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Q / A
Answering Common Misconceptions
 

02. What is the Holy Spirit? 

Question:

Greetings and peace be upon you,

I am a new Muslim convert, and having come from a Christian family. I am still very much confused about the Holy spirit issue.

I know that the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an in Surahs 2:87, 2:253, 5:110, and 16:102. And, the Bible makes it a requirement to believe in the Holy Spirit, in order to enter Heaven (the context of John 3: 4-6).

Can you shed some light upon this issue for me?
 

Answer:

Since you are a new convert from Christianity to Islam, the true message of the One God Allah, you should know that Monotheism was the message of all prophets. Abraham, Moses and Jesus were all monotheists. Jesus, even in the present versions of the “Bible”, repeatedly proclaimed and asserted the Unity of the One God Allah (Allaha in Aramic, and Eloha in Hebrew). He never claimed to be God or son of God, nor did he refer to a triune god of Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The word “Trinity” is not found anywhere in the whole Bible. Did’nt Jesus say: “ The first of all commandments is, Hear, O Israel,: The Lord our God is one Lord” (Mark 12:29). Read also: “Jesus said to him, “ Away from me. Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God, and Him only’ (Matthew 4:10); and:
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but Him” ( Mark 12:32). Other emphatic expressions of monotheism are abound in the Bible, both Old and New Testamennts. Read for example: “And God spoke all these words, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” (Exodus 1:3 and Deuteronomy 5:7); “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is a jealous, God (Exodus 34:14).

 Some Christians consider the statement in the First Epislte of John (5:7-8) as a reference to trinity. It reads, according to the old King James version (1611 AC) of the Bible:“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water and the blood: and these three agree”. However, this text was radically changed in the revised editions of 1946 and 1952 to read: “7For there are three that testify: 8the[1] Spirit, the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement.” As a footnote it is mentioned: And there are three that t,stify on earth: the (not found in any Greek manuscript before the sixteenth century). Deviations from the pure doctrines of Jesus and all the prophets before him started with Paul, who never met Jesus. Paul was the first to claim the Godhead and divine sonship of Jesus, as well as his resurrection. Yet, the disciples and the early Christian generations were unitarians. They resisted the efforts of Paul and his followers to change both the faith and law of Moses and Jesus, and, later, many of them were tortured for holding to their faith.

Trinity was imposed for the first time, as an official creed of the Roman empire, by Emperor Theodosius in the year 381 AC. The motive was mainly political, to save the Roman empire by putting an end to the split between the unitarian Christians and the trinitarians, a split that persisted even after the Council of Nicea in 325 AC adopted the Pauline doctrines deifying Jesus as son of God. Trinity, subsequently endorsed by the Council of Constantinople in 381 AC, attracted those who found in  it a compromise between their original pagan beliefs and Christianity. Trinity was an invention of Athnasius of Alexandria in the 4th century after Jesus departure. It is a coinage of the Pauline doctrine with pagan beliefs of the ancient world, e.g. Egypt (Horus, Isis and Osiris), India (Brahma, Siva and Visnu) as well as the Greekmyths of people who are sons of the “Holy Ghost” (Apollo). Other influences of the pagan beleifs was the change of Sabbath holiday to the Roman Sun-day, and to change Christmas to 25th December, the birthday of the Roman Sun-god, Mithra. So the concepts of Trinity and the Holy ghost or spirit were in fact a pagan invention that neither Jesus nor the early christians ever accepted or advocated.

To properly understand what does the Holy Ghost really mean, both in the Bible and in the Qur’an, we find in (Matthew 1: 18): “ Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was epoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost”. If we compare this with a similar narration  of Luke: “And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin epoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary” (Luke 1:26-27), we can readily see that the Holy Ghost mentioned in Matthew 1: 18  is himself the angel Gabriel. The Qur’an confirms the same: “We sent to her (Mary) Our Ruh (angel Gabriel), and he appeared before her in the form of a man in all respects…(The angel) said, “I am only a messenger from your Lord, (to announce) to you the gift of  a righteous son” (19: 17,19).

The angel Gabriel is the same angel sent with divine messages and support of Allah to his prophets. In Surah 16: 102 of the Qur’an (English meaning):”Say (O Muhammad) Ruh-ul-Qudus (Spirit of Holiness, i.e. Gabriel) has brought it (the Qur’an) down from your Lord with truth, that it may make firm and strengthen (the faith of) those who believe, and as a guidance and glad tidings to those who have submitted (to Allah as Muslims)”. The same was the context of the Qur’anic verses (English meaning):

“And indeed, We gave Moses the Book and followed him with a succession of Messengers. And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear signs and supported him with Ruh-ul-Qudus (Gabriel)” (2; 87).

“And to Jesus the son of Mary, We gave clear proofs and evidences, and supported him with Ruh-ul-Qudus (Gabriel)” (2: 253).

“(Remember) when Allah will say (on the Day of Resurrection), ‘O Jesus son of Mary! Remember My Favor to you and to your mother when I supported you with Ruh-ul-Qudus (Gabriel) so that you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity, and when I taught you  writing, Al-Hikmah (the power of understanding), the Tawrah (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)” (5: 110).

The same role of the Holy Spirit (Gabriel), as a Messenger and a supporter from Allah, can be understood from Matthew 1: 18 and Luke 1: 26-27 above, as well as other biblical citations, e.g. in (Hebrews 5: 7): “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him”.  See also: “ For he (John the Baptist) shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him” (Luke 1: 15); “ For he (Barnabas) was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith, and much people was added unto the Lord” (Acts 11: 24); “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him” (Acts 5: 32)

To conclude , why should you confuse yourself with a quotation from the Gospel of John (John 3:4-6), when many Christian theologians suggest that this particular gospel was intentionally written to advocate the false claim of  the divinity and divine sonship of Jesus?

Two verses of the Qur’an would summarize the arguments elucidated above:
“O people of the Scripture (Christians)! Do not exceed the limits in your religion, nor say of Allah aught but the truth. The Messiah Jesus, son of Mary, was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah and His Word (“Be” and he was) which He bestowed to Mary and a spirit (Ruh) created by Him; so believe in Allah and His Messengers. Say not: “Three (trinity}! Cease! (it is) better for you. For Allah is (the only) One Ilah (God), glory is to Him (Far Exalted is He) above having a son.” (English meaning of 4: 171).

“Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say, “This is from Allah,” to purchase with it a little price! Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for that they earn thereby” (English meaning of 2: 79).

To read more on the issues of trinity and holy ghost you can refer to:

“Oneness of God, the ultimate solution to the trinitarian controversy”, by M-U P. Mababaya, International Islamic Publishing House.

“Is the trinity doctrine divinely inspired? “, by M. A. C. Cave, World Assembly of Muslim Youth

“Jesus, A Prophet of Islam”, by M. Ata ur-Rahim, International Islamic Publishing House

“Muslim – Christian Dialogue” in the website: www.islam-for-everyone.com

Visit also: www.todayislam.com, or www.sultan.org