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The question Is "Allah" a he or she? points out that referring to Allah as "he" is a language matter

...unlike English, the Arabic male pronoun does not imply gender. English, quite frankly, does not have an appropriate pronoun that fully encompasses this. -- goldPseudo ♦

(See also Is Allah a male or a female?.) This made me think that it wasn't such a big deal referring to Allah as "He", since it's just an arbitrary convention.

However, one can find fatawa which are against referring to Allah using the female pronoun "She". In an extremely strong tone, Islam Q&A write:

Hence you will find that most of those who believe that there is a God above the heavens refer to Him in the masculine, which is more befitting to Him, may He be glorified. This is something natural that does not need any research, examination or evidence. ... If anyone were to refer to Him in the feminine, as this poor girl said, he would be opposed and accused of ignorance and clear misguidance.

At the risk of requesting research, examination, or evidence...

Question: If Allah is neither "He" nor "She", why is it so important to call Him "He"?

The Islam Q&A fatwa's tone is so strong, they basically describe this as kufr. However, aside from a "proof by intimidation", they don't seem to provide substance to their claim (particularly for a claim phrased so strongly).

It's possible the answer basically boils down to this part of the Islam Q&A fatwa:

Imam at-Tabari (may Allah have mercy on him) said: ... the feminine of any thing is inferior ...

and

Shaykh Ibn Sa‘di (may Allah have mercy on him) said: ... If the names are feminine and inferior, that may point to some inferiority in the thing that is thus named ...

If it's the case that we can't refer to Allah as "She" because femininity is perceived as inferior, this question becomes one of confirmation.

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    Because in the quran always "HE هو" is used when referring to HIM. – Medi1Saif Jun 4 '17 at 0:43
  • Oh. I didn't think the answer could be that simple (given the length of the Islam Q&A fatwa). – Rebecca J. Stones Jun 4 '17 at 0:49
  • Lol that was my first thought, it is actually not an answer ;) – Medi1Saif Jun 4 '17 at 0:52
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    It is clearly a psychological reason in my opinion, as "he" sounds more powerful than "she" for instance. I am not aware of another word in any language which could be used to address Allah or God. So because we don't have a special pronoun for God, we use the pronoun in our language that has the most psychological effect. Majority of the languages (that i know about) are still using the word "he". The proof of this is that in the Quran, God uses the word "We" (nahno), when he speaks about Himself, to express royalty, which is common in Arabic. – Kilise Jun 4 '17 at 1:11
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In islam, we use هي when speaking of the sun even though we all obviously know the sun is not a living animal who can be male or female. Simply, everything in arabic needs to be referred with either هي or هو. Allah spoke of himself with the pronoun هو and also spoke of himself with the pronoune نحن (we, more precisely the royal we). We don't have a third pronoun for what or who is unrelated to gender. Moreover, it is stated in the quran that Allah is the one who created us as either male or female. Consequence ? Allah is more supreme than to consider him male or female. He is the creator of males and females. French also calls things with either "il" or "elle". There must be one pronoun for it.

Just try to avoid the question, it's related to linguistics and how arabic works, and it will boggle your brain to consider it. If it does boggle your brain just remember, the Quran is sent in arabic not english, and arabic is the way you see it is, so Allah must be mentioned with the pronoun هو if you're going to use a pronoun because that is how he called himself in the Quran.

  • Thanks. If Allah refers to Himself as "He" in the Qur'an, it makes sense to do so too. – Rebecca J. Stones Jun 8 '17 at 1:46
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To avoid any confusion, kindly first read my answer about Is Allah not omnipresent?.

Having that said, I concluded that Allah is not like us. Though we still have a similarity with Allah. Only in the names ie we both exist (حی), we both have knowledge (عالم), we both hear and see, we are both kind (جواد), etc. But does Allah exist in the same way we do? No! Does Allah have knowledge the same way we do? No! Does Allah hear and see the same way we do? No!...

We only share the names...so we can better communicate with Allah. Period. Nothing more. Allah is:

شی بخلاف الاشیاء

A thing unalike others

But in essence our knowledge is different from Allah's. It's not like his just has 100000X more. It's essentially different.

When we say Allah is "He". It's only because we can communicate better with him. It's not because of that in essence he's a male or has gender. Only that masculine is stronger.

If we were to not use the same names then we would be more dumbfounded than we currently are. Basically every attribute (قادر، عالم، حی، بصیر، ...) needs to be adjusted with "But not like us...how? We don't know. He's God!" :D.

  • But wouldn't 'it' be a much more logical choice with your argumentation? It doesn't give god a gender and emphasizes that he can't be categorized in that way and that he is different than us. It seems much more fitting to use for the concept of an incomprehensible abstract force that is unlike anything we know. – The Raven Queen Jun 4 '17 at 17:20
  • @TheRavenQueen "I", "We" are pronouns that don't work well with "it". But I do understand where your question is coming from...I don't have a concrete answer. "He" just seems more appropriate – Honey Jun 4 '17 at 18:44
  • Well that's highly subjective and isn't a satisfying answer. Also what do "I" and "We" have to do with this? Someone talking about themselves has absolutely no influence on the pronouns others use to talk about them. Both men and women speak of themselves as "I" and are referred to as "he" or "she" respectively. – The Raven Queen Jun 4 '17 at 22:57

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