Why Do Copts Say Allah?

Hello, brothers and sisters!

I always ask myself why Egyptian Copts call "God" "Allah"? As they are always there in Egypt -- before Islam.



  • Good question... I've thought that at times...

    idk tho...
  • Allah is God in arabic, the muslims have just taken it as a name to their God, but Allah means God, so islam, takes the word Allah and says it is the name of their God, which distorts it in everyones name and it makes it seem like almost a bad word when it really means God.
  • Allah simply means God in Arabic. The French call Him Dieu, the Italians Dio etc etc. Since Coptics speak Arabic now, they say Allah.
  • Allah was a Pagan god... when Arabic became enforced to be spoken, they started translating a lot of the Coptic into Arabic, so that we may not erase our history, hymns, and etc... so when they began to search for a word to use for "God" they just used the Arabic word "Allah"

    akhadna el baraka... nehkor Allah!
  • superman is right.. Allah was a Pagan god.. and when they had to translate the Bible, they places the word allah for God.. but its wrong..
  • How did Copts use to call "GOD" before the arrival of Islam?
  • Its the word [coptic]eVnou][/coptic]
  • Thank you all! But, do Copts still use the word eVnou for God in private or in churches? Don't they prefer eVnou to Allah?
  • Both terms are used with equal respect. Depending on whether we are praying in coptic or arabic, we use both terms...

    Allah, in my experience, doesn't have any negative anotation when used nowadays, it's simply the word we use when we pray to God in Arabic!

  • The main concept is the true intended meaning of the word. our God is "GOD".
    The word "Allah/e-lah" means "God/a god" in english....as explained before.

    what makes the word special is the way it's written. to confirm that this is our true GOD, we capitalize the "G". to Islam, they just choose to make up a new word, from the arabic, with the name. which i guess is fine to their concept of "no heaven if not reading arabic quran"
  • [quote author=Melchoir link=topic=7480.msg98844#msg98844 date=1230547012]
    Thank you all! But, do Copts still use the word eVnou for God in private or in churches? Don't they prefer eVnou to Allah?

    No. They grew up saying Allah. I don't think you would find them saying "al hamd ul efnoti!" or "in sha efnoti".

    Get what I'm saying?
  • also i have to include that reading "coptic" is not a requirement of our faith. Our God is known, believed in , with what He is, what He did; does; will do, and his truthful promises that were fulfilled and will be soon.
  • [i]Thanks, guys! Very interesting! Semantically or phonetically speaking, perhaps the name Allah,  may not have any particular significance. But, I think, spiritually speaking, there should be some relevance to the implication of a particular God, on one side, when an Egyptian Copt, or a Maltese Catholic, as Christians speak of Allah,  and, on the other side, a Saudi or Yemeni say Allah... What do you think? To bring up the Ethiopia case. Muslims came to Ethiopia hundred of years later, and they all speak different indigeneous Ethiopian languages. Inspite of it, they all the Moslems in Ethiopia adopted the Arabic word "Allah". Of course, the Christians of Ethiopia will never say "Allah". They don't even think it's the God of Abraham, Isaak and Jacob.[/i]
  • Allah = God

    Allah in the Muslim faith = God the Father (God of the Old Testament)

    The words God, Allah, Yahweh, Jehovah, etc., all refer to God of the Old Testament (Who's technical name is Elohim).

    The faith does not make a difference - 'Allah' refers to the same entity no matter what.
  • i agree

    Allah does mean God..Not Jesus but teh word god. 

  • Most cultures believe in a Supreme God, very like the Christian understanding of God. We see that in human history that we can trace from Monotheism to Polytheism. That would be about right, with the Genesis story- that we have a common history with the rest of humanity, and from our wickedness we have distorted the conception of God when we failed to be in communion with Him.

    In China, when Jesuit missionaries arrived in Beijing at the end of the 16th century ( ie. late 1500s), they used an old Chinese term for 'Supreme Being, Tian-zhu. Tian means 'Heaven' and zhu means ' Lord'- thus, they worshiped 'the Lord of Heaven'

    Others used Shang Di. Christianity spread quite quickly, especially since emperor Kang Xi recognised the Name, and believed it was the original God the founders of China had worshipped.

    However, the Pope of Rome, did not agree with the use of the word, and that I will ask you to trace what happened. On the plaque over a Catholic Church, is. another word for God. "True Source of All Things'.

    Since God just is Who He is, all names will fail. We should not imagine that any one word be fetting. But this demonstrates that Names sometimes can point to the world an eternal truth- a truth widespread, but is understood in completeness in Christ.

    (This is a summary of a chapter from Marshall's book, 'The Truth Behind the New Atheism'.

    In Christ.
  • Warmest greetings and Happy New 2009!

