Why does Allah use I & we interchangeably in the Quran?
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Why does Allah use I and WE interchagebly in the Quran? Does We signify that He has anybody else with Him?
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Why does Allah use I & we interchangeably in the Quran?
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
The question asked is indeed a very very interesting one and one deserving of deep thought. This is a requirement of the Quran, that one should read each verse and ponder over its meanings, and only then we will be able to see the deep-rooted blessings of these blessed verses whom Allah Himself has called his "aayats" (meaning signs or miracles).
First lets get one thing clear. And that is the message of Tauheed -- One God. That is the primary message of the Holy Quran and the same message was brought by every Prophet of Allah who ever came to this earth, starting from Adam upto the Last Messenger Mohamed (saws).
Allah says in Chapter 112, Surah Ikhlas Verse 1-4: Say: He is Allah, the One and Only. Allah is Independent of all, and all are dependent on Him. Neither has He any offspring, nor is He the offspring of anyone; and NONE is equal to Him in rank.
This message of One God is the primary message of the Holy Quran and is mentioned many many times in different places and in different contexts ... There is only One God, and He Alone deserves to be worshipped. Everything else in creation are created by Him alone! They are all dependent on Him and there is nothing, I repeat, absolutely nothing like Him at all.
Allah says in the Holy Quran, Chapter 50 Surah Qaf verse 38: WE have created the heavens and the earth and all that lies between them in six days, and no fatigue overcame US.
Again in Chapter 21 Surah Anbiyaa Verse 30-33: Have not the people, who have disbelieved the Message, ever considered this: the heavens and the earth were at first one mass; then WE parted them, and created every living thing from water. Do they not acknowledge (that this is all our Creation)? And WE set mountains firmly in the earth lest it should tilt to one side along with them, and WE left therein open paths so that they may find their way. And WE made the sky a safe canopy, but in spite of this they do not pay due heed to its signs. And it Allah, Who has made the night and the day and created the sun and the moon, all of them floating, each in its own orbit.
Please note that in the above verses, Allah is talking from a Majestic and Authorative position, thus the words WE are used, instead of I. This is a common phenomena, even in this world. The kings and rulers of this world normally use the word WE, when they issue a decree or a general order. Now we must realize, that Allah, He is the Creator of all these kings and emperors, He is the King of kings!! He is sole Master of the whole Universe!! He alone is the Creator, Owner, and Sustainer of the heavens and the earth and everything in between. Thus whenever he speaks from a position of Majesty, the words WE are used in His communique.
Now lets analyse a few verses when he uses the words "I".
Allah says in Chapter 21 Surah Anbiyaa Verse 92-93: Indeed, this community of yours is one community, and I am your Lord: so worship ME alone.
Allah says in Chapter 15 Surah Al-Hijr verst 49-50: O Prophet (saws)! Tell MY servants, " I (Allah) am very Forgiving and Merciful, but at the same time MY chastisement is also very severe."
Now here Allah is taking a very merciful attitude towards his servants, as if He is talking to you personally! This is as if it is a personal commandment and message to each individual.... I am your Lord, so worship ME alone. or ... tell MY servants, I am very Forgiving and Merciful and at the same time MY chastisement is also very severe... What needs to be noted above is the amount of love and mercy the Merciful is coming towards us, as opposed to the aayats when He uses "WE" from a Majestic position. Thus here and many other verses when the Merciful uses the pronoun "I", you will generally note that these verses are either to do with His worship, His guidance, His Mercy, His rewards and His punishments towards his slaves. When the Merciful uses the pronoun "WE", you will note that here he normally comes as a Majestic Ruler and talks about the creation of the universe, the revelation of the Quran and other Scriptures, destruction of a dis-believing community, etc. Here his attitude is impersonal and of a Majestic Nature. Both "I" and "WE" could be interchangebly used, without changing the meaning of the verse, but when Allah wants a message or commandment to reach each individual's heart, he comes with an extreme merciful attitude and talks as if He is talking personally to each and every individual.
But at no time does He indicate in the whole Quran that the WE is supposed to be plural or there is somebody else with Him. Allah is One, Alone, Only, and Unique.. and He alone deserves our worship.
May Allah guide you and us all to the Straight Path of Islam.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,