Saturday, January 30, 2016

It Makes Sense To Call It The Abrahamic Religion. Singular, Not Plural

I know that some of you know all of the following. Indeed, I'm sure that some of you know a lot more about all of this than I. Indulge me while I educate the Great Unwashed.

What I'm suggesting here is that Judaism, Christianity and Islam are one religion, not three. Three religions which agree on the basics and squabble over some details.

Jews and Christians (usually) have no problem seeing that they worship the same God. But some of them seem to get tripped trying to wrap their minds around the concept that Allah is the same God. I don't know whether Muslims suffer from the same confusion at all.

Allah and the Biblical God are one and the same, in fact. In plain and obvious fact. "Allah" is just Arabic for "God." Arabic-speaking Christians (there are currently over a million of them) refer to God as Allah. "Allah" is the Arabic version of the Hebrew "Elohim." (Arabic and Hebrew are closely related. "Salaam" = "shalom.") Some well-known Arabic phrases which are usually translated into English these days as "praise Allah" and "Allah is merciful" have sometimes been translated as "praise God" and "God is merciful," which makes much more sense to me, since that makes it much more plain to see that Jews, Christians and Muslims are all talking about the same God, and especially as we English-speakers have been translating "Elohim" all along as "God."

But you know, this entire post is only going to be of interest to people who actually want to understand what others are talking about. And I know that's not everybody.

I don't know whether this little linguistic difficulty is more or less of a problem in languages besides English. I would guess: even more of a problem in some languages than in English, and less in others. But I'm just guessing.

Jibril is Gabriel, Ibram is Abraham, Yusuf is Joseph, Musa is Moses, Harun is Aaron (Harun al-Rashid was a late-8th-century and early-9yh-century Caliph), Dawud is David, Suleiman is Solomon (Suleiman the Magnificent was a 16th-century Ottoman Sultan. I had thought that "Salman" was another version of the name "Solomon," but evidently I was mistaken about that), Ishiya is Isaiah, Irmiya is Jeremiah, Daniyal is Daniel, Isa is Jesus.

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