    The following NEWS is kind of strange and interesting:


    Malaysia lifts ban on Catholic paper's Malay edition, but bars it from using word 'Allah'

    8:10 AM CST, January 8, 2009

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia will lift a ban on the Malay edition of a Catholic newspaper if it agrees to stop using the word "Allah," an official said Thursday, but the editor of the paper rejected the precondition.

    The Home Ministry ordered the Herald newspaper last week to stop printing its Malay edition for violating a 2007 ban on the use of the word "Allah," except to refer to the Muslim God. The newspaper had been using "Allah" as a translation for God, regardless of denomination, as is typical in Malay.

    The dispute has become a touchstone for recent religious tensions in Malaysia, which is predominantly Muslim but prides itself on its ethnic harmony.

    The government agreed Thursday to lift the ban. "If they stop printing the word 'Allah,' they can publish anytime," Che Din Yusoh, a senior official with the ministry's publications control unit, told The Associated Press.

    But the editor of the Herald, the country's main Roman Catholic newspaper, said he will continue to use "Allah," raising the possibility of a fresh confrontation.

    The Herald's English, Mandarin and Tamil editions — read mostly by the ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities — were not affected by the ban. Malay is the language of the majority Malay Muslims as well as indigenous Christian tribes in the eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak.

    The Herald has challenged the "Allah" ban in court, saying the translation has been used for centuries in Malay and that the Arabic word is a common reference to God that predates Islam. It says the ban is unconstitutional and threatens the religious freedom of minorities. The government, meanwhile, says the use of the word by non-Muslims could confuse Muslims.

    The court has not yet issued a ruling.

    Herald editor Rev. Lawrence Andrew told the AP that the government has no right to impose preconditions.

    "They cannot do it because it is in the court. It is our right ... to use the word Allah," he said, adding that he hopes the government will not change its mind now that he has said he intends to flout the condition.

    Andrew had said earlier Thursday that he would stop using the word "Allah" but changed his position after talking to his lawyer.

    The Herald has long been at odds with the government, which has accused it of overstepping its boundaries by commenting on politics and other sensitive issues.
  • it could intrested some of you. In Maltese language God is Alla :) They use latin script  but their language is semitic orgin. Mother of God in Maltese is Omm Alla.

    http://mt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingwa_Maltija somebody says it is similar to Arabic
  • yea the word "Allah" now refers to God, but it would be of interest to some of you to know that "Allah" was actually one of the many pagan gods of pre-islamic arabia !!! The Arabs actually used to have a different god for every day of the year 360 gods ( because they used 360 days for a year back then) and Allah was one of them.
  • [quote author=clay link=topic=7480.msg99195#msg99195 date=1231657537]...Since God just is Who He is, all names will fail. We should not imagine that any one word be fetting. But this demonstrates that Names sometimes can point to the world an eternal truth- a truth widespread, but is understood in completeness in Christ. ...

    I think this is a great point that hits at the heart of this question.  Another point is that the act of naming something or someone is a means of demonstrating dominance over that thing or person.  One of the central reasons supposed that Our God chose to have no name, He just is.  The word "Allah" has pagan origins, so does the word "God", and "El" et. al.

    The difficulty here is that we have it so ingrained in our minds to use names to refer to things that it is hard to even think about something without having assigned a name to it.  We use words to refer to the Almighty because we have no other way of talking about him.  We just need to remember that the word we use is not his name.

    I think it is of ultimate importance for us to select words that are not tainted by anything.  I'm sure anyone would agree that using unsanctified words is out of the question . . .  We wouldn't want to refer to Him as "The Big G" right?  . . .  Just as important, I think our word choice shouldn't be tainted by our distaste for other people.  If we specifically avoid the word "Allah" just to be separated from Islam, I think our word choice is tainted by hatred.  If Islam comes to mind when praying to God we ought to pray for their health and well being just like when anyone else comes to mind.  At the same time if our word choice invariably tainted, if we think of the associated Pagan god when we say "Allah" then maybe another choice is in order.

  • Thank you all for your efforts! I still don't get why they had to change the Coptic name and adopt the Arabic one.
  • [quote author=Melchoir link=topic=7480.msg100954#msg100954 date=1236956068]
    Thank you all for your efforts! I still don't get why they had to change the Coptic name and adopt the Arabic one.

    Huh??  ???

    1. God doesn't have a name.  "God" is a generic word we use to refer to him, so is "Allah", so is "Elohim", so is "Bathala" (says the Spanish missionaries in the phillipines)  ;)

    2. Who changed the Coptic word?  When singing/praying in Coptic we use the Coptic word; when singing/praying in Arabic we use the Arabic word; When singing/praying in English we use the English word; When singing/praying in Tagalog we use the Tagalog word; etc...

  • Hi all!

    Please allow me to bring back this theme. It is amazing how the world is blind to go on tolerating such an apartheide society like in Malaysia. Please read below. Why do Christians over there insist on using "Allah" for God? Can't they just use, "Jehovah" "Elohim" or "El-Shaddai"?

