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Who is Allah?

Overview

The concept of a Divine Creator has been found in the wisdom of people in every continent. Muslims believe that all life began from a single source and the whole universe was created and structured by the same Omnipotent being. “Allah” is the proper name for God in Arabic and Muslims believe that Jews, Christians and other monotheists originally worshipped the same One God.

Allah is  a unique term and signifies the One God with no plural, gender or rival. This name was used long before the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and can be found in the form of El, Elah or Elohim of the Prophets Moses, David and Jesus (may God bless them and grant them peace). The Quran, God’s Last Testament, states:

He is God, there is no other deity but He; the Knower of the unseen and the apparent; He is the Source of All Mercy, the Merciful.

He is God, there is no other deity but He; the King, the Holy, the Source of All Peace, the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver, the Mighty, the Compeller, the Majestic; Glory to God, beyond their associations (of partners with Him)!

He is God, the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner, to Him belong the most beautiful names. All that is in the heavens and the earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty and the Most Wise. (The Quran 59: 22-24)

These famous verses are often recited by Muslims in their prayers. Here Allah (God) enumerates many of His Sublime Attributes. No other being except God could possess these Divine qualities. This is the Deity to whom the followers of Islam offer their worship and adoration.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was once asked to describe God. During the Prophet’s time there were many competing and contradictory concepts and notions about God Almighty. People asked the Prophet for a clear and precise explanation. God then revealed the following verses:

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only

Allah the Eternal, Absolute

He begets not nor was He begotten

And there is none comparable to Him. (The Quran 112:1-4)

These four short verses form one of the smallest chapters of the Quran and yet the Prophet described this chapter as being equal to one third of the Sacred Text. It is the clearest and most easily understandable exposition of the single most important theme of the Quran – the existence of the One and Only God. Allah is the Supreme Being who has eternally been beseeched by humankind; who is the Source of all mercy, peace and contentment. He is the One who creates and sustains us, who has prescribed a path of guidance for us to follow and to whom everything in the universe will one day return.

Further Reading

The concept of God in Islam is simple and straightforward. Allah is the Creator, Sustainer, Master and Regulator of the universe. He is Absolutely Unique from His creation but He is not aloof or remote. He is the Most Merciful, the Most Loving and the All-Forgiving. God is totally Independent, free of want or need while everything and everyone are in need of Him.

Throughout the Quran one finds the “Most Beautiful Names” of God. There are 99 Names in total. Muslims believe they have been revealed by God Himself so that human beings can better understand the role that He plays in our lives and our relationship with Him. Among God’s 99 Names we find:

The One
The Most Compassionate
The Ever-Living
The Most Appreciative
The Source of Peace
The Evolver
The Most Wise
The Protector
The Guide
The Supreme Judge
The Most Exalted
The King of Kings

For a complete list of the 99 Most Beautiful Names of God in the Quran click here.

Pondering upon these attributes may lead to many beneficial insights. For example, if we acknowledge that Allah is always present in our lives can we truly feel alone? If we realize that our Creator is the Most Compassionate and the Most Merciful wouldn’t we want to exhibit compassion and mercy in our own lives? The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught his followers that those who do not show mercy to their fellow human beings are not shown mercy by God. If we truly believe that one day we will stand before God on the Day of Judgement, how would that benefit our priorities and the way we spend our time? If we knew that God is All-Forgiving and always ready to accept repentance from us directly, could we ever fall into permanent despair? If we were connected to the Source of Peace, would we not feel peace and tranquility in our hearts? In a beautiful verse of the Quran Allah says “Surely in the remembrance of Allah  do hearts find tranquility” (13:28)

In Islam human beings did not appear on earth by accident. If mankind came into being by sheer chance our lives would be based on chance and our entire existence would be meaningless. On earth our species depends on a delicate ecological balance to sustain our lives. This balance was ordained by the Creator as mercy to humankind. Similarly, God in His Grace and Wisdom revealed a balanced way of life that can guide us to success and happiness in this life and in the Hereafter. For Muslims, this way of life did not begin with the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) but it was the way of all of God’s prophets (3:67). The Quran refers to this way as “Islam” or the peaceful submission to the Will of God. Those who follow this way are referred to as “Muslims.” The Quran refers to Muhammad (peace be upon him) as God’s final Messenger and the seal of Prophets (33:40).

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