Why does Allah use different pronouns like ‘I’, ‘We’, and ‘He’ in the Holy Quran?


A lady from Canada wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, stating that in the shahadah we proclaim, “There is no god but Allah.” Then, why in the Holy Quran does Allah the Exalted use different pronouns for Himself, such as “I”, “We”, and “He”, and what is the wisdom behind this? Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 11 July 2022, provided the following answer to this question:

“The various pronouns used for Allah the Almighty in the singular, plural, and in the third person have been explained differently by people according to their perspectives. For instance, it is said that ‘I’, which is the singular form in the first person, is used to give a general command, whereas ‘We’, the plural form in the first person, is used to manifest God’s Majesty. On the other hand, ‘He’, the singular form in the third person, comes to express the attribute of Allah being the Unseen.

“Both ‘I’ and ‘He’ are singular forms; one is in the first person, while the other is in the third person. In common parlance, one uses both of these forms for themselves in different ways of expression. However, when Allah the Exalted uses these singular forms for Himself, it especially aims to express His attribute of Oneness [Tawhid]. And when He uses ‘We’, i.e., the plural form, it is intended to manifest His Majesty. Thus, the Promised Messiahas, explaining this topic, states:

“‘When God Almighty speaks as a singular Entity, it is very endearing and words of love, and the singular form is uttered at the station of love. The plural form appears in a majestic tone, where a punishment needs to be administered.’ (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, 2016, p. 255)

“In his book, Kitab al-Bariyyah, the Promised Messiahas, while refuting the arguments presented by Christians in favour of the Trinity, elaborates on the use of pronouns ‘I’ and ‘We’ for Allah the Almighty, stating:

“‘It becomes evident that the actual reason for using the plural form is to manifest the power and grandeur of God, and these are idiomatic expressions of languages. For instance, in English, one addresses an individual as ‘you’, but for God Almighty, even in the face of the doctrine of the Trinity, they always use ‘Thou’. Similarly, in Hebrew, instead of Adon [אָדוֹן], which means ‘Lord’, Adonim [אֲדוֹנִים] is also used [i.e., the plural form]. So, in essence, these debates revolve around linguistic idioms. In the Holy Quran, in many places in God’s Word, the pronoun ‘We’ appears, as in ‘We did this’ or ‘We shall do this’. And no sensible person interprets this ‘We’ to mean a plurality of gods.’ (Kitab al-Bariyyah, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 13, pp. 94-95)

“In his exegesis, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra expounds upon the wisdom behind the use of plural forms for Allah the Exalted in the following verses of the Holy Quran:

فَاَوۡحٰۤي اِلَيۡہِمۡ رَبُّہُمۡ لَنُہۡلِکَنَّ الظّٰلِمِيۡنَ وَلَنُسۡکِنَنَّـکُمُ الۡاَرۡضَ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِھِمۡ

“‘Then their Lord sent unto them the revelation: ‘We will, surely, destroy the wrongdoers. And We will, surely, make you dwell in the land after them. This is for him who fears to stand before My Tribunal and fears My warning.’’ (Surah Ibrahim, Ch. 14: V. 14-15)

“He states:

“‘[In these verses,] Allah the Exalted has employed the form of mutakallim ma‘a l-ghayr which denotes plurality. Despite the fact that the One who ‘destroys’ and the One who ‘grants dwellings and dominion’ is solely Allah the Exalted, Who is absolutely One. The reason for this is to manifest possession and control. Since strength and power are amplified in a group, wherever the Holy Quran intends to demonstrate control and authority and underscore it, the plural form is used. Conversely, where the intent is to express self-sufficiency or not to emphasise control and possession, the singular form is employed.

“‘Some Sufis have written that for tasks Allah the Exalted performs through the agency of angels, He employs the plural form. However, He uses the singular form for acts executed solely by Divine command.’” (Tafsir-e-Kabir, Vol. 3, p. 455)

“Thus, the diverse pronouns that Allah the Exalted has employed for Himself, in singular, plural, and in the third person, are intended to manifest various distinct attributes and the power and might of Allah the Exalted.”

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