WHAT IS HIS NAME?
At the end of my public talk on the subject- "MUHAMMED (S.A.W.) the Natural Successor to CHRIST (p.b.u.h.)"* at question time a Christian Missionary posed the question: "What is His Name?"
Meaning there by as to the name of God. I stood up to answer. But before I opened my mouth, he spoke into the mike, provided for questioning, that he would answer his own question
I said, "you posed the question so the obligation is on me to reply to your question." He said, "Yes, but I will answer the question". (Laughter in the audience). He was actually begging for an opportunity to be heard. Where else on earth would he get such a large audience, and that at the Muslim's expense, to preach. I said, "Carry on!" (Give him enough rope to hand himself).
After some rambling, he concluded that the name of God was "JESUS CHRIST!".
It was not the time, at that meeting; nor is it expedient here to discuss the subject fully - IS JESUS GOD?"* It is enough, for the moment, to say that in the language of Moses, Jesus and Muhammed (Peace be upon them all) the name of GOD Almighty is ALLAH! Proof will be provided in chapter 4.
Belief in God is ingrained in the nature of man. As long as man existed on earth, the knowledge of God Almighty also co-existed. As Professor Max Fuller in his Hibbert Lectures said:
"RELIGION IS NOT A NEW INVENTION. IT IS, IF NOT AS OLD AS THE WORLD, AT LEAST AS OLD AS THE WORLD WE KNOW. THERE NEVER WAS A FALSE GOD NOR WAS THERE EVER A FALSE RELIGION, UNLESS YOU CALL A CHILD A FALSE MAN. ALL RELIGION, SO FAR AS I KNOW THEM, HAD THE SAME PURPOSE. ALL WERE LINKS IN A CHAIN WHICH CONNECTS HEAVEN AND EARTH, AND WHICH HELD, AND ALWAYS WAS HELD, BY ONE AND THE SAME HAND".
This is truly a very charitable attitude; truly Islamic. Alla subha nahu wa ta-aala (God Almighty) tells us in the Holy Qur'an.
AND THERE NEVER WAS A PEOPLE WITHOUT A WARNER HAVING
LIVED AMONG THEM (In the past). Sura Fatir 35:24
AND TO EVERY NATION THERE WAS (sent) A GUIDE. Sura Ra'd 13:7
GOD NOT PARTIAL
If God Almighty is not partial to His creatures with regard to material blessing like fresh-air, rain, sun-shine etc., Why should He has not been partial! There is no nation or language group on earth who does not know God by some name. This knowledge was given by the Creator Himself through the lips of His chosen messengers. The names of a very few of these messengers we know, the rest have been lost or clouded in superstition.
Though all theology (knowledge of God) originated with God, mankind played fast and loose with those pure and holy concepts, adding frills and adornments where no embellishments was needed - it despoiled the language. In the words of Mrs. Ellen G. White, a "prophetess" of the 7th Day Adventist
Movement, in her Bible Commentary it is said:
"LEARNED MEN HAD IN SOME INSTANCES CHANGED THE WORDS, THINKING THAT THEY WERE MAKING IT PLAIN, WHEN IN REALITY THEY WERE MYSTIFYING THAT WHICH WAS
In the Religious Annals of the world, the Jewish and Christian Scriptures called the Holy Bible abound with graphic examples of portraying God after man's own pattern:
IMPERFECT DISCRIPTIONS OF GOD LIKE A MAN
"And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded."
MOSES SEES GOD'S BACK PARTS?
"And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen".
WRESTLES WITH JACOB
"And He (God) said, thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and has prevailed."
LIKE ONE DRUNK
"Then the Lord awakened as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine."
REGRETS MAKING MAN
"And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart".
SMELLS SWEET FLAVOUR
"And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in his heart..."
A CROUCHING LION
"He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who sahll stir him up?"
"And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel."
RESTED AND REFRESHED
( Exodus 31:17)
"... in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested AND WAS REFRESHED."
