The Spirit and the Angels

Sam Shamoun

Jalal Abualrub has taken up our challenge to show where the Quran identifies the Holy Spirit as the angel Gabriel.

Here is what he writes near the end of his response:

Here is another absurdity that Shamoun brings forth.  In his article mentioned here, Shamoun contradicts the Quran with his personal interpretation on Prophetic Hadeeths.  This is because to these lying devils, the Quran is Muhammad's creation, so they would try to contradict the Quran with Hadeeth, whenever it suits them that is.  Yet, he challenges me to, "…provide any Quranic references which clearly, unambiguously identify the Spirit, the Faithful Spirit, and/or the Holy Spirit as the angel Gabriel."  Note that Shamoun used these words, "Quranic references; Spirit; angel Gabriel."  Well, here are Quranic references proving that the Ru`h (Spirit) is indeed Angel Jibreel (Gabriel).
I hereby answer Shamoun’s challenge, so will he do the same with regards to my challenge to him?  Allah said these words in the Quran, {And truly, this (the Qur’n) is a revelation from the Lord of the ‘lamn (mankind, jinn and all that exists). Which the trustworthy Rh has brought down. Upon your heart (O Muhammad) that you may be (one) of the warners}; [26:192-194]; {Say (O, Muhammad) Ruh-ul-Qudus has brought it (the Qur’n) 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 Allh as Muslims)}; [16:102]; {The angels and the Rh ascend to Him in a Day the measure whereof is fifty thousand years}; [70:4]; {Say (O Muhammad): "Whoever is an enemy to Jibrl (Gabriel) (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur’n) down to your heart by Allh’s Permission, confirming what came before it [i.e. the original Taurt (Torah) and the original Injeel (Gospel)] and guidance and glad tidings for the believers}; [2:97].
Quranic Summary: This Qurn is a revelation from the Lord of the lamn, which the trustworthy Rh has brought down upon your heart, O, Muhammad; Jibrl (Gabriel) indeed has brought this Qurn down to your heart by Allhs Permission.
Conclusion: 1) The Ru`h is Jibreel 2) Sam Shamoun is a liar.


Talking about begging the question! Abualrub has provided a classic textbook example of circular reasoning, assuming what he has yet to prove. Not one of these texts says that the Spirit of faith or Holy Spirit is Gabriel. Let me quote the references so that the readers can see this for themselves:

Say, the Holy Spirit has brought the revelation from thy Lord in Truth, in order to strengthen those who believe, and as a Guide and Glad Tidings to Muslims. S. 16:102

Verily this is a Revelation from the Lord of the Worlds: With it came down the spirit of Faith and Truth- To thy heart and mind, that thou mayest admonish. S. 26:192-194 Y. Ali

These citations simply say that the Holy Spirit or the Spirit of faith is an agent used to convey the revelation. This next reference cited by Abualrub actually works against him:

The angels AND the spirit (almala-ikatu WA al-roohu) ascend unto him in a Day the measure whereof is (as) fifty thousand years: S. 70:4 Y. Ali

The Spirit here is distinguished from the angels which serves to affirm that he is not the angel Gabriel. After all, Gabriel would be naturally included within this group of angels and yet the text separates the Spirit from them. In order to show how this actually proves that the Spirit and Gabriel are not the same entity note the following texts:

Verily, those who disbelieve, and die while they are disbelievers, it is they on whom is the Curse of Allah AND of the angels (Allahi WA almala-ikati) and of mankind, combined. S. 2:161 Hilali-Khan

Or you cause the heaven to fall upon us in pieces, as you have pretended, or you bring Allah AND the angels (biAllahi WA almala-ikati) before (us) face to face; S. 17:92 Hilali-Khan

Nay! When the earth is pounded to powder, And thy Lord cometh, AND His angels (rabbuka WA almalaku), rank upon rank, S. 89:21-22 Y. Ali

The reader can easily see that these verses are clearly differentiating Allah from the angels, and yet a similar construction is used in Sura 70:4. The real reason why a person would assume that the Spirit is not being differentiated from the angels is due to a prior assumption that the Spirit is actually angel Gabriel.

