The Arabic word Allah literally means “The God”. Believers in Islam understand Allah to be the proper name for the Creator as found in the Qur’an. The name Allah is analogous to Eloh, a Semitic term found in the divine scriptures revealed to Muhammad’s predecessors Moses and Jesus (may peace be upon them all).
The use of the term Allah is not confined to believers in Islam alone — Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews also use Allah in reference to God, demonstrating thereby that followers of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism believe in a common monotheistic Creator, a fact that many people are surprised to learn.
One reason for this may be that English-speaking persons are accustomed to the term God, whereas believers in Islam, regardless of their native language, use the Arabic word Allah. This difference in usage may cause people to view the term Allah with reticence and uncertainty, preventing them from making the connection between the Arabic name and the accepted English equivalent term.
Who is God in Islam?
The Qur’an, the divinely-revealed scripture of Islam, contains numerous verses describing the nature of God. The role of human beings as creations of God upon the earth and their relationship with God are also discussed extensively in the sacred text:
- “Say: He is Allah, the One” (Quran 112:1) –
- “Allah, the eternally Besought of all” (Quran 112:2) –
- “He begetteth not nor was begotten” (Quran 112:3) –
- “And there is none comparable unto Him” (Quran 112:4) –
- “And Allah brought you forth from the wombs of your mothers knowing nothing, and gave you hearing and sight and hearts that haply ye might give thanks” (Quran 16:78) –
- “Vision comprehended Him not, but He comprehended (all) vision. He is the Subtile, the Aware” (Quran 6:103)
Muslims believe that God has no partners or associates who share in His divinity or authority and that God is transcendent, unlike His creations, and thus has no physical form. Nor is God believed to exist in (or be represented by) any material object. A number of divine attributes or “names,” which serve to describe God, are found in the Qur’an. Some commonly known attributes include the Most Merciful, the Most Forgiving, the Most High, the Unique, and the Everlasting, among others.