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Why does Allaah Subhanahu-wa-Ta’alaa refer to Himself as "He"?  

All praises be to Allaah, Lord and Sustainer of the worlds, and may the peace and blessings of Allaah be upon our Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and upon his family and companions.

Allaah Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa refers to Himself as "He" for two reasons:

1. Because this is what Allaah chose to do as Allaah says:

"And your Lord creates whatsoever He wills and chooses: no choice have they (in any matter). Glorified be Allâh, and exalted above all that they associate (as partners with Him).."

[Al-Qasas:68]

2. Because of our limitations that we need a language to symbolize things and communicate and understand. So Allaah Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa arranged for this communication in a normal and natural way i.e. through the messengers and books, the last of which is Qur'ân.

The Qur'ân was revealed in Arabic because its first recipients were Arabs, therefore Allaah Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa says:

"And We sent not a Messenger except with the language of his people, in order that he might make (the Message) clear for them. Then Allâh misleads whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.."

[Ibraheem: 4]

And Allaah Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa says:

"Verily, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'ân in order that you may understand.."

[Yusuf: 2]

So, this means that Allaah sent the Qur'ân in their language which they were familiar with.

In all languages, living beings are referred to as I, we, you, he, she and them. The Arabic language is no exception to this.

It is also common to all languages that when we have to refer to a living being without specifying the gender, we use the masculine pronoun, so we will say: "he who does such and such…," which can refer to both male and female. But when we use the pronoun "she," then this definitely specifies the gender. So "he" is a pronoun that can be used for when specifying the gender is required, as well as when it is not required, such as in the case of Allaah Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa, who is  the most Glorified and does not have a gender. While if we had used the pronoun "she," then it will definetly imply a gender to Allaah, may He be glorified.

This is why Allaah has referred to himself as "He," not because he has a gender or because the male gender is privileged in this way, rather it is because this is how the language is and this is how we are limited in our ability to comprehend Him.

Allaah Subhanahu-wa-Ta'alaa says:

'The Creator of the heavens and the earth. He has made for you mates from yourselves, and for the cattle (also) mates. By this means He creates you (in the wombs). There is nothing like Him; and He is the AllHearer, the All-Seer..'

[Ash-Shooraa:11]

Thus Allaah informs us that gender is a need for the creation and not for the creator.

Incidentally Allah also refers to Himself in the Qur'an as 'I' and 'We,' depending on the context of the text.

And Allah the Most Knowledgeable knows what is best and most correct.

May Allaah help and guide us to do all that He is pleased with and may his Peace and blessings be upon His last Prophet Muhammad.

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