Why Quran uses masculine pronouns (He/Him/His) for Allah?
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
Some people raise the question as to why Muslims refer to Allah with masculine pronouns when they say He has no gender and is not like unto anyone.
In order to understand the whole idea, please consider the following points:
Natural and Grammatical genders:
There are two kinds of gender; 1) Natural (Haqeeqi), related to one’s biological bearing and 2) Grammatical (Majazi) considering their usage in the language.
These two kinds of genders are found in many languages but more especially in Arabic. Ibn Sida in his classical Arabic grammar book quotes Al-Farisi as saying:
والتأنيثُ على وجهين تأنيثُ المعنى وتأنيثُ الاسمِ
‘There are two kinds of femininity: femininity of meaning and femininity of wording.’ (Al-Mukhassas 4/135)
And obviously the same goes for masculinity.
In Arabic Sun is feminine and Moon is masculine, surely they have no gender but that’s what their etymological form makes of them.
Even in English states and ships are referred to with feminine pronouns. This fact does not assign them a de facto gender as in humans and animals.
Arabic has no neutral gender:
An important point we need to keep in my mind is that Arabic has no neutral gender so there is nothing like ‘it’ in Arabic. Everything is referred to using either masculine or feminine pronouns.
‘Allah’ (الله) cannot be feminine according to rules of Arabic:
Infact the make up of the word الله (Allah) is such that it cannot be feminine for;
1- A word is feminine in Arabic if it is so by nature like أم i.e. umm but obviously Allah is not feminine by nature.
2- A word is feminine if it ends with the third of the Arabic alphabets i.e. taa like مروحة (fan). This is not the case with the word الله (Allah).
3- A word is feminine if it ends with آ i.e. Alif Mamduda and indeed this also is not the case with the word الله (Allah).
4- Something can be feminine if it happens to be in pairs like عينين (eyes) or يدين (hands). Certainly this is not the case with the word الله (Allah).
These points clarify that the make up of the word Allah does not allow to refer to it with feminine pronouns.
Masculinity generally denotes Majesty:
If one asks why use masculine pronoun for Allah and not feminine then the answer is that generally masculinity represents Majesty and femininity denotes meekness and softness. And as the primary relation of man with Allah is that of a humble servant to his lord so the masculine pronouns suit more the Divine Majesty.
Masculine pronouns used for Allah do not give any anthropomorphic sense because it is normal at least considering the Arabic language convention. And it, we may say, denotes the Divine Majesty.
INDEED ALLAH KNOWS THE BEST!
…by Waqar Akbar Cheema