Friday, September 14, 2007

Allah and The Holy Spirit

The question has been asked:

I noticed when reading the Quran last night two references to the Holy Spirit ( Baqarah 11: 2:87 and 2:253) could you please tell my how Islam would understand the Holy Spirit?

There are several references to the Holy Spirit in the Hebrew Scriptures, which I believe is simply understood as the abiding spirit or presence of God and in Christian theology is understood similarly (but also considered as part of the Trinity). Would be very interested in your thoughts.

I looked up Baraqah 87 in my Mohamed Asad translation that reads as "an apostle" and in 253 it reads as "God". It is good to remember that none of us reading The Quran in English are actually reading The Quran. We are reading a translation. I'm curious what the actual Arabic word is. Any Arabic-speaking volunteers?

Regardless, here's a good answer. It says that The Holy Spirit is really the angel Gabriel.

To be honest: I didn't want to touch the question. I grew up in a household with a theologian. I heard grown-ups in my living room discuss weighty spiritual matters the way other kids hear the adults talk about the ballgame.

I'm not a theologian. I start to kind of disassociate from my body and float away into a happy place when the talk goes for religious doctrine.

One thing I like about Islam is that it doesn't get confusing. It is very simple.

There is Allah.

And then there is also....

No, actually...there is only Allah.

See, the trinity idea? It's confusing! It is! I never "got it". Most reverts you talk with never got it either. Actually, many Christians don't and fully admit they couldn't explain it.

I'm much more simple in my faith. I worship Allah and only Allah and only think of Allah.

Comparisons are tricky. Is a church really the same as a masjid? Is a priest really the same as an imam? In my experience, it is hard to draw direct parellels between the two faiths. We do have a place of worship, but we don't have a, "Muslim church". We do have a leader of faith, but we don't have a "Muslim priest."

Does Islam have a "Holy Spirit"?

Islam has Allah.

Does Allah have a Holy Spirit?

Allah is The Most Holy.

Do you understand? I can't really use the same language in which the question in was framed. We all have to back up; reverse it and re-phrase or re-think the wording.

What is that feeling of Holy Spirit that comes into you? I've felt the spirit of God in my life many times. I felt it at the masjid last night as I prayed magrib. I feel it throughout my day--working to ease the way with blessings of grace and mercy.

But, I don't call that Holy Spirit. I call that power Allah.

In the name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.

Say, Allah is One,

Allah The Everlasting, The Eternal,
He has not given birth and was not born,
And no one is comparable to Him
Surah 112: Al Ikhlas

There is a beautiful Oneness in Allah that is very powerful. I would encourage anyone rooted in Christianity to consider dropping some of the past notions and ideas that confuse them. Instead, open up to the simple truths you know; that make sense completely.


musulmana said...

Assalamu Aleikum wa rahmatulahi wa Barakatuhu,

Ramadan Mubarak.

I like your new blog, masha'Allah.

Surah Al-Ikhlas is my favorite. It sums up Tawheed (belief in the oneness of Allah) in so few words. I try to always explain this surah to those who ask me about Islam.

As for Holy Spirit. I always understood it to be the Angel Jibril. Who of course, does not share in the deity with the One and Only Creator. He is a creation of Allah (SWT) like everything else.

This ayah makes it clear:


"19:17 She placed a screen (to screen herself) from them; then We sent her our angel, and he appeared before her as a man in all respects.

19:18 She said: "I seek refuge from thee to ((Allah)) Most Gracious: (come not near) if thou dost fear Allah."

19:19He said: "Nay, I am only a messenger from thy Lord, (to announce) to thee the gift of a holy son."

Only a messenger. THE messenger angel. The same one that appeared to Prophet Muhammad. And to other prophets.

The Quran on Quran:

"[26:192] This is a revelation from the Lord of the universe.

[26:193] The Honest Spirit (Gabriel) came down with it.

[26:194] To reveal it into your heart, that you may be one of the warners.

[26:195] In a perfect Arabic tongue.

[26:196] It has been prophesied in the books of previous generations.

[26:197] Is it not a sufficient sign for them that it was known to the scholars among the Children of Israel?"

Thanks for the "dawah" post. I believe it is very informative foe your non-Muslims readers.

Yosra said...

Wa alaykom asalam wa rahtmatullah wa barakatu Musulmana,

Thank you for coming here!

Ramadan Mubarak to YOU! :)

I'm glad you like the new (and improved) blog.

Yes, this posting is dawah (the spreading of the message of Islam). I do think that every time we as Muslims do dawah, we actually increase and deepen our own faith.

Some of us might say: Well, I'm new to Islam. I'm no expert!

That's actually best! The experts in Islam will NEVER spread the message as easily as you and I will. We are novices and that simplicity of our faith is what connects us to someone who is searching for the right way in life; the truth. Our understanding of what it means to search means that we can be of true service to the next person trying to find the answers.

Thank you, JAK for writing all you did! I hope, inshahallah, that it was useful...I believe it was and will be over and over again.

That's the cool thing about a blog!

So glad you came here today. Please come back again. :)

John & Anthea Mullis said...

Assalamu Aleikum Yosra

Thank you for such a full and honest attempt an a very difficult question. You answered it perfectly for me when you said,

'I've felt the spirit of God in my life many times. I felt it at the masjid last night as I prayed magrib. I feel it throughout my day--working to ease the way with blessings of grace and mercy.'

Like you I must admit that I don't fully understand either but Like you I've felt His presence many times in my own life.

I suppose a theology or doctrine is only something you formulate if you haven't. In other words, if you and the person you are talking to have experienced the reality you don't need to define it!

Ramadan Mubarak

(have a :-)) day)

laura said...

I've read an English translation but didn't really understand all of it. It had a lot of condradicting things in it. I questioned an Egyptian friend and we sat down and went through a few ayah and found that the meanings were quite different. Do you know if there an English translation that is more accepted than others?

Yosra said...

Asalamalaykom Laura in Korea,

Took a look at your blog. Loved all the pics!

Thanks for your question about The Holy Quran. It is admirable that you are stepping outside of your comfort zone to learn more.

Contradictions, eh? In the actual (Arabic) Quran, there are no contradictions. I'm curious which translation you were reading?! Let me know if you can and also what you felt the contradictions were.

When you say that you read it, does that mean you read the whole Quran? If you did, good for you!

I, myself, don't like flowery translations that mirror the King James Bible. I like plain-spoken translations of Ahmed Ali and Mohamed Asad.

Here's a link to the Ahmed Ali translation on line: