Christian Concept of the Holy Spirit
For centuries, Christianity had an exaggerated look at the noble position of the Holy Spirit, angel Gabriel (May Allah’s Peace be upon him). We, even, see many Christians who do not know who was the Holy Spirit!
The names of the Holy Spirit abound in the Bible. Its attributes, even, shared some of the divine attributes of God! In his book (The Holy Spirit and our relationship with It), Dr. Sameh Morris, a priest, claims that the Holy Spirit is:
- A hypostasis which is equal to the Father and the Son because Jesus said,
“Go and make disciples of all nations, and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew, 19:28).
Christians infer that the phrase “in the name” refers to a trinity (three in one).They moreover support such claim by what Paul mentioned in 2Corinthians (14:13),
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all”.
They claimed that the association of the name of the Holy Spirit with God in one context means being equal to Him!
- A creator! And Creates! They cite the words of Job:
“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4).
- And Psalms(104:30):
“When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground”.
- A One who gives Life. Christians support such a heinous doctrine by Paul’s words:
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you..” (Romans 8: 11).
And the words of Christ to Nicodemus:
“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” (John 6:3).
- sanctifies life (1 Corinthians 6: 11).
- Everywhere! (Psalm 139: 7-10).
- Knows everything! (1 Corinthians 9: 9-11).
- Makes Miracles! (Psalm 72:18).
Islamic Concept of the Holy Spirit
Such exaggerated view of the Holy Spirit, Gabriel peace be upon him, is different from the moderate Islamic view of It. In Islam, Gabriel is only an angel who was sent by God Almighty Allah to inspire Prophets with revelation and support them. He should not be elevated to any divine position or rank where he be a partner to Almighty Allah.
Gabriel, being a spirit by name, does not mean that such a characteristic is specific to him, for all other creatures are spirits of God in the meaning that they all are created by him Almighty.
God specializes Gabriel with such name “spirit” to elevate his rank among creations and show his honor and virtue, and distinguish him from other spirits. It should not be understood that Gabriel is a spirit of God in the meaning that he is a part of Him or partner to Him.
In Islam, Gabriel is called “Ruh Al-Qudus” (i.e. Purified Spirit) and Al-Ruh Al-Amin (i.e. Truthful and Honest Spirit). He is not “holy” as Christians claim.
The reason that Gabriel was called “Ruh (spirit), as al-Jayyani, puts it, “Because souls are revived by him as the bodies are given life by spirit”.
Al-Razi, claims that he was called so because he was made of a spirit. Others said that he was called so because he brought the religion with which souls revive and live. Others claimed that he was only created as a soul without body.
He was called “Al-Amin” because he was very honest in delivering revelation to prophets and powerful in the execution of the commands of God.
In the Qur’an Gabriel is given many names and attributes which do not deem him as god or elevate him to divine positions that which he does not deserve. He was described as the “One So Powerful and One of sound Shape” (53:6).
Gabriel is the best of angels who so honest and powerful in delivering revelation to Prophets without shortcoming. He was also described as
“A noble messenger [Who is] possessed of power in the accompany of the Owner of the Throne (God, Allah), Secure [in position], Obeyed there [in the heavens] and Trustworthy”.(81:21/Also see 81:24)
Allah tells about his mission as a messenger delivering revelation to Prophet Muhammad (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him),
“And indeed, the Qur’an is the revelation of the Lord of the worlds. The Trustworthy Spirit has brought it down”(26:194)
He called “trustworthy” because he was of good manners and was the best of angels and being entrusted with revelation to prophets and others
He was so strong that he turned down the city of the People of Lot who denied the message of Prophet Lot. He is near to God seizing a highly position among other angels
Once the Prophet saw Gabriel as having six-hundred wings. In his journey to Jerusalem, while accompanied by Gabriel, the Prophet said that “Gabriel made a great hole in a great stone and grasped the great animal Al-Buraq (which carried them up to the sky) with only one finger!
In Islam, Gabriel is called “Ruh Al-Qudus” (i.e. Purified Spirit) because he was created from purity or he was perfect in purity.
He was, moreover, called “spirit” because body cannot live without spirit for he carried the revelation which was the spirit for all people.
One may perceive the Christian confusion as regards to the concept of creation. The hands of the “Holy Spirit” does not create; it should not exceed the mere direct execution of God’s command of creation. The Creator is only Allah Almighty who says,
“Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allah, they both would have been ruined. So exalted is Allah, Lord of the Throne, above what they describe.” (21:22)
It has been said that such “ruin” in creation may lead to a conflict and contradiction where two gods have two conflicting commands of either giving life or not.
Allah addressed Jesus to remind him of the blessings he conferred upon him saying,
“O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and [remember] when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you designed from clay [what was] like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission; and you healed the blind and the leper with My permission; and when you brought forth the dead with My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from [killing] you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, “This is not but obvious magic.” (5: 110).
The repetition of the phrase “with My permission” alludes to the fact that Allah is the only creator and Jesus did not create and his acts were mere execution of Allah’s commands.
Ibn Uthaymeen, Sharh Thalathat Al-Usul.
Ibn Hajar, Fatah al-Bari.
Sameh Morris, Holy Spirit And Our Relationship to It