Can Allah be the Father God?
Exclusivist monotheist faiths teach that there is only one way to the heaven and, of course, it is theirs own. Exclusivists claim non-believers will get the “hell of fire” or will not be “saved.” Such intolerant teachings about other faiths create many problems in interfaith relationships.
Allah literally means god in the Arabic language. In that respect, yes, Allah can be the Father God as described by Christians, or Isvar as described by Hindus. However, recently in Malaysia, there were protests by Muslims against using the word Allah to describe the Christian God. Likewise, Reverend Franklin Graham recently clarified that “Muslims do not worship the same God the Father I worship.” Further, he stated: “I don’t believe that you can get to heaven through a Buddhist or Hindu. I think Muhammad only leads to the grave.” These intolerant statements from faith leaders clearly show that this fight is not about the literary meaning of the word “Allah,” but about the exclusivist thinking behind their dogma that only through their own version of the faith can one achieve salvation.
Where did this exclusivist thinking originate from? All three Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) accept the teachings of the “Ten Commandments”. It states, “I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God punishing children for the inequity of parents, to the third and fourth generations of those who reject me.” Successive Abrahamic scriptures have tried to perfect this jealous God’s messages.
Christians believe that Jesus is the only son of God and that faith in Jesus is the only way to achieve salvation and to enter heaven. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” However, quite contrary to that belief, Koran teaches to have faith only in Allah. According to Koran: Jesus, the son of Mary, was no more than God’s apostle4:171. Allah forbids that He Himself should beget a son!19:34. Further, those who say: “the Lord of Mercy has begotten a son” preach a monstrous falsehood19:88. Unbelievers are those that say: “God is the Messiah, the son of Mary”5:70 and “God is one of three” 5:72. Unbelievers will get “Hell of Fire.” Further, Allah said: believers, take neither Jews nor the Christians for your friends.5:51
How come Mohammad, Jesus and other apostles interpreted THE GOD’s direct message differently? Alternatively, are Allah, the Father God and Isvar different Gods? For an exclusivist monotheist this is a very difficult question to address; a pluralist probably doesn’t care for it and an atheist may simply smile at this discussion.
The monotheist concept creates a major issue for an interfaith Abrahamic couple. Let’s take a Christian-Muslim couple, for example. As per the Shahadah (oath) to convert to Islam before the Nikaah (the Islamic wedding), one must accept and declare that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his apostle. Further, one acknowledges that associating others (like Jesus) with Allah is the greatest of all sins. Similarly, baptism before a church wedding means conversion to Christianity and a commitment to repudiate former practices (of Islam) and to live with Christ forever. There is no widely accepted middle ground for a Christian-Muslim couple.
A pluralist Hindu, who believes that all faiths can lead to Eternal Life, will not have a problem accepting Allah and the Father God as different names and forms of the One Supreme called “Isvar” by Hindus. However, a Christian-Muslim couple wishing to have a modicum of equality in their relationship may have major problem resolving the fundamental question: is Jesus the son of God and the Savior, or just an apostle?
Conflicting religious scriptures certainly create a major problem for an interfaith couple. The BBS (Baptism, Bris, or Shahadah/Sunat) religous labeling is the most fundamental core practices of believers of Abrahamic faiths. It help clerify significantly which camp one belongs to. In a monotheist intolerant concept, a clear decision has to be made: are you with us, or are you a non-believer? Like, is it black or white? A child of an interfaith couple can have only one of three choices: Sunat, Baptism or Bris circumcision. The all- inclusive polytheist thinking has no place in an Abrahamic’s life; i.e., you cannot have two of the BBS rituals, like SUN+BAP, or BRI+NAT ritual!!
Can a child be taught that Allah is the same as the Father God or Isvar? Most Abrahamics believe that a child cannot be raised in two faiths because the child will get confused and loose interest in both faiths. In a Hindu-Abrahamic marriage, can the couple take their child to a Hindu temple every Saturday for murti puja (idol worship?) of multiple Gods and Goddess and on Sunday to a monotheist Church? How will they manage such fundamental conflicting beliefs, and justify it to their Abrahamic family and church members? The issue posed here confronts mainly the monotheist Abrahamic partner, not the all-inclusive pluralist Hindu partner. Most Hindus are probably okay happily singing “Isvar Allah tero nam” meaning both Isvar and Allah are equally valid names of One God.
The monotheist concept that “my way is the only way” is an exclusivist, supremacist, fundamentalist interpretation of religious scriptures. Suhag Shukla have stated, “(Reverend Franklin) Graham fails to recognize the role that his brand of narrow-minded Christianity as well as other fundamentalist interpretations of the world’s religions have played in not only many of our nation’s problems but those of the world, including terrorism, wars, violation of civil rights, human rights, atrocities and annihilation of entire cultures and communities.”
Only when a pluralistic thinking that Allah, the Father God and Isvar are all equally valid names of One God, prevails in the world, can peace and harmony among different faiths and communities be established.
Sept 11, 2010
Other articles written by InterfaithShaadi:
Bar Mitzvah for Hindus?,
Torah on Hindus?,
Koran on Hindus?,
Bible on Hindus?,
Hindus, Abrahamics and Intolerants,
Can Allah be the Father God?,
A Jealous and Angry God,
One God, Allah?,
Idol Worshippers: Who is and Who is Not,
Circumcision: Science or Superstition? ,
Saif and Kareena: Religion and Marriage,
Religious Conversion for Marriage,
Ten Points of Interfaith Dating ,
FAQ on Interfaith Marriage,
45% of Muslims Marry outside their faith,
38% of Hindus marry Abrahamics,
Interfaith Marriages: A Message to Dharmics,
Hindu girl/boy, Muslim girl/boy,
Meera Verses Margaret,
Follow Jesus not the church