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What is The Meaning of “Yahweh”?

10 May, 2017
Q What is the meaning of the word "Yahweh"?


Asalamu Alaikum,

Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question.

Dr. Shabir Ally addresses this question in the video below:


Safiyyah  Ally: OK, Brother Shabir, here is the question about the word “Yahweh”. So, the person is asking what does it mean, and does it appear in the Quran in any worldly form? 

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Dr. Shabir Ally: The word “Yahweh” is a modern pronunciation and an approximation of four letters which appear in the Hebrew Bible “YHWH”, we can say in English. And nobody knows how exactly the name of God given by these four letters in the Hebrew Bible should be pronounced.

But we say “Yahweh”. This is what many academic scholars would arrive at. Now this is related to the story of Moses in the book of Exodus when Moses said to God in Exodus chapter 3 verse 14 what should I tell them when people ask me what is the name of God.

So, God says to him {Quoting Bible in Hebrew}, which means I will be what I will be or I am what I am. In a way, it looks like a refusal to give the name. But from the letters which make up the word {Hebrew} “I am”, we get the verb “Yahweh”, which means something like “He is”.

And that is given as the name of God in the Bible.

Safiyyah  Ally: How does it compare to the word “Jehovah”? 

Dr. Shabir Ally: The word “Jehovah” actually arose in the Middle Ages when a Christian scholar read it in that way. It so happens that the Jewish scholars did not pronounce the name because they thought that our unholy tongue should not pronounce the Holy Name of God.

And so, when he came to the name of God instead of saying “Yahweh”, or whatever is the correct pronunciation, they would say “Adonai”, the Lord.

And the vowels from the word “Adonai” were superimposed onto the word “Yahweh” when the Masoret brothers were compiling the Old Testament text.

The Christian scholar in the Middle Ages looking at the word “Yahweh”, the four letters “YHWH”, and looking at the vowels which belonged to the other word “Adonai” which means overlord, combined the two and made it “Yahuwah” and then it’s anglicized further as Jehovah.

Safiyyah  Ally: So, can Muslims call God, Yahweh?

Dr. Shabir Ally: Well, our way of calling God is Allah, which is the Arabic name for God used by Muslims as well as Christians and Jews.

Safiyyah  Ally: Alright, we’ll leave it at that.

I hope this helps answer your question. Please keep in touch.

Walaikum Asalam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

The Beautiful Names of Allah – The Greatest Name of Allah

Beautiful Names of Allah: Explanation of the Name Allah

The Beautiful Names of Allah – Opposite & Complimentary Names

About Dr. Shabir Ally
Dr. Shabir Ally holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, with a specialization in Biblical Literature. He also holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Quranic Exegesis. He is the president of the Islamic Information and Dawah Centre International in Toronto where he functions as Imam. He travels internationally to represent Islam in public lectures and interfaith dialogues. He explains Islam on a weekly television program called "Let the Quran Speak". Past episodes of this show can be seen online at: