Sunday, 19 April 2009

Is "the Holy Spirit" Only Another Name for the Angel Gabriel? Part II

About Qura’anic inconsistencies

From Part I

Who is the Spirit?

We will present the Old Testament and New Testament witness as well as the Islamic sources regarding the nature and actions of the Spirit and will
examine whether the angel Gabriel can in any way be identified with the Spirit.

Old Testament Witness

The Old Testament clearly
presents the Holy Spirit as God, having all the attributes of Deity and personhood:

The Holy Spirit is Called God

The Spirit of the LORD spoke through me; his word was on my tongue. The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me: ‘When one rules over men in righteousness, when he rules in the fear of God.’" 2 Samuel 23:2-3

The Holy Spirit is the Creator

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." Genesis 1:2

"The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life." Job 33:4

The Holy Spirit is Omnipresent

I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit that is on you and put the Spirit on them. They will help you carry the burden of the people so that you will not have to carry it alone... So Moses went out and told the people what the LORD had said. He brought together seventy of their elders and had them stand around the Tent. Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke with him, and he took of the Spirit that was on him and put the Spirit on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but they did not do so again. However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the Tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp." Numbers 11:17, 24-26

"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, 'Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,' even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." Psalm 139:7-12

The Holy Spirit Manifests Personal Traits

"By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD, and trouble came to Moses because of them; for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses’ lips." Psalm 106:32-33

Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has informed Him?"
Isaiah 40:13 NASB

Yet they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned and became their enemy and he himself fought against them." Isaiah 63:10

Then the Spirit lifted me up and brought me to the gate of the house of the LORD that faces east. There at the entrance to the gate were twenty-five men, and I saw among them Jaazaniah son of Azzur and Pelatiah son of Benaiah, leaders of the people. The LORD said to me, ‘Son of man, these are the men who are plotting evil and giving wicked advice in this city. They say, "Will it not soon be time to build houses? This city is a cooking pot, and we are the meat." Therefore prophesy against them; prophesy, son of man.’ Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon me, and he told me to say: ‘This is what the LORD says: That is what you are saying, O house of Israel, but I know what is going through your mind.’" Ezekiel 11:1-5

For many years you were patient with them. By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets. Yet they paid no attention, so you handed them over to the neighboring peoples." Nehemiah 9:30

The Holy Spirit is Israel's Redeemer

Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people—where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them, who sent his glorious arm of power to be at Moses' right hand, who divided the waters before them, to gain for himself everlasting renown, who led them through the depths? Like a horse in open country, they did not stumble; like cattle that go down to the plain, they were given rest by the Spirit of the LORD. This is how you guided your people to make for yourself a glorious name." Isaiah 63:11-14

The Holy Spirit is the Author of the New Birth and the Cause of Regeneration

The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person." 1 Samuel 10:6

When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth." Psalm 104:30

The fortress will be abandoned, the noisy city deserted; citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever, the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks, till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest." Isaiah 32:14-15

For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. You will live in the land I gave your forefathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God." Ezekiel 36:24-28

The Holy Spirit Empowers and Distributes God's Gifts to Believers

Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts—to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of craftsmanship. Moreover, I have appointed Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, to help him. Also I have given skill to all the craftsmen to make everything I have commanded you.’" Exodus 31:1-6

Then Moses said to the Israelites, ‘See, the LORD has chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, ability and knowledge in all kinds of crafts.’" Exodus 35:30-31

Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the Spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the LORD had commanded Moses." Deuteronomy 34:9

After that you will go to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine outpost. As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, tambourines, flutes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. The Spirit of the LORD will come upon you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you. Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.’ As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul's heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. When they arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came upon him in power, and he joined in their prophesying. When all those who had formerly known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, ‘What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?’" 1 Samuel 10:5-11

"He gave him the plans of all that the Spirit had put in his mind for the courts of the temple of the LORD and all the surrounding rooms, for the treasuries of the temple of God and for the treasuries for the dedicated things. ‘All this,’ David said, ‘I have in writing from the hand of the LORD upon me, and he gave me understanding in all the details of the plan.’" 1 Chronicles 28:12, 19

