'God' banned from Mecca by Saudi governor

'God' banned from Mecca by Saudi governor
The governor of Mecca has banned local authorities from using the word 'God' in official translations in favour of the Arabic word 'Allah'.

2 min read
04 March, 2019
The Arabic word "Allah" is used by Arabic-speaking monotheistic groups [Getty]

A Saudi governor has ordered local authorities to use the Arabic-language word "Allah" instead of "God" in all official foreign language writing, Saudi media reported on Monday.

Mecca Governor Prince Khalid al-Faisal ordered that the two words be switched in government translations in the region, which is home to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

The report in Saudi newspaper Okaz said the move was made based on the recommendation of the Grand Mufti of the ultra-conservative kingdom.

"Translating 'Allah' as 'God' is not permissible because this could carry prohibited connotations," the report quoted the Mufti as saying.

The Arabic word "Allah" - which means "The God" - is used by Arabic-speaking monotheistic groups, including Christians, to refer to a single supreme deity.

Islamic scholars are divided over whether English-speaking Muslims can refer to the Islamic deity as "God", with various translations of the meaning of the Quran using both words.

Fundamentalists who oppose the usage of the word "God" argue that the Quran specifically names the Islamic deity as "Allah" and warn that any other word could unintentionally invoke a different deity such as the Christian God.

Malaysia, another Muslim-majority nation, has controversially outlawed non-Muslim groups from using the term "Allah" in their religious scriptures for a similar reason.