Should Allah be referred as He/Him?
In this article we will examine wether or not the English pronouns ‘he/him’ are sufficient to reference the Arabic word ‘اللَّهُ/Allah’.
Let’s start by examining the pronouns. I will be using the Oxford world English dictionary for the English pronouns.
[third person singular] used to refer to a man, boy, or male animal previously mentioned or easily identified:
everyone liked my father—he was the perfect gentleman
[third person singular] Used as the object of a verb or preposition to refer to a male person or animal previously mentioned or easily identified:
his wife survived him
he took the children with him
PRON – 3rd person masculine singular personal pronoun
PRON – 3rd person masculine singular object pronoun
The word ‘اللَّهُ/Allah is a masculine noun grammatically speaking. But that does not mean Allah is a man/masculine. In Arabic every single word is either masculine or feminine. There is no neuter gender words like in English. So choosing a masculine or feminine pronoun to reference a word does NOT depend on a natural gender (like English). It’s more of a grammatical thing. Let’s see some examples:
Chapter 56 Ayat(s)77-79
إِنَّهُ< لَقُرْآنٌ كَرِيمٌ
Innahuit< is a Noble Recitation
78 in a guarded Book
لَّا يَمَسُّهُ< إِلَّا الْمُطَهَّرُونَ
Lā yamassuhu< illā Al-mutaharūna.
Non can grasp itهُوَhuwait< the word/saying of an expelled rebellious one.
Again, we see Quran being referenced with the masculine pronoun “huwa”. Yet we don’t translate it to he for the stated reasons. So WHY would you translate Hu/Huwa as He/Him in reference to Allah while Allah is equally void of natural gender? Thus in the case of hu/Huwa being used to reference Allah. It makes much more sense to translate hu/Huwa as it (since huwa/he CAN mean it) like with Quran and the other masculine words which I have avoided writing out to not sound redundant.
In order to avoid confusion, I write the “it’s” referencing Allah fully capitalized. So that the verses with multiple hu/Huwa which reference and do not reference Allah don’t get mixed up.
2:26 Allah does not shy away from putting forth the example of a mosquito, or anything above it. As for those who believe, they know that it is the truth from their Rabb/Sustainer. As for the rejecters, they say: “What does Allah intend with this example?” IT lets stray many by it, and IT guides many by it; but IT only lets stray by it the disobedient.
By: Nezir Mati