In agreement with God’s true Word,
“And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: and there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Mark 1:10-11 Authorized King James Version (AV)
“that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles… But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” Matthew 12:17-18 AV
“And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness… And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about… The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” Luke 4:1, 14, 18 AV
“And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” John 1:32-33 AV
“that word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judæa, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:37-38 AV
The Quran attests that Jesus was supported by the Holy Spirit:
And verily We gave unto Moses the Scripture and We caused a train of messengers to follow after him, and We gave unto Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah’s sovereignty), and We supported him with the Holy spirit. Is it ever so, that, when there cometh unto you a messenger (from Allah) with that which ye yourselves desire not, ye grow arrogant, and some ye disbelieve and some ye slay? S. 2:87 Pickthall
Of those messengers, some of whom We have caused to excel others, and of whom there are some unto whom Allah spake, while some of them He exalted (above others) in degree; and We gave Jesus, son of Mary, clear proofs (of Allah’s Sovereignty) and We supported him with the holy Spirit. And if Allah had so willed it, those who followed after them would not have fought one with another after the clear proofs had come unto them. But they differed, some of them believing and some disbelieving. And if Allah had so willed it, they would not have fought one with another; but Allah doeth what He will. S. 2:253 Pickthall
“GOD will say, ‘O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My blessings upon you and your mother. I supported you with the Holy Spirit, to enable you to speak to the people from the crib, as well as an adult…’” S. 5:110 Khalifa
Ironically, neither the author(s)/editor(s) nor the Muslim expositors understood the clear Trinitarian implications of these statements. Instead, the Islamic scholars and commentators were all over the map in their description of who or what exactly the Holy Spirit was/is:
(87) Commentators are agreed that the spirit here means Gabriel. This view is related on the authority of Qatadah, al-Suddi, Ibn ‘Abbas, and Rabi‘ ibn Anas. Ibn Zayd, however, said, “God fortified Jesus with the Gospel, which is a spirit, as God called the Qur’an a spirit. Both the Gospel and the Qur’an are the spirit of God, as He says, ‘And thus have we sent down to you a spirit of our command’” (Q. 42:52). Ibn ‘Abbas said, “the spirit was the name of God through which Jesus was able to revive the dead” (Tabari, II, pp. 320-321). Ar-Rabi’ Ibn Anas said, “It was the spirit which God breathed into him.” Tabarsi, however, said, “The best interpretation is to say that it was Gabriel. If it is asked why Jesus was, among all the prophets, specially mentioned as being supported by Gabriel, when every prophet was also supported by him, it will be said that he was so mentioned because Gabriel accompanied him from his youth to his manhood. Gabriel also appeared to Mary when she conceived Jesus, he announced him to her and breathed the Spirit of God into her’ (Tabarsi, I, p. 349).” (Mahmoud M. Ayoub, The Qur’an and its Interpreters [State University of New York Press (SUNY), Albany, NY 1984], Volume One, pp. 124-125; bold emphasis mine)
Suffice it to say, the foregoing interpretations of who and what God’s Spirit happens to be are filled with major problems.
To begin with, contrary to the assertion of Tabarsi, stating that Gabriel is the Holy Spirit is NOT the best interpretation for the following reasons.
First, nowhere does the Quran identify the the Holy Spirit, Faithful Spirit, or God’s Spirit as Gabriel. In fact, when Muhammad was asked about who the Spirit was/is he claimed ignorance, stating that only a little knowledge had been revealed concerning the Spirit’s precise identity:
They are asking thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little. S. 17:85 Pickthall
Here was the perfect time for Muhammad to have come right out and simply identified the Spirit as Gabriel if this is what he truly thought. His answer shows that he didn’t believe for a moment that Gabriel and the Holy Spirit were one and the same entity.
