Is it permissible to use the word "God" instead of Allah? Is it permissible to address Allah as "My God"?

Details of the Question
Is it permissible to use the word "God" instead of Allah? Is it permissible to address Allah as "My God"?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

“Allah” is the proper noun/name of Allah. “Allah” is mentioned more than 2800 times in the Quran including basmalas.

The following verse in the chapter of al-Ikhlas states clearly that Allah gave Himself this name:

“Say: He is Allah the One and Only.”

It is indicated in the following verse that there is no difference between Allah and the name Rahman and that both names are proper nouns belonging to Him.

“Call upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him (it is well): for to Him belong the Most Beautiful Names.”(al-Isra, 17/110)

There are some scholars who say the name Allah is derived from “ALH” or “WLH” but according to Imam Shafii and many great scholars, it is not derived from any words; it is a proper noun used only for Allah.

Deity means a being that is worshipped. This word is used for both wrong gods/idols and Allah, who is the real being that is worshipped. The phrase“La ilaha illallah” includes both issues. However, when we want to mention the Creator with a name that will remind us all of His attributes, not with the attribute of being the worshipped one only, we use the name Allah. For, this name includes all of them.

The words deity and god cannot replace “Allah”. Therefore, the words “god” and “deity” can be changed interchangeably.

The following is stated in a verse:

"The most beautiful names belong to Allah: so call on Him by them…"(al-A'raf, 7/180)

The verse indicates that Allah Almighty has many beautiful names. These lofty names that include beautiful and divine meanings are called "asma al-husna (beautiful names)". Some of these divine names are as follows:

"Wahid (the One), Awwal (the First), Akhir (the Last), Zahir (the Manifest One), Bari (the Maker of Order), Musawwir (the Shaper of Beauty), Rahman (the All-Compassionate), Rahim (the All-Merciful), Hayy (the Ever-Living One), Qayyum (the Self-Existing One), Halim (the Forbearing), Karim (the Generous), Tawwab (the Guide to Repentance), Razzaq (the Sustainer), Muhyi (the Giver of Life), Mumit (the Taker of Life)."

Not all names of Allah Almighty are known certainly. Some scholars say there are about one thousand names of Allah. As a matter of fact, the Prophet (pbuh) prays to Allah with one thousand and one names and attributes in his special prayer called Jawshan al-Kabir. Some other scholars hold the view that there are about four thousand names of Allah. Only Allah Almighty knows most of these names. Angels know some of them; angels and prophets know some of them; and believers know the ones that they learned from the Prophet (pbuh).

In the hadiths reported in hadith books like Ibn Majah and Tirmidhi about asma al-husna, the Prophet (pbuh) mentions these names one by one and expresses their virtues. The beginning of the hadith in which asma al-husna are listed is as follows:  

"Allah has ninety-nine names, one hundred less one, for Allah is One and loves the odd (numbered). Allah Almighty will put anyone who mentions or learns them by heart to Paradise." (Ibn Majah, Dua 10; Tirmidhi, Daawat 83)

However, it is not enough tomention or learn them by heart in order to attain this glad tiding. One should not forget to think of the lofty meanings that those divine names have and to observe their manifestations on the universe. For instance, he should know and think that Allah is Razzaq and should not be worried about sustenance. He should look for halal sustenance and be contented. To contemplate that Allah Almighty grants sustenance to not only to man but also to billions of animals from the smallest microbe to elephants, from fish as small as fingers to whales of many tons and plants in the best way without confusing and ignoring any of them is one aspect of reading the name Razzaq.

The names of Allah Almighty are divine. Most of these names are mentioned in the Quran and the others are informed to us by the Prophet (pbuh).

Since the Prophet (pbuh) informs us the names by learning them from his Lord, it is necessary to be careful while using these names for Allah Almighty. That is, Allah wants us to pray to him with the names he informed us in the Quran and through His Messenger. The verse mentioned at the beginning indicates this meaning.

It is clear that mentioning Allah using some fake names is an inappropriate deed because Allah Almighty has the name "Allah", which fills the hearts and makes the universe meaningful when it is uttered and ninety-nine blessed names and attributes. However, it is permissible to use the names that are equivalent to the name deity in different languages. The phrase "My God" can be used in the sense of "My Deity".

Accordingly, the word "god" does not substitute the word "Allah". However, a person can use the word Deity or God with the intention of Allah and meaning a creator.

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