Friday, October 08, 2010

The Spirit in the Quran

By: Maged Taman

According to The English word "spirit" has many differing meanings and connotations, but commonly refers to a supernatural being or essencetranscendent and therefore metaphysical in its nature: the Concise Oxford Dictionary defines it as "the non-physical part of a person". For many people, however, spirit, like soul, forms a natural part of a being: such people may identify spirit with mind, or with consciousness, or with the brain.
In many
religions, spiritual traditions, and philosophies, the soul is the spiritual or immaterial part of a living being, often regarded as eternal. It is usually thought to consist of one's consciousness and personality, and can be synonymous with the spirit, mind or self.[1] In theology, the soul is often believed to live on after the person’s death, and some religions posit that God creates souls. In some cultures, non-human living things, and sometimes inanimate objects are said to have souls, a belief known as animism.[2]

The terms soul and spirit are often used interchangeably, although the former may be viewed as a more worldly and less
transcendent aspect of a person than the latter.[3] The words soul and psyche can also be treated synonymously, although psyche has relatively more physical connotations, whereas soul is connected more closely to metaphysics and religion.[4]

Christian doctrine of the Trinity teaches the unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three persons in one Godhead.[1] The doctrine states that God is the Triune God, existing as three persons, or in the Greek hypostases,[2] but one being.[3] Each of the persons is understood as having the one identical essence or nature, not merely similar natures. Since the beginning of the third century[4] the doctrine of the Trinity has been stated as "the one God exists in three Persons and one substance, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."[5] Trinitarianism, belief in the Trinity, is a mark of Oriental and Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and all the mainstream traditions arising from the Protestant Reformation, such as Anglicanism, Methodism, Lutheranism and Presbyterianism. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church describes the Trinity as "the central dogma of Christian theology"

Muslims believe in most part of the above about the spirit and soul. However, they believe that God is one he is the one who created Jesus and he is the one who supported him with the holy spirit as well he did with other prophets. The spirit which is more in Quran present the immaterial part that live the body after death and returns back to the resurrected body. It is the moral and consciousness of us that is reflect our closeness to God or departing from him. In the few verses in the Quran about the spirit we can take these points.

1- God have spirit and we have our spirit from him:

فَإِذَا سَوَّيْتُهُ وَنَفَخْتُ فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِي فَقَعُواْ لَهُ سَاجِدِينَ (15:29)
15:29 (Picktall) So, when I have made him and have breathed into him of My spirit, do ye fall down, prostrating yourselves unto him.

2- God has his spirit also Breathed into Mary:

وَالَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهَا مِن رُّوحِنَا وَجَعَلْنَاهَا وَابْنَهَا آيَةً لِّلْعَالَمِينَ (21:91)
21:91 (Picktall) And she (Mary) who was chaste, therefor We breathed into her (something) of Our spirit and made her and her son a token for (all) peoples.

وَمَرْيَمَ ابْنَتَ عِمْرَانَ الَّتِي أَحْصَنَتْ فَرْجَهَا فَنَفَخْنَا فِيهِ مِن رُّوحِنَا وَصَدَّقَتْ بِكَلِمَاتِ رَبِّهَا وَكُتُبِهِ وَكَانَتْ مِنَ الْقَانِتِينَ (66:12) 66:12 (Picktall) And Mary, daughter of Imran, whose body was chaste, therefor We breathed therein something of Our spirit. And she put faith in the words of her Lord and His Scriptures, and was of the obedient.

