Allah and the pronoun 'He'

Since 2014-01-09

Why is Allah always reffered as 'He'? I ask this because my teacher in class raised this issue.


The Fatwa Department Research Committee - chaired by Sheikh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî

Allah says: “He created the pairs, male and female.” [Sûrah al-Najm: 45]

Allah is the Creator of both sexes. We do not attribute being male or being female to Allah. We only describe Allah as He describes himself or as His Prophet (peace be upon him) describes Him.

The primary reason that the pronoun “He” is used to refer to Allah is that He chooses to use the pronoun for Himself.

It is also in conformity with the dictates of the Arabic language in which the Qur’ân was revealed. Indeed, Allah says: “Verily this is a revelation from the Lord of the Worlds. With it came down the Faithful Spirit to your heart – so that you may be among those who give warning – in a clear Arabic tongue.” [Sûrah al-Shu`arâ’: 192-195]

In the Arabic language, there in no pronoun with a neutral gender equivalent to the English “it”. (Even in English, this neutral gendered pronoun is not to be used for beings possessing the attributes of knowledge, power and will. In English, it would be a sign of disrespect to use the pronoun “it” in such a context.)

In Arabic, when the gender of the subject is unknown or unspecified or when the subject is plural and contains both male and female individuals, the masculine pronoun will be used. In Arabic, the masculine pronoun is the default pronoun. It does not have to imply masculinity. It can be used by a speaker without masculinity being intended

By contrast, female pronouns like “she” in Arabic are used exclusively when the subject is female. Feminine pronouns cannot be used in any other context. Therefore, it is obvious why the pronoun “she” would not be used to refer to Allah, since that would indeed be specifying a gender.

And Allah knows best.

We hope that this answer clarifies the matter for you.


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