this merely confirms that they are untrustworthy. Moreover, Muslim writers were unclear as to when Adnan had lived. One tradition makes his son Ma'add a contemporary of Nebuchadnezzar while another makes this son a contemporary of 'Isa ibn Maryam - the Islamic version of Jesus son of Mary[38]. Next, an attempt was made to trace Adnan to Abraham via Ishmael. Numerous contradictory genealogies were produced. Again, besides minor differences in the rendition of names, there are varying numbers of generations. In the traditional Islamic sources one finds genealogies containing four, seven, nine, ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty or forty generations [38]. One modern source goes as far as making Adnan the son of Ishmael [39]ignoring the established history that Ishmael had twelve sons, none named Adnan (Gen 25:12-18, 1 Ch 1:29-31 [1]). The shorter traditional genealogies giving 25 or fewer generations between Mohammed and Abraham are in fact unreasonably short considering the typical lengths of generations and the fact that Abraham lived in the early second millenium BCE [40a] while Mohammed lived c. 570 - 632 CE [2c].  Some of the variations again result from the varied inclusion of names. Again, arguing that they are incomplete merely confirms that they are unreliable. Moreover there are more serious variances: Many genealogies trace Adnan to a certain Nabit or Nabt, whose name is understood to be the Arabic form of Nebaioth [35] [38]. Some claim that this is the son of Ishmael, but others trace Adnan to Ishmael's son Kedar instead with no mention of Nabit [35] [38]. One writer attempts to reconcile the difference by equating Nabit with Kedar [38], ignoring the established history that Ishmael's sons Nebaioth (Nabit) and Kedar are two different people (Gen 25:12-18, 1 Ch 1:29-31 [1]). Others make Nabit a son or grandson of Kedar. There are also further variances that cannot simply be reconciled as they involve lists of unrelated names [35] [38]. Several Muslim writers were highly skeptical of these proposed genealogies. Some refused to use them at all. One pointed out that they were pure conjecture and that no one had any true knowledge of Arab genealogy past Adnan and Qahtan. Another went as far as saying outright that the genealogists had lied! Some point out that the link to Ishmael results from identifying a certain alleged ancestor of Adnan named A'raq al-Thara with Ishmael. This is done on the reasoning that Thara means moist earth and since Abraham was not consumed by hell-fire and fire does not consume moist earth, A'raq al-Thara must be Ishmael son of Abraham - logic worthy of a Monty Python comedy sketch! [35] [38(One is left wondering if perhaps the stories placing Ishmael at Mecca were not originally about A'raq al-Thara.)
The unreliability of Islamic genealogy is further seen in their genealogy of Abraham. One modern source incorrectly makes him the son of Shem [39], missing eight generations (1 Ch 1:24-27 [1]). Traditional sources accept the historical genealogy but they equate Abraham's father Terah with a certain Azar from Arab tradition and they equate Enoch (the great grandfather of Noah) with their prophet Idris, all without any justification [35] [38]. Muslim writers also wished to establish the genealogy of Qahtan. They simply equated him with Joktan [35]. This is based on the superficial similarities of the names. Yet the names are clearly distinct and have different roots. Indeed Muslim sources are well aware that the Arabic form of Joktan is really Yaqtan [35], not Qahtan. (Moreover the Hebrew equivalent of Qahtan is well known to be Kachtan not Joktan.) However the misconception that Qahtan is Joktan persists.
In pre-Islamic times, no mention had ever been made of Ishmael being the ancestor of the Arabs [35] [38]. The Arabs were not even familiar with Ishmael before coming into contact with Christians as is seen from the fact that their name for him, Ismail, is derived from either the Greek or Syriac form [35].

