GABRIEL Arabic Jibra’il جبريل
The angelic being who is supposed to have been the medium of the revelation of the Qur’an to Muhammad. He is mentioned only twice in the Qur’an by name Suratu i-Baqarah ii 91 “Whoso is the enemy of Gabriel – for he hath by God’s leave caused to descend on thy heart the confirmation of previous revelation,” &c. And again in Suratu ‘i-Tahrim lxvi 4: “God is his Protector and Gabriel.” He is, however, supposed to be spoken of in Surahs ii 81, 254; v 109; xvi 104, as “the Holy Spirit,” Ruhu l-Quaus; in Surah xxvi 193, as “the Faithful Spirit”, ar-Ruhu ‘l-Amin; and in liii 5 as “one terrible in power.” Shadulu ‘l-Quwa.
The account of Gabriel’s first appearance to Muhammad is related as follows by Abu ‘l-Fida, “Muhammad was wont to retire to Mount Hira for a month every year. When the year of his mission came, he went to Mount Hira in the month of Ramazan for the purpose of sojourning there, having his family with him, and there he abode until the night arrived in which God was pleased to bless him. Gabriel came to him, and said to him, “Recite!” And he replied “What shall I recite?” And he said, Recite thou in the name of the Lord who created. Created man from clots of blood. Recite thou! For the Lord is most Beneficent. Who hath taught the use of the pen. Hath taught man that which he knoweth not.” After this the Prophet went to the middle of the mountain, and heard a voice from heaven which said, Thou are the Messenger of God and I am Gabriel.” He continued standing in his place to contemplate Gabriel until be withdrew.” [QURAN.]
Sir William Muir says: “It is clear that at a later period at least, if not from the first, Mahomet confounded Gabriel with the Holