By Spencer D Gear PhD
With the Internet, all kinds of opinions are expressed about whether the Muslim Allah is the same as the Christian God.
1. Allah is the Christian God
Here are examples:
- Miroslav Volf, professor of theology at Yale Divinity School, said, ‘I think that Muslims and Christians who embrace the normative traditions of their faith refer to the same object, to the same Being, when they pray, when they worship, when they talk about God. The referent is the same’ (in Galli 2011:2).
- Larycia Hawkins, professor at Wheaton College, had stated on Facebook, ‘I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God’ (Qureshi 2015).
- In the National Catholic Reporter (online), it was stated: ‘I interviewed a Jewish rabbi, a Muslim imam and scholar, and a Methodist minister about this question: “Do Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God?” All three said, “yes … basically they do.” (Not all representatives of these three traditions would agree, of course, but these three — all veterans of the interfaith movement — said yes right away) [Fiedler 2016].
- Catholic News (2006) stated: ‘When Christians hear Muslims being called to prayer, they should be happy, for it is their God who is going to be worshipped and served. When they see good Muslims performing the prayer, fasting in Ramadan, and doing good works like giving to the poor, Christians should praise God for the fact that so many of their Muslim sisters and brothers are doing God’s will’.
1.1 Is Allah equivalent to the Christian God?
See R Albert Mohler Jr’s article, ‘Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?’ (December 18, 2016)
The subtitle of his penetrating article is: ‘Hard times come with hard questions, and our cultural context exerts enormous pressure on Christians to affirm common ground at the expense of theological differences. But the cost of getting this question wrong is the loss of the Gospel’.
I urge you to read this article. His conclusion is:
We must also understand that the most basic issue is the one Jesus answered with absolute clarity. One cannot deny the Son and truly worship the Father. There is no question that the Muslim is our neighbor, but there is no way to remain faithful to Scripture and the gospel and then claim that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
1.2 What is the nature of Allah?
This Muslim website, Alsunna.org – Teachings of Prophet Muhammad – highlights . . .
1.1.1 The 13 Perfect Attributes of Allah
‘Allah’s attributes are perfect. The scholars of Islam said that it is obligatory upon every mukallaf (Accountable person) to know [the] Attributes of Allah’. The following 13 attributes ‘have been mentioned repeatedly in al-Quran’. They are:
a. Existence: It is obligatory to believe that Allah exists and that there is no doubt in His Existence. He exists without a place. Time does not lapse on Allah.
‘The Messengers asked them, “Could there be any doubt about the existence of God [Allah] who has created the heavens and the earth? He calls you to Himself to forgive your sins. He gives you respite only until the appointed time.” They said, “You are mere mortals like us. What you want is to prevent us from worshipping that which our fathers worshipped. Show us clear proof (if what you say is true)”’ (Quran 14:10, Muhammad Sarwar transl.).
b. Oneness: Allah is One without any partners. He is One in His Self, His Attributes, and His Actions.
‘People of the Book, do not exceed the limits of devotion in your religion or say anything about God which is not the Truth. Jesus, son of Mary, is only a Messenger of God, His Word, and a spirit from Him whom He conveyed to Mary. So have faith in God and His Messengers. Do not say that there are three gods. It is better for you to stop believing in the Trinity. There is only One God. He is too glorious to give birth to a son. To God belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. God alone is a Sufficient Guardian for all’ (Quran 4:171 Muhammad Sarwar transl.).
c. Eternity: Allah is Eternal; there is no beginning to His Existence. He has existed since before the creation.
‘He is the First and the Last, the Ascendant and the Intimate, and He is, of all things, Knowing’ (Quran 57:3).
d. Everlastingness: Allah is Everlasting; His existence does not come to an end. He does not perish.
‘Everyone on earth is destined to die. Only the Supreme Essence of your Glorious and Gracious Lord will remain forever’ (Quran 55:26-27).
e. Non-neediness of others: Allah does not need any of His creations and they are all in need of Him.
