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Allah

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The Oxford Dictionary of Islam What is This? Covers the religious, political, and social spheres of global Islam in the modern world

    Allah

    God. Worshiped by Muslims, Christians, and Jews to the exclusion of all others. Revealed Himself in the Quran, which is self-described as His book. Defined in the Quran as creator, sustainer, judge, and ruler of the material universe and the realm of human experience. Has guided history through the prophets Abraham (with whom He made a covenant), Moses , Jesus , and Muhammad , through all of whom He founded His chosen communities, People of the Book (ahl al-kitab). The Quran asserts God's omnipotence but allows for human free will. Worshiped at the Kaaba in Mecca as “high god” over all other gods prior to rise of Islam. Only god in Mecca not represented by idol. Muhammad called Muslims not only to belief in or worship of Allah but also to exclusion of all other deities, forbidding their association (shirk) with Allah. The Quran lists ninety-nine names for Allah, defining His attributes, such as merciful (Rahman) and compassionate (Rahim). Muslims developed the science of theology (kalam) to investigate the nature, attributes, and operations of God. Many theologians hold that these attributes are metaphorical rather than real, since comparison of God to human beings is strictly forbidden due to fears of associationism. Some early Sufis sought union with God as the purpose of mystical experiences.

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