    More Than 15,000 Bibles Confiscated in Malaysia

  • This topic is irrelevent , one can argue the word god came from gott (in german0 whome they worshiped pegan gods..

    yes the pegan arabs did worship an ido called allat  , even muhammads fathers real full name was Abd-Allat , the Servent of Allat , and Allat had 2 daughter 3oza and 3ola or whatever.

    Today we do use Allah but it refers to the God of Abraham Ellohim.  The muslims allah is not the same God as the Christian and Jewish God... at all! dont let muslims fool you, the Quran is clear and the god of the Quran reject Christ as son so he is not God the Father as some people said.
  • The "name doesn't matter" argument is, I believe, very dangerous. Allah may mean some thing that we don't know. Ofcourse there are many arguments that it refers to a moon god that Mohammed's families and his tribes worshipped. Why do we need to give that name to the Biblical God? There are many names He gave us to call Him. Adonay, Elshaday, Haleloha, Father Son and Holy Spirit (Trinity) and so on... We worship the God that is worhipped in Trinity. We don't worship "Allah" which is a single entity. And we don't have a God that is a single entity. That is not the way He wants us to know Him. Had it been so, He wouldn't have revealed Himself to Abraham in the form of three men; or He wouldn't have appeared in Sound, Dove and Human form arround river Jordan.

    It is good to use "trinity" as the name of God. In the Ethiopian Church, we use "Egziabher" to refer to the biblical God. That is a name that refers to Unity and Trinity as well as God's saving grace.

    Egzi = meand Lord (God the Son)
    Ab = means Father (God the father)
    Her = means compassionate, comfortor (God the Holy Spirit)

    Again -

    Egzia - means savior, liberator
    bher - means the world

    In that case, it refers to Jesus Christ- the Savior of the World.


    Egzi - means leader, ruler
    a - means "of"
    bher-  means land or world

    It refers to His Kingdom, His kingship.

    We can continue drawing out meanings from this wonderful word.

    There is no way that this name refers to any other God than the biblical one. Muslims in Ethiopia sometimes use the word Egziabher. But Christians never use the word "Allah"- because it doesn't explicitly and unambigously refer to the Lord.

    My suggestion = Use this word!! :))

    It is such an amazing word!!
  • we say Allah when we pray in arabic, we say Efnouti when we pray in coptic, we say Theos when we pray in greek and God when we pray in english.
    when we will be smart enought to pray in amharic, we will say Ezgiabher!
    God relates to everyone in all the world without removing them from their culture or language. none of my muslim friends mistake me for a muslim, nor are they confused when i say Allah when speaking arabic, they know the differences between our religions, indeed, this is something we easily discuss.
    i think the malaysians should be allowed to use the term allah when speaking malay, it is their language, and they should not think it's a problem that the language has been influenced so much by arabic. after all arabic is similar to aramaic and hebrew, which are the languages Jesus knew when on earth. if you see 'the passion of the Christ' in aramaic, (with an arabic-speaker if you are not one), you will see the great similarities to arabic.
  • I don't see what is the big deal people. the word "god" refers to a being that is worship. WE, being Christian, we specify that "god" to be "GOD" the ultimate Almighty/Pantocrator, THE BEING who is like no other...

    The important differentiation here is WHAT IS THAT GOD WE ARE TALKING ABOUT?!.....and that is the difference between almost all religions. A religion is the belief of the laws that are between Mankind and "god." Our faith knows that God (of course not as much but atleast better than many many other religions).

    Some Christian philosophers think that Islam have the same God....ALLAH, simple because the whole religion is of the Jewish God, who is also our God as Christians. But their understanding of that God is different.

  • Thanks guys for your responses. Great suplementary information from Sheba. But, devote Muslims in Ethiopia never use the word „Egziabher“ for God. If they want to use it they change the phonetical sound to differ from Christians, or write it down in a slightly different Ethiopic script. It's strange that Arab Christians use „Allah“ and Ethiopian Muslims hesitate to use the Ethiopian name for God, Egziabher. Mind you, many were islamized by the sword, and don't even understand the Arabic book of the Quran. Besides, they live as minorities writing in the Ethiopic language  from left to write

    The god of the Quran and the God of the bible are completely different. Allah being contrived from AI-Llah the moon god. I wonder if there is any philological relationship between Allah and other Semitic terms for "God" such as Eloah (Hebrew) and Alaha (Aramaic/Syriac)?
  • In case you haven't seen this, please try to follow the reactions to the Malaysian "Allah" case....


  • I think God knows who we are adressing to in our prayers .He knows what is in the heart of men and that is what makes him GOD.I use to regularly attend a coptic church in my area and after a few weeks I got used to the word "allah" .Anyway it is sad that the malaysians have to go through this .God be with them .
Sign In or Register to comment.