Response: This isn't true. Pre-Islamic Poetry does mention Ishamel and his son Kedar as the ancestor of the Northern Arabs. Kedar the son of Ishmael setteled in Arabia and Kedar's son Adnan grew up in Mecca and from Adnan the Hijazi Arabs trace their descent. Prophet Muhammad was not a Pure Arab, rather a Arabized Arab. Some famous noble Adnanite families from the Qureshi group are Alnazi, and Banu Hashim-- the family of the Prophet Muhammad. As for the confusion of Ibn Ishaq, one of the descants of Kedar was Nebaioth, so Ibn Ishaq and other Biographers could have confused that. But Historically Kedar was in Arabia, and we have genelogical records from Ibn Sad Volume 1, Pages 50-55 and Al Tabari Volume 4, Pages 38-43 which trace Adnan back to Kedar. 

As we have seen, in the post-Islamic period the erroneous idea had now come into being that Adnan, the ancestor of the northern Arabians, was descended from Ishmael. This still falls short of claiming that Ishmael is the ancestor of the Arabs. Qahtan was still recognized as the ancestor of the original Arabs of the south.  Indeed the Islamic stories about Ishmael place the Jurhumite Arabs in the region of Mecca when he arrives [35]. Thus the much heard modern claim that Ishmael is the ancestor of the Arabs is a further error resulting from oversimplification or ignorance of Arab traditions regarding their descent from Qahtan and of the story of the Jurhumites at Mecca.

Response: The North Adnan Arabs always traced their linegage back to Kedar thru Pre-Islamic Poetry (See Al Tabari Volume 4, pages 38-43). Adnan was always considered the ancestor of the North Arabs. As for the Jurhumities, they did exist before Islam, see the WIKIPEDIA article for more on this.  

To sum up, the claim that the Arabs are descended from Ishmael has no sound historical basis and contradicts both Jewish and traditional Arab history. Even the claim that he was the ancestor of the northern Arabians (who assimilated into the Arabs) is based on false genealogy.

Suggested Further Reading


  1. Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia, The Learning Company, Cambridge MA, 1998
  2. The Anchor Bible Dictionary, David Noel Freedman, Doubleday Books, June 2002, vol. 3 p.24
    1. Book 1, Chapter 5, 2 (Here Josephus points out that the Ragmeans - known to be an Arabian people - are descended from Raamah.)
    2. Book 13, Chapter 5, 10 (Here Josephus refers to the Zabadeans as Nabateans confirming that they were indeed a Nabatean group.)
  3. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible,.5 volumes including supplement, ed. George A. Buttrick, Abingdon Press, New York. 1962
    1. entry Adbeel, vol. 1 p. 45
    2. entry Massa, vol. 3, p. 299
    3. entry Raamah, vol 4, p. 1
    4. entry Tema, vol. 4, p. 533
    1. vol 1, chap. 2, footnote 16 (Here Muir suggests that Iturea 'may' be derived from Jetur.)
    1. Commentary on Isaiah 21, verse 11 (Here the question of the equation of  Dumah and Domatha is mentioned as is the possible identification of these with modern Dumah and Dumat Al-Jandal. Modern Dumah and Dumat Al-Jandal are in fact two different localities. Thus while one possibility is that Biblical Dumah is identical to Domatha, another possibility is that they are distinct with Biblical Dumah being identical to modern Dumah and Domatha being identical to Dumat Al-Jandal.)
    1. entry Nebaioth (Here A. S. Fulton notes that the identification of Nebaioth and the Nabateans is 'widely accepted', while pointing out phonetic difficulties in equating the names.)
    1. Chorographical Notes, Chapter 1: Of the places mentioned in Luke 3, Iturea (Here John Lightfoot discusses several different possible origins of the name Iturea, none of them having anything to do with Jetur.)
  4. The Nabateans: A Historical Sketch, Jean Starcky, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, The Biblical Archaeologist, Volume XVIII, December 1955 (Here Jean Starcky assumes that  the Nabateans and their name are derived from the southern Arabian people known as the Nabatu and does not even mention a connection with Nebaioth.)
  5. A History of the Jews, Paul Johnson, George Weidenfeld & Nicolson Limited, London, 1987, First Paperback Edition, 1988, p. 108
  6. Porphyry, On Abstinence from Killing Animals, trans. Gillian Clark, Cornell University Press, Ithaca NY, 2000, Book 2, 56
  7. Petra, Henri-Paul Eydoux, in Vanished Civilizations, Reader's Digest Services Pty Ltd, Surrey Hills NSW, 1983, p. 187
  8. The Druze, Naim Aridi, in The Jewish Virtual Library, The American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2003 (Here it is noted that the Druze are an offshoot of the Ismailis who are a Shi'ite group. The Shi'ites, as we note, are mainly of Persian origin.)
  9. Holy Wars of Islam, in The Mind Alive Encyclopedia: Early Civilization, ed. Jane Brown, Marshall Cavendish Books Limited, London, 1977 reprint , p.126b (Here it is pointed out that the Shi'ite sects were mainly Persian. In addition most of the original Arab Shi'ites were killed by the Sunnis.)
  10. The Nabateans: History, Prof. Avraham Negev, 2004 (Here it is noted that the remaining Nabateans had adopted the Greek language by the third century CE and had become Christian by the fourth century CE.)
  11. The Nabateans, Stephen Langfur, Near East Tourist Agency, 2003 (Here it is noted that the last Nabateans assimilated into the (Eastern) Roman world.)
  12. Nabataean Time Line, Dan Gibson,, 2004 (Here it is noted that the remaining traditionally Nabatean cities were destroyed by an earthquake in 747 CE and that "Nabateans" are last mentioned in Islamic writings in 900 CE.
  13. The Online Encyclopedia, Net Industries, 2004 (Based on the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica)
    1. article Nabataeans (Here it is noted that the Arabs found the remnants of the Nabateans speaking Aramaic and that the term Nabatean came to be used in general for the Aramaean i.e. Syriac population.)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The name of Allah in Judaism Christianity and Islam

