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ISA RUHULLAH: ALLAH’S UNCREATED SPIRIT BECOMES HUMAN

The Quran testifies that Jesus is Allah’s very own preexistent Word who came forth from Allah as a Spirit and entered into Mary for the express purpose of becoming human:

People of the Book! do not go to excess in your deen. Say nothing but the truth about Allah. The Messiah, ´Isa son of Maryam, was only the Messenger of Allah and His Word, which He cast into Maryam, and a Spirit from Him (wa’kalimatuhu alqaha ila maryama wa’roohun minhu). So have iman in Allah and His Messengers. Do not say, ´Three.´ It is better that you stop. Allah is only One God. He is too Glorious to have a son! Everything in the heavens and in the earth belongs to Him. Allah suffices as a Guardian. S. 4:171 (Aisha Bewley https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/st6.htm)

Note how some other versions render this particular text. All bold and/or capital emphasis are mine:

“… Jesus the Messiah, the son of Mary, was Allah’s messenger, His Word BREATHED INTO Mary, and a spirit EMANATING from Him…” (Linda “iLHam” Barto  https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/st79.htm)

“… The Messiah, Isa son of Maryam, was a noble messenger of Allah, His word, which He blew into Maryam, and a spirit from Him…” (Musharraf Hussain https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/st77.htm)

“… Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, was merely God´s messenger and His word which He cast into Mary, and a spirit [proceeding] from Him…” (T. B. Irving https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/st47.htm)

“… The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary was no more than a Messenger of Allah and His Word ‘Be’ which He bestowed on Mary and a Spirit from Him which took the shape of a child in her womb…” (Farook Malik https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/st32.htm)

“… Without doubt Al-Maseeh, Iesa, Ibn-e-Maryam is Rasulullah (Messenger of Allah) and His Kalimah, which He bestowed on Maryam and a Ruh (Spirit) proceeding from Him…” (Dr. Kamal Omar https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/st48.htm)

This is why Islamic tradition identifies Jesus as both the Word of Allah (Kalimatullah) and the Spirit of Allah (Ruhullah), just as the following sources all confirm:

Ruh-Ullah – Spirit of God, A special title given by Prophet Muhammad to Jesus (A. A.) (M. A. Qazi, Concise Dictionary of Islamic Terms [Kazi Publications, Chicago IL, 1979], p. 57; bold emphasis mine)

(T. via Salam: The apostle sent ‘Amr b. Umayya al-Damri to the Negus about Ja’far b. Abu Talib and his companions and sent a letter with him… ‘From Muhammad the apostle of God to the Negus al-Asham king of Abysinnia, Peace. I praise Allah unto you the King, the Holy, the Peace, the Faithful, the Watcher, and I bear witness that Jesus son of Mary is THE SPIRIT OF GOD and His word which He cast to Mary the Virgin, the good, the pure, so that she conceived Jesus. God created him from His spirit and His breathing as He created Adam by His Hand and His breathing. I call you to God the Unique without partner and to His obedience, and to follow me and to believe in that which came to me, for I am the apostle of God. I have sent you my nephew Ja’far with a number of Muslims, and when they come to you entertain them without haughtiness, for I invite you and your armies to God. I have accomplished (my work) and my admonitions, so receive my advice. Peace upon all those that follow true guidance.’ (The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], p. 657; bold and capital emphasis mine)

“… They will go to ‘Isa and say, ‘O ‘Isa! You are the Messenger of Allah and His Word which He cast to Maryam and a spirit from Him. You spoke to people while in the cradle. Intercede with your Lord on our behalf. Do you not see what we are suffering?’ ‘Isa will say, ‘My Lord is angry today with such anger as has never existed before nor will again,’ AND HE DID NOT MENTION A SIN. ‘O my soul! My soul! My soul! Go to someone else. Go to Muhammad.’ (Aisha Bewley, The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari, Chapter 68. Book of Tafsir; bold, capital and underline emphasis mine)

It is narrated on the authority of Ubadah b. Samit that the messenger of Allah observed: He who said: “There is no god but Allah, He is One and there is no associate with Him, that Muhammad is his servant and His messenger, that Christ is servant and the son of His slave-girl and he (Christ) HIS WORD which He communicated to Mary and is HIS SPIRIT, that Paradise is a fact and Hell is a fact,” Allah would make him (he who affirms these truths enter Paradise through any one of its eight doors which he would like. (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 0043)

And here are some Islamic fairytales about Jesus where he is expressly called the Spirit of Allah:

“Jesus continued his mission, aided by divine miracles. Some Qur’anic commentators said that Jesus brought four people back from the dead: a friend of his named Al-‘Azam, an old woman’s son, and a woman’s only daughter. These three had died during his lifetime. When the Jews saw this they said: ‘You only resurrect those who have died recently; perhaps they only fainted.’ They asked him to bring back to life Sam the [sic] Ibn Noah.

