Get Valuable Computer Based Training Online - FREE!Written by Jim Edwards
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Some categories have more available classes than others, but site rates a serious look and even a bookmark so you can check back for new jewels of knowledge on a regular basis. Check here first before spending money on training, especially for introductory and general information instruction.
The following sites also offer free online training, however, understand that many of them use introductory courses as a lead in to get you to purchase additional books, classes or other advanced instruction.
The word Allah- Who is Allah?Written by Mohammad Ali Abid
Who Is Allah? Answering this question is indeed one of chief aims of this site. We quote extensively from a very insightful piece by Abu Iman Abdur-Rahman Robert Squires who writes in an article entitled “Who Is Allah?”:
Some of biggest misconceptions that many non-Muslims have about Islam have to do with word "Allah". For various reasons, many people have come to believe that Muslims worship a different God than Christians and Jews. This is totally false, since "Allah" is simply Arabic word for "God" - and there is only One God. Let there be no doubt - Muslims worship God of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Jesus - peace be upon them all. However, it is certainly true that Jews, Christians and Muslims all have different concepts of Almighty God. For example, Muslims - like Jews - reject Christian beliefs of Trinity and Divine Incarnation. This, however, doesn't mean that each of these three religions worships a different God - because, as we have already said, there is only One True God. Judaism, Christianity and Islam all claim to be "Abrahamic Faiths", and all of them are also classified as "monotheistic". However, Islam teaches that other religions have, in one way or another, distorted and nullified a pure and proper belief in Almighty God by neglecting His true teachings and mixing them with man-made ideas.
First of all, it is important to note that "Allah" is same word that Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews use for God. If you pick up an Arabic Bible, you will see word "Allah" being used where "God" is used in English. (Click here to see some examples of word "Allah" in Arabic Bible.) This is because "Allah" is only word in Arabic language equivalent to English word "God" with a capital "G". Additionally, word "Allah" cannot be made plural or given gender (i.e. masculine or feminine), which goes hand-in-hand with Islamic concept of God. Because of this, and also because Qur'an, which is holy scripture of Muslims, was revealed in Arabic language, some Muslims use word "Allah" for "God", even when they are speaking other languages. This is not unique to word "Allah", since many Muslims tend to use Arabic words when discussing Islamic issues, regardless of language which they speak. This is because universal teachings of Islam - even though they have been translated in every major language - have been preserved in Arabic language. It is interesting to note that Aramaic word "El", which is word for God in language that Jesus spoke, is certainly more similar in sound to word "Allah" than English word "God". This also holds true for various Hebrew words for God, which are "El" and "Elah", and plural form "Elohim". The reason for these similarities is that Aramaic, Hebrew and Arabic are all Semitic languages with common origins. It should also be noted that in translating Bible into English, Hebrew word "El" is translated variously as "God", "God" and "angel"! This imprecise language allows different translators, based on their preconceived notions, to translate word to fit their own views. The Arabic word "Allah" presents no such difficulty or ambiguity, since it is only used for Almighty God alone. Additionally, in English, only difference between "God", meaning a false God, and "God", meaning One True God, is capital "G". In Arabic alphabet, since it does not have capital letters, word for God (i.e. Allah) is formed by adding equivalent to English word "the" (Al-) to Arabic word for "God/God" (ilah). So Arabic word "Allah" literally it means "The God" - "Al-" in Arabic basically serving same function as capital "G" in English. Due to above mentioned facts, a more accurate translation of word "Allah" into English might be "The One -and-Only God" or "The One True God".
More importantly, it should also be noted that Arabic word "Allah" contains a deep religious message due to its root meaning and origin. This is because it stems from Arabic verb ta'Allaha (or alaha), which means "to be worshipped". Thus in Arabic, word "Allah" means "The One who deserves all worship". This, in a nutshell, is Pure Monotheistic message of Islam. You see, according to Islam, "monotheism" is much more than simply believing in existence of "only One God" - as seemingly opposed to two, three or more. If one understands root meaning of word "Allah", this point should become clear. One should understand that Islam's criticism of other religions that claim to be "monotheistic" is not because they are "polytheistic" in classic sense, but because they direct various forms of worship to other than Almighty God. We will discuss meaning of worship in Islam below, however, before moving on it should be noted that many non-Muslims are unaware of distinction between simply believing in existence of only One God and reserving all worship for Him alone. Many Christians are painfully unaware of this point, and thus you often find them asking how Muslims can accuse followers of Jesus, peace be upon him, of being "polytheists" when they were all "monotheistic Jews". First of all, it should be clarified that word "polytheist" doesn't really sound right in this context, since to many it implies simply believing in existence of more than one God. So in an Islamic context, "associators", "man-worshippers" or "creature worshippers" might be more accurate and appropriate terms - especially since Christians believe Jesus to be both "100% God and 100% man", while still paying lip-service to God's "Oneness". However, as we previously touched upon, what is really at root of this problem is fact that Christians - as well as members of other religions - don't really know what "monotheism" means - especially in Islamic sense. All of books, articles and papers that I've read which were written by Christians invariably limit "monotheism" to believing in existence of "One Sovereign and Creator God". Islam, however, teaches much more than this.