In a word, YES!
Before you stop reading, before you unfriend me, before your anger gets the best of you – take a moment to read and get the facts before you do so. You may very well LEARN something that you do not know. It will help many of you, I promise!
I realize that at this moment in the post that you don’t see how, but there is a valuable lesson in this so stay with me!
Languages have different words for the word God. Here are 5 languages and their word for God:
In English = God
In Greek = Theos
In Hebrew = Elohim
In Spanish = Dios
In Arabic = Allah
These words are used to describe the God followed and for false gods as well. The religion followed by the people that speak these languages plays a major factor in how these words are used. It also plays a factor in how the words for false gods are used as well.
For illustration purposes, let’s say Rumpelstiltskin is viewed as a false god:
In English, Rumpelstiltskin would not be called God, he would be called a false god.
In Greek, Rumpelstiltskin would not be called Theos, he would be called a false theos.
In Hebrew, Rumpelstiltskin would not be called Elohim, he would be called a false elohim.
In Spanish, Rumpelstiltskin would not be called Dios, he would be called a false dios.
In Arabic, Rumpelstiltskin would not be called Allah, he would be called a false allah.
Does this mean that we all worship the same God?
In a word, NO!
I am not trying to be obtuse here. If you will bear with me, there is a lesson in all of this.
When the Rabbi Sha’ul (Paul) wrote to the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Corinthians, etc . . .
He wrote about God. Not just any god, but the God of Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’akov (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
Sha’ul wrote his letters in the Greek language. What word did he use for God in those Greek writings?
Theos . . .
Theos is the word that is used in the Greek language for God. However, there is one caveat to what I have just stated:
Theos does not necessarily mean the God of Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’akov
In fact, it is only Christianity and Judaism that acknowledge Theos in this particular way.
The Greeks had their own gods – there own theos. You may be familiar with some of them such as:
and of course, the top god – the king of their gods and the ruler on Mount Olympus:
Each of these gods is called theos.
NONE of these theos are the THEOS of Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’akov!
This is important to understand because, more often than not, there is a succinct dichotomy between language and religions practiced within that language.
The Greeks believed and worshiped many theos which is called polytheism.
Judaism, and later Christianity, worship only one Theos which is called monotheism.
The Greeks in Yeshua’s (Jesus) time considered monotheism strange. To help understand this, let’s see how Sha’ul addressed the philosophers of the day:
Acts 17:16-34 (CJB)
16 While Sha’ul was waiting for them in Athens,
his spirit within him was disturbed at the sight of the city full of idols.
17 So he began holding discussions in the synagogue
with the Jews and the “God-fearers,”
and in the market square every day with the people who happened to be there.
18 Also a group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers
started meeting with him.
“What is this babbler trying to say?”
Others, because he proclaimed the Good News about Yeshua and the resurrection, said,
“He sounds like a propagandist for foreign gods.”
19 They took and brought him before the High Council, saying,
“May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting?
20 Some of the things we are hearing from you strike us as strange,
and we would like to know what they mean.”
21 (All the Athenians and the foreigners living there
used to spend their spare time talking or hearing
about the latest intellectual fads.)
22 Sha’ul stood up in the Council meeting and said,
“Men of Athens: I see how very religious you are in every way!
23 For as I was walking around, looking at your shrines,
I even found an altar which had been inscribed,
‘To An Unknown God.’
So, the one whom you are already worshiping in ignorance
this is the one I proclaim to you.
24 “The God who made the universe and everything in it,
and who is Lord of heaven and earth,
does not live in man-made temples; 25 nor is he served by human hands,
as if he lacked something;
since it is he himself who gives life and breath
and everything to everyone.
26 “From one man
he made every nation living on the entire surface of the earth,
and he fixed the limits of their territories
and the periods when they would flourish.
27 God did this so that
people would look for him
and perhaps reach out and find him
although in fact, he is not far from each one of us,
28 ‘for in him we live and move and exist.’
Indeed, as some of the poets among you have said,
‘We are actually his children.’
29 So, since we are children of God,
we shouldn’t suppose that God’s essence resembles gold,
silver or stone shaped by human technique and imagination.
