Holy Spirit in Islam
Who is the ‚Holy Spirit‘ in the Qu’ran?

The Qu’ran rejects the idea of the triune Godhead, consisting of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (sura 5,73) and it speaks about the unity of God (112,1-4). The Bible speaks also about the unity of God (Mark 12,29), but God reveals himself and his nature in three persons and at the same time as one single God (cf. Matthew 28,19; John 14,26).
The Qu’ran mentions the Holy Spirit only in a small number of verses. These verses are quoted in the following text:
1. “Ruuh-ul-Qudus”, e.g. Holy Spirit, for example, in sura 16,102: “Say: Thus the Holy Spirit has truly send down it [the Qu’ran] from your lord, to strengthen the believers, and as a guidance and as good news for the Muslims”.
2. „Ruuhanaa“, e.g. our spirit; for example, 21,91
3. „Ruuhul-‚Amiin“ e.g. the upright/faithful spirit; for example, in sura 26,193: „and the faithful spirit has laid it [the Qu’ran] in your heart so that you might preach in the clear Arabic language“.
4. „Al-Ruh’“ e.g. the spirit; for example 42,52
Muslims identify this spirit as the angel Gabriel: “Tell them: Woe betide anyone who is an enemy to Gabriel who inspired you the revelation according to the will of God…” (2,97), e.g. as an angel of God created by God (17,85). As is said in sura 16,102; 26,193 (see above), that the Holy Spirit was the one who brought the revelation. E.g. the Muslim’s conclude that the Holy Spirit has to be the angel Gabriel who revealed the Qu’ran, a little bit at a time, to Mohammed.
That is neither mentioned expressly in any verse of the Islam nor in the writings of the Hadiths. It is the other way around. The angels and the spirit are mentioned separately in the same verse of the Qu’ran (16,2; 70,4; 78,38; 97,4) and so it is in the writings of the Hadiths. All the same this does not cause any further problem to the Muslim scholars, because they understand this as a sort of parallelism which is not accepted as such by the Christian apologists. According to the Qu’ran the angels and the spirit (Gabriel) will climb up towards God on a sort of ladder, when He one day will judge mankind (70,4; probably following [the account of] the ladder of Jacob cf. Genesis 28,12). The angels and the spirit will be lined up (78,38; as today Muslims do also when they pray the ritual prayer in the mosque). The angels and the spirit descended in the night of “Al‘ Kadar” (night of power) during the fasting month of Ramadan and that is when Gabriel revealed to Mohammed the first sura of the Qu’ran (97,4).

Angel Gabriel’s missions
Mohammed saw the angel Gabriel during his first revelation as he appeared in front of a bright horizon (81,23) and tried to defend himself against the accusation that he was possessed: It was the angel Gabriel who brought down the verses of the revelation from heaven. – Within the collections of the Hadith the Holy Spirit is hardly mentioned. Whereas there is a larger number of Hadiths which mention the angel Gabriel who is said to have accompanied Mohammed when he ascended to heaven, when he passed through the seven heavens and when he is said to have succeeded in making a bargain with God in order to reduce the number of the compulsory prayers from 50 to five (Al Buchari 5,227). Gabriel helped Mohammed to quote the Qu’ran (for example Al-Buchari 3,126) and will not appear in rooms containing pictures of dogs (Al-Buchari 7,843).

The frequent connection of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in the Qu’ran
It is interesting that the Holy Spirit is mentioned first of all when it speaks about Jesus, for example, when it talks about the announcement of a son for Maria. That is one verse where the spirit appears clearly in the form of a handsome man (angel Gabriel; 19,17). On the other hand, the event of Maria’s conception is described by an act of ‚blowing at‘ of “our spirit” (21,91). It is also striking that the Holy Spirit is mentioned especially when it speaks about the working of miracles and the persuasive power that came from Jesus. God equipped Jesus in a special way with the Holy Spirit and persuasive power (2,87). God gave Jesus the power to work miracles and equipped him with the Holy Spirit (2,253). God gave Jesus the Holy Spirit, so that he could preach to the people even as a baby (5,110).
Yes, the Qu’ran even goes on to call Jesus himself the Spirit (of God): “Truly, the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, is only the messenger of Allah and His word which He offered to Mary and of his spirit” (4,171; trans… of the Qu’ran by M.A. Rassoul).