‘The unbelievers should know that God is Independent of all creatures’ (Quran 3:97b). ‘It is only God who deserves all praise. He has not begotten a son and has no partner in His Kingdom. He does not need any guardian to help Him in His need. Proclaim His greatness’ (Quran 17:111).
f. Power: Allah has Power over everything.
‘It is God who has created the seven heavens and a like number of earths. His commandments are sent between them, so that you would know that God has power over all things and that His knowledge encompasses all’ (Quran 65:12).
g. Will: Everything that occurs in this world is by the Will of Allah.
Muhammad said, ‘Nothing will happen to us besides what God has decreed for us. He is our Guardian. In God alone do the believers trust’ (Quran 9:51).
h. Knowledge: Allah knows about all things before they occur.
‘Satan would try to tamper with the desires of every Prophet or Messenger whom We sent. Then God would remove Satan’s temptations and strengthen His revelations. God is All-knowing and All-wise’ (Quran 22:52b).
Allah hears all that is hearable without an ear or any other organ. ‘There is nothing like unto Him, and He alone is all-hearing, all-seeing’ (Quran 42:11).
j. Sight: Allah sees all that is seeable, without a pupil or any other organ.
‘Nothing in the heavens or the earth is hidden from God’ (Quran 3:5). ‘He is God of the heavens and the earth and He knows whatever you conceal, reveal, or gain’ (Quran 6:3).
k. Life: Allah is alive without a soul, skin, or heart. His Life is not similar to ours. He is alive and does not die.
‘Only the Supreme Essence of your Glorious and Gracious Lord will remain forever’ (Quran 55:27).
There are many Quranic verses that support the living Allah who was the creator of the universe.
l. Speech: Allah’s Speech (Kalam) is without a tongue or lip .His Speech is not in a language, Arabic or anything else. His Speech does not resemble the speech of the humans.
m. Non-resemblance to the creations: Allah does not resemble the creations.
1.2 What is the nature of Jehovah God?
In 2015 in the USA, this Allah vs Jehovah God issue came to a head when Larycia Hawkings, an associate professor of political science at Wheaton College, Wheaton Illinois – an evangelical Christian institution – wore a headscarf ‘during the Advent season as a gesture of solidarity with Muslims’. In doing this, she quoted Pope Francis who stated that Christians and Muslims ‘worship the same God’ (Gjelton 2015).
This statement was made on Facebook:
“I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” she posted Dec. 10  on Facebook. “And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God (Pashman & Eltagouri 2015).
As expected, evangelical Christians objected and Wheaton’s response was to put the associate professor on paid administrative leave so the College could review whether her statement was at odds with the faith perspective ‘required of those who work there’ (Gjelton 2015).
The conclusion of this controversy was made in a joint statement by Wheaton College and Dr Larycia Hawkins:
Wheaton College and Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Larycia Hawkins announce they have come together and found a mutual place of resolution and reconciliation. The College and Dr. Hawkins have reached a confidential agreement under which they will part ways (Arise Chicago 2016).
In 2016, after leaving Wheaton College, Hawkins accepted a position as a visiting faculty fellow to ‘conduct research on the relationship between religions and race’ at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville VA (Fox News U.S. 2016).
Dr Albert Mohler Jr, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville KY, an evangelical scholar, has a very different view to that of
Professor Hawkins. Mohler states:
The Christian faith is essentially and irreducibly Trinitarian. The Bible reveals that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Jesus is not merely a prophet; He is God in human flesh. This is precisely what Islam rejects. If Allah has no Son, he is not the Father.
This is the most significant theological obstacle in the way of the Christian use of Allah as a name for God. Jesus taught his disciples to pray to “our Father, who is in heaven” [Matthew 6:9] — thus disallowing any confusion concerning God’s name. The most important names for God for Christians are “Father,” “Son,” and “Holy Spirit.” In the four New Testament gospels, Jesus uses the word “Father” more than sixty times. No Muslim would refer to Allah in this same way. This is not what will come to mind when a Muslim hears a Christian pray to Allah . . . .
