03 Nov What is the divine wisdom in God’s referring to Himself sometimes as “I” and sometimes as “We” in the Qur’an?
In the Qur’an, God Almighty employs both the first person singular and plural, i.e., “I” and “We”.
If we examine the verses in which God uses the first person singular or plural, we see that He uses “I” in cases where only His entity and attributions are involved, or where He particularly addresses someone, or where no interference of any others is involved:
“… he was called by name: “O Moses! Indeed it is I, I am your Lord…” (Ta.Ha 20:11-12).
God is speaking here to Prophet Moses, who is the only addressee of this speech. On the other hand, whenever God speaks of His own praiseworthy Attributes or whenever He addresses matters to everyone, the first person plural is used in the Qur’an. The following verse is an example of this type of address:
“We have not sent you (O Muhammad) but as an unequalled mercy for all the worlds. ”(Anbiya 21:107).
The Prophethood of God’s Messenger is in everybody’s interest. God has sent him as a mercy for all. God’s mercy is so wide that it shows guidance and ways of salvation to all beings and explains them as a means of happiness both in this world and in the Hereafter. Even the non-believers have accepted many of his principles and have benefited from them in this world. Thus, the plural form of the divine voice is used in such verses.
Again in the verse,
“We have surely sent it (the Qur’an) down in the Night of Destiny and Power”(Qadr 97:1)
-the Qur’an employs the plural form “We.” The descent of the Qur’an is in the interest of all times and all places, not of only a particular people or place, and Archangel Gabriel accompanies it, with other angels witnessing its descent.
Accordingly, the first person plural, “We,” has been used for both God’s exaltation and the angels’ accompaniment of the Revelation. Sometimes, by using “We,” God Almighty might allow the angels who act as the supervisors in His sovereignty to participate in the process. The plural form “We” is generally used when the creation of the universe and the events that occur in it are mentioned; God has assigned every angel a certain duty and they perform their duties. This does not mean that God has left all the operational responsibility to His angels (God forbid!) and remains distant; rather He appoints them as His envoys in these processes.