Allah: A Different God?
Muslims believe in the one Creator of the Universe, referring to Him as “Allah” which is the Arabic word for “God”. Muslims worldwide, even English-speaking Muslims, frequently use the Arabic word “Allah” because Arabic is the language of the Qur’an. But Allah is no different than the God of Abraham, Moses and Jesus. The Creator is the Creator regardless of what people call Him. In the English language He is most commonly referred to as “God”. Yet Jesus spoke a different language, referring to God as “Eloi” in Mark 15:34 of the New Testament. Are “God” and “Eloi” different gods? Many Hispanics call God “Dios” and many French say “Dieu”. It would logically follow then that people who refer to God as “Allah” in the Arabic language are referring to the very same God. In fact, many Arab Jews and Arab Christians call God “Allah”. And the word “Allah” is written in Arabic script on the walls of many Arab churches and on the pages of Arabic Bibles. So while the understanding of God may differ between faith groups, the various names used to describe Him does not change the fact that the one Creator of the Universe is the God of all people.
God in Islam
The Islamic concept of God is that He is loving, merciful and compassionate. Islam also teaches that He is all-knowing and the perfect judge of affairs, and will punish (or forgive) accordingly. However, Allah once said to Muhammad, “My mercy prevails over my wrath”. So Islam teaches a balance between fear and hope, protecting one from both complacency and despair.
99 Names of God
Muslims believe that God has revealed 99 of His names, or attributes, in the Qur'an. It is through these names that one can come to know the Creator. A few of these names are the All-Merciful, the All-Knower, the Protector, the Provider, the Near, the First, the Last, the Hidden and the Source of All Peace.
Accountability in Islam
The Christian concept of "vicarious atonement" (the idea that Jesus died for the sins of humanity) is alien to the Islamic concept of personal responsibility. Islam teaches that on the Day of Judgment every person will be resurrected and will be accountable to God for their every word and deed. Consequently, a practicing Muslim is always striving to be righteous while hoping and praying for God's acceptance and grace.