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on himthe Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD." Isaiah 11:1-2

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn." Isaiah 61:1-2

On the twenty-first day of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: ‘Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, to Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people. Ask them, "Who of you is left who saw this house in its former glory? How does it look to you now? Does it not seem to you like nothing? But now be strong, O Zerubbabel," declares the LORD. "Be strong, O Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land," declares the LORD, "and work. For I am with you," declares the LORD Almighty. "This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear."’" Haggai 2:1-5

So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: "Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,"’ says the LORD Almighty." Zechariah 4:6

New Testament Witness

- The New Testament, in agreement with the Old Testament, clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit is fully God, having all the attributes of Deity and personhood. Due to space limitations we will only cite the specific NT references pertaining to each specific category:
- The Holy Spirit is called God. Acts 5:3-4
- The Holy Spirit is called Lord/Jehovah. 2 Corinthians 3:17-18
- The Holy Spirit is eternal. Hebrews 9:14
- The Holy Spirit is Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent. John 14:16-17; Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 2:10-12, 3:16, 6:19, 12:7-14; Galatians 5:22-23
- The Holy Spirit is a Person, having intellect, emotions and will. Luke 12:11-12; Acts 10:19-20; 11:12, 28; 13:2; 21:10-11, 28:25-27; Romans 5:5, 8:26-27, 15:30; 1 Corinthians 12:11; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 3:7-11, 10:15-17; Revelation 1:4; 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 14:13, 22:17
- The Holy is the Author of the new birth and the Cause of regeneration. John 3:5-6, 7:37-39; Acts 2:1-4, 8:14-17, 10:44-48, 11:15-18; Galatians 5:25

These passages clearly prove that the Holy Spirit IS NOT the angel Gabriel. Rather, the Holy Spirit is God. This is further proven by the following NT citation:

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ THE ANGEL ANSWERED, ‘THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL COME UPON YOU, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’" Luke 1:26-35

Angel Gabriel distinguishes between the Holy Spirit and himself, showing quite clearly that Gabriel and the Holy Spirit are not one and the same. In light of the preceding points, it becomes rather impossible to prove from the Holy Bible that the Holy Spirit is the angel Gabriel.

Interestingly, in the Pseudepigraphical writing titled "Ascension and Martyrdom of Isaiah", Gabriel is said to be the angel of the Holy Spirit:

And that (Gabriel) the angel of the Holy Spirit, and Michael, the chief of the holy angels, on the third day will open the sepulchre:" Ascension 3:16


AFTER this I saw, and the angel who spoke with me, who conducted me, said unto me: "Understand, Isaiah son of Amoz; for for this purpose have I been sent from God." And I indeed saw a woman of the family of David the prophet, named Mary, and Virgin, and she was espoused to a man named Joseph, a carpenter, and he also was of the seed and family of the righteous David of Bethlehem Judah. And he came into his lot. And when she was espoused, she was found with child, and Joseph the carpenter was desirous to put her away. But the angel of the Spirit appeared in this world, and after that Joseph did not put her away, but kept Mary and did not reveal this matter to any one. And he did not approach May, but kept her as a holy virgin, though with child. And he did not live with her for two months. And after two months of days while Joseph was in his house, and Mary his wife, but both alone. It came to pass that when they were alone that Mary straight-way looked with her eyes and saw a small babe, and she was astonished. And after she had been astonished, her womb was found as formerly before she had conceived. And when her husband Joseph said unto her: "What has astonished thee?" his eyes were opened and he saw the infant and praised God, because into his portion God had come. And a voice came to them: "Tell this vision to no one." And the story regarding the infant was noised broad in Bethlehem. Some said: "The Virgin Mary hath borne a child, before she was married two months." And many said: "She has not borne a child, nor has a midwife gone up (to her), nor have we heard the cries of (labour) pains." And they were all blinded respecting Him and they all knew regarding Him, though they knew not whence He was. And they took Him, and went to Nazareth in Galilee. Ascension 11:1-15 (

According to this passage the angel that appeared to Joseph was none other than the angel of the Holy Spirit:

"This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.' All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel' -which means, 'God with us.' When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus." Matthew 1:18-25

What is said to be the Lord's angel in Matthew is said to be the Holy Spirit's angel in the Ascension of Isaiah. This implicitly demonstrates that the Holy Spirit is God.