Out of the encyclopaedia of 73 Books of the Roman Catholics and 66 Books of the Protestants called the "BIBLE' endless number of quotations can be pulled to fill a book large than this publication to illustrate man's various imperfect descriptions of God. The above examples will suffice, I hope.
In the realm of the spirit, no nation has had as much opportunities as the children of Israel. And despite repeated warnings to the effect that:
THY GOD IS A JEALOUS GOD, HE SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GOD BEFORE HIM, NOT EVEN OF THE LIKENESS OF THE THINGS ON EARTH, OR IN THE HEAVENS ABOVE, OR IN THE WATERS BENEATH THE SEA...' (Exouds 20:3-5), they took the golden calf for worship, and again and again reverted into idolatry. Nor is the bulk of Christen dom any freer from this taint.
Visit St. Paul's Cathedral in London, or St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome and you will have very little to distinguish them from the Temple of Sommath in India. It is a question of Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee. You do not really have to go to England or Italy to verify my statement. Why not as inspection in loco to an Anglican Or a Roman Catholic Cathedral in your own home town?
In the religious terminology of the world, we will find that every "son of man" in his own way, in his own dialect has given some beautiful attributive name for the Lord of the Heavens and the Earth.
THE ZULU CONCEPT
In our own coutnry, South Africa, the Zulus, a very virile and militant people - a nation akin to the qureish of pre-Islamic Arabia - have given a name of God Almighty - uMVELINQANGI. This word when properly articulated in its own dialect, sounds, identical to the Arabic word Walla-hu-gani, meaning - "AND ALLAH IS RICH" (Bounteous). It also sounds like "ALLEGANY" of the Red Indians of North America (Remember their ALLEGENY mountain). The origin or real meaning of the word "Allegany", is not commonly known to the American people. But ask any Zulu as to who or what this uMvelingangi is and he will surely explain to you in Zulu:
"HAWU UMNIMZANI! UYENA, OINGCWELE. AKAZLI YENA, FUTHI AKAZALWANGA; FUTHI, AKUKHO LUTHO OLU FANA NAYE."
Believe me, this is almost a word for word translation of Sura Ikhlas, Chapter 112 of the Holy Quran.
SAY: HE IS ALLAH
THE ONE AND ONLY;
ALLAH, THE ETERNAL ABSOLUTE;
HE BEGETTETH NOT,
NOR IS HE BEGOTTEN:
AND THERE IS NONE
LIKE UNTO HIM. Holy Qur'an 112:1-4
Now, compare the above verse with my free translation of what the Zulu actually said:
"Oh Sir! He is a pure and holy Spirit, He does not beget and He is not begotten, and further there is nothing like Him."
Every African tribe, South of the Zambesi River, that is, in Southern Africa, have given different names to the Almighty-Tixo, Modimo, Unkulunkulu, etc., and each and every African language group will take pains to explain the same pure and holy concept as the Zulu. It is to the glory of the African nations that though they had no wirtten languages, and hence no written records, therefore not being able to recount the names of their respective prophets, yet not a single one of the tribes ever stopped down to worshipping idols or images of either of men or animals, until the White man first introduced his religion and gave the African his anthropomorphic concept of God the Father , God the Son and God the Holy Ghost, and brought the African down to bowing before the statues of Jesus, Mary, St. Christopher and so on.
Out of the dozens of African tribes inhabiting this part of the world, not a single one of them ever made "umfanegisos" (images) of their God. Yet they were capable of carving out of wood, elephants and lions, and reproducing men and women also, in caly. Besides, the Zulus also had some knowledge of metallurgy. When I questioned an old Zulu as to the reason, why the Africans did not make umfanegisos of their Gods, he replied, 'How could we make images of him (God Almighty) when we know that He is not like a man, He is not like a monkey, or an elephant or a snake: He is not like anything we can think of or imagine. He is a pure and Holy Spirit.