This brings me to my next point. The Spirit is routinely distinguished from all the angels:
He sendeth down the angels with the Spirit of His command unto whom He will of His bondmen, (saying): Warn mankind that there is no God save Me, so keep your duty unto Me. S. 16:2 Pickthall
(Whereby) the angels and the Spirit ascend unto Him in a Day whereof the span is fifty thousand years. S. 70:4 Pickthall
On the day when the angels and the Spirit stand arrayed, they speak not, saving him whom the Beneficent alloweth and who speaketh right. S. 78:38 Pickthall
The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by the permission of their Lord, with all decrees. S. 97:4 Pickthall
Third, the Quran describes the Spirit as issuing forth from God himself for the express purpose of creating and giving life:
And (remember) when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am creating a mortal out of potter’s clay of black mud altered, So, when I have made him and have breathed into him of My Spirit, do ye fall down, prostrating yourselves unto him. S. 15:28-29 Pickthall
And who remained chaste/(protected) her genital parts , so We blew into her from Our Soul/Spirit (roohina), and We made/created her and her son (as) an evidence/sign to the creations all together/(universes). S. 21:91(Muhammad Ahmed – Samira https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/21/st19.htm)
And Mary Amran’s daughter who remained chaste (protected) her genital parts between her legs, so We blew in it from Our Soul/Spirit (roohina), and she confirmed/was truthful with her Lord’s words/expressions, and His Books , and she was from the worshipping humbly. S. 66:12 (Muhammad Ahmed – Samira https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/66/st19.htm)
The Spirit was obviously breathed into Adam and Mary in order to animate the first man, thereby making him a living being, and to cause the blessed mother to miraculously conceive a son without sexual intercourse. This is precisely what the Spirit supposedly told Mary, namely, he was sent to give her a faultless son:
And make mention of Mary in the Scripture, when she had withdrawn from her people to a chamber looking East, And had chosen seclusion from them. Then We sent unto her Our Spirit and it assumed for her the likeness of a perfect man. She said: Lo! I seek refuge in the Beneficent One from thee, if thou art God-fearing. He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I may bestow on thee a faultless son. She said: How can I have a son when no mortal hath touched me, neither have I been unchaste? He said: So (it will be). Thy Lord saith: It is easy for Me. And (it will be) that We may make of him a revelation for mankind and a mercy from Us, and it is a thing ordained. S. 19:16-21 Pickthall
Seeing that the Spirit is breathed out by God this means he is an intrinsic part of God’s very own eternal being, and therefore cannot be a creature. This is further confirmed by the Spirit’s ability to create and give life, characteristics that make him truly divine in nature.
With the foregoing in mind, to say that the Holy Spirit is that which God breathed into Jesus, or into Mary, raises further challenges to the Islamic claim that Christ was nothing more than a human creature. Either of these views essentially means the same thing, namely, that Jesus is the actual Spirit of God who became a flesh and blood human being.
This view is supported by the following passage:
O People (of) the Book! (Do) not commit excess in your religion and (do) not say about Allah except the truth. Only the Messiah, Isa, son (of) Maryam, (was) a Messenger of Allah and His word which He conveyed to Maryam and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His Messengers. And (do) not say, “Three;” desist (it is) better for you. Only Allah (is) God One. Glory be to Him! That He (should) have for Him a son. To Him (belongs) whatever (is) in the heavens and whatever (is) in the earth. And Allah is sufficient (as) a Disposer of affairs. S. 4:171 (Literal Word-for-Word Translation https://www.islamawakened.com/quran/4/st61.htm)
Note that Jesus is expressly identified as the Word of God that came down as a Spirit being who entered into Mary, obviously for the express purpose of becoming human. This is why Islamic tradition calls Jesus Kalimatullah (“the Word of God”) and Ruhullah (“the Spirit of God”):
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)
“… 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)
Chapters on Virtues
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:
that a group of people from the Companions of the Messenger of Allah sat waiting for him. He said: “Then he came out, such that when he came close to them, he heard them talking, and he heard what they were saying. So some of them said: ‘It’s amazing that Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, has taken a Khalil (close friend) from His creation. He took Ibrahim as a Khalil.’ And some of them said: ‘That is not more amazing than speaking to Musa, He spoke to him with real speech.’ And some said: ‘And ‘Eisa is THE WORD OF ALLAH and His Spirit.’ And some said: ‘Adam was chosen by Allah.’ So he came out upon them and said his Salam, and said: ‘I have heard your words, and your amazement that Ibrahim is the Khalil of Allah, and he is such, and that Musa is the one spoken to by Allah, and he is such, and that ‘Eisa is THE SPIRIT OF ALLAH and HIS WORD, and he is such, and that Adam was chosen by Allah, and he is such…
