That Arabic thingy up there says “As Salaamu Alaikum”, which means “Peace be upon you”. Don’t want anyone to be scared after that really weird situation in Virginia.
Okay, the first and biggest misconception about Islam is about the nature of Allah, God.
Many non-Muslims think that our God is a different God from theirs. Online trolls have tried to get people to believe that Allah is a “moon god” particular to the Arabs. Honestly, the second you see someone try to push this bit of misinformation, you can pretty much assume that everything that follows is intentional propaganda against Islam. No need to read further. So let me tell you the truth.
The fundamental first fact for Muslims is belief in One God. This concept is called Tauheed, which comes from the number one in Arabic, which is wahed. So Muslims believe in One God, who created and sustains the universe without any partners.
The Name Muslims (and Arabic-speaking Christians) use for God is Allah. It is a word that means, not just God, but the God. So the long version would be, “Allah is the God, other than whom there is no god.”
Muslims believe in the same God as the Christians and Jews. We actually believe that Allah gave the Torah to Moses and the Gospel (Injeel) to Jesus, peace be upon them, and the Qur’an to Muhammad, may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him and them. We Muslims must accept all the prophets, including Moses, Jesus, Abraham, and all the others from the Bible, or we risk taking ourselves out of the fold of Islam. (More on prophets in a different posting, inshaAllah.)
A quick look at the Bible will show that the Hebrew for God is Elohim. Now, that is very closely related to the Arabic Allah. Elohim is a compound word. The main part is Eloh (sounds really close to Allah!). The suffix is -im, which has the meaning of plurality in regular grammar, but in this usage in the Bible is an honorific added to God’s name to denote grandeur. Kind of like when the Queen speaks of herself with the first-person “we”. “We are not amused.”
So, that’s the gist of it. Muslims believe in the same God as the Christians and Jews. You will find many familiar names in the Qur’an, from Abraham and Lot to Mary and Jesus, peace be upon them. Islam is not some strange or “other” eastern religion. Remember, Makkah is only about 700 miles from Jerusalem! If you claim that Muhammad is “other” than you have to put Jesus in that same basket. They were both Middle Eastern brown guys who did not use the word God, Gott, Dios, or Dieu. They said Allah / Eloh / Elah.
Now, don’t try to say anymore that Allah is a moon god because seriously, you’re going to make Arabic-speaking Christians mad along with the Muslims. Here’s a page from the Christian Bible. It is from Genesis, and begins “In the Beginning, God (Allah) created the heavens and the earth”:
It’s actually very simple and straightforward. So that Christian professor who got suspended for saying Christians and Muslims worship the same God got suspended over nothing. Silly, huh?
If you have any more questions about this, find me on my Facebook page, Muslimah in Progress, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.