30 “In the past, God overlooked such ignorance;
but now he is commanding all people everywhere
to turn to him from their sins.
31 For he has set a Day when he will judge the inhabited world,
and do it justly,
by means of a man whom he has designated.
And he has given public proof of it
by resurrecting this man from the dead.”
32 At the mention of a resurrection of dead people, some began to scoff;
while others said,
“We want to hear you again on this subject.”
33 So Sha’ul left the meeting.
34 But some men stayed with him and came to trust,
including the High Council member Dionysius;
there was also a woman named Damaris;
and others came to trust along with them.
The Theos Sha’ul is proclaiming is a Theos “unknown” to these Greek philosophers Some scoff, some are intrigued and some come to trust – they come to trust NOT in just any theos, or an unknown theos, but the Theos of Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’akov (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).
Okay, so what does all of this have to do with the title of this post:
Can a believer pray to Allah and be saved?
Now that we understand a little about language and how it is used, it is simple really. An Arabic speaking believer in the God of Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’akov (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) is a believer in the Allah of Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’akov (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob)!
Don’t be confused however . . .
The Allah of Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’akov (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) – of the TaNaKh (the Old Testament) and the Brit Chadashah (New Testament) is NOT the same Allah of the Qu’ran!
In Israel last year, I asked what in hindsight was a very dangerous question to ask. I asked about the minarets being so high at the tomb of the Patriarchs. It was explained to me that they were high so that all of the Jews prayers could be intercepted by Allah (the Allah of the Qu’ran) before they reached Adonai. The dangerous part was the question I asked next:
If Allah (the Allah of the Qu’ran) is over all things, doesn’t the mere fact that he is intercepting prayers before they can reach Adonai mean that he is NOT above all things?!?
Not a good question to ask . . . OOPS! In other words, there would be nothing to intercept if the Allah of of the Qu’ran was the same Allah of Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’akov (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob)! If he was above all things, he wouldn’t even have to intercept . . .
Essentially an Arab will pray to one of two Allahs:
- The Allah of the Qu’ran
- The Allah of of Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’akov (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob)
They are not the same Allah and it is not “common ground” between us as the “A COMMON WORD” Christian Response at Yale insinuates under “Love of God.” I quote:
Love of God
We applaud that “A Common Word Between Us and You” stresses so insistently the unique devotion to one God, indeed the love of God, as the primary duty of every believer. God alone rightly commands our ultimate allegiance. When anyone or anything besides God commands our ultimate allegiance – a ruler, a nation, economic progress, or anything else – we end up serving idols and inevitably get mired in deep and deadly conflicts.
We find it equally heartening that the God whom we should love above all things is described as being Love. In the Muslim tradition, God, “the Lord of the worlds,” is “The Infinitely Good and All-Merciful.” And the New Testament states clearly that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Since God’s goodness is infinite and not bound by anything, God “makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” according to the words of Jesus Christ recorded in the Gospel (Matthew 5:45).
For Christians, humanity’s love of God and God’s love of humanity are intimately linked. As we read in the New Testament: “We love because he [God] first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Our love of God springs from, and is nourished by, God’s love for us. It cannot be otherwise, since the Creator who has power over all things is infinitely good.
There is not one Allah regardless of what this piece implies. I was surprised, and then again, not so surprised, when I noticed a couple of the more well know signatories:
- Rick Warren, Founder and Senior Pastor, Saddleback Church, and The Purpose Driven Life, Lake Forest, CA
- Bill Hybels, Founder and Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL
- Brian D. McLaren, Author, Speaker, Activist
- Rev. Dr. Robert Schuller, Founder, Crystal Cathedral and Hour of Power
No doubt world peace is important. No doubt loving our neighbor is important. That doesn’t justify what was written here – what was implied here – what was shared above.
At the end of the day, a believer CAN pray to Allah and be saved IF the Allah that they pray to is the Allah (Theos, Elohim, Dios or God) of the TaNaKh and Brit Chadashah (Old and New Testaments) that sent His son Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Christ) to endure the curse and bleed so that there could be forgiveness of sins.