By S. Arshad, New Age Islam
22 June 2021
The Supreme Being Is Present In All His Creations In The Form Of Spirit Or Life Force
1. The Spirit of God is present in all beings
2. Ruh also means revelation or God's decree
Man has tried to understand the reality of the soul or spirit but a true realisation of Ruh (Spirit) has always evaded him. Though man knows that Ruh or spirit is the life force that drives man, the true nature of Ruh is still out of the grasp of his knowledge. It is a mystery of the power of God and He has not given the full knowledge of Spirit to man.
The word Ruh or Spirit has been mentioned not only in the Quran but also in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. In the Quran, the word Ruh has been mentioned twenty one times in twenty verses. Out of those twenty times, the word Ruh-ul-Qudus has appeared four times, Ruh-ul-Amin once and only Ruh ( Spirit) sixteen times.
To understand the meaning of the word Ruh, let's analyse all the verses one by one.
Following are three verses from the Quran in which Ruh-ul-Qudus (Holy Spirit) is mentioned.
And We gave clear signs to Isa bin Maryam and supported him with (Ruh-ul-Qudus) Holy Spirit."(Al Baqarah:87)
"Abd We gave clear signs to Isa the son of Maryam and supported him with Holy Spirit (Ruh-ul-Qudus)"(Al Baqarah: 253)
"When Allah will say, O Jesus son of Mary, remember my favour upon you and your mother when I supported you with the Holy Spirit (Ruh-ul-Qudus)."(Al Maida: 110)
According to exegetes and Islamic scholars, here Ruh-ul-Qudus refers to archangel Gibril. But according to other verses, Gibril a.s. is also an incarnation of God's Spirit. For example, the following verse;
So she (Maryam) took to herself a curtain apart from them, then We sent to her Our Spirit (Ruh) ; so he took for himself the likeness of a man in perfect shape."(Maryam: 17)
Here God sends His Spirit to Hadhrat Maryam a.s. and it assumes the form of a human being. According to a hadith, once Hadhrat Jibril a.s. was sitting with the holy Prophet pbuh in the form of a man.
"When I proportion him perfect and blew in him My spirit (Ruh) you must fall down before him in prostration."(Al Hijr: 29)
In the above quoted verse, the Ruh in a human being is only a part of the Spirit of God.
The Masih Isa the son of Maryam is only a messenger of Allah and His word that He had delivered to Maryam and a spirit (Ruh) from Him."(Al Nisa: 171)
"Say, this has been brought down by Ruh-ul-Qudus (Holy Spirit) from your Lord rightly so that it may bring firmness to the believers and become guidance and good news for the Muslims".(An Nahl:102)
In tge above-quoted verse, angel Jibril is referred as Ruh-ul-Qudus who brought revelation to the Prophet Pbuh.
In some of the verses, the word Ruh (spirit) also means Wahi (revelation).
"He sends down the angels with the spirit (Ruh) upon whom He wills among His servants."(An Nahl: 2)
"To whom ascend the angels and the Spirit (Ruh) on a day the length of which is fifty thousand years.(Al Ma'arij:4)
Here the Day of Judgment is referred. The length of the Day of Judgment will be fifty thousand years. On that day angels and the Spirit that had given life to all the creations on earth will ascend as a whole.
"And they ask you about the Spirit, (Ruh) say, the Spirit (Ruh) is of the command of my Lord's domain."(Al Isra: 85)
In the above-quoted verse, God clearly says that He has not given the full knowledge of Ruh to man.
"And (remember) her who guarded her chastity, so we blew in her through our Spirit ( Ruh) and made her and her son a sign for all the world."(Al Anbya: 91)
"Ruh-ul-Amin (trustworthy spirit) has brought this (revelation)"(26:193)
In the above-quoted verse, Hadhrat Jibril a.s. is referred to as Ruh-ul-Amin who brought revelations to the prophet pbuh.
"Then He proportioned him and blew in him from His Spirit (Ruh) and gave him hearing and vision and hearts; you express gratitude very little."(As Sajda: 9)
This verse reaffirms the fact that the soul of man is only a part of God's spirit.
"So when I have proportioned him and breathed into him of my Spirit ( Ruh) , then fall down to him in prostration.(Sad:72)
"He is high in stations, the Lord of the Throne. He sends the Spirit (Ruh) down under His command on whomever He wills from among His servants so that he warns of the Day of Encounter."(Ghafir: 15)
Again, revelation is said to be God's spirit in the verse. The following verse also has the same meaning of the word Ruh.
"And this We have revealed to you a Spirit (Ruh) by Our command. You did not know what is the Book or faith but We have made it a light by which We guide whom We will of our servants." (As Shura: 52)
"(As for) those (believers) He has written belief in their hearts and He has aided Him with a spirit (Ruh) from Himself."(Al Mujadila: 22)
"And Mary the daughter of Imran who guarded her chastity and we breathed into (her body) of our spirit (Ruh) and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and His scriptures and was of the obedient. "(At Tahrim: 12)
"To Him the angels and the spirit (Ruh) ascend on a day the length of which fifty thousand years."(Al Ma'arij:4)
"On the day when the Spirit (Ruh) and the angels rise up in ranks they will not speak except him whom the All-Merciful has given permission and who speaks right."(Al Naba:38)
"The angels and the spirit (Ruh) descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter."(Al Qadr: 4)
In the above mentiioned verse, the word Ruh means God's decree for human beings for the next year.
From the verses quoted above it becomes clear that Ruh is God's spirit that is immanent in all the creations. God breathes into all the beings including human beings. That's why God says that He is closer to man than his jugular vein and that God dwells in his devotees' hearts. To the prophets, God bestows special powers and insight through his archangel Jibril a.s.
When we look at the Hebrew Bible or the New Testament, we find the concept of Holy Spirit and Ruh-ul-Qudus there as well. In Hebrew Bible, we find Ruach Ha-kodesh (Ruh-ul-Qudus) or Ruach Elohim (Ruhullah). That is, God in the form of Ruh or Spirit that is present in all His creations. In Christianity too, the concept of Holy Spirit is present as the Supreme power or life force that drives the universe. According to Christian theology, Holy Spirit is God who is also present in Jesus Christ. According to Judaism, the most characteristic sign of the presence of Ruach Ha-kodesh (Ruh-ul-Qudus) is the gift of prophecy. This echoes the verses of the Quran where spirit means revelation or Ruh-ul-Qudus Jibril a.s. who brings revelations to the prophets.
Therefore, Ruh-ul-Qudus, Ruach Ha-kodesh and Holy Spirit in Islam, Judaism and Christianity respectively point to the same concept about God that the Supreme Being is present in all His creations in the form of spirit or life force.
Sohail Arshad is a columnist with NewAgeIslam.com.
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