Is YHWH referred to in the Quran?

๐ˆ๐ฌ ๐˜๐‡๐–๐‡ ๐ซ๐ž๐Ÿ๐ž๐ซ๐ซ๐ž๐ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ฎ๐ซ๐š๐ง ?

Mohamad Mostafa Nassar


There are Christians who tend to make a point that the Bible mentions in Exodus 3:14 that the name of God is โ€œYahwehโ€ or โ€œJehovahโ€ (depending on where one puts the vowels) but this name does not appear in the Qurโ€™an.

Hence they claim that the Qurโ€™an cannot be the Word of God and Prophet Muhammed ๏ทบ cannot be a Messenger of God, because there is no reference to the personal name of God which appears in the Old Testament 6823 times.

๐˜๐‡๐–๐‡ (๐˜๐š๐ก๐ฐ๐ž๐ก) ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐๐ข๐›๐ฅ๐ž

Letโ€™s first read the concerned verse in the Bible in context:
Moses said to God, โ€œSuppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, โ€˜The God of your fathers has sent me to you,โ€™ and they ask me, โ€˜What is his name?โ€™ Then what shall I tell them?โ€
God said to Moses, โ€œI am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: โ€˜I AM has sent me to you.โ€™โ€
God also said to Moses, โ€œSay to the Israelites, โ€˜The LORD, the God of your fathersโ€”the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacobโ€”has sent me to you.โ€™ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation. โ€“ [Exodus 3:13-15]

The Hebrew word that is translated as โ€œI AMโ€ in English, is YHWH (known as the Tetragrammaton) which commonly the Christians read as Yahweh or Jehovah by inserting vowels. The Hebrew form of YHWH is as below:
The objection that Christians raise is that as we see in Exodus 3:15, God says that this is his name forever thus they say if Prophet Muhammed ๏ทบ was a Messenger of Allah then he should have made some reference to this personal name of God, Yahweh/Jehovah, to prove that he is really a Messenger of God.

๐๐ซ๐จ๐ง๐ฎ๐ง๐œ๐ข๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ ๐˜๐‡๐–๐‡

โ€œYahwehโ€ and โ€œJehovahโ€ are two pronunciations formed by humans much later. Although the Jewish Encyclopedia labels the word โ€œJehovahโ€ to be a philological impossibility, the Christian world tends to use this pronunciation till this day.

๐‚๐จ๐ฆ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐›๐š๐œ๐ค ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ง๐ฎ๐ง๐œ๐ข๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ ๐˜๐‡๐–๐‡, ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐‚๐š๐ญ๐ก๐จ๐ฅ๐ข๐œ ๐„๐ง๐œ๐ฒ๐œ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฉ๐ž๐๐ข๐š ๐›๐ซ๐ข๐ง๐ ๐ฌ ๐ข๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐จ๐ฎ๐ซ ๐š๐ญ๐ญ๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง:

โ€œAccording to a Rabbinic tradition, the real pronunciation of Jehovah ceased to be used at the time of Simeon the Just, who was, according to Maimonides, a contemporary of Alexander the Great. At any rate, it appears that the name was no longer pronounced after the destruction of the Temple.โ€

Moreover, we are also informed by the same encyclopedia that โ€œthe modern Jews are as uncertain of the real pronunciation of the Sacred name as their Christian contemporariesโ€ [emphasis added]. Hence one thing has been made apparent neither the Jews nor the Christians know the true pronunciation of this word. This word was considered to be ineffable by the Jews and thus with time, people lost the knowledge of its true pronunciation.

๐Œ๐ž๐š๐ง๐ข๐ง๐  ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐˜๐‡๐–๐‡ (๐˜๐š๐ก๐ฐ๐ž๐ก)

As it was made apparent that we do not know how to pronounce the word โ€œYHWHโ€, we must now look and understand what this word means so as to get an understanding of the word itself. The Jewish Encyclopedia informs us that the meaning of the name โ€œYHWHโ€ is โ€œโ€˜He who is self-existing, self-sufficientโ€™, or, more concretely, โ€˜He who livesโ€™โ€ [emphasis added]. Hence in simplest of terms โ€œYHWHโ€ means The Living and Self-Subsisting.

