(616 words)

(a.), pl. āliha , “deity”, appears in pre-Islamic poetry (see, e.g., F. Bustānī, al-Mad̲j̲ānī al-ḥadīt̲h̲a , i, index) as an impersonal divine name, although preceded by the article; for the Christians and (so far as the poetry ascribed to them is authentic) the monotheists, al-ilāh evidently means God; for the other poets it means merely “the one who is worshipped”, so that al-ilāh indicates: “the god already mentioned” (the article being used li ’l-ʿahd ) or “the god of whom the poet is thinking”, and This use has survived to the present day (ʿAbd al-Ilāh); but ilāh without the article s…

Cite this page
MacDonald, D.B., “Ilāh”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition, Edited by: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C.E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel, W.P. Heinrichs. Consulted online on 23 February 2019 <>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004161214, 1960-2007

▲   Back to top   ▲