The word ‘Islam’ means surrender to the Will of God. A Muslim therefore is a person who accepts Islam, who submits to God’s Will. SLM, the consonants of the Arabic word ‘Islam’, are related to the Hebrew word ‘Shalom’ meaning peace. Thus Islam denotes “entering a realm of peace and trust in God”. According to Muslims, the Prophet Mohammed was not the founder of Islam, but is God’s emissary and spokesman. The founder is God Himself. Islam began in Arabia in the 7th century as a religion of allegiance to God. It is the way of life, or religion, which, from the beginning, God intended for His creation. At different times throughout history among different peoples, there have been many prophets and messengers who have tried to elevate human consciousness to a higher level of comprehension and knowledge. Their message has always been the same, only varying in outward practices and observance, as befits each era. Mohammed integrates all previous doctrines and supersedes them all. His was the completion of the collective consciousness and the ultimate emissary; he was human, the channel through which Allah conveyed His will.
To a Muslim the existence of many gods or rival gods is totally unacceptable. There can be only one God, which is why He is named Allah, meaning “the One who is God”. The stress on the unity of God in Islam is called ‘tawhid’. The first testimony of the Muslim faith stating, “There is no God but God and Mohammed is His messenger” is known as Shahada (witness). God’s true entity is really an unfathomable mystery, which has never been fully described or depicted. The One God, the Originator of all things and the source of all attribute and actions, He is totally just, and His justice will be experienced in both this world and the next. Every action and intention is governed by faith in Him, and Muslims live the whole of their lives in His presence. There are ninety-nine names of God in the Koran, such as ‘the Living’, ‘the Supreme’, ‘the Merciful’, ‘the Eternal’, ‘the Compassionate’, ‘the All-seeing’, ‘and the Enlarger ’,‘ the Beneficent’. But His attributes are beyond number. The Muslim’s understanding of God’s oneness is central to the faith of a believer, and the greatest sin is “shirk” which means identifying any beings exclusively or partially as God. The believer must bear witness to God’s oneness at all times and every action begins with the name of Allah. In prayer, entreaties can be addressed only to God, not even to the Prophet Mohammed, because it is only God’s power that supreme. Islam’s Unity of God is opposed to the Christian concept of the Holy Trinity, as well as those of polytheism, idolatry, pantheism and reincarnation.
The principles of the Muslim faith, the Creed, are: belief in God, belief in angels, belief in the Holy Books, in the Prophets, in the Day of Judgment and in the predetermination of good and evil.
Muslims believe that angels are the servants of God in all things, and that certain angels have particular duties. For instance, whereas the angel Gabriel (Jibra’il) announced the Immaculate Conception of Mary, mother of Jesus, this angel also revealed the Word of God to Mohammed; Mika’il (Michael) is the angel of predestination, and the angel Israfil will blow the trumpet on the Day of Judgment, when our sins will be weighed. Azra’il is the angel of Death. The dark angel Iblis, Satan, disobeying God, was too proud to bow before Adam and was therefore expelled from paradise and from the company of angels, becoming Man’s arch-enemy. Muslims do not worship angels nor pray to them.