Jesus commanded his disciples to baptize believers “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” [Matthew 28:19]. When this command is taken seriously and obeyed, the whole issue is greatly clarified — a Christian cannot baptize in the name of Allah.
If Allah has no son, Allah is not the father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Even if the case is made that Allah could be used in a generic sense to refer to God ( and I am not persuaded that it can), the word cannot be used to mean the Father in a Trinitarian affirmation. This is not mere “discussion and bickering.” This is where the Gospel stands or falls (Mohler Jr 2007).
1.2.1 Comparison of attributes: Jehovah God’s attributes
How do the above attributes of Allah compare with the attributes of the Judeo-Christian Almighty God revealed in the Bible?
I follow the order of the ’13 Perfect Attributes of Allah’ above in describing some of the Lord God’s attributes. 
a. Existence: God is self-existent, meaning He ‘has the ground of His
existence in Himself’. Thomas Aquinas said He is ‘the first cause, Himself uncaused’. His self-existence is affirmed in, ‘I am that I am’ (Ex 3:14) and in the name, ‘Jehovah’ (Ex 6:3) [p. 122].
b. Oneness: By the unity or oneness of God, I mean ‘there is but one
God and that the divine nature is undivided and indivisible’ (Deut 4:35, 39; Mk 12:29-32). However, in contradistinction with Islam, The oneness of God is a unity in Trinity. That is, ‘by the Trinity we mean there are three eternal distinctions in the one divine essence, known respectively as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit’ (p. 135).
c. Eternity: ‘By the eternity of God, we mean His infinity in relation to
time; we mean that He is without beginning or end; that He is free from all succession of time; and that He is the cause of time…. Eternity for God is one Now’ (p. 122). This is taught in passages such as Gen 21:33; Ps 90:2; 102:27; and 1 Tim 6:16.
d. Everlastingness: ‘Both “eternal” and “everlasting” are translations of the same Greek word, aionios, so whatever their definition in English, their definition in Greek is the same’ (Johnson n. d.). See Ps 90:2. So, in Scripture everlasting = eternal.
e. Non-neediness of others: This is covered under God’s self-existence,
meaning He ‘does not need us or the rest of creation for anything, yet we and the rest of creation glorify him and bring him joy’ (Grudem 1999:71). Known as God’s aseity (ie. from himself),it is taught in Acts 17:24-25; Job 41:11; Ps 50:10-12).
f. Power: This is referred to as God’s omnipotence, so ‘He is able to do whatever He wills; but since His will is limited by His nature, this means that God can do everything that is in harmony with His perfections’ (p. 126). Thus, ‘Your eyes are too pure to look at what is evil’ (Hab 1:13 NIRV). He ‘cannot deny who he is’ (2 Tim 2:13 NLT), lie (Heb 6:18), or commit sin (James 1:13).
There are direct biblical statements that teach about God’s power:
“I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty’” (Gen 17:1 NLT).
“I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you” (Job 42:2 NLT);
“Praise the Lord! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns” (Rev 19:6 NLT).
It also refers to God’s sovereignty, i.e.
God’s attribute of will refers to what ‘he approves and determines to bring about every action necessary for the existence and activity of himself and all creation’ (Grudem 1999:95).
Psalm 115:3 (ERV) states it clearly: ‘Our God is in heaven, and he does whatever he wants’.
His knowledge is called omniscience, which means ‘He knows Himself and all other things, whether they be actual or merely possible, whether they are past, present, or future, and that He knows them perfectly and from all eternity. He knows things immediately, simultaneously, exhaustively and truly’ (p. 124). See Prov 15:3; Jer 23:23-25; Matt 10:30, and Heb 4:13.
