Allah is an Arabic term for “God.” It is a contraction of al-ilah (“the god”; al = “the” / ilah = “god”). Although Allah was one of the many deities of the pre-Islamic, polytheistic Arabs, he was apparently considered the highest god in the pagan pantheon and the creator of the world. Muhammad’s tribe, the Quraysh, held Allah (and Allah’s daughters al-Lat, al-Uzza, and Manat) in high esteem. Indeed, Muhammad’s father was named “Abdullah,” which means “slave of Allah.”

Muhammad followed an Arab group called the Sabians in proclaiming that Allah is the only true God. In the Qur’an, Allah is described as the creator of the world (41:9-12), who is all-powerful (2:106), all-knowing (33:40), wise (57:1), merciful (1:1), and just (11:45). A characteristic description of Allah is found in Qur’an 59:22-24:

He is Allah besides Whom there is no god; the Knower of the unseen and the seen; He is the Beneficent, the Merciful. He is Allah, besides Whom there is no god; the King, the Holy, the Giver of peace, the Granter of security, Guardian over all, the Mighty, the Supreme, the Possessor of every greatness. Glory be to Allah from what they set up (with Him). He is Allah the Creator, the Maker, the Fashioner; His are the most excellent names; whatever is in the heavens and the earth declares His glory; and He is the Mighty, the Wise.

While a Christian would have no objections to this description of God, the Qur’an adds qualifications that make the Islamic concept of God theologically unacceptable. Allah is not a Trinity (4:171; 5:73; 5:116); he is a Father to no one (5:18; 19:88-93; 21:26); he has no love for unbelievers (3:32); and he is the “best of deceivers” (3:54; 8:30).