Why does the Holy Quran use masculine pronouns for Allah?


A lady asked Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, “[…] Why has Allah the Exalted used masculine pronouns for Himself in the Holy Quran? […]”

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa replied: 

“[…] In the different languages of the world, masculine and feminine pronouns are used to differentiate between the sexes. However, Allah the Exalted, Who is One without any partners, is above such distinctions. It is to only help us understand, that Allah the Exalted has used certain phrases to describe Himself, but they are all metaphors. Otherwise, Allah the Exalted is neither male nor female and He is above all kinds of gender.

“Moreover, in almost all societies of the world, the female is thought of as weaker than the male. At the time of the advent of Islam, the same concept was prevalent in Arabia. Hence, in the Holy Quran, Allah the Exalted says about the disbelievers that they prefer sons for themselves but daughters for Him, referring to how they used to call the angels by feminine pronouns and used to call them the ‘daughters of God’. Allah the Exalted says about this that it is a very unfair division that they do. Thus, he states: 

اَلَكُمُ‭ ‬الذَّكَرُ‭ ‬وَ‭ ‬لَهُ‭ ‬الۡاُنۡثٰي‭ ‬تِلۡكَ‭ ‬اِذًا‭ ‬قِسۡمَةٌ‭ ‬ضِيۡزٰي

“‘What! for you the males and for Him the females! That indeed is an unfair division.’ (Holy Quran, Surah an-Najm, Ch. 53: Vs. 22-23) 

“Thus, from the beginning of creation, ‘feminine’ has been perceived as weak whereas ‘masculine’ has been viewed as supreme and powerful. In the Arabic language too, the masculine pronoun denotes perfect strength and power. That is why Allah the Exalted, Who is the Source and Master of all powers, including those that are transcendent, has used that pronoun for Himself which is considered the most befitting of His nature even in the eyes of humans. Otherwise, all the similes described in the Quran and the Hadith about the Being of Allah the Exalted are allegorical, because the Being of Allah the Exalted is لَيۡسَ‭ ‬كَمِثۡلِهٖ‭ ‬شَيۡءٌ i.e. not whatever like anything, as He states:

فَاطِرُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ؕ جَعَلَ لَكُمۡ مِّنۡ اَنۡفُسِكُمۡ اَزۡوَاجًا وَّ مِنَ الۡاَنۡعَامِ اَزۡوَاجًا ۚ يَذۡرَؤُكُمۡ فِيۡهِ ؕ لَيۡسَ كَمِثۡلِهٖ شَيۡءٌ ۚ وَ هُوَ السَّمِيۡعُ الۡبَصِيۡرُ

“‘(He is) the Maker of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you pairs of your own selves, and of the cattle (also He has made) pairs. He multiplies you therein. There is nothing whatever like unto Him; and He is the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing.’ (Holy Quran, Surah ash-Shura, Ch. 42: V. 12)

“The Promised Messiahas interprets this verse as follows:

“‘Keeping to the middle in relation to God means that in expounding Divine attributes one should not lean towards negating Divine attributes nor describe God as resembling material things. This is the way that the Holy Quran has adopted with reference to Divine attributes. It affirms that God sees, hears, knows, speaks; and as a safeguard against His being understood as resembling His creation it also affirms:

لَيۡسَ‭ ‬كَمِثۡلِهٖ‭ ‬شَيۡءٌ

“[…] Meaning there is nothing like unto Him.’ (The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam [English], pp. 101-102 )

“He also stated: 

“‘God has two [overarching] attributes since eternity and since there was nothing. One attribute is that of similitude [tashbihi], while the other attribute is transcendent [tanzihi]. And since it was necessary to describe both the attributes in the Word of God, i.e. the tashbihi as well as the tanzihi attributes, therefore God described the attributes of his hand, eye, love, anger, etc. in the Holy Quran to express the tashbihi attributes and then when a misgiving about [a misbelief in true] similitude arose, He used the phrase لَيۡسَ‭ ‬كَمِثۡلِهٖ [i.e. there is nothing like unto Him] in some places.’ (Chashma-e-Ma‘rifat, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 23, p. 277) […]”

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