This clearly affirms that
both Jews and Christians would have been shocked to hear Muslims identifying the Holy Spirit with Angel Gabriel, or with any angel for that matter.

Islamic Witness

It might come as a surprise to some Muslims, but much like the teachings of the Holy Bible and the Talmud both the Qur’an and certain Muslim traditions portray the Holy Spirit, the Faithful Spirit, or God’s Spirit as being divine. These sources also portray the Spirit as God’s active Agent and manifesting Presence that interacts within time and space.

Behold! thy Lord said to the angels: ‘I am about to create man, from sounding clay from mud molded into shape; When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My Spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him.’" S. 15:28-29

He Who created all things in the best, and He began the creation of man from clay, And made his progeny from a quintessence of despised fluid: But He fashioned him in due proportion, and breathed into him of His Spirit. And He gave you (the faculties of) hearing and sight and understanding: little thanks do ye give!" S. 32:7-9

Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: ‘I am about to create man from clay: When I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My Spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him.’" S. 38:71-72

These passages indicate that after fashioning man God presumably gave him life by breathing his Spirit into him, echoing Genesis 2:7. This implies that at least in these contexts the Spirit is God’s life-giving Agent. This being the case, how can the Spirit be Gabriel without this implying that God used a finite creature to assist him in the creation of man?

Continuing further, we are told elsewhere that Mary conceived Jesus by God’s Spirit:

And (remember) her who guarded her chastity: We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and We made her and her son a sign for all peoples." 21:91

And Mary the daughter of Ìmrán, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into it of Our Spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (servants)." S. 66:12

We are also told that God’s Spirit appeared to Mary in the form of a man:

"And had chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man." S. 19:17

These passages indicate that
the Spirit is not a force but a divine personality. The context of this last passage shows that the Spirit which visibly appeared is actually the very same Spirit referred to in 21:91 and 66:12:

She said: Surely I fly for refuge from you to the Beneficent Allah, if you are one guarding (against evil). He said: I am only a messenger of your Lord: That I WILL GIVE YOU a pure boy." S. 19:18-19 Shakir

The Spirit says that he has come to GIVE Mary a son, implying that this is the one whom Allah breathed into Mary in order to create Jesus.

Yet according to certain Muslim commentators this Spirit who both appeared to Mary and was breathed into her was Gabriel. Ibn Kathir comments on S. 66:12, noting that Jibril is the Arabic pronunciation of Gabriel:

(PRIVATE PART).> meaning who protected and purified her honor, by being chaste and free of immorality,

INTO IT (PRIVATE PART) through Our Ruh,> meaning, THROUGH THE ANGEL JIBRIL. Allah sent the angel Jibril to Maryam, and he came to her in the shape of a man in every respect. Allah commanded HIM TO BLOW INTO A GAP OF HER GARMENT and that BREATH into her womb through her private part;THIS IS HOW ‘ISA WAS CONCEIVED. This is why Allah said here,

And We breathed INTO IT through Our Ruh, and she testified to the truth of her Lords Kalimat, and His Kutub,> meaning His decree and His legislation. (Tafsir Ibn Kathir - Abridged, Volume 10, Surat At-Tagabun to the end of the Qur'an, abridged by a group of scholars under the supervision of Shaykh Safiur Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri [Darussalam Publishers & Distributors, Riyadh, Houston, New York, London, Lahore; September 2000], pp. 75-76)

Al-Tabari’s comments on Mary’s conception are:

"... She entered the cave, and found Gabriel there—God made him appear to her as shapely human—and he said to her, ‘O Mary, God has sent me to you to give you a boy most pure.’ At this she exclaimed, ‘I take refuge in the All Merciful from you, if you fear God!’ (She had thought that he was a man, a mortal.) But he said, ‘I am but a messenger come from your Lord.’ She then said, ‘How shall I, whom no mortal has touched, have a son; neither have I been unchaste?’ He replied, ‘Even so. The Lord has said, "Easy is that for Me, and We may appoint him a sign unto men and a mercy from Us; it is a thing decreed."’

