According to the Islamic statement of witness, or shahada, “There is no god but Allah”. Muslims believe he created the world in six days and sent prophets such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, and lastly Muhammad, who called people to worship only him, rejecting idolatry and polytheism.
The word islam, which means submission, was not at first the name of a religion founded by Muhammad. It referred, rather, to the original religion of all mankind – and even of the universe itself which, like us, was created to serve Allah.
Earlier prophets and their followers were all Muslims (submitters to Allah), though Muslims do tend to conflate the general and specific meanings of the words Islam and Muslim.
The names and character of Allah
The Qur’an refers to Allah as the Lord of the Worlds. Unlike the biblical Yahweh (sometimes misread as Jehovah), he has no personal name, and his traditional 99 names are really epithets.
These include the Creator, the King, the Almighty, and the All-Seer. Two important titles of Allah occur in a phrase that typically prefaces texts: Bismillah, al-Rahman, al-Rahim (In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful).
Allah is also the Master of the Day of Judgment, when the good, especially believers, will be sent to their heavenly reward, and the wicked, especially unbelievers, will be dispatched to hellfire. Muslims claim to reject anthropomorphic descriptions of Allah, yet the Qur’an describes him as speaking, sitting on a throne, and having a face, eyes and hands.
Some prophets received scriptures from Allah, notably the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Gospel of Jesus. Their messages and books, however, became corrupted or were lost.
Miraculously, the Qur’an (“recitation”) revealed to Muhammad – the very word of Allah – will not suffer this fate, so there is no need for further prophets or revelations.
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