The Aramaic word for "God" in the language of Assyrian Christians is ʼĔlāhā, or AlahaArabic-speakers of all Abrahamic faiths, including Christians and Jews, use the word "Allah" to mean "God".[7] The Christian Arabs of today have no other word for "God" than "Allah".[15](Even the Arabic-descended Maltese language of Malta, whose population is almost entirely Roman Catholic, uses Alla for "God".) Arab Christians for example use terms Allāh al-ab (الله الأب) meaning God the FatherAllāh al-ibn (الله الابن) mean God the Son, and Allāh al-rūḥ al-quds (الله الروح القدس) meaning God the Holy Spirit. (See God in Christianity for the Christian concept of God.)
Arab Christians have used two forms of invocations that were affixed to the beginning of their written works. They adopted the Muslimbismillāh, and also created their own Trinitized bismillāh as early as the 8th century CE.[44] The Muslim bismillāh reads: "In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful." The Trinitized bismillāh reads: "In the name of Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God." The SyriacLatin and Greek invocations do not have the words "One God" at the end. This addition was made to emphasize themonotheistic aspect of Trinitian belief and also to make it more palatable to Muslims.[44]
According to Marshall Hodgson, it seems that in the pre-Islamic times, some Arab Christians made pilgrimage to the Ka‘bah, a pagan temple at that time, honoring Allah there as God the Creator.[45]
Some archaeological excavation quests have led to the discovery of ancient Pre-Islamic inscriptions and tombs made by Arabic-speaking Christians in the ruins of a church at Umm el-Jimal in Northern Jordan, which contained references to Allah as the proper name of God, and some of the graves contained names such as "Abd Allah" which means "the servant/slave of Allah".[46][47][48]
The name Allah can be found countless times in the reports and the lists of names of Christian martyrs in South Arabia, as reported by antique Syriac documents of the names of those martyrs from the era of the Himyarite & Aksumite kingdoms.[49][50]
A Christian leader named Abd Allah ibn Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad was martyred in Najran in 523 AD, and he had worn a ring that said "Allah is my lord".[50][51]
In an inscription of Christian martyrion dated back to 512 AD, references to Allah can be found in both Arabic and Aramaic, which called him "Allah" and "Alaha", and the inscription starts with the statement "By the Help of Allah".[50][52][53]
In Pre-Islamic Gospels, the name used for God was "Allah", as evidenced by some discovered Arabic versions of the New Testamenttwritten by Arab Christians during the Pre-Islamic era in Northern and Southern Arabia.[50][54][55]
Pre-Islamic Arab Christians have been reported to have raised the battle cry "Ya La Ibad Allah" (O slaves of Allah) to invoke each other into battle.[56]
"Allah" was also mentioned in pre-Islamic Christian poems by some Ghassanid and Tanukhid poets in Syria and NorthernArabia.[57][58][59]