- ‘But Moses tried to pacify the Lord his God. “O Lord!” he said. “Why are you so angry with your own people whom you brought from the land of Egypt with such great power and such a strong hand?’ (Ex 32:11-12). Moses speaks to the God who hears.
- ‘But the Lord heard them [Miriam & Aaron criticized Moses’ (Num 12:2);
- ‘I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land’ (2 Chron 7:14);
- Jesus said, ‘You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. 14 Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!’ (John 14:13-14).
- ·‘You don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it’ (James 4:2). Here it’s inferred God hears those who ask something of Him.
- ‘The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil’ (1 Pet 3:12).
God’s seeing not only involves knowing the exact number of hairs on a person’s head (Lk 12:7). It penetrates to seeing the whole person, including the inner life.
One of the attributes of God is ‘El Roi’ which is an OT name for God and means, ‘the God who sees me’. With this nature, God declared in Gen 16:13-14:
Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me [El-roi].” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” 14 So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means “well of the Living One who sees me”). It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered’. This is the only time El-roi is used in the Bible. However, we know He is the God who sees as He reveals Himself throughout the Bible.
· What God sees is more than outward appearance. His sight penetrates our inner being: ‘But the LORD said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his [Eliab’s] appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”’ (1 Sam 16:7).
· See 1 Pet 3:12 above, ‘The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil’.
· ‘God would surely have known it, for he knows the secrets of every heart’ (Ps 44:21).
This is stated succinctly in John 5:26 (NIV), ‘For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself’. God is called ‘the living God’ (Josh 3:10; 1 Sam 17:26; Ps 84:2; Matt 16:16; 1 Thess 1:9). God is alive while the heathen idols are made by human hands and are dead (Ps 115:3-9).
‘Life implies feeling, power, activity. God has all these; He also is the source of all life—plant, animal, human, spiritual and eternal life (John 5:26: Ps 36:9).
- ‘For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you”’ (Heb 13:5; Deut 31:6, 8).
- God is a person who speaks (Gen 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24, 26; 8:15; 9:8; Ex 33:9; Ps 50:1; Ezek 12:25; John 9:29). God is a Person with intellect, free will, sight, hearing, the ability to repent and be angry, He is jealous, compassionate, the creator, judge, and sustainer of everything.
m. Non-resemblance to the creations
God is spirit (John 4:24 NIV) so does not have flesh and blood.
How do human beings resemble God? Gen 1:27 (NIRV) states, ‘So God created human beings in his own likeness. He created them to be like himself. He created them as male and female’.
This verse was repeated in Gen 5:1-3 and Gen 9:6. What does it mean to be made in the image and likeness of God?
For an explanation, see my article: Does God have a physical body?
2. The following attributes are those of Allah.
1. Existence: It is obligatory to believe that Allah exists and that there is no doubt for the Muslim of His Existence. He exists without a place. Time does not lapse with Allah.
How does that compare with the existence of the Judeo-Christian Almighty God?
2. Oneness of Lordship: Allah is One without any partners. He is One in His Self, His Attributes, and His Actions.
Muslims believe that Allah caused all things to exist. Allah is the only one who created and maintains all things. Allah is not in need of help or assistance over creation. While Muslims greatly respect their prophets, including Mohammad and Jesus, they firmly separate them from Allah.
On this point, the Quran says:
Say: “Who is it that provides you with sustenance out of heaven and earth, or who is it that has full power over [your] hearing and sight? And who is it that brings forth the living out of that which is dead, and brings forth the dead out of that which is alive? And who is it that governs all that exists?” And they will [surely] answer: “[It is] God.” (Quran 10:31)
3. Eternity: Allah is Eternal; there is no beginning to His Existence. He has existed since before the creation (of the universe).
