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Allah — The Unique Name of God

In the book Allah — The Unique Name of God the author, Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi, reviews the names of God used among the various nations of the world in more than 150 languages and shows that, while each name may express some particular attribute of God, it is the name Allah used in Islam that stands out as encompassing all the Divine attributes, being the personal name rather than an attributive one. There is a detailed discussion on the names of God in Jewish and Christian scriptures. The famous expression of the Quran universally uttered by Muslims, “In the name of Allah” (bismillah), is shown to be a fulfilment of the prophecies and expectations of earlier religions.

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About the author

Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi (1888–1977), who bore the title vidyarthi due to his extensive knowledge of the Hindu Vedas, was a scholar of the major religions of the world and their languages, and a missionary of Islam of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement. The environment of multi-faith debate and discussion, prevailing in the Indian subcontinent in his younger days, greatly influenced and interested him. This was one reason why, in 1907, he joined the Ahmadiyya Movement at the hands of its Founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, as this Movement had a broad, universalistic outlook towards other religions, regarding all of them as originally revealed, a fact first disclosed by Islam.

In 1914, when the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam was founded in Lahore by Maulana Muhammad Ali and his associates, Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi joined this Muslim missionary society, in which he worked for the rest of his life as missionary, journalist, lecturer, writer and scholar. First he mastered the Hindu scriptures and studied the Sanskrit language. Later on, he studied Hebrew and other ancient languages of world scriptures. His purpose was two-fold: (1) to be better equipped to refute the storm of criticism and vituperative allegations against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad by the Hindu Arya Samaj sect as well as Christian proselytisers; (2) to unearth prophecies about the coming of the Holy Prophet Muhammad which, according to Islam, are to be found in previously-revealed scriptures.

In the period 1918 to the 1940s, the Maulana was frequently called upon, by various Muslim organizations throughout India, to represent Islam in public debates against Arya Samaj Hindus and Christian missionaries. He achieved supreme triumph in these debates, and his name became renowned and legendary. He also wrote several Urdu books in response to the Arya and Christian objections against Islam. As a purely scholarly work, he published an Urdu translation of part of a Hindu scripture, the Yajur Veda.

After the founding of Pakistan and the ending of the multi-faith environment, the Maulana toured the countries of Trinidad, Guyana, Suriname, and Fiji during the 1950s at the invitation of the local Muslim communities, and gave lectures to large multi-faith audiences, achieving fame and renown for his knowledge and noble character in those countries as well. He also spent time in the U.S.A. during 1959-1962, collecting further material of the kind presented in this book from reference works in libraries.

He originally wrote Muhammad in World Scriptures in Urdu as Mithaq-un-nabiyyin, published in 1936. Then he had it translated into English and it appeared under this title in 1940. A little later he published a second part in Urdu. He then went on to expand the English version considerably, which was published in 3 volumes between 1966 and 1975. The present book, Allah — The Unique Name of God, is derived from it, as explained in the Preface.

Maulana Abdul Haq Vidyarthi was renowned and respected not only as a man of the highest learning and scholarship, but also as one who was thoroughly upright and saintly, and a recipient of extensive spiritual experiences. Having a humble and unassuming nature, and well-known for his good humour, Maulana Vidyarthi served the cause of Islam by pen, speech and personal example for more than sixty years in a unique and rare way which will have its own place in the history of religion.