It seems that almost every time the topic of Islam comes up I hear some total ignoramus repeat something to the effect that, "Allah is the same god for the Jews, Christians and Muslims". When you come across this lie, you can be assured of two facts:
- The person you are talking to is ignorant of the historic realities of Islam.
- That person knows even less about Christianity and Judaism.
There is a tendency in our times to view religion as an evolving concept. This is a biblically inaccurate concept, but it is popular today both in the religious and secular worlds. Because the evolutionary view of religion is a popularly accepted concept, people don't seem to question it when it comes up.
The idea that Christianity is an evolution of Judaism is totally false. Christianity did not evolve from Judaism. Judaism was the vessel for bringing Christianity to the world. When the book of Acts records that the Berean's were more noble because they studied the scriptures daily, its not talking about the "Christian Scriptures" or what we call the New Testament. The scriptures it is talking about is what we call the "Old Testament". What they had is the translation of the Hebrew text into Greek. This work is known as the Septuagint, or LXX. The LXX translation was made about 300 years before the birth of Christ in the City of Alexandra, Egypt. The information that those noble Bereans were looking up, were prophecies concerning the identity of the Messiah. Incidentally, the New Testament books of Romans and Hebrews were written as a logical defense for the idea that God had always intended for a Messiah for all of man, not just the Jews.
Christianity started out in Jerusalem, with only Jewish believers. As it grew the pagan Romans were tolerant of the group because they thought of Christians as "just another kind of Jew". When persecution against the church begins, it is the Jews, who can't stand the idea of the gentiles being included, who start it. A system of legal government backed persecution of Christians begins in the mid 1st century and continues until 313 when Constantine legalizes the Christian religion.
According to Islamic tradition Muhammad began his "prophetic" ministry around the year 610 AD. By this time Christianity had become the dominant religion in the Mediterranean world. Muhammad, due to his wife's trading business, enjoyed wealth and leisure time and started proclaiming that "god was talking to him". At first Muhammad tried to convert Christians and Jews to believe in his "revelations". Being better read and more biblically literate than Americans, they rejected him and his "new religion".
So who is this Allah of Mohamed? That of course depends on what was most expedient to Mohamed on whatever day you happened to ask him the question. The oldest middle eastern reference to Allah is, not surprisingly found in the home of the occult, Babylon. This reference is found in the Epic of Atrahasis chiseled on tablets dating to around 1700 BC. In that case he is described as a god of "violence and revolution". He was the first "hater" of the patron god and encouraged the other "lessor gods" to fight and do battle against the "greater god".
At other times, like when Mohammed was first getting started in Mecca "Allah" was the name given for all 300 of the local deities. This is the basis for Salman Rushdie's book, The Satanic Verses. Most semi educated people are aware of the fact that "Allah" is also commonly used to refer to a deity that depending on the nomadic group in question was either a moon deity or a deity associated with the planet Venus. Some scholars have even put forth that Allah is a Arabic reconstruction of the Egyptian Osiris cult. For those interested in a more scholarly explanation, here is a link. Here is a even better link.
It's very hard to tell who exactly this Allah of Mohamed's really is. Let's go to the Quran. According to the 109th Surah of the Qur’an, Muhammad and the unbelievers did not worship the same Being:
Say: O disbelievers! I worship not that which ye worship; Nor worship ye that which I worship. And I shall not worship that which ye worship. Nor will ye worship that which I worship. Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion. S. 109:1-6According to the Quran the god Allah is the great deceiver.
But they (the Jews) were deceptive, and Allah was deceptive, for Allah is the best of deceivers! S. 3:54; cf. 8:30Despite the fact that modern translators often translate the Hebrew word "El" as the English equitant "God" or "Allah" when translating into Aramaic, the word "Allah" should be understood as "god", notice the small "g" in most usages, unless specifically identifying the deity YHWH. Also, there are several verses in biblical text that identify the personage of God. I didn't get into those because Islam itself teaches that Allah and God are not the same deity. At best according to Islam, Allah is one of, or all, of the gods in ancient Aramaic pantheon. At worst he is the spiritual being known to Jews and Christians as Satan. Under no circumstances, despite protests to the contrary, is Allah the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Again according to Islam, Allah had no son. Jesus can't according to Islam be the "Son of God". By definition for Christians, Allah is not God the Father.