That is, God has decreed that it is so. When the angel spoke thus, she submitted to the divine decree, and he breathed into HER BOSOM. Then he left her, and she filled her pitcher.

According to Muhammad b. Sahl b. ‘Askar al-Bukhari- Isma’il b. ‘Abd al-Karim- ‘Abd al-Samad b. Ma’qil, the son of the brother of Wahb- Wahb: When God sent Gabriel to Mary, he appeared to her as a shapely man. She then said, ‘I take refuge in the All Merciful from you, if you fear God!’ Then he breathed into the opening of her garment, THE BREATH REACHED HER WOMB, and she conceived Jesus..." (The History of al-Tabari, Volume IV, The Ancient Kingdoms, trans. Moshe Perlmann [State University of New York Press, Albany, 1987], pp. 112-113)


Then We sent unto her Our Spirit [that is, the angel Gabriel] that presented himself to her a man without fault’...

She wore a gown. He held her sleeves and breathed into the opening of her garment which was split in front. The breath entered her breast, and she conceived ..." (Ibid., p. 119)

The claim that Gabriel breathed into Mary would logically make Gabriel the speaker in S. 21:91 and 66:12. According to these passages the One speaking states that he will breathe his Spirit into Mary. Nowhere do the passages even hint to someone else being used to impregnate Mary. Seeing that Muslims claim that the Qur’an is the word of Allah,
implying that Allah is the One speaking here, logically makes Gabriel Allah!

This also means that
Gabriel has a Spirit that he uses to create and impart life. This would therefore make Gabriel the Creator, since Muslims claim that Allah was the one who created Jesus by breathing his Spirit into Mary’s womb! Otherwise the text would imply that Allah actually breathed Gabriel into both Mary and Adam since, as Muslims claim, the Spirit of Allah is actually Gabriel.

seeing that Muslims do not equate Gabriel with Allah inevitably leads to more than one Creator. Yet the Qur’an clearly states that there is no other Creator besides Allah:

It is He Who created you from a single person, and made his mate of like nature, in order that he might dwell with her (in love). When they are united, she bears a light burden and carries it about (unnoticed). When she grows heavy, they both pray to Allah their Lord, (saying): ‘If Thou givest us a goodly child, we vow we shall (ever) be grateful.’ But when He giveth them a goodly child, they ascribe to others a share in the gift they have received: but Allah is exalted high above the partners they ascribe to Him. Do they indeed ascribe to Him as partners things that can create nothing, but are themselves created?" S. 7:189-191

O men! Remember the grace of Allah unto you! Is there a Creator, other than Allah, to give you sustenance from heaven or earth? There is no god but He: how then are ye perverted?" S. 35:3

He created you (all) from a single person: then created, of like nature, his mate; and He sent down for you eight head of cattle in pairs:He creates you, in the wombs of your mothers, in stages, one after another, in three veils of darkness. Such is Allah, your Lord and Cherisher: to Him belongs (all) dominion. There is no god but He: then how are ye turned away (from your true Lord)?" S. 39:6

the only plausible explanation is that the Spirit of Allah is not the angel Gabriel.

As a side note, the readers may find it interesting to know that
some Muslim exegetes were of the opinion that the Spirit which came to Mary in S. 19:17 was actually the Lord Jesus Christ! Muslim author Neal Robinson writes:

Alternatively it might be thought (on the basis of 4:171) that the Spirit who presented himself to Mary was none other than the Messiah to whom she subsequently gave birth. At first this seems improbable because of the way in which the Spirit refers to himself as a messenger.

