It all begins and ends with God, whom Muslims believe to be one, unique, and incomparable. Islam jealously holds that nothing is worthy of worship except Him. He creates and is not created; God is God, and nothing else is or ever was–to any degree.
God created humankind that we may live on earth in order to “worship” Him, which goes beyond rituals and includes the full range of human life and personal and social interaction and morality. When God placed the seed of Adam and Eve in this world, He did not leave men and women without guidance. His covenant with humanity is that He would send Prophets and Messengers to teach humankind what God asks of them. Humankind, in return, would receive and follow these teachings to the best of their abilities–whether in times of ease or in times of trial. These teachings are recorded in the scriptures revealed to the Messengers. Human worth is based on faith, personal piety, and righteous deeds. Tribe, race, wealth, gender, geography, language, or other circumstances of birth or affluence have no authentic or transcending value in themselves.
Muslims believe that everybody has direct communication with God. Clergy is not required for God to hear our most secret prayers and urgent needs. No go-between is necessary for one to ask God for forgiveness, mercy, guidance, help, provision, or relief. God is “nearer to us than our jugular veins” (as the Muslim scripture, the Quran, affirms). His love for us is without question. One simply and sincerely believes in God and prays to Him with an undistracted mind, certain that God hears and answers prayers, for He is all-knowing, compassionate, and wise.
It should be stated that “God” and “Allah” are different names for the same one and only Creator. “Allah” is simply the proper name and Arabic word meaning “the God.” Arabic speakers of various religious traditions use the word “Allah” when referring to God. In fact, the Aramaic word for “God,” the word that Jesus himself used, is “alaha.”