LIKE THE ARABS
The term, uUVELINQANGI, though well known to the Zulus, was not commonly used. Again they were like the pagan Qureish of Pre-Islamic Arabia who knew the name Allah, but passed Him by, because they felt that He was too High, too Pure, too holy to be approached, so they went for their substitutary and imaginary gods - their Al-Lats, Al-Uzzas and Al-Manats and a hundred besides. The Zulus too would not call upon uMvelinqangi directly, but he was better than the Arab of the Ayyam-ul-jahillyya (days of ignorance), because he did not got after false goods; he only invoked the spirits of his ancestors to intercede with uMvelinqangi on his behalf, exactly as the Catholics do in invoking the Virgin Mary and the Saints.
The more common term used by the Zulus for their God is uNKULUNKULU which literally means-the Greatest of the Great or the Mightiest of the Mighty (Almighty). More colloquially when taking oath, they would exclaim "iNkosi phe-Zulu!'. meaning - the Lord Above (Knows0, or the God in Heaven (knows), or Heaven knows, that I am speaking the turth. The word "Zulu" in the language of the Zulu literally means High Heaven, and they consider themselves t obe superior to the numerous other tribes of Southern Africa, being in this repect like the Querish among the dwellers of desert before Islam.
CONCEPT FROM THE EAST
The Hindi word for God Almighty is PRAMATMA. In Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, "Atma" means the soul, and "Pram-atma" meant the Great and Holy Soul, or the Holy Spirit, which is really a beautiful description of the "Father" in Heaven. The Bible says, "God is Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and truth" (John 4:21). Not in form, shape or size, but in SPIRIT.
Despite his pantheistic* interpretation of the Divinity, the name of Hindu gives the Supreme Being, in his calssical language, is OM (Aum), which means Guardian or Protector. A very suitable attribute about which the Muslim can have no misgivings.
CONCEPT FROM THE WEST
The Anglo/Saxon and the Teuton in their own and other allied european languages call their object of worship "GOD" or words of similar sound and import, i.e.
God* in English;
Got in afrikaans (the language of the descendants of the Hollandse people in South Africa);
Gott in German; and
Gudd in Danish, Swedish and Norwegian languages.
The ancient Phoenicians called their God-ALON- (not far from Allah if we could only hear it articulated) and the Canaanites ADO. The Israelites not only shared the word EL with the original people of Palestine, but borrowed the name of their chief deity - ADO and turned it not ADONAL, and everywhere the four-letter word YHWH occured in their Holy Scriptures, they read 'Adonal" instead of "Yahuwa." You will not fail to notice the resemblance between the Jewish Adonai and the heathen adonis. ADONIS was a "beautiful godling loved by Venus" in the Greek pantheon.
THE LATIN CONCEPT
In the Latin-dominated languages of Western Europe, where Latin had remained dominant in learning and diplomacy for centuries, the chief term used for God is DEUS:
Deuse in Portuguese;
Dieu in French;
Dio in Italian;
Dios in Spahish;
Dia in Scotch and Irish; and
Duw in Welsh.
Surprisingly in all the languages above, Deus and all the similar sounding words mean heaven.
Moulana Vidyarthi, in his monumental work- Muhammad in World Scriptures,"* devotes a hundred pages to the names of God in the different languages. And out of a list of 155 attributive names over 40 of them use the word "Heaven' or the 'Above," in their language in describing God. Though the Muslim chants the Asma-ul-husna (the most beautiful names), 99 as derived from the holy Qur'an with the crowning name, ALLAH; 'Heaven' is not one of those ninety-nine attributes. Symbolically, heaven may be described as the above of God, and in the words of Wordsworth in Tintern Abbery:
WHOSE DWELLING IS THE LIGHT OF SETTING SUNS, AND THE ROUND OCEAN AND THE LIVING AIR, AND IN THE BLUE SKY, AND IN THE MIND OF MAN: A MOTION AND SPIRIT THAT IMPELS ALL THINKING THINGS, ALL OBJECTS OF ALL THOUGHTS, AND ROLLS THROUGH ALL THINGS.
CONCEPT FROM BEYOND THE FAR EAST
Among all the 155 tantalising names of God in the various tongues, the one that tickled me most was- " A-T-N-A-T-U!" - and this I have adopted as a title of my book, instead of the orginal title promised - "What is His Name?' for this present publication.