The Word “Allah” is made up of two elements in the original Arabic:
“Al” + “Ilah”
In Arabic it is: ال+إله
And the word Ilah (إله) is linked to a verb that has been known since even the ancient Sumerian times as such: أَلَه / يأله. Syed Ahmed Al Hasan’s book Atheism Delusion also explains how the first human civilisation on earth regarded their holy individuals as gods, to whom they turned to fulfil their needs.
Hence, the verb أَلَه / يأله means “to need or want something” and is used in the context of Allah to articulate that He is the One whom we all need to fulfil our spiritual and physical requirements and correct our failings and inadequacies.
The following excerpt is taken from Kitab Al Tawhid, by Syed Ahmed Al Hasan as (p. 38) that explains how the word was derived and how it is used to understand the Creator.
Godliness (uloohiyyah) includes one who yearns for someone else, to remove their imperfections and complete their needs. So the name of Allah was derived from god (ilah):
[Hisham b. Al Hakam narrates that he asked Abu Abdillah (Imam Ja’far as) about the Allah’s names and the derivation of Allah – what was it derived from? He (pbuh) said, “Oh Hisham, Allah (the God) was derived from Ilah (god) and ilah (a god) results in a ma’looh (you could say god-ed, or someone who needs the god), but the name is not the same as the named one, so whoever served the name, and not the meaning he has disbelieved (kufr), and whoever served the name and the meaning he has ascribed a partner (shirk) and has served two, and whoever has served the meaning but not the name then that is tawheed (oneness of Allah). Have you understood oh Hisham?”.
Hisham said ,”Please give me more”.
He said, “Allah has ninety nine names so had a name been the named one Himself then every name would have been a god, but the word Allah is a meaning which is indicate by these names and everyone is something other than He. Oh Hisham ‘bread’ is a name for that which is eaten, ‘water’ is a name for that which is drunk, ‘clothing’ is a name for that this is worn, ‘fire’ is a name for that which burns … oh Hisham have you understood in a way that you can defend against our enemies and defeat them, those who take others along with Allah (be He glorified and mighty).”
I (Hisham) said, “Yes.”
He said, “May Allah benefit you and make you steadfast, oh Hisham”
He (Hisham) said, “By Allah, since that time onwards, none was able to defeat me in the matter of tawheed.”]
Al Kafi: vol. 1, p 87, h 2
مقتبس من كتاب التوحيد, من السيد أحمد الحسن- ص. 3
والألوهية كذلك تشمل من يأله له غيره ليسد النقص والاحتياج الموجود في ساحته فاسم الله مشتق () من إله ، ( عَنْ هِشَامِ بْنِ الْحَكَمِ أَنَّهُ سَأَلَ أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ (عليه السلام) عَنْ أَسْمَاءِ اللَّهِ وَاشْتِقَاقِهَا اللَّهُ مِمَّا هُوَ مُشْتَقٌّ ، فَقَالَ (عليه السلام) : يَا هِشَامُ ، اللَّهُ مُشْتَقٌّ مِنْ إِلَهٍ وَإِلَهٌ يَقْتَضِي مَأْلُوهاً وَالِاسْمُ غَيْرُ الْمُسَمَّى ، فَمَنْ عَبَدَ الِاسْمَ دُونَ الْمَعْنَى فَقَدْ كَفَرَ وَلَمْ يَعْبُدْ شَيْئاً ، وَمَنْ عَبَدَ الِاسْمَ وَالْمَعْنَى فَقَدْ أَشْرَكَ وَ عَبَدَ اثْنَيْنِ ، وَمَنْ عَبَدَ الْمَعْنَى دُونَ الِاسْمِ فَذَاكَ التَّوْحِيدُ ، أَفَهِمْتَ يَا هِشَامُ ؟ قَـالَ : قُلْتُ : زِدْنِي ، قَالَ : لِلَّهِ تِسْعَةٌ وَتِسْعُونَ اسْماً فَلَوْ كَانَ الِاسْمُ هُوَ الْمُسَمَّى لَكَانَ كُلُّ اسْمٍ مِنْهَا إِلَهاً وَلَكِنَّ اللَّهَ مَعْنًى يُدَلُّ عَلَيْهِ بِهَذِهِ الْأَسْمَاءِ وَكُلُّهَا غَيْرُهُ ، يَا هِشَامُ الْخُبْزُ اسْمٌ لِلْمَأْكُولِ وَالْمَاءُ اسْمٌ لِلْمَشْرُوبِ وَالثَّوْبُ اسْمٌ لِلْمَلْبُوسِ وَالنَّارُ اسْمٌ لِلْمُحْرِقِ ، أَ فَهِمْتَ يَا هِشَامُ فَهْماً تَدْفَعُ بِهِ وَتُنَاضِلُ بِهِ أَعْدَاءَنَا الْمُتَّخِذِينَ مَعَ اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ غَيْرَهُ ، قُلْتُ : نَعَمْ ، فَقَـالَ : نَفَعَكَ اللَّهُ بِهِ وَثَبَّتَكَ يَا هِشَامُ ، قَالَ : فَوَ اللَّهِ مَا قَهَرَنِي أَحَدٌ فِي التَّوْحِيدِ حَتَّى قُمْتُ مَقَامِي هَذَا ) ()
الكافي : ج1 ص87 ح2
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