God, Prophets, Muhammad, Satan (Devil)
Who is Allah?
Allah is the name for God in the Abrahamic religions (i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam). It's an Arabic word which means "The One God". Allah is unique, omnipotent, creator and provider of the universe, and Master of the Day of Judgement. He is one and only God and has no partners.
Arabic-speaking Christians and Jews call God Allah. The Aramaic - the language spoken by Jesus (pbuh) - word for God, "El" or "Alaha", sounds similar to Allah. The Hebrew words for God, "El" or "Elah", and the plural or glorified form "Elohim", both derive from the same Semitic root as Allah. This is because Aramaic, Hebrew adn Arabic are all Semitic languages with common origins. However, while El and elohim, the New Testament theos (hence theology), the Latin deus (hence deism), and the pre-Christian, Germanic god can all refer both to the Judeo-Christian god and other supernatural beings, the Arabic word Allah stems from the Arabic verb ta'allaha (or alaha), which means "to be worshipped". Thus in Arabic, the word Allah means "The One who deserves all worship". This, in a nutshell, is the Pure Monotheistic message of Islam.
All Muslims and some Jews and Christians acknowledge they believe in the same God even though their understanding differ. They all believe that the religion of the first humans, Adam and Eve, was monotheistic but it was corrupted into polytheism so Allah sent prophets to teach mankind there is only one god. But Muslims and Jews reject the Christian beliefs of the Trinity and the Divine Incarnation, while the Jews don't consider Jesus a prophet at all (which Muslims do).
Allah is not subject to plurality. In English you can say God or gods, but Allah cannot be changed to Allahs in Arabic language. This again emphasis monotheism (oneness of God) of the religion. Allah also does not lend itself to gender. There is no male (e.g. god) or female (e.g. goddess) gender for the term Allah.
Allah is referred to by 99 names in the Qur'an. However, they are really epithets, expressing His beautiful qualities, for example, Creator, the King, the Merciful, the Almighty, the All-Seer, etc.
Who was Muhammad?
Muhammad (Peace be upon him - usually abbreviated to 'pbuh') was an Arab born in a noble tribe of Makkah in Saudi Arabia in the year 570 CE.
His ancestry goes back to Prophet Ishmael, son of Prophet Abraham (Peace be upon them). His father died shortly before his birth and his mother died when he was six. He did not attend school and was thus unable to read and write.
In accordance to the prevalent custom, he was raised first by a nurse, and then by his grandfather and uncle. As a young man, he was known as a righteous person, a trait that earned him the title of 'Al-Amin' (the trustworthy). He often used to retire to meditate in a cave near Makkah. At age 40, he was given the prophethood when the Angel Jibrail (Gabriel) appeared in the cave with God's Command. Subsequently, the revelations came over 23 years and were compiled in the form of a book called the Qur'an which Muslims consider as the final and the last word of God given to humankind. The Qur'an has been preserved in its original form and confirms the truth in the Torah, the Psalms, and the Gospel.
Muhammad (pbuh) died in his house in Madinah, Saudi Arabia, around 8 June 632 CE after suffering from heavy fever. He was 63 years old.
Do Muslims worship Muhammad?
Muslims do not worship Muhammad or any other prophets. Muslims believe in all prophets mentioned in the Qur'an, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, David, Solomon, Moses, and Jesus (peace be upon them). This is an integral part of the faith. A person cannot be a Muslim without believing in them.
Muslims also believe that Muhammad (pbuh) was the last or 'seal' of the prophets and no other prophet will come after him. They believe that Allah alone is to be worshiped, not any human being or creation. It is one of the main reason why Muslims do not display images of Prophet Muhammad (so people don't fall into the trap of worshipping them).
Do Muslims believe other prophets existed before Muhammad and were sent to different parts of the world?
Allah mentions in the Qur'an that He sent a prophet to every nation, since He will not judge a people unless He has made it clear to them what His expectations are.
For We assuredly sent amongst every People a Messenger, (with the command): 'Serve God, and eschew Evil;' of the people were some whom God guided, and some on whom Error became inevitably (established). So travel through the earth, and see what was the end of those who denied (the Truth).
The number of prophets sent to mankind is a debated issue. One less-than-sound hadith (saying or action of Prophet Muhammad) states there were 124,000 prophets. However, the Qur'an explicitly mentions 25 prophets and indicates there were others.
25 Prophets mentioned in the Qur'an:
- Idris (Enoch)
- Nuh (Noah)
- Hud (Heber)
- Salih (Methusaleh)
- Lut (Lot)
- Ibrahim (Abraham)
- Ismail (Ishmael)
- Ishaq (Isaac)
- Yaqub (Jacob)
- Yusuf (Joseph)
- Shu'aib (Jethro)
- Ayyub (Job)
- Dhulkifl (Ezekiel)
- Musa (Moses)
- Harun (Aaron)
- Dawud (David)
- Sulayman (Solomon)
- Ilias (Elias)
- Alyasa (Elisha)
- Yunus (Jonah)
- Zakariya (Zachariah)
- Yahya (John the Baptist)
- Isa (Jesus)
Of some messengers We have already told you the story; of others We have not; - and to Moses God spoke direct.
But, unlike other prophets before him who were sent for a specific nation or tribe, Muhammad (pbuh) was sent as a perfect example for whole mankind. He is the final messenger, no other prophet will come after him.
Some prophets received scriptures from Allah, notably the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David, and the Gospel of Jesus (peace be upon them). However, the Muslims believe their original messages and books became corrupted or were lost. The Qur'an will not suffer this fate. It's still in its original pure form and will remain like this until the last day.
No female prophets are mentioned in the Qur'an - though some scholars do believe that there were female prophets. These scholars regard Eve (wife of Adam), Asiyah (wife of Pharaoh who according to Qur'an adopts Moses as son, as opposed to the daughter who does so in the Bible), and Mary (mother of Jesus) as prophets as they received revelation from God. However, the Qur'an does not openly refer to them as prophets. Nevertheless, the Muslims revere them as three among the many righteous and saintly women mentioned in the Qur'an.
What does Islam say about Satan/Devil?
In Islam, the devil is called Shaytan. They are a third type of creation, in addition to humans and angels, known as a "jinn". Humans are said to have been made from clay, angels from light, and jinn from fire. While the Qur'an teaches that some jinn are good and submit to God, it states that others try to tempt people to do evil. The leader of these evil forces is known as 'Iblis', who was cast out of heaven after he refused to prostrate himself before Adam.
And (remember) when We said to the angels: "Prostrate yourselves unto Adam". So they prostrated themselves except Iblis (Satan). He was one of the jinn; he disobeyed the command of his Lord. Will you then take him (Iblis) and his offspring as protectors and helpers rather than Me while they are enemies to you? What an evil is the exchange for the Zalimoon (polytheists, and wrongdoers, etc).
The primary characteristic of Iblis is hubris; not only did he deem himself a superior creation to Adam, he also demonstrated arrogance by challenging God's judgment in commanding him to prostrate. His primary activity is to incite humans and jinn to commit evil through deception, which is referred to as "whispering into the hearts". The Quran mentions that devils are the assistants of those who disbelieve and commit immorality.
Wikipedia - Devil (Islam)