As Hebrew and Arabic are closely related Semitic languages, it is commonly accepted that Allah (root, ilāh) and the Biblical Elohim are cognate derivations of same origin, as in Eloah a Hebrew word which is used (e.g. in the Book of Job) to mean '(the) God' and also 'god or gods' as in the case of Elohim, ultimately deriving from the root El, 'strong', possibly genericized from El (deity), as in the Ugaritic ’lhm"children of El" (the ancient Near Eastern creator god in pre-Abrahamic tradition).
In Jewish scripture Elohim is used as a descriptive title for the God of the scriptures whose name is YHWH, as well as for pagan gods.

As a loanword

English and other European languages

The history of the name Allāh in English was probably influenced by the study of comparative religion in the 19th century; for example, Thomas Carlyle (1840) sometimes used the term Allah but without any implication that Allah was anything different from God. However, in his biography of Muḥammad (1934), Tor Andræ always used the term Allah, though he allows that this "conception of God" seems to imply that it is different from that of the Jewish and Christian theologies.[60]
Languages which may not commonly use the term Allah to denote God may still contain popular expressions which use the word. For example, because of the centuries long Muslim presence in the Iberian Peninsula, the word ojalá in the Spanish language and oxalá in the Portuguese language exist today, borrowed from Arabic (Arabic: إن شاء الله). This phrase literally means 'if God wills' (in the sense of "I hope so").[61] The German poet Mahlmann used the form "Allah" as the title of a poem about the ultimate deity, though it is unclear how much Islamic thought he intended to convey.
Some Muslims leave the name "Allāh" untranslated in English.[62]

Malaysian and Indonesian language

The first dictionary of Dutch-Malay byA.C. Ruyl, Justus Heurnius, and Caspar Wiltens in 1650 recorded "Allah" as the translation of the Dutch word "Godt".
Christians in Indonesia and Malaysia also use Allah to refer to God in the Malaysian language andIndonesian language (both languages forms of theMalay language which is referred to as Bahasa Melayu).
Mainstream Bible translations in both languages useAllah as the translation of Hebrew Elohim (translated in English Bibles as "God").[63] This goes back to early translation work by Francis Xavier in the 16th century.[64][65] The first dictionary of Dutch-Malay byA.C. Ruyl, Justus Heurnius, and Caspar Wiltens in 1650 (revised edition from 1623 edition and 1631 Latin-edition) recorded "Allah" as the translation of the Dutch word "Godt".[66] Ruyl also translated Matthew in 1612 to Malay language (first Bible translation to non-European language, only a year after King James Version was published[67][68]), which was printed in the Netherlands in 1629. Then he translated Mark which was published in 1638.[69][70]
The government of Malaysia in 2007 outlawed usage of the term Allah in any other but Muslim contexts, but the High Court in 2009 revoked the law, ruling that it was unconstitutional. While Allah had been used for the Christian God in Malay for more than four centuries, the contemporary controversy was triggered by usage of Allah by the Roman Catholic newspaper The Herald. The government has in turn appealed the court ruling, and the High Court has suspended implementation of its verdict until the appeal is heard.

In other scripts and languages

Name of Allāh after the 17th-century Ottoman calligrapher Hâfız Osman
Allāh in other languages that use Arabic script is spelled in the same way. This includes Urdu,Persian/DariUyghur among others.