“When he asked them to show him his grave, the people accompanied him there. Jesus invoked Allah the Exalted to bring him back to life and behold, Sam the [sic] Ibn Noah came out from the grave gray-haired. Jesus asked: ‘How did you get gray hair, when there was no aging in your time?’ He answered: ‘O, Spirit of Allah, I thought that the Day of Resurrection had come; from the fear of that day my hair turned gray.’” (Stories of the Prophets by Ibn Kathir, translated by Sheikh Muhammad Mustafa Geme’ah, Office of the Grand Imam, Sheikh Al-Ahzar, edited by Aelfwine Acelas Mischler [El-Nour For Publishing and Distribution and Translation Est.; 38 Al-Madina Al-Monawara St., Toryl Al-Gadida], pp. 347-348; bold emphasis mine)

And:

“Jesus suddenly prostrated and his disciples with him. They sensed a fragrance which they had never smelled before. Jesus said: ‘The one who is the most devout and most righteous may uncover the table, that we might eat of it to thank Allah for it.’ They said: ‘O Spirit of Allah you are the most deserving.’

“Jesus stood up, then performed ablution and prayed before uncovering the table, and behold, there was a roasted fish. The disciples said: ‘O Spirit of Allah, is that the food of this world or of Paradise? Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Did not Allah forbid you to ask questions?’ It is the divine power of Allah the Almighty Who said: “Be,” and it was. It is a sign from Almighty Allah warning of great punishment for unbelieving mortals of the world. This is the kernel of the matter.’

“It is said that thousands of people partook of it, and yet they never exhausted it. A further miracle was that the blind and lepers were cured.

“The Day of the Table became one of the holy days for the disciples and followers of Jesus. Later on, the disciples and followers forgot the real essence of the miracles, and so they worshiped Jesus as a god.” (Ibid., p. 351; bold emphasis mine)

Finally:

“While they were on their way, suddenly they came to a huge lion in the middle of the road; and they were alarmed. But Jesus said to them, ‘Put me before him.’ When they sat him in front of the lion, he took hold of the lion’s ear and said, ‘What made you sit here?’

“The lion said, ‘O Spirit of God, I am waiting for an ox to come to me so that I can eat it.’

“‘The ox might belong to poor people,’ said Jesus. ‘Go to such-and-such place, where you will find a camel. Eat it and leave the ox to its owners.’ So the lion went off in the direction of the mountain.” (Muhammad ibn ‘abd Allah al-Kisa’i, Tales of the Prophets (Qisas al-anbiya’), translated by Wheeler M. Thackson Jr. [Great Books of the Islamic World, Inc., 1997], 86. Jesus son of Mary, p. 330; bold emphasis mine)

The following Islamic scholar provides further evidence that Jesus alone is uniquely called the Spirit of Allah, a title given to none else:

The fact is that Muslim writers have spoken of Jesus as ‘the Spirit’ and ‘Spirit of God’. Ibn Ishaq quoted a letter sent from Muhammad to the Negus of Abyssinia in which the Prophet said, ‘I bear witness that Jesus son of Mary is the spirit of God and his word which he cast to Mary the virgin.’ Ibn ‘Arabi said that God had reserved to Jesus being Spirit, and gave him this extra gift of life-giving breath.

In later Muslim story the disciples asked Jesus, ‘Explain to us, O Spirit of God, the difference between love for your friend and love for your Lord’; and again, ‘O Spirit of God, describe to us the friends of God’. The title occurs in various narratives, of which a well-known one tells of Jesus speaking to a skull, which in return talks to him: ‘O Spirit of God I was a king . . . O Spirit of God, I belonged to a people with whom God was angry. . . O Spirit of God, you have named the best of names’. From another Muslim source came a story of Jesus sending James, Thomas and Peter to announce his coming to the king of Nasibin. They entered the city and cried out, ‘Jesus the Prophet of God and the Spirit of God has come to the city’.