The role of the spirit of God during creation
The spirit of God is mentioned one more time in the Qu’ran, when it talks about the creation of Adam (32,9). God breathed into Adam with his spirit, which is why all the angels should fall down in adoration before Adam (15,29; 38,72). On the other hand not only Jesus and Mohammed are equipped with the spirit (or rather equipped by the help of Gabriel), but also others, as it pleases God, to make them preach the gospel: “By his command the angels descend together with the spirit down to those of his servants, who please him, so that they might preach: That there is no other God besides me; therefore fear only me” (16,2; 40,15; 42,52). The Holy Spirit (or rather Gabriel) should thus lead the believers and equip them to preach the Islamic religion. – Islamic theologians take the view that through the Holy Spirit, the human spirit is created at the embryo stage (Sahih Muslim 33,6893).

Interesting Questions
Mohammed was aware of the fact that he did not know much about the Holy Spirit. So we read in the Qu’ran: “They will ask you about the spirit; answer them: The spirit is created by the command of my Lord and you understand only very little about that” (17,85). Islamic commentators of this verse speak about the mystery of God that has not been solved. Mohammed, as a prophet, could have resolved this, if he would have had this knowledge. Before the spirit (angel Gabriel) had been send to Mohammed, he had no idea of the scriptures and about Islam, which suggests that, he himself had been a follower of the idolatry in Mecca and that he did not have the “right” belief in any way, all the time, as many Muslims claim: “So we sent to you, too, a spirit with a revelation, according to our command. Before you did not know anything about the scripture and about the faith, which we have set as a light by which we want to guide whosoever of our servants that pleases us” (42,52).

Assessment
Like the Bible, the Qu’ran mentions the angel Gabriel and the spirit of God, when it talks about the announcement of Jesus to Mary and Jesus‘ conception by Mary, but it does not distinguish them clearly. The biblical account unites – and distinguishes! – the angel, the spirit and the son of God within one phrase: “The angel (e.g. Gabriel; cf. Luke 1,26) answered and spoke to her (Mary): The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you; therefore the holy thing which shall be born of you shall be called Son of God” (Luke 1,35). In one phrase, this contradicts some fundamental teachings of the Qu’ran. The angel Gabriel is not the Holy Spirit and the person of Jesus is the son of God. And this is particularly striking as it is the angel Gabriel saying this, he who is said to have revealed the Qu’ran in which he massively rejects Jesus‘ sonship to God.
According to the biblical testimony, the Holy Spirit himself is God (2.Corinthians 3,17-18). The biblical Holy Spirit convicts of sin and teaches, for example, that Jesus Christ had to die for our sins at the cross (1.Corinthians 2,2+3 and 13+14). All this is rejected by the Qu’ran and therefore it is, according to the biblical understanding, not inspired by the Spirit of God, but rather by an anti-godly spirit. Muslims do not have the Holy Spirit. Therefore Muslims cannot, without the Holy Spirit, understand what the Bible teaches. The Holy Spirit is, opposite to an angel, omnipresent; he lives within the believers and strengthens them so that they may be courageous witnesses for the Son of God (Acts 1,8; 2,17). The spirit of God turns humans into children of God – which is not possible according to [the teachings] of Islam (5,18).
Therefore Muslims cannot even call upon God as: “Abba, beloved Father.” (Romans 8,15; Galatians 4,6; 1.John 3,1-2). For this reason they do not even have a cleaned up and reconciled relationship with the living God (John 3,18). As Muslims do not have the Holy Spirit within their lives, they are lacking both the redemption and the assurance of their redemption (Romans 8,16-17; John 3,5-6) – and because of that Christians owe them the message of the Gospel.

 

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