What is Ilah?

Sculpture of a Sabaean priestess raising her hand to intercede with the sun goddess on behalf of a donor. Probably first century.


Ilāh (إله‎; plural: آلهة ʾālihah) is an Arabic term meaning “deity” or “god“. The feminine is ʾilāhah (إلاهة, meaning “goddess“); with the article, it appears as al-ʾilāhah – الإلاهة. The Arabic word for God (al-Lāh) is thought to be derived from it.1]2] ʾIlāh is cognate to Northwest Semitic ʾēl and Akkadian ilum. The word is from a Proto-Semitic archaic biliteral ʔ-L meaning “god” (possibly with a wider meaning of “strong”), which was extended to a regular triliteral by the addition of a h (as in Hebrew ʾelōahʾelōhim). The word is spelled either إله with an optional diacritic alif to mark the ā only in Qur’anic texts or (more rarely) with a full alif, إلاه.
 
The term is used throughout the Quran in passages discussing the existence of God or the beliefs in other divinities by non-Muslims. Notably, the first statement of the šahādah (the Muslim confession of faith) is “There is no god (ʾilāh) except God (al-Lāh).”

Arabian Idols

Sources

  • Georgii Wilhelmi Freytagii, Lexicon Arabico-Latinum. Librairie du Liban, Beirut, 1975.
  • J. Milton Cowan, The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic. 4th edn. Spoken Language Services, Ithaca (NY), 1979.
References
  1.  Zeki Saritoprak (2006). “Allah”. In Oliver Leaman (ed.). The Qur’an: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 34.
  2.  Vincent J. Cornell (2005). “God: God in Islam”. In Lindsay Jones (ed.). Encyclopedia of Religion5 (2nd ed.). MacMillan Reference USA. p. 724.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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