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Is God Male or Female?

Questioner

Irving

Reply Date

Sep 06, 2017

Question

Is the Muslim God male or female?

Consultant

Answer


Is God Male or Female?

Salam (Peace) Dear Irving,

Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.

Islam teaches that there is no “Muslim God”, “Christian God”, or “Jewish God”, for that matter.

There is only the One true God of the universe, the God of everything, living as well as non-living.

He created all humans, whether they call themselves Hindus, Jews, Christians, or Muslims.

God says in the Quran, which Muslims believe is His word,

He is the First and the Last, the Evident and the Hidden: and He has full knowledge of all things. (Quran 57:3)

He has created the heavens and the earth in just proportions, and has given you shape, and made your shapes beautiful: and to Him is the final Goal. (Quran 64:3)

To God belong the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and all that is between: and unto Him is the final goal (of all). (Quran 5:18)

Of course, by “Muslim God” you mean, God according to Islam.

Prophet Muhammad Didn’t Invent Islam

One point I would like to stress here is the fact that Islam is not an invention of Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Essentially, it is the first and the last religion.

By the first religion, I mean the religion of the first man and prophet, Adam (peace be upon him). By the last religion, I mean the religion of the last prophet, Muhammad (peace be upon him).

The very word, “Islam” means “submission”. And the word is derived from the same root as “salam“, which mean “peace”.

And the name of the religion, “Islam”, stands for a life of unconditional and wholehearted submission to the One True God of the universe.

In this sense, Islam was the religion of all the prophets of God, including Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them all).

God Is Above Gender

Islam approves of all the prophets of God as well as of all the scriptures of God, such as the Torah, the Psalms, the Gospel, and the Quran.

In all these scriptures, (not only in the Quran), the pronoun “He” is used to refer to God.

From the use of the word “He”, people may get the impression that God is male. But as a matter of fact, there is no sense in calling God a male.

The male of the human species (or other species for that matter) exists in contrast of the female of the species. In the case of God, Who is only One, there is no such possibility.

The concept of the Oneness of God in Islam (and to some extent in Judaism too) defies all attempts at dilution of the meaning of the term.

God Has No Son

It is worthy of note here that the sort of human relationships, like father and son, which is part of Christian theology, is quite uncharacteristic of the Semitic religious tradition, though typical of the eastern mystery religions such as Mithraism.

According to historians of religions, the first contact between Mithraism and Christianity took place during the lifetime of St Paul (originally Saul of Tarsus) in the Hellenistic city of Tarsus, which was an old seaport with a long history of Mithra worship.

Evidences show that St Paul, who was eager to win over the Gentile believers, deliberately incorporated elements of Mithraism into his brand of Gentile Christianity. (Mithra’s Contributions, Accessed 18 Jan. 2010)

Naturally, the concept of God as the father, or God as the son, imprints on the believers’ minds the idea that God is male.

This of course is a deviation from the original concept of God, taught by all the prophets of God, including Jesus.

The Quran: God’s Final Word

The noble Quran is the last testament of God, whose chief function is to reaffirm the original truths revealed in the earlier scriptures, as well as to correct the distortions and aberrations that have crept into them.

It is in this sense that the Quran is called a “safeguard” over the earlier scriptures.

In the noble Quran, Allah Almighty (God) revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), what means:

To you We sent the scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety: so judge between them by what Allah hath revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the truth that has come to you. To each among you we have prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He has given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah. It is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute. (Quran 5:48)

God Describes Himself

The Quran is in Arabic, and the Arabic word used in it for “He” is “huwa“.

But the use of this word does not mean that God is male. God in His revelations to humans uses human language, and so words like “He” are used in the Quran for human understanding, but that does not mean God is male.

Here is a description of God given in the Quran.

Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His light is as if there were a niche and within it a lamp: the lamp enclosed in glass: the glass as it were a brilliant star: lit from a blessed tree, an olive, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire scarce touched it: Light upon Light! Allah does guide whom He will to His light: Allah does set forth Parables for men: and Allah does know all things. (Quran 24:35)

The foregoing verse gives us a parable of God as the Light of the heavens and earth; which shows that He is far above and beyond anything we can imagine.

In the short but significant Quranic chapter, called Al-Ikhlas, God says what means:

Say: He is Allah, the One and Only; Allah, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him. (Quran 112:1-4)

The foregoing means that God, according to the teachings of Islam, is neither male nor female, as He transcends and defies any form of comparison with His creation.

I hope this answers your question. Please keep in touch.

Salam.


(From AboutIslam’s archives)

Read more…

Only One God: How to Follow Him? – P1

 

Understanding God’s Attributes

 

Knowing the Nature of God: A Must?

 

Do We Enter Paradise by Our Work or God’s Mercy?

 




About Professor Shahul Hameed

Professor Shahul Hameed is an Islamic consultant. He also held the position of the President of the Kerala Islamic Mission, Calicut, India. He is the author of three books on Islam published in the Malayalam language. His books are on comparative religion, the status of women, and science and human values.


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