In fact, it is primarily due to this presupposition that Abualrub thinks that this next text proves that Gabriel is the Spirit:

Say: Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel-for he brings down the (revelation) to thy heart by God's will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings for those who believe,- S. 2:97 Y. Ali

It seems that Abualrub is erroneously assuming that since the Quran mentions that both the Spirit and Gabriel supposedly brought down the Quran (we say supposedly since neither entity was responsible for the composition of the Quran) this therefore implies that they must be one and the same. His logic goes something like this:

  1. Allah used the Holy Spirit to bring down the inspiration.
  2. Allah used Gabriel to bring down the inspiration.
  3. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is Gabriel.

The problem with this view is that Abualrub is operating under the erroneous assumption that only one entity brought down the revelation. For Abualrub’s logic to be valid he must prove that the Quran expressly states that Allah used only one being to convey the revelations. Yet as anyone having read the Quran can verify, and as Abualrub who has read the Quran and has translated works by Muslim scholars should know, the Quran does not say that Allah used only one entity to inspire Muhammad with the message. Rather, the Quran expressly says that Allah used more than one messenger to bring down his words:

By those who bring down the Reminder, S. 77:5 Pickthall

The Reminder, according to the Quran, refers to the revelation given to the prophets, specifically Muhammad:

And they say: O thou unto whom the Reminder is revealed, lo! thou art indeed a madman!… Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder, and lo! We verily are its Guardian. S. 15:6, 9 Pickthall

Here is how one commentary attributed to Ibn Abbas interprets Sura 77:5:

(By those who bring down the Reminder) and He swore by THOSE who bring down the revelations, (Tanwr al-Miqbs min Tafsr Ibn ‘Abbs; source; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Since this citation is speaking about the giving of revelation this therefore implies that those who brought it down is a reference to the angels, an understanding shared by some Muslim translators and commentators:

And by the angels that bring the revelations to the Messengers, Hilali-Khan

by the casters of the remembrance, that is, [by] angels that descend with the revelation upon the prophets and messengers, casting the revelation onto the [various] communities [of mankind], (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)

There is another text which shows that more than one entity was involved in giving the inspiration:

(The angels say:) "WE descend not but by command of thy Lord: to Him belongeth what is before US and what is behind US, and what is between: and thy Lord never doth forget, -" S. 19:64 Y. Ali

And we (angels) descend not except by the Command of your Lord (O Muhammad SAW). To Him belongs what is before US and what is behind US, and what is between those two, and your Lord is never forgetful, Hilali-Khan

It becomes quite clear when we take all these passages into consideration that, according to the Quran, Allah used the Holy Spirit and the angels such as Gabriel to bring down the messages. Since the Quran expressly states that there were several entities involved in inspiring Muhammad on what grounds does Abualrub therefore assume that Gabriel must be the Holy Spirit?

As if the foregoing wasn’t sufficient to refute the assertion that the Holy Spirit is Gabriel according to the Quran, note what the following citation says:

And they ask you (O Muhammad SAW) concerning the Ruh (the Spirit); Say: "The Ruh (the Spirit): it is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little." S. 17:85 Hilali-Khan

Here was a golden opportunity for Muhammad to have come out and said that the Spirit is Gabriel, the angel of revelation. Instead, he emphatically denies knowing the identity and nature of the Spirit! It seems that Abualrub knows more than his own prophet since he seems to definitely know who the Spirit is whereas Muhammad and his source clearly didn’t.

Summary of Quranic Data: Though the Quran is not a revelation from the true God and Lord of all, an examination of its contents shows that it claims to have been revealed through several mediums such as the Holy Spirit and angels like Gabriel. In light of this, Abualrub has failed to answer our challenge to prove from the Quran that Gabriel is actually the Holy Spirit of God. And instead of allowing the Quran to speak for itself regarding the identity of the Holy Spirit he reads into the texts of his own scripture a belief which he thinks is taught within its pages. The reality, however, is that Abualrub forces the texts to say what they do not say in order to garner support for his presupposition that the Spirit is Gabriel, and in so doing he ends up distorting the Quran.

Conclusion: 1) The Quran DOES NOT say that the Spirit is Gabriel. 2) Therefore, Abualrub has lied to his readers.

For more on this issue we recommend the following articles:

Responses to Jalal Abualrub
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page