Allah (Glorious & Exalted) preceded in His Existence everything that exists other than Him. He (Noble & Sublime) is the Everlasting; He remains after every creature that is transient goes away. He (Glorious & Exalted) is the First Who is not preceded in Existence by anything, and He is the One Whose Being and Stature is exalted above all else. He is not in need of anything. He is the Self-Sufficient, Who is not dependent on anything.
Since Allah (Glorious & Exalted) is Eternal, He must necessarily be Self-Sufficient, Independent of anything else.
4. Everlastingness: ‘Allah is Everlasting; His existence does not come to an end. He does not perish.’ “It is obligatory to believe that Allah exists and that there is no doubt in His Existence. He exists without a place. Time does not lapse on Allah.”
5. Allah does not need any others: Allah does not need any of His creations and they are all in need of Him. “Allah does not need any of His creations and they are all in need of Him.’
6. Power: ‘Allah has Power over everything.’
7. Will: ‘Everything that occurs in this world is by the Will of Allah.’
The meaning of Islam is ‘submission.’ This is a core value of Islam:
To totally submit to the Will of Allah is to succumb to that superior status of Allah’s Lordship and to obey as would an obedient slave his wise master. This obedience, at its highest level, would mean that the obedient obeys in such a way that (s)he does not think about a matter or perform an act but to think of Allah before, during and after the execution of that act, something that necessitates total remembrance of Allah and His commands and the subsequent absence of room for disobedience be it the misuse or abuse of His gifts to humans. This total obedience also means thankfulness in its entirety since it means that the thankful thanks Allah by not misusing the gifts that he was endowed with by remembering Allah and adhering to His commands whenever (s)he employs any of His gifts.
8. Knowledge: ‘Allah knows about all things before they occur.’
9. Hearing: “Allah hears all what (sic) is hearable, without an ear or any other organ.’
10. Sight: ‘Allah sees all that is seeable, without a pupil or any other organ.’
11. Life: ‘Allah is alive without a soul, skin, or heart. His Life is not similar to ours. He is alive and does not die.’
12. Speech: ‘Allah’s Speech (Kalam) is without a tongue or lip .His Speech is not in a language, Arabic or anything else. His Speech does not resemble the speech of the humans.’
13. Non-resemblance to the creations: ‘Allah does not resemble the creations.’
3. Radical Differences in Attributes between Jehovah and Allah
Some scholars like Larycia Hawkins, former professor at Wheaton College, stated on Facebook, ‘I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book. And as Pope Francis stated last week, we worship the same God’ (Qureshi 2015).
She now is employed as a political science faculty member at the University of Virginia; she steps to the front of the classroom and gives a little speech. ‘It’s not about the syllabus. It’s about her unintended, uncomfortable fame.’
Larycia does not want to differentiate between Jehovah God and Allah. By contrast, I see a great gulf that involves the nature of God as the core of these attributes:
- ·To say that Allah is One God and Jehovah is One God does not explain the Christian Trinity in God’s unity.
By the unity of God we mean that there is but one God and that the divine nature is undivided and indivisible (Deut. 4:35, 39; 1 Kings 8:60) . . . but the same truth is also frequently taught in the New Testament (Mark 12:29-32; John 17:3). . . . This unity is, however, not inconsistent with the conception of the trinity; for a unity is not the same as a unit. . . . The doctrine of the Trinity is not a truth of natural theology, but of revelation. . . . By the Trinity we mean that there are three eternal distinctions in the divine essence, known objectively as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. . . . The doctrine of the Trinity must thus be distinguished from both Tritheism and Sabellianism. Tritheism denies the unity of the essence of God and holds to three distinct Gods. . . . Sabellianism (third century) held to a Trinity of revelation, but not of nature. God, it held as Father, is the Creator and Lawgiver; as Son, He is the same God incarnate who fulfills the office of Redeemer; and as Holy Spirit, He is the same God in the work of Redeemer; and as Holy Spirit He is the same God in the work of regeneration and sanctification (Thiessen 1949:134-135).