Grade: Da’if (Darussalam)
English reference: Vol. 1, Book 46, Hadith 3616
Arabic reference: Book 49, Hadith 3976 (Sunnah.com; capital, italic and underline emphasis ours)
Now seeing that God’s Spirit creates and gives life, this helps us appreciate why Jesus in the Quran creates and breathes life into inanimate clay objects,
When the angels said, ‘Mary, God gives thee good tidings of a Word from Him whose name is Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary; high honoured shall he be in this world and the next, near stationed to God.He shall speak to men in the cradle, and of age, and righteous he shall be.’ ‘Lord,’ said Mary, ‘how shall I have a son seeing no mortal has touched me?’ ‘Even so,’ God said, ‘God creates what He will. When He decrees a thing He does but say to it “Be,” and it is. And He will teach him the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel, to be a Messenger to the Children of Israel saying, “I have come to you with a sign from your Lord. I WILL CREATE for you out of CLAY (anni AKHLUQU lakum mina al-TINI) as the likeness of a bird; then I WILL BREATHE (fa-anfukhu) into it, and it will be a bird, by the leave of God. I will also heal the blind and the leper, and bring to life the dead, by the leave of God. I will inform you too of what things you eat, and what you treasure up in your houses. Surely in that is a sign for you, if you are believers. S. 3:45-49 Arberry
When God said, ‘Jesus Son of Mary, remember My blessing upon thee and upon thy mother, when I confirmed thee with the Holy Spirit, to speak to men in the cradle, and of age; and when I taught thee the Book, the Wisdom, the Torah, the Gospel; and when THOU CREATEST out of CLAY (wa-idh TAKHLUQU mina al-TINI), by My leave, as the likeness of a bird, and THOU BREATHEST (fatanfukhu) into it, and it is a bird, by My leave; and thou healest the blind and the leper by My leave, and thou bringest the dead forth by My leave; and when restrained from thee the Children of Israel when thou camest unto them with the clear signs, and the unbelievers among them said, “This is nothing but sorcery manifest. S. 5:110 Arberry
In the exact same fashion that Allah created and breathed life into the clay body of Adam:
Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I am about to create (inni khaliqun) man from clay (tinin): When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed (wanafakhtu) into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him.” S. 38:71-72 Y. Ali
I.e., Jesus is that very life-giving Spirit whom God breathes out, and is therefore an eternal and essential aspect of God’s very own Being!
This is further brought out by Jesus’ being described as God’s own Word. Seeing that the Islamic scripture testifies that God created all things by his command/word,
He it is Who created the heavens and the earth in truth. In the day when He saith: Be! it is. His Word is the Truth, and His will be the Sovereignty on the day when the trumpet is blown. Knower of the Invisible and the Visible, He is the Wise, the Aware. S. 6:73 Pickthall
And Our word unto a thing, when We intend it, is only that We say unto it: Be! and it is. S. 16:40 Pickthall
And seeing that Jesus is the Word of God, this again explains why Jesus has the power to create and give life in the exact same way that God does.
I will put this in a form of syllogism in order to help the readers see the implication of the Quran’s teaching on the Person and work of Christ:
God’s Word is eternal.
Jesus is the Word of God.
Jesus is, therefore, eternal by nature.
God created everything through his eternal Word.
Jesus creates and breathes out life in the exact same way that God does.
This further confirms that Jesus is God’s very own creative Command or Word, being the One through whom God brought the entire creation into existence.
At this point, the Muslim scripture is doing nothing other than parrot what God’s only inspired revelation teaches concerning the Person of Christ:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were created through Him, and without Him nothing was created that was created. In Him was life, and the life was the light of mankind… He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not know Him… The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:1-4, 10, 14 Modern English Version (MEV)
“So it is written: The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 15:45 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
So much for the Muslim claim that the Quran is a coherent, consistent message, that explicitly denies the essential Deity and eternal prehuman existence of the Lord Jesus.