The word Allah written in different writing systems.
The word Allāh is always written without an alif to spell the ā vowel. This is because the spelling was settled before Arabic spelling started habitually using alif to spell ā. However, in vocalized spelling, a small diacritic alif is added on top of the shaddahto indicate the pronunciation.
One exception may be in the pre-Islamic Zabad inscription,[71] where it ends with an ambiguous sign that may be a lone-standing h with a lengthened start, or may be a non-standard conjoined l-h:-
  • الاه : This reading would be Allāh spelled phonetically with alif for the ā.
  • الإله : This reading would be al-Ilāh = 'the god' (an older form, without contraction), by older spelling practice without alif for ā.


Unicode has a codepoint reserved for Allāh‎ = U+FDF2, in the Arabic Presentation Forms-A block, which exists solely for “compatability with older, legacy character sets that encoded presentation forms directly”,[72] which is dicouraged for new text. Instead, the word Allāh should be represented by its individual Arabic letters, while modern font technologies will render the desired ligature.
The calligraphic variant of the word used as the Coat of arms of Iran is encoded in Unicode, in the Miscellaneous Symbols range, at codepoint U+262B ().

See also


  1. ^ "God"Islam: Empire of Faith. PBS. Retrieved 18 December 2010.
  2. ^ "Islam and Christianity", Encyclopedia of Christianity (2001): Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews also refer to God as Allāh.
  3. ^ L. Gardet. "Allah". Encyclopaedia of Islam Online.|accessdate= requires |url= (help)
  4. ^ Merriam-Webster. "Allah". Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 25 February 2012.
  5. a b c d e f "Allah." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Encyclopædia Britannica
  6. a b c d e Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, Allah
  7. a b Columbia EncyclopediaAllah
  8. a b L. Gardet, Allah, Encyclopaedia of Islam
  9. ^ Columbia Encyclopaedia says: Derived from an old Semitic root referring to the Divine and used in the Canaanite El, the Mesopotamian ilu, and the biblical Elohim and Eloah, the word Allah is used by all Arabic-speaking Muslims, Christians, Jews, and other monotheists.
  10. ^ The Comprehensive Aramaic Lexicon – Entry for ʼlh
  11. ^ Guru Granth Sahib website (Search: ਅਲਹ|ਅਲਾਹ)
  12. ^ L. Gardet, "Allah", Encyclopedia of Islam
  13. ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "prayer". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 274–275.ISBN 978-1-85168-184-6.
  14. a b Murata, Sachiko (1992). The Tao of Islam : a sourcebook on gender relationships in Islamic thought. Albany NY USA: SUNY.ISBN 978-0-7914-0914-5.
  15. a b Lewis, Bernard; Holt, P. M.; Holt, Peter R.; Lambton, Ann Katherine Swynford (1977). The Cambridge history of Islam. Cambridge, Eng: University Press. p. 32. ISBN 978-0-521-29135-4.
  16. a b F.E. Peters, Islam, p.4, Princeton University Press, 2003
  17. ^ Nation of Islam – personification of Allah as Detroit peddler W D Fard
  18. ^ "A history of Clarence 13X and the Five Percenters", referring to Clarence Smith as Allah
  19. ^ Unicode Standard 5.0, p.479,492
  20. ^
  21. ^ See Qur’an 13:16 ; 29:61–6331:2539:38)
  22. ^ See Qur’an 37:158)
  23. ^ See Qur’an (6:100)
  24. ^ See Qur’an (53:19–2216:5737:149)
  25. ^ See Qur’an (53:26–27)
  26. a b c Gerhard Böwering, God and his Attributes, Encyclopedia of the Qur’an
  27. ^ See Qur’an 6:10910:2216:3829:65)
  28. ^ René Dussaud, Les Arabes en Syrie avant l’Islam (Paris, Ernest Leroux, 1907), Pages: 141
  29. ^ Philip Hitti, History of the Arabs: From the Earliest Times to the Present, Tenth Edition (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1970), Pages: 100
  30. ^ F. V. Winnett, A Study of the Lihyanite and Thamudic Inscriptions (Toronto: 1937), Pages: 30
  31. ^ Kenneth J. Thomas, The Bible Translator: Technical Papers, Vol. 52:3, (July 2001), Pages: 301-305
  32. ^ Stephanie Dalley (1989), Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood, Gilgamesh, and Others, Oxford University Press, Pages: 3-10
  33. ^ Thorkild Jacobsen, The Harps that Once: Sumerian Poetry in Translation (1997), Yale University Press, Part. 1, Pages: 53-61
  34. ^ Kees Versteegh, The Arabic Language (1997), Columbia University Press-New York, Page: 30
