A non-Muslim can ask like this:
Couldn’t God change the father image, the traditional concept of God in Arab’s minds with his image? If Qur’an corrected many wrong beliefs, why didn’t it change this and why did it keep on using the male gender while speaking about God?
If we have to interpret Qur’anic facts according to the traditional concepts of that time, how can we declare a universality for Qur’an?
How can we – as Muslims – give logical, proper answers to these possible questions?
I attach a file in which there is a comment on this subject by an author. Will you please evaluate his thoughts through Qur’anic and Arabic perspective?
I will feel a bit of peace in my mind if you pay attention to this mail.
IF “HU” IS CHANGED INTO “HE”1
I would like to draw your attention in this chapter to a significant error that is in the English translations of religious publications as well as of the Qur’an.
As known, the word “HU” in the original Qur’an al-Karim is translated as “O” into Turkish. The pronoun “O” in our language denotes a third being and in this sense there is no difference between masculine, feminine and neuter forms. Regardless of their sexes or liveliness, we only employ the word “O” for a third being no matter what.
Yet, there are three types of English translation of that word “O” in Turkish. “He” for males, “she” for females and “it” for the rest.
We have also a usage of a wrongful phrase: “God-father!” This passed to our language from Christianity. They have a god-afar-off in the heaven, a male, that who is the father of Isa (Jesus) aleyhessalaam. Yet, as I have tried to explain throughout this book, what is denoted by the name “ALLAH” is not a “male-father out-there!”
Let us try to think about and realize our essence that we refer by saying “I.”
Let us turn toward the core of a matter and zoom into it, descending to the dimensions of molecules – atoms – neutrons – neutrino – quarks and quanta, gradually. Let us then try to imagine the reality at a dimension of particle-waves. Here, all this is a dimensional ascensionor what is known as “miraaj.”
The word “Hu” in Arabic denotes a “dimensional beyond” in terms free of quantity and quality!
Consider now the meaning that I mentioned about “Hu” and compare it with the meaning of the word “He,” which denotes the third person in the English language. Moreover, consider the conceptional confusion caused by the translation of the meaning of the word “HU” into what people used to understand from “He!”
How correct can the truth be approached if the “HU” is understood as a male god while it is intended to mean the “point of ONEness of universal dimensions?”
How compatible is the understanding of a “male-father god” known as the substantial behind the abstract, with what is in reality free form being described with the attributions of limitlessness and infinity even?
We should furthermore comprehend that…
The universe known as infinite according to us is an aspect only “<” made of a “point” in one “moment”! It is an aspect “<” made of one “point” in the plane of infinity.
Everything that we imply by the word “universe” or the “universes within the universe” takes part in such an aspect -“<“- only.
Everything that takes part in that aspect “<” and the “point” on which all is based, is a creation of “HU” in one “moment” only.
We are in just one of the “universes within the universe” crated from one “point” in only one “moment” within countless “points” of countless “moments.”
What is known as “Insan-I qamil” (universal consciousness) or as “Hakiqat-I Mohammedi” is a being made of such one “point”!
“POINT,” however, is nothing more than a “witticism!”
“HU” is a “wit” at the sight of “points,” while it is the Creator (khaliq) of countless “points”!
“HU” makes existed with a stuff of illusion all that Hu created in Hu’s science from a “point”!
“HU” also denotes Who is “GANI” from all those…
Here is the truth denoted by the noun “HU” that Muslims are required to realize.
Besides is the idea of a male-god-father in the translations of the Qur’an, in which the meaning of the noun “HU” is transformed into “He.”
It is extremely difficult for people to understand the Deen of Islam through the interpretations of the Qur’an that seems to refer to a god-afar-off.
If we wish to understand the Deen of Islam and confirm consciously, we must first grasp the meanings that such words indicate.
Please accept my apologies for the undue delay in my response.
God did not correct the Arabs and all those other nations, who were bearers of “His” revelation for using masculine pronouns, because there was nothing wrong with such a usage. The words normally used in the language in which God revealed “His” books, if they were not in contradiction with the message of the revelation, were used without much alteration to deliver the revealed message. God did not invent a separate language for “His” revelations. On the contrary, “He” used the languages that were already being spoken by man (and woman??). This is the very reason that while talking to the Arabs, the word “Allah” that had traditionally been in use for the Supreme being, was used by the revealed book. And this is exactly the reason why it was not used by the books revealed in other places and times.
I do to a great extent agree with the idea that the word “HU” in the Arabic language can also be used without implying anything regarding the gender of the being that is referred to. Such is normally the case where the “word” (rather than the being) for which the pronoun is being used is gendered as masculine. The same is the case with “HA” (the feminine counterpart of “HU”, in the Arabic language). But this normally is the case only when the words for which these pronouns are used, refer to non-living and un-gendered things. One may say that the word “HU” has been used in the Qur’an for Allah (God, Godess??) in the same manner. But for me this is more of a linguistic debate than an issue of belief.
I request you and all those interested in such questions that you should reconsider engrossing yourselves in such issues that have absolutely no bearing on our success or failure in the hereafter. We should primarily concentrate on things that are important in understanding our deen2 and shall help us in cleansing our thoughts and actions and, thereby, help us succeed in the hereafter.
I would not like to comment on the material that you have sent, because it is not related to the Qur’an . I really do not have any interest in such philosophical issues that have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on my understanding of the Qur’an or the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh).
1st December 1998