Ultimate Reality and Divine Beings
Written by: Beth Davies-Stofka
Submission to God lies at the very heart of Islam. The word islam means "surrender," or "submission," or "peace," and the fundamental meaning of Islam is "surrender to God." One who surrenders to God and recognizes Muhammad as God's prophet is a Muslim. Arabic is the language of the first Muslims and of the Quran, and in Arabic, the word for God is Allah, or "The God." Arabic-speaking Christians also use "Allah" when speaking of God and praying to God. Islam teaches that Allah is the same God worshipped by Jews and Christians.
For Muslims, the Quran is the most important source of knowledge about God. In a popular verse called the "Throne Verse" (surah 2.255), the Quran describes God in this way:
God, there is no god but He, the living, the self-subsistent. Slumber takes Him not, nor sleep. His is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. Who is it that intercedes with Him save by His permission? He knows what is before them and what behind them, and they comprehend not aught of His knowledge but of what He pleases. His throne extends over the heavens and the earth, and it tires Him not to guard them both, for He is high and grand.
The Quran describes God as the creator and ruler of all things, and the judge of all things. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, merciful, and compassionate. He is eternal. He is master of all things in the universe, and guides humans through his prophets who are bearers of his word, such as Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and lastly, Muhammad. God sent his prophets to create communities chosen for a special relationship with him, including Jews and Christians. They are known as the People of the Book, because they accept God's revelation as it has been recorded in scripture. On the day the world ends, the Day of Judgment, God will resurrect the dead and every person will be judged for his or her deeds. Each person's good deeds will be balanced with the bad deeds. Those whose good deeds outweigh their bad deeds will live forever in paradise, while those whose bad deeds outweigh the good will be condemned to eternal fire. Intentions, and not just deeds, are also used in the equation for judgment. Good deeds carry a significantly higher value than bad deeds; they are worth more in God's eyes.