  35. ^ Dan Gibson, The Nabataeans: Builders of Petra (2003), Page: 209
  36. ^ John F. Healey, The Religion of the Nabataeans: A Conspectus (2000), Brill Publishing, Page: 83
  37. a b c Böwering, Gerhard, God and His Attributes, Encyclopaedia of the Qurʼān, Brill, 2007.
  38. a b Bentley, David (September 1999). The 99 Beautiful Names for God for All the People of the Book. William Carey Library.ISBN 978-0-87808-299-5.
  39. ^ Gary S. Gregg, The Middle East: A Cultural Psychology, Oxford University Press, p.30
  40. ^ Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, Islamic Society in Practice, University Press of Florida, p. 24
  41. ^ M. Mukarram Ahmed, Muzaffar Husain Syed, Encyclopaedia of Islam, Anmol Publications PVT. LTD, p. 144
  42. ^ Carl W. Ernst, Bruce B. Lawrence, Sufi Martyrs of Love: The Chishti Order in South Asia and Beyond, Macmillan, p. 29
  43. ^ Allah, Encyclopædia Britannica
  44. a b Thomas E. Burman, Religious Polemic and the Intellectual History of the MozarabsBrill, 1994, p. 103
  45. ^ Marshall G. S. Hodgson, The Venture of Islam: Conscience and History in a World CivilizationUniversity of Chicago Press, p. 156
  46. ^ James Bellamy, ‘Two Pre-Islamic Arabic Inscriptions Revised: Jabal Ramm and Umm al-Jimal’, Journal of the American Oriental Society, 108/3 (1988)
  47. ^ Enno Littmann, Arabic Inscriptions (Leiden, 1949)
  48. ^ Rick Brown, International Journal of Frontier Missions, (23:2 Summer 2006), page 80.
  49. ^ Ignatius Ya`qub III, The Arab Himyarite Martyrs in the Syriac Documents (1966), Pages: 9-65-66-89
  50. a b c d Rick Brown, Who was ‘Allah’ before Islam? (2007), page 8.
  51. ^ Alfred Guillaume& Muhammad Ibn Ishaq, (2002 [1955]). The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Isḥāq’s Sīrat Rasūl Allāh with Introduction and Notes. Karachi and New York: Oxford University Press, page 18.
  52. ^ Adolf Grohmann, Arabische Paläographie II: Das Schriftwesen und die Lapidarschrift (1971), Wien: Hermann Böhlaus Nochfolger, Page: 6-8
  53. ^ Beatrice Gruendler, The Development of the Arabic Scripts: From the Nabatean Era to the First Islamic Century according to Dated Texts (1993), Atlanta: Scholars Press, Page:
  54. ^ Frederick Winnett V, Allah before Islam-The Moslem World (1938), Pages: 239–248
  55. ^ Michael Macdonald, Personal Names in the Nabataean Realm-Journal Of Semitic Studies (1999), Page: 271
  56. ^ Irfan Shahîd, Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fourth Century, Dumbarton Oaks Trustees for Harvard University-Washington DC, page 418.
  57. ^ Irfan Shahîd, Byzantium and the Arabs in the Fourth Century, Dumbarton Oaks Trustees for Harvard University-Washington DC, Page: 452
  58. ^ A. Amin & A. Harun, Sharh Diwan Al-Hamasa (Cairo, 1951), Vol. 1, Pages: 478-480
  59. ^ Al-Marzubani, Mu'jam Ash-Shu'araa, Page: 302
  60. ^ William Montgomery Watt, Islam and Christianity today: A Contribution to DialogueRoutledge, 1983, p.45
  61. ^ Islam in Luce López Baralt, Spanish Literature: From the Middle Ages to the Present, Brill, 1992, p.25
  62. ^ F. E. Peters, The Monotheists: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conflict and CompetitionPrinceton University Press, p.12
  63. ^ Example: Usage of the word "Allah" from Matthew 22:32 in Indonesian bible versions (parallel view) as old as 1733
  64. ^ The Indonesian Language: Its History and Role in Modern Society Sneddon, James M.; University of New South Wales Press; 2004
  65. ^ The History of Christianity in India from the Commencement of the Christian Era: Hough, James; Adamant Media Corporation; 2001
  66. ^ Justus Heurnius, Albert Ruyl, Caspar Wiltens. "Vocabularium ofte Woordenboeck nae ordre van den alphabeth, in 't Duytsch en Maleys". 1650:65
  67. ^ Barton, John (2002–12). The Biblical World, Oxford, UK: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-27574-3.
  68. ^ North, Eric McCoy; Eugene Albert Nida ((2nd Edition) 1972). The Book of a Thousand Tongues, London: United Bible Societies.
  69. ^ (Indonesian) Biography of Ruyl
  70. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica: Albert Cornelius Ruyl
  71. ^ "Zebed Inscription: A Pre-Islamic Trilingual Inscription In Greek, Syriac & Arabic From 512 CE". Islamic Awareness. 17 March 2005.
  72. ^ The Unicode Consortium. FAQ - Middle East Scripts