๐ƒ๐ข๐ ๐๐ข๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ฅ ๐‰๐ž๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ง๐š๐ฆ๐ž ๐˜๐‡๐–๐‡?

Up till now, two things have been made clear; the real pronunciation of the word is not available and that the meaning of this word is โ€œself-existing and self-sufficientโ€, in short โ€œHe who livesโ€. So now it must be established whether Jesus did use the name Yahweh in any place. The only verse that Christendom can quote to try to prove that Jesus used this word is in the Gospel of John which is as below:

โ€œI tell you the truth,โ€ Jesus answered, โ€œbefore Abraham was born, I am!โ€ โ€“ [John 8:58]

As we see that the verse consists of the phrase โ€œI amโ€, the Christians say that Jesus has used the word YHWH. So let us take a look at the Greek version of the verse as we all know that the biblical manuscripts with the Christian world are in the language Greek although there is no concrete evidence that Jesus knew this language.

The words translated as โ€œI amโ€ are: แผฮณฯŽ ฮตแผฐฮผฮฏ
Transliterated as: egล eimi
Pronounced as: eg-oโ€™ i-meeโ€™

So the words used here are โ€œego eimiโ€ which simply means โ€œI amโ€ โ€“ a means of designating oneself. Not only โ€œego eimiโ€ simply means โ€œI amโ€ as one would use โ€œI amโ€ in their everyday talk in the English language, โ€œego eimiโ€ is no where near to the meaning of YHWH which is seen above to mean The Living, Self Subsisting. So not only does this not sound anything like the proposed pronunciation of the word YHWH, it does not even carry the meaning of the word.

๐–๐š๐ฌ โ€œ๐ž๐ ๐จ ๐ž๐ข๐ฆ๐ขโ€ ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž๐ ๐„๐ฑ๐œ๐ฅ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฏ๐ž๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐›๐ฒ ๐‰๐ž๐ฌ๐ฎ๐ฌ?

The term โ€œego eimiโ€ which simply means โ€œI amโ€ is used in numerous places in the Bible and there are instances when this term is used by people other than Jesus. Just to give a quick example, the blind man whom Jesus cured uses the same words as well in the Gospel of John:

Some said This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. โ€“ [John 9:9]

Do note the deception which the Christian world uses. In the Greek manuscripts, there is no โ€œheโ€ in the text. The verse ends at โ€œI amโ€. The same phrase โ€œego eimiโ€ is used in Greek texts.

๐ƒ๐ฎ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐š๐›๐ฌ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ โ€œ๐ก๐žโ€ ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐›๐ข๐›๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐š๐ฅ ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ฎ๐ฌ๐œ๐ซ๐ข๐ฉ๐ญ๐ฌ, โ€œ๐˜๐จ๐ฎ๐ง๐ โ€™๐ฌ ๐‹๐ข๐ญ๐ž๐ซ๐š๐ฅ ๐“๐ซ๐š๐ง๐ฌ๐ฅ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐งโ€ ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ฏ๐ข๐๐ž๐ฌ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ฅ๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ง๐ฌ๐ฅ๐š๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐š๐ฆ๐ž ๐ฏ๐ž๐ซ๐ฌ๐ž:

Others said โ€” `This is he;โ€™ and others โ€” `He is like to him;โ€™ he himself said, โ€” โ€˜I am [he].โ€™ โ€“ [Youngโ€™s Literal Translation of John 9:9]

Notice that the term โ€œheโ€ is placed in parenthesis because this word is not present in the biblical manuscripts. Any form of term that is not in the text being translated should be written in parenthesis to convey the meaning and not cause deception such that people would believe that it is part of the original text.

So by using the phrase โ€œego eimiโ€ was the blind man suggesting that he was YHWH?

Obviously NOT and NO Christian would dare to claim that he was. So then why did he use the term โ€œego eimiโ€?

๐’๐ข๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐›๐ž๐œ๐š๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐ ๐ฆ๐ž๐š๐ง๐ฌ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ง๐  ๐›๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐š๐ฆ๐ž ๐š๐ฌ โ€œ๐ˆ ๐š๐ฆโ€ ๐ข๐ง ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐„๐ง๐ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ก ๐ฅ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ฎ๐š๐ ๐ž.