3- Jesus peace upon him is spirit from God like us:

يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لاَ تَغْلُواْ فِي دِينِكُمْ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ عَلَى اللّهِ إِلاَّ الْحَقِّ إِنَّمَا الْمَسِيحُ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ رَسُولُ اللّهِ وَكَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقَاهَا إِلَى مَرْيَمَ وَرُوحٌ مِّنْهُ فَآمِنُواْ بِاللّهِ وَرُسُلِهِ وَلاَ تَقُولُواْ ثَلاَثَةٌ انتَهُواْ خَيْرًا لَّكُمْ إِنَّمَا اللّهُ إِلَـهٌ وَاحِدٌ سُبْحَانَهُ أَن يَكُونَ لَهُ وَلَدٌ لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَات وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ وَكَفَى بِاللّهِ وَكِيلاً (4:171) 4:171 (Picktall) O People of the Scripture! Do not exaggerate in your religion nor utter aught concerning Allah save the truth. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was only a messenger of Allah, and His word which He conveyed unto Mary, and a spirit from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers, and say not "Three". Cease! (it is) better for you! Allah is only One God. Far is it removed from His transcendent majesty that he should have a son. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And Allah is sufficient as Defender.

4- The inspiration of God to the prophets is also from his spirit:

يُنَزِّلُ الْمَلآئِكَةَ بِالْرُّوحِ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ عَلَى مَن يَشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِهِ أَنْ أَنذِرُواْ أَنَّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ أَنَاْ فَاتَّقُونِ (16:2)
16:2 (Picktall) 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.
قُلْ نَزَّلَهُ رُوحُ الْقُدُسِ مِن رَّبِّكَ بِالْحَقِّ لِيُثَبِّتَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَهُدًى وَبُشْرَى لِلْمُسْلِمِينَ (16:102)
16:102 (Picktall) Say: The holy spirit hath revealed it from thy Lord with truth, that it may confirm (the faith of) those who believe, and as guidance and good tidings for those who have surrendered (to Allah). -

رَفِيعُ الدَّرَجَاتِ ذُو الْعَرْشِ يُلْقِي الرُّوحَ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ عَلَى مَن يَشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِهِ لِيُنذِرَ يَوْمَ التَّلَاقِ (40:15)
40:15 (Y. Ali) Raised high above ranks (or degrees), (He is) the Lord of the Throne (of Authority): by His Command doth He send the spirit (of inspiration) to any of His servants he pleases, that it may warn (men) of the Day of Mutual Meeting,- -

وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَكِن جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَّهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ نَّشَاء مِنْ عِبَادِنَا وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ (42:52)
42:52 (Picktall) And thus have We inspired in thee (Muhammad) a spirit of Our command. Thou knewest not what the Scripture was, nor what the Faith. But We have made it a light whereby We guide whom We will of Our bondmen. And lo! thou verily dost guide unto a right path.

5- The angel Gabriel appears to be the most associated with God holy spirit, as well other angles:

قُلْ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبْرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَى قَلْبِكَ بِإِذْنِ اللّهِ مُصَدِّقاً لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ وَهُدًى وَبُشْرَى لِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ (2:97) 2:97 (Picktall) Say (O Muhammad, to mankind): Who is an enemy to gabriel! For he it is who bath revealed (this Scripture) to thy heart by Allah's leave, confirming that which was (revealed) before it, and a guidance and glad tidings to believers;

وَإِنَّهُ لَتَنزِيلُ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ (26:192)
26:192 (Picktall) And lo! it is a revelation of the Lord of the Worlds,
نَزَلَ بِهِ الرُّوحُ الْأَمِينُ (26:193) 26:193 (Picktall) Which the True Spirit hath brought down
عَلَى قَلْبِكَ لِتَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُنذِرِينَ (26:194)
26:194 (Picktall) Upon thy heart, that thou mayest be (one) of the warners,

6- God holy spirit played a major role in the ministry of Jesus:

إِذْ قَالَ اللّهُ يَا عِيسى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ اذْكُرْ نِعْمَتِي عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَى وَالِدَتِكَ إِذْ أَيَّدتُّكَ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ تُكَلِّمُ النَّاسَ فِي الْمَهْدِ وَكَهْلاً وَإِذْ عَلَّمْتُكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَالتَّوْرَاةَ وَالإِنجِيلَ وَإِذْ تَخْلُقُ مِنَ الطِّينِ كَهَيْئَةِ الطَّيْرِ بِإِذْنِي فَتَنفُخُ فِيهَا فَتَكُونُ طَيْرًا بِإِذْنِي وَتُبْرِىءُ الأَكْمَهَ وَالأَبْرَصَ بِإِذْنِي وَإِذْ تُخْرِجُ الْمَوتَى بِإِذْنِي وَإِذْ كَفَفْتُ بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ عَنكَ إِذْ جِئْتَهُمْ بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ فَقَالَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ مِنْهُمْ إِنْ هَـذَا إِلاَّ سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ (5:110)
5:110 (Picktall) When Allah saith: O Jesus, son of Mary! Remember My favor unto thee and unto thy mother; how I strengthened thee with the holy spirit, so that thou spakest unto mankind in the cradle as in maturity; and how I taught thee the Scripture and Wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and how thou didst shape of clay as it were the likeness of a bird by My permission, and didst blow upon it and it was a bird by My permission, and thou didst heal him who was born blind and the leper by My permission; and how thou didst raise the dead, by My permission and how I restrained the Children of Israel from (harming) thee when thou camest unto them with clear proofs, and those of them who disbelieved exclaimed: This is naught else than mere magic;

7- We do not know much of the Spirit: the spirit of God, humans and the connection spirit or the holy spirit between us and God. The spirit is invisible to us and we do not know if it is energy and how it works in the miracles of the prophets and if it affects our vision. God may not tell much about it since it is the effect on us is what is he most concerned of. All we may need to know is it is a command of the Lord that conduct to us his will.

وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّن الْعِلْمِ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً (17:85)
17:85 (Picktall) They will ask thee concerning the spirit. Say: The spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little.

To sum it up: God created us from the material of the earth (dust), he put the spirit in each one of us. Since our spirit is from God's spirit we have a great value to God over all creation. We do not know what is the material of the spirit is, but we know it is invisible to us at least in this life. Jesus (PBUH) had also a spirit from God like us. The inspiration of the revelation of God is not only intellectual and emotional one but more so is spiritual. Thus the revelation comes to us from God's spirit through the angels and descend on the spirit of the prophets. Commonly visions in which state of high spiritual connection between the prophets and God present the commonest way of God communications to those selected humans. So they are in a state of awareness during the visions but more so passive one in most part to be good receivers. The amazing thing about the Quran when Muhammad (PBUH) would get the revelation and people see him being inspired and in state of semi-awareness he would remember latter all the words of God. If it would be his subconscious or unconscious mind very likely he will do a lot of errors that people will easily find. The spiritual hunger for God is part of our creation. Even people who did not have revelation from God they tried to connect with him and made their own religions. Some of these are helped by evil spirits, not Islam what we call Jinn who may be able to go semi-right some of the prophecies and who would get information about faith but commonly mixed with myth and Satan inspiration. Even the Quran Satan tried to influence it but God protected and Satan was not able to put his words in the Quran. When we die the spirit ascend back to the creator we do not exactly where it is physically. In the day of judgment our spirits will join our new bodies that are resurrected. God in the Quran talk also about soul which is different form spirit the first is us all including our body, spirit, actions and so forth. That is why God in large part in the Quran use the word soul when he talk to us and the spirit is used only in few verses mostly those mentioned in this article. God warn us in the day of judgment :

وَاتَّقُواْ يَوْماً لاَّ تَجْزِي نَفْسٌ عَن نَّفْسٍ شَيْئاً وَلاَ يُقْبَلُ مِنْهَا عَدْلٌ وَلاَ تَنفَعُهَا شَفَاعَةٌ وَلاَ هُمْ يُنصَرُونَ (2:123) 2:123 (Picktall) And guard (yourselves) against a day when no soul will naught avail another, nor will compensation be accepted from it, nor will intercession be of use to it; nor will they be helped. -

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