In pre-Islamic Arabia, Allah was used by Meccans as a reference to the creator-god, possibly the supreme deity.[21] Allah was not considered the sole divinity; however, Allah was considered the creator of the world and the giver of rain. The notion of the term may have been vague in the Meccan religion.[8] Allah was associated with companions, whom pre-Islamic Arabs considered as subordinate deities. Meccans held that a kind of kinship existed between Allah and the jinn.[22] Allah was thought to have had sons[23] and that the local deities of al-‘UzzáManāt and al-Lāt were His daughters.[24] The Meccans possibly associated angels with Allah.[25][26] Allah was invoked in times of distress.[26][27] Muhammad's father's name was ‘Abd Allāh meaning 'the slave of Allāh'.[26]
Many inscriptions containing the name Allah have been discovered in Northern and Southern Arabia as early as the 5th century B.C., including Lihyanitic, Thamudic and South Arabian inscriptions.[28][29][30][31]
The name Allah or Alla was found in the Epic of Atrahasis engraved on several tablets dating back to around 1700 BC in Babylon, which showed that he was being worshipped as a high deity among other gods who were considered to be his brothers but taking orders from him.[32]
Dumuzid the Shepherd, a king of the 1st Dynasty of Uruk named on the Sumerian King List, was later over-venerated so that people started associating him with "Alla" and the Babylonian god Tammuz.[33]


The name Allah was used by Nabataeans in compound names, such as "Abd Allah" (The Servant/Slave of Allah), "Aush Allah" (The Faith of Allah), "Amat Allah" (The She-Servant of Allah), "Hab Allah" (Beloved of Allah), "Han Allah" (Allah is gracious), "Shalm Allah" (Peace of Allah), while the name "Wahab Allah" (The Gift of Allah) was found throughout the entire region of the Nabataeankingdom.[34][35]
From Nabataean inscriptions, Allah seems to have been regarded as a "High and Main God", while other deities were considered to be mediators before Allah and of a second status, which was the same case of the worshipers at the Kaaba temple at Mecca.[36]