Similarly, there are other examples in the Bible that prove that this phrase โ€œego eimiโ€ was not used only by Jesus and it certainly does not hold the meaning of YHWH as seen earlier.

If, however, Christendom wants to claim that โ€œego eimiโ€ refers to โ€œYHWHโ€, the personal name of God, they have to accept that when traveling from Hebrew to Greek, the word was not used as โ€œYHWHโ€ (Yahweh) but an alternate word(s) was used โ€œego eimiโ€ which was a reference to the actual name YHWH.

๐ƒ๐จ๐ž๐ฌ ๐๐ฎ๐ซโ€™๐š๐ง ๐Œ๐š๐ค๐ž ๐€๐ง๐ฒ ๐‘๐ž๐Ÿ๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐˜๐‡๐–๐‡?

So far we have learned 4 points which I will list so as to refresh all that we have learned so far:

  • ย The actual pronunciation of YHWH is lost.
  • ย YHWH means โ€œSelf-Subsistingโ€, or โ€œThe Livingโ€.
  •  Jesus did not use the term โ€œYHWHโ€.
  •  Christians cannot deny that traveling from Hebrew to Greek another term was used to refer to YHWH.

Thus we see that the Qurโ€™an should have a reference to the term YHWH rather than having the term โ€œYHWHโ€ as the Qurโ€™an was revealed in Arabic and not Hebrew. The golden question thus would be was any such reference made to the term โ€œYHWHโ€ in the Quran or by Prophet Muhammad ๏ทบ?
The answer is a definite โ€œYESโ€.

We have learned so far that the meaning of the term โ€œYHWHโ€ is The Living, Self Subsisting, and although the term โ€œAllahโ€ is used in the Quran, this word simply means โ€œThe Godโ€.
However, we know that Islamic teachings inform us of 99 names (attributes) of Allah and the Quran informs us that to Allah belongs the most beautiful names and we can call him by any of these beautiful names:

He is Allah, the Creator, the Evolver, the Bestower of Forms (or Colours). To Him belong the Most beautiful names: whatever is in the heavens and on earth, doth declare His Praises and Glory: and He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise. โ€“ [Quran 59:24]

Say: โ€œCall upon Allah, or call upon Rahman: by whatever name ye call upon Him, (it is well): for to Him belong the Most beautiful names. Neither speak thy Prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between.โ€ โ€“ [Quran 17:110]

๐“๐ก๐ฎ๐ฌ ๐ฐ๐ž ๐ฌ๐ž๐ž ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐š๐ซ๐ž ๐ฆ๐š๐ง๐ฒ ๐๐ข๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐ž๐ซ๐ž๐ง๐ญ ๐ง๐š๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐€๐ฅ๐ฅ๐š๐ก, ๐ฌ๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐ฐ๐ก๐ข๐œ๐ก ๐ˆ ๐ก๐š๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฅ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ž๐ ๐›๐ž๐ฅ๐จ๐ฐ:

Al-โ€˜Adl โ€“ The Just, The Equitable
Al-โ€˜Afuw โ€“ The Pardoner
Al-โ€˜Asim โ€“ The Protector
Ad-Dafi` โ€“ The Remover of Tribulations
Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem โ€“ The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

Just like these above-mentioned beautiful names of Allah we also learn of two other names which combined are read as Hayyul-Qayyum:

๐‡๐š๐ฒ๐ฒ๐ฎ๐ฅ-๐๐š๐ฒ๐ฒ๐ฎ๐ฆ โ€“ ๐“๐ก๐ž ๐‹๐ข๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐ , ๐’๐ž๐ฅ๐Ÿ-๐’๐ฎ๐›๐ฌ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐ง๐ 

YHWH โ€“ The Living, Self-Subsisting
Here it has been proven that there is a clear reference to the name YHWH in the Qurโ€™an which crumbles the Christian stand that Islam has no reference to the name YHWH and thus Prophet Muhammad ๏ทบ is not the Messenger of Allah.

