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Why Does Allah Refer to Himself as “We” in the Qur’an?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Ustadh Ali Ataie

Question: In the Quran the word “we” is used a lot. Could you please explain this. eg. in surah al-An’am “And this is a book that We have sent down. I don’t mean to question the Qur’an and I seek forgiveness from Allah (SWT). I just want to understand why “we” is used.

Answer: As-salam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

I hope you are well insha’Allah.

Your question is a very good one; May Allah ta ‘ala reward you for your desire to know Him more intimately.

Usage of the First Person Plural in the Qur’an

The usage of first person plural independent pronouns as well as plural pronominal suffixes in the Qur’an have been characterized by linguistically-oriented exegetes as denoting greatness and majesty. This is called the “royal plural” or pluralis majestatis (jam’a malikiy) which is quite common in the Old Testament as well; God is “Elohim” which is literally “Gods,” yet God’s radical uniqueness in Judaism is without question. Allah speaks of Himself in the plural to demonstrate His magnificence and sovereignty over all others. Popes, kings, and officials have been known to use the royal plural as well in the West.

Does Its Usage Indicate More Than One Entity?

There has been some discussion that at times, the usage of the plural in the Qur’an denotes the participation of the angels as well, but that is neither a strong nor popular opinion. Also, Christians will try to say that the Old Testament as well as the Qur’an promotes a triune godhead due to their respective usage of the plural forms for God (pronouns only in the Qur’an); this is indicative of their woeful misunderstanding of Semitic nuances as well as their overall misapprehension of the central theological tenet of Islam (and Judaism for that matter).

And Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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