There is, however, an apocryphal writing which furnishes a precedent for identifying the agent of the annunciation with the Word who became flesh. This is the so-called
Epistula Apostolorum which purports to be a letter addressed to the worldwide Church by the 11 disciples recording a conversation which they had with Christ after the resurrection. In the course of the conversation he told them:

At that time I appeared in the form of the archangel Gabriel to [the virgin] Mary and spoke with her, and her heart received [me]; she believed and laughed and I, the Word, went into her and became flesh; and I myself was servant FOR MYSELF, and in the form of the image of an angel." (Robinson, Christ In Islam and Christianity[State University of New York Press, Albany 1991], p. 157)


Tabari assumes that the Spirit who was sent to Mary was Gabriel. He reports that this was the view of Qatada, Ibn Jurayj and Wahb. The other commentators agree that this is the correct interpretation but none the less mention THE ALTERNATIVE VIEW, namely that the Spirit was the Messiah. Ibn Kathir gives the following report traced back by a single isnad TO THE COMPANION UBAIY:

The spirit of Jesus is one of the group of spirits with whom [God] took a pact in the time of Adam [cf. 33:7 and 7:172]. It is he, that is to say the spirit of Jesus, who presented himself to her in the form of a perfect human being. So she conceived the one who addressed her and he became incarnate in her [entering her through her mouth].

DESPITE ITS PEDIGREE, Ibn Kathir dismisses this interpretation as reprehensible and supposes it to have been derived from the People of the Scripture."
(Ibid. p. 161)

Some of the Mu'tazilites including Abu Muslim favoured the view that the Spirit who presented himself to Mary was not Gabriel but the Messiah. Others followed Abu Haywa in reading rawha-na (Our refreshment) instead of the canonical ruha-na (Our Spirit) ..." (Ibid. p. 162)

Accepting this alternative view would imply that
Islam not only teaches the preexistence of the Lord Jesus, but also posits Christ as Creator; being the only messenger to create or conceive his own physical body/humanity!
There should be no problem for a Muslim in accepting this view, especially when the Qur’an elsewhere admits that Christ gave life to birds which he fashioned from clay. (Cf. 3:49; 5:110.)

Another verse supplying
additional proof that the Spirit is not Gabriel is the following:

Thou wilt not find any people who believe in Allah and the Last Day, loving those who resist Allah and His Messenger, even though they were their fathers or their sons, or their brothers, or their kindred. For such He has written Faith in their hearts, and strengthened them with a spirit from Himself. And He will admit them to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein (forever). Allah will be well pleased with them, and they with Him. They are the Party of Allah. Truly it is the Party of Allah that will achieve Felicity." S. 58:22 Y. Ali

Believers are strengthened by a
spirit from Himself, i.e. a spirit from God. In order for the Spirit to be able to strengthen believers everywhere implies that the Spirit is omnipresent. Yet only God is omnipresent which essentially means that the Spirit is God. This is precisely the conclusion that one Muslim scholar comes to. In his footnote, A. Yusuf Ali states:

Cf. ii 87 and 253, where it is said that God strengthened the Prophet Jesus with the holy spirit. Here we learn that all good and righteous men are strengthened by God with the holy spirit. If anything, the phrase used here is stronger, ‘a spirit from Himself’. Whenever any one offers his heart in faith and purity to God, God accepts it, engraves that faith on the seeker's heart,  nd further fortifies him with the Divine Spirit, which we can no more define adequately than we can define in human language the nature of God." (Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, p. 1518, f. 5365)

Yusuf Ali wasn't alone. Shia writer Irshaad Hussain, in his
The Soul: Between Spirit and Clay, says in regards to God's Spirit which was breathed into Adam:

