Allah (/ˈælə, ˈɑːlə, əˈlɑː/;[1][2] Arabic: الله, romanized: Allāh, IPA: [ʔaɫ.ɫaːh] (listen)) is the common Arabic word for God. In the English language, the word generally refers to God in Islam.[3][4][5] The word is thought to be derived by contraction from al-ilāh, which means "the god", and is linguistically related to the Hebrew words El (Elohim), Elah and Aramaic word ܐܲܠܵܗܵܐ (ʼAlâhâ) for God.[6][7]

The word 'Allah' in Arabic calligraphy

The word Allah has been used by Arabic people of different religions since pre-Islamic times.[8] The origin of the title Allah goes back before Muhammad, who found that the Meccans worshipped a supreme deity whom they called Allah. Along with Allah, however, they also worshipped a host of lesser gods and “daughters of Allah.”[9] Later it has been used as a term for God by Muslims (both Arab and non-Arab) and even Arab Christians[10] after the term "al-ilāh" and "Allah" were used interchangeably in Classical Arabic by the majority of Arabs who had become Muslims. It is also often, albeit not exclusively, used in this way by Bábists, Baháʼís, Mandaeans, Indonesian and Maltese Christians, and Sephardi Jews.[11][12][13][14] Similar usage by Christians and Sikhs in West Malaysia has recently led to political and legal controversies.[15][16][17][18]