It was said earlier that in lists of prophets who had brought new dispensations Jesus had the special title of Spirit of God. This is not just past custom but it is present practice also. Miss Padwick has collected samples of the popular list-prayers which praise the prophets in turn, and in a ‘favourite and endlessly reprinted devotion of Indian Muslims’ comes the regular mention of the Spirit of God. Many other list-prayers call down blessing on the prophets ‘and on the Spirit of God ‘Isa the Faithful’…

Some modern writers have pointed out the close connexion between the Spirit and the Command or Affair (amr) of God:

17,87185: They ask thee about the Spirit; say: “The Spirit belongs to my Lord’s affair” ‘ (or ‘ the Spirit is of the bidding of my Lord ‘).

16,2: ‘He sendeth down the angels with the spirit (which is) part of his affair upon whomsoever he willeth of his servants’ (or ‘he sends down the angels with the Spirit of his command’).

Amr is from the same root as the Hebrew memra, which corresponds to the Greek Logos or Word. It is used in two senses, of a command or decree, and of a matter or affair. Though a genuinely Arabic word, when used in connexion with the doctrine of revelation in the Qur’an’ the whole conception seems to have been strongly influenced by the Christian Logos doctrine, though the word would seem to have arisen from the Targumic use of memra. The later complexity of the use of the word Spirit shows the difficulty of expressing the mystery of God and his revelation and action through his Word and through his Spirit. (George Parrinder, Jesus in the Qur’an [Oneword Publications, Oxford, England, Reprinted 1996], pp. 50-51; bold emphasis mine)

And here is a Christian author that soundly refutes the desperate Muslim attempt of undermining the divine implication of this unique description of Jesus:

This high title, like the title ‘Word of God,’ has sorely perplexed Muslim commentators who have tried in various ways to avoid the natural inference which it suggests, viz., that Jesus is divine. The titles given to other prophets, such as ‘ Friend of God,’ Chosen of God,’ Prophet of God’ may be applied to frail beings like ourselves, but the name ‘ Spirit of God’ given to Christ by Muslims clearly hints at a higher station and a nobler dignity, and witnesses with no uncertain sound to His superiority over all other prophets. Such a person may well be called the ‘Son of God,’ and Christians often wonder why their Muhammadan brethren so object to the latter title, when they themselves have given Jesus a title not less high. Candid Muhammadan writers freely admit that this title ‘Spirit of God’ carries with it some speciality such as can be predicated of no other prophet: thus Imam Razi says that He is the Spirit of God because He is “The Giver of life to the world in their religions,” whilst Baizawi says He is “Possessed of a spirit proceeding (صدر) from God, not mediately, but direct, both as to origin and essence,” and again, “Because He giveth life to the dead, and to the hearts of men.” Yes, this Spirit of God, just because He is divine, is still the “Giver of life to the world and to the hearts of men,”… Observe, too, how Baizawi’s remarkable interpretation agrees with the words of the Injil… Some modern Muslims, we are glad to learn, admit the heavenly origin of Christ: thus in the Bengali Muhammadan paper ‘Pracharak’ for Posh 1307 we read, “Jesus was not merely an earthly person; He was not born of carnal desire. He is a Spirit from heaven …. Jesus came from the great throne of heaven, and, bringing to the world the commands of God, has shown the way of salvation.”

The Spirit of God must be, like God Himself, eternal; and when we read in the Qur’an that this Spirit was “breathed into Mary,” (Sura Al-Anbiyah’ 21, verse 91), and that, as Baizawi tells us, it ‘proceeded (صدر) from God, the conclusion is irresistible that this great person is nothing less than divine, and existed before His entrance into Mary. All this perfectly agrees with what we learn of Jesus in the Qur’an as the eternal ‘Word of God.’ Such terms can be used of no mere human prophet… In seeking to deny the divinity of Christ as deduced from the title ‘Spirit of God,’ which Muslims themselves have given Him, some Muhammadan writers have resorted to curious arguments in support of their contention. Thus a recent Bengali Muslim tells us that “Christ is called the Spirit of God because he was created by God”! Such reasoning will scarcely satisfy any intelligent reader, and most people will be constrained to ask whether we are not all created by God; yet who would dare to take to himself the title ‘Spirit of God’? Besides, if the words, ‘Spirit of God,’ mean a ‘spirit created by God,’ then the expression, ‘the spirit of a man,’ must mean ‘the spirit created by a man’—a manifest absurdity. When we see that to Jesus ALONE Muslims give this high title ‘Spirit of God,’ then it is evident that He is the Spirit of God in a special sense, and it is only a step from this to the fuller teaching of the Injil that He is the eternal Son of God.

