Questioner: What is the ruling on calling Allaah, ‘Olohun Aleke-Ola’?

Dr Sharof: It is not certain that it has a suitable meaning. What is the meaning of ‘Aleke Ola’ in Yoruba language? You the Yorubas here; what is its meaning?

A brother from the Congregation: The One whose wealth transcends that of others.

Dr Sharof: Who are the ‘others’ you’re referring to?

The Congregation: Laughing mode activated!

Dr Sharof: The word ‘Aleke-Ola’ has no (befitting) meaning (for Allaah). If what is meant by it is that the wealth of Allaah transcends that of other than him, then it has no (befitting) meaning. It has no (befitting) meaning because there is no one who can compete with Allaah regarding anything. It is not meaningful to say a person has wealth but that of Allaah transcends it. Are you the one who made yourself wealthy? That Yoruba wording has no good meaning (for Allaah). Anytime you’re discussing Tawheed you must make use of clear words. This is because even in the Arabic language, it is not permissible to use unclear words for issues regarding Tawheed let alone Yoruba language. This is because ‘Aleke-ola’ may have a different meaning. It could be interpreted to mean that Allaah is aside and wealth is aside but Allaah transcends wealth. That Yoruba word is not appropriate. If Ta’ala is what you want to translate to Yoruba language, it is ‘Olohun-toga’. If you say, ‘Olohun-toga’, it implies that there is nothing great save Allaah. There is no need saying, ‘Olohun-togaju’. ‘Subhaanohu’ is to be interpreted as ‘Olohun-tomo’…Interpreting Ta’ala as ‘Aleke-ola’ is not appropriate. This is not appropriate in Tawheed. When talking about Allaah we must use of clear Yoruba terms. If you use an unclear Arabic word in Tawheed, the scholars will reject it. This is because we are afraid that the meaning may be inappropriate for Allaah. Allaahu ta’ala (Olohun-obatoga); Allaahu subhaanohu wa ta’ala (Olohun obatomo-toga); Allaahu ‘azza wajal (Olohun obatoga to gbongbon). All these are appropriate.

[SOURCE: “Question and Answer session during the explanation of Ma’aarijul Qabuul at Ibadan”]

Translated by Aboo Aaishah Al Odeomeey