Category Archives: Uncategorized

Quran Converts Hilarious Ozzie Bro

There are like a million conversion stories on Youtube, but this one caught my eye because it was on my brother’s FaceBook page, and I was cracking up all the way through.

What I really loved about it though, was the role the Quran played in the story – it inspired me to go pick it up and have a read…

Check it out below, and let us know what your favourite part was in the comments 🙂

It Is Incomparable

“And nothing is equivalent to It” (112:4)

Imagine ‘God’. Go ahead, close your eyes right now, and imagine “God” or “Allah” or whatever you’re used to calling It. What do you see? When you really concentrate, and attempt to visualise the One that created all that is, what do you see? A bright light? The Ka’aba? The letters that spell out ‘Allah’ in Arabic? A combination of these? Does It have a face, or hands as you imagine it? Is it male or female? Got the image as clear as possible? Great.

Now, here’s an obvious truth that you probably already know… the image in your mind that represents “God” or “Allah”, that you may well have been praying to your whole life is not God or Allah. To imagine this image and pray with it in mind, regardless of how abstract it is in your mind’s eye, is tantamount to blasphemy. In fact, in the Islamic tradition, and using Quranic vocabulary, the closest word we could use to describe you praying to this image is “shirk”  – worshipping something other than God.

Acknowledging this gives us a great and deep insight that will immediately enhance your ability to pray or meditate, and bring you instantly closer to the All-Loving Creator. Here it is…

“The closest you will ever be to ‘The Incomparable’ is to free your mind of any image or thought. For a few quick ideas on how you can do this, and how doing this is the quickest way to ‘master your ego’, click here.

The connection I want you to see here, that may have an instant effect on your spiritual development is that believing in One, who is Eternal & Incomparable forces us to free our minds from any thought forms. It is impossible to ‘remember Allah’ unless we do so in a way that doesn’t limit Allah in any way. The only way a human can do this is to be free from thought forms of this world, and thought forms that limit Allah (like imagining It with 10 fingers & 10 toes). There is of course an immense side benefit of doing this – experiencing instant “ihsan” – the Quranic word for spiritual excellence, goodness, and beauty… or perhaps even “enlightenment”.


It Definitely Isn’t A Man

So, why do most Quran-readers use the pronoun ‘He’ to describe the Almighty?

Well, there are a few reasons I can think of – perhaps you can comment below to give me your take on this.

The first reason we’ve made ‘Allah’ into a ‘He’ is that the earliest translations of the Quran into English had an on-going theme of trying to sound as biblical as possible. In the Bible, God is a ‘He’ – the ‘Father’ figure for humanity. Imagining God as a father figure creates warm, fuzzy feelings inside you, especially if your father is emotionally and spiritually absent.

However, personalising the Incomparable to this extent has a down side: in the minds of millions of people the Almighty Creator has somehow become a cheerful chap with a Father-Christmas-like beard sitting on a cloud up in Heaven. Even though most Muslims would reject this image of Allah, they wouldn’t reject it strongly enough to not use the pronoun ‘He’ to describe It. (Although I imagine if we started referring to Allah as a ‘She’ it would cause some kind of out-cry, even though the word ‘Ar-Rahman’, The All-Loving and ‘Ar-Raheem’ The Most Kind, both share the same 3 root letters in Arabic as ‘womb’, which is surely feminine.)

The second reason Allah is referred to as ‘He’ in English is that Arabic grammar does not have a neutral gender, and when referring to something neutral of gender, the masculine is used. And, because most translators are just looking for the easiest equivalent in the target language, the pronoun ‘He’ or ‘Him’ is used instead of ‘It’ throughout most (no, all) English translations of the Quran.

The 3rd reason, people use ‘He’ to refer to Allah is that they hear other people, particularly scholars and people of knowledge referring to Allah as ‘He’ when talking about Islam or Allah in English. No doubt such scholars have their own reasons for referring to Allah as ‘He’ rather than ‘It’, but at this point, I couldn’t justify it. I’m guessing most scholars just do it because they’re translating the Quran from Arabic to English in their minds as they speak, and they hope their audience knows enough about Islam to know that “He” isn’t a male.

The 4th reason is that the best alternative to ‘He’ is probably ‘It’, which doesn’t feel good for some people. I can understand that – ‘It’ is so much less personal than ‘He’. ‘It’ sounds like some kind of an alien character in a horror movie. However, the more I use ‘It’, the more I feel close to ‘It’. Besides, when talking about the Indescribable, I’d vote for an Alien Force for Good over a Father-Christmas sitting on a cloud any day.

I also feel like I can use the term ‘It’ to communicate to a broader audience, from different religious, non-religious, and spiritual backgrounds, and maybe help us all see that we probably believe in the same Divine Force, although the words we use to describe It may be different. That’s harder to do if I think and talk about ‘It’ using a male pronoun.

The 5th reason is probably one of the most practical. When translating the Quran accurately, it’s very difficult to refer to Allah as ‘It’ because the ‘It’ could be referring to just about anything else in the sentence. Here’s an example:

“There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear book by which Allah guides those who pursue His pleasure – the way of peace – and brings them out of the darkness into the light, with His permission, and guides them to a straight path” (5: 15-16)

The above verses make a lot more sense, and are easier to read than my preferred translation:

“There has come to you from Allah a light and a clear book by which Allah guides those who pursue Its pleasure – the way of peace – and brings them out of the darkness into the light, with Its permission, and guides them to a straight path” (5: 15-16)

In the 2nd ‘It’ version, the ‘It’ could be referring to ‘a clear book’ in the 1st use, or ‘the light ‘ in the 2nd use. Hmm… tricky. Whilst this happens less with the personal pronoun ‘He’, it still happens. That’s why it’s capitalised. If throughout the translation, ‘It’ is used to refer to Allah when capitalised, using ‘It’ still makes sense. And something awesome happens…

When you read the Quran, replacing the “He’s” with “It’s”, you get a sense of Allah’s Awe, Magnificence and Incomparable nature. You’re referring to Something when you’ve never seen, heard or touched It. Read the second version of the verse again, accepting that ‘It’ (capitalised) refers to Allah. Go ahead. Then, let me know how it feels to you in the comments box below.

The reason I wrote this piece is to let you know that throughout the rest of this blog and in other writings, I’ll be referring to Allah using the equally inadequate, but at least gender-free pronoun, “It” insha’Allah. If you can think of a really good reason not to, let me know below and I’ll judge for myself, with the True Judge watching me.