Again, it is said that “If the term ‘Spirit of God’ as applied to Jesus suggests His divinity, then we must likewise admit that the Qur’an teaches that Adam and other prophets are divine, for it is written in the Qur’an, ‘God said to the angels concerning Adam, When I shall have completely formed him, and shall have breathed my Spirit into him, do ye fall down and worship him.’” We are at a loss to see how this verse of the Qur’an requires us to believe that Adam is divine; for Adam is not here called ‘the Spirit of God,’ but is spoken of as a man into whom God breathed His Spirit: a very different thing. Such language is nowhere in the Qur’an used of Jesus; but is used of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Thus in Sura Al-Anbiyah’ (21), verse 91, it is written, “And remember her who preserved her virginity, and into whom we breathed of our Spirit.” If Christians, because of the language of this verse, had said that Mary was divine, then our Muhammadan friends could legitimately retort that, as the same language is used of Adam, therefore Christians should further admit that Adam was divine; but Christians do not look upon Mary as divine; neither does the Qur’an simply state that God breathed His Spirit into Christ; on the contrary, Muslims call Christ Himself ‘the Spirit of God,’ which is a very different thing. In the same manner it is stated in the Holy Bible that God gave His Spirit to certain persons; but that does not make them divine; on the contrary, it proves that they were something distinct from the Spirit of God. If we say that such a person gave five rupees to a beggar, would any sane person argue from that that the beggar was five rupees?

Thus we re-affirm that the term ‘Spirit of God,’ applied to Christ by Muslims, places Him high above all other prophets, and hints at the great doctrine of His divinity which is so clearly taught in the Injil. (Rev. William Goldsack, Christ in Islam: The Testimony of the Qur’an to Christ5. Christ The Spirit Of God; bold and capital emphasis mine)

Therefore, contrary to the claims of certain Muslim polemicists Christ himself is the very eternal Spirit which Allah breathed, i.e., sent forth, into Mary for the express purpose of becoming human.

This interpretation becomes even more apparent in light of the following texts, which depict Jesus as creating a bird from clay and breathing life into it:

As a messenger to the Children of Israel: “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord; that I CREATE for you FROM CLAY the form of a bird, then I BLOW INTO IT and it becomes a bird by God ‘s leave, and I heal the blind and the lepers, and give life to the dead by God ‘s leave, and I can tell you what you have eaten, and what you have stored in your homes. In that is a sign for you if you have acknowledged.” S. 3:49 Quran: A Reformist Translation (QRT)

God said, “O Jesus son of Mary, recall My blessings upon you and your mother that I supported you with the Holy Spirit; you spoke to the people in the cradle and in old age; and I taught you the book and the wisdom, and the Torah, and the Injeel; and YOU WOULD CREATE FROM CLAY the shape of a bird, then BLOW INTO IT and it becomes a bird by My leave; and you heal the blind and the leper by My leave; and you brought out the dead by My leave. I have restrained the Children of Israel from you, that you came to them with proofs; but those who rejected amongst them said, “This is an obvious magic!” S. 5:110 QRT

What makes this rather astonishing is that Christ creates in the exact same way that Allah created and animated Adam!

WE CREATED man FROM DRY CLAY, from black moulded loam, and before him Satan from smokeless fire. Your Lord said to the angels: ‘I am creating man from dry clay, from black moulded loam. When I have fashioned him and breathed of My spirit into him, kneel down and prostrate yourselves before him.’ The angels, one and all, prostrated themselves, except Satan. He refused to prostrate himself as the others did. ‘Satan,’ said God, ‘why do you not prostrate yourself?’ He replied: ‘I will not bow to a mortal whom YOU CREATED OF DRY CLAY, of black moulded loam.’ ‘Get you hence,’ said God, ‘you are accursed. The curse shall be on you till Judgement-day.’ S. 15:27-35 N. J. Dawood

The Quran, therefore, plainly testifies that Jesus possesses the ability to breathe out life just like Allah. And the reason why Christ is able to do so is because he happens to be the very life-giving Spirit of Allah who became flesh.

Hence, both the Muslim scripture and traditions of Muhammad bear witness to the fact of Jesus possessing two distinct natures, since he is both divine and human. And yet by identifying him as the uncreated Word and Spirit of Allah who became a human being, Islamic tradition ends up contradicting itself since in other places it tries to demote Jesus to being nothing more than a human servant and messenger (Cf. Q. 5:75; 43:57-59).

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