๐’๐ญ๐ซ๐ž๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ž๐ ๐ˆ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐จ๐ซ๐ญ๐š๐ง๐œ๐ž ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐‡๐š๐ฒ๐ฒ๐ฎ๐ฅ-๐๐š๐ฒ๐ฒ๐ฎ๐ฆ

One of the verses which have Allah referred to by the name Hayyul-Qayyum is in Ayat-ul-Qursi (The Verse of the Throne). Ayat-ul-Qursi has multitude of benefits but apart from Ayat-ul-Qursi having its benefits, this verse with โ€œHayyul-Qayyumโ€ mentioned in it was referred to by Prophet Muhammad ๏ทบ as the โ€œgreatestโ€:

Ubayy bin Kaโ€™b said: Allahโ€™s Messenger (May peace be upon him) said: O Abuโ€™ al-Mundhir, do you know the verse from the Book of Allah which, according to you, is the greatest? I said: Allah and His Apostle (May peace be upon him) know best.

He again said: Abuโ€™l-Mundhir, do you know the verse from the Book of Allah which, according to you, is the greatest? I said: โ€œAllahu La ilaha illa Huwal Hayyul Qayyum.โ€ Thereupon he struck me on my breast and said: May knowledge be pleasant for you, O Abuโ€™l-Mundhir! โ€“ [Sahih Muslim, Book 4, #1768]

In another narration, Prophet Muhammad ๏ทบ heard the man use โ€œHayyul-Qayyumโ€ in his supplication and the Prophet ๏ทบ said that he has supplicated using Allahโ€™s Greatest Name:

Narrated by Anas Ibn Malik: I was sitting with the Apostle of Allah ๏ทบ and a man was offering prayer. He then made supplication: O Allah, I ask Thee by virtue of the fact that praise is due to Thee, there is no deity but Thou, Who showest favour and beneficence, the Originator of the Heavens and the earth, O Lord of Majesty and Splendour, O Living One, O Eternal One.

The Prophet ๏ทบ then said: He has supplicated Allah using His Greatest Name, when supplicated by this name, He answers, and when asked by this name He gives. โ€“ [Abu Dawood, Book 2, #1490]
Yet another hadith to show the importance stressed by Prophet Muhammad ๏ทบ on the Hayyul-Qayyum:

Narrated by Asmaโ€™ daughter of Yazid: The Prophet (pbuh) said: Allahโ€™s Greatest Name is in these two verses: โ€œAnd your deity is one deity; there is no deity but He, the Compassionate the Merciful,โ€ and the beginning of Surah Al โ€˜Imran, A.L.M. โ€œAllahu La ilaha illa Huwal Hayyul Qayyum.โ€โ€“ [Abu Dawood, Book 2, #1491]


With the grace of Allah, it can be seen that there is a clear reference to YHWH in the Quran. This reference is much stronger than what the Christians claim to be a reference to YHWH in the New Testament. The word โ€œego eimiโ€ is in no way the Greek word for YHWH nor does it hold the meaning of YHWH. However as seen, there is a clear reference to the term YHWH in the Quran as well as the Hadith.

The Quran gives us many beautiful names of Allah, some of which have been mentioned above, and a Muslim can call upon Allah with any of his beautiful names unlike the followers of the Bible who do not even know how to pronounce the โ€˜personal nameโ€™ revealed to them. Indeed much of the truth in those books is lost just like the pronunciation of YHWH is lost and the Quran is sent to restore that which is lost โ€“ The Criterion.

๐’๐จ๐ฆ๐ž ๐Œ๐จ๐ซ๐ž ๐๐ž๐š๐ฎ๐ญ๐ข๐Ÿ๐ฎ๐ฅ ๐๐š๐ฆ๐ž๐ฌ ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐€๐ฅ๐ฅ๐š๐ก

Al-Ghani โ€“ The Self-Sufficient, The Rich Beyond Need
Al-Awwal โ€“ The First
Al-โ€˜Aakhir โ€“ The Last
Al-Barr โ€“ The Source of All Goodness
Al-Baaqi โ€“ The Everlasting One
Al-Haqq โ€“ The Truth
Al-Khaliq โ€“ The Creator
Al-Kafi โ€“ The Sufficient One
Ash-Shahid โ€“ The Witness

Credit: Ebrahim Saifuddin

๐Œ๐”๐’๐“ ๐‘๐ž๐š๐ ๐ญ๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐š๐ซ๐ญ๐ข๐œ๐ฅ๐ž ๐ก๐ž๐ซ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ๐จ

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Allah knows Best.