There is another profound difference between Islam and Christianity. Albert Mohler Jr explains:
From its very starting point Islam denies what Christianity takes as its central truth claim — the fact that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the Father. If Allah has no Son by definition, Allah is not the God who revealed himself in the Son. How then can the use of Allah by Christians lead to anything but confusion . . . and worse?
According to The Herald Sun [Melbourne, Australia], [Dutch Roman Catholic] Bishop Muskens commented: “Allah is a very beautiful word for God . . . . What does God care what we call him?” What does God care what we call him?
Has the bishop read the Bible? God takes his name with great seriousness indeed. Moses discovered this when heard God speak from the burning bush [Exodus 3:13-22]. God did not leave himself nameless, nor did He invite Moses to devise a name for him. Jesus used this name [I AM] to refer to himself.
The Christian faith is essentially and irreducibly Trinitarian. The Bible reveals that the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. Jesus is not merely a prophet; He is God in human flesh. This is precisely what Islam rejects. If Allah has no Son, he is not the Father.
There is a radical difference between Islam and Christianity. They relate to: (1) The nature of God, and (2) The nature of redemption.
Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God? (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)
What Does God Care What We Call Him? (Albert Mohler Jr.)
Arise Chicago 2016. Joint Statement by Wheaton College and Dr. Larycia Hawkins Announcing a Resolution (online), 7 February. Available at: http://arisechicago.org/joint-statement-by-wheaton-college-and-dr-larycia-hawkins-announcing-a-resolution/ (Accessed 14 February 2018).
Catholic News 2006. Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? (online). Available at: http://catholicnews.sg/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1547:do-christians-and-muslims-worship-the-same-god&catid=119&Itemid=473 (Accessed 15 May 2017).
Fiedler, M 2016. Do Christians, Muslims and Jews Worship the Same God? National Catholic Reporter, 22 January. Available at: https://www.ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/do-christians-muslims-and-jews-worship-same-god (Accessed 15 May 2017).
Fox News U.S 2016. Ex-Wheaton College prof who wore hijab resurfaces at University of Virginia (online), 4 March. Available at: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/03/04/ex-wheaton-college-prof-who-wore-hijab-resurfaces-at-university-virginia.html (Accessed 14 February 2018).
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Pashman M B & Eltagouri, M 2015. Wheaton College says view of Islam, not hijab, got Christian teacher suspended. Chicago Tribune (online), 16 December. Available at: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-wheaton-college-professor-larycia-hawkins-20151216-story.html (Accessed 14 February 2018).
Qureshi, N 2015. Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? RZIM (online), 27 December. Available at: http://rzim.org/global-blog/do-muslims-and-christians-worship-the-same-god/ (Accessed 15 May 2017).
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 alsunna.org 2003-2016. Available at: http://alsunna.org/the-13-perfect-attributes-of-allah.html#gsc.tab=0 (Accessed 14 February 2018).
 Meaning ‘capable of being heard’ (Merriam-Webster Dictionary 2018. s.v. hearable).
 This is an adjective from ‘see’ (dictionary.com 2018. s.v. see).
 For content, I rely on Thiessen (1949:121-136), except where otherwise indicated. Numbers in brackets after the definition refer to the page in Thiessen.
 The Athanasian Creed expresses the Trinity in this way: ‘We worship one God in trinity, and trinity in unity, neither confounding the persons, nor separating the substance’ (in Thiessen 1949:135).
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 The Chicago Tribune, ‘Four years after hijab controversy, former Wheaton College professor Larycia Hawkins is rebuilding her life — and refusing to back down,’ https://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/ct-life-larycia-hawkins-fired-professor-update-tt-1213-20191213-75jrsdu5izcxxatz65iqu4jlsy-story.html (Accessed 29 July 2021).
 Dr R Albert Mohler Jr, ‘What does God care what we call him?’ accessed 29 July 2021,
Copyright © 2021 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 29 July 2021.