The Spirit, which derives from God, IS A REALITY THAT POSSESSES ALL THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES. IT REPRESENTS A DIRECT MANIFESTATION OF GOD. Remember, it is only after this Spirit is breathed into Adam that God orders the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam. It is only after this receiving of the Spirit that Adam is given knowledge of the names of all things. The Spirit then MANIFESTS in some way THE ATTRIBUTES OR NAMES OF GOD. It is luminous, alive, subtle, unseen, knowing, unified etc. The body on the other hand has many parts and is overcome by darkness, ignorance, inanimate matter, and a lack of divine attributes. So spirit and body have no common measure - One is from God who is Unique, who is One. The other is from the material world which is characterized by multiplicity and dispersion. (

We see that
the Spirit is of the divine essence, incomprehensible, omnipresent, personal, and the source of Life, qualities belonging to God alone.

These qualities clearly show that the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, the Faithful Spirit
cannot be the angel Gabriel since Gabriel is neither omnipresent nor divine.

Second, both the Qur’an and hadiths clearly demonstrate that the Holy Spirit is not Gabriel. For instance, there is not a single verse in the entire Qur’an which states that Gabriel is the Holy Spirit or the Faithful Spirit, or even God’s Spirit. Here are all the references to Gabriel in the Qur’an:

Say (O Muhammad, to mankind): Who is an enemy to Gabriel! For he it is who hath revealed (this Scripture) to thy heart by Allah's leave, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, and a guidance and glad tidings to believers; Who is an enemy to Allah, and His angels and His messengers, and Gabrieland Michael! Then, lo! Allah (Himself) is an enemy to the disbelievers. S. 2:97-98

If ye twain turn unto Allah repentant, (ye have cause to do so) for your hearts desired (the ban); and if ye aid one another against him (Muhammad) then lo! Allah, even He, is his Protecting Friend, and Gabriel and the righteous among the believers; and furthermore the angels are his helpers." S. 66:4

Here are some additional references to the Spirit:

We gave Moses the Book and followed him up with a succession of apostles; We gave Jesus the son of Mary Clear (Signs) and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. Is it that whenever there comes to you an apostle with what ye yourselves desire not, ye are puffed up with pride?—Some ye called impostors, and others ye slay!" S. 2:87

Those apostles We endowed with gifts, some above others: To one of them God spoke; others He raised to degrees (of honour); to Jesus the son of Mary We gave clear (Signs), and strengthened him with the Holy Spirit. If God had so willed, succeeding generations would not have fought among each other, after clear (Signs) had come to them, but they (chose) to wrangle, some believing and others rejecting. If God had so willed, they would not have fought each other; but God Fulfilleth His plan." S. 2:253

When Allah will say: O Isa son of Marium! Remember My favor on you and on your mother, when I strengthened you I with the Holy Spirit, you spoke to the people in the cradle and I when of old age, and when I taught you the Book and the wisdom and the Taurat and the Injeel; and when you determined out of clay a thing like the form of a bird by My permission, then you breathed into it and it became a bird by My permission, and you healed the blind and the leprous by My permission; and when you brought forth the dead by My permission; and when I withheld the children of Israel from you when you came to them with clear arguments, but those who disbelieved among them said: This is nothing but clear enchantment." S. 5:110

Say: The Holy Spirit has revealed it from your Lord with the truth, that it may establish those who believe and as a guidance and good news for those who submit." S. 16:102

And most surely this is a revelation from the Lord of the worlds. The Faithful Spirit has descended with it," S. 26:192-193

The Exalter of Ranks, the Lord of the Throne. He causeth the Spirit of His command upon whom He will of His slaves, that He may warn of the Day of Meeting," S. 40:15

(Whereby) he angels and the Spirit ascend unto Him in a Day whereof the span is fifty thousand years." S. 70:4

The Day that the Spirit and the angels will stand forth in ranks, none shall speak except any who is permitted by (God) Most Gracious, and He will say what is right." S. 78:38

The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees." S. 97:4

The last three passages make a distinction between the angels (of which Gabriel is obviously one) with the Spirit. This again implicitly supports our position that Gabriel is not the Spirit. Had the Spirit been Gabriel there would be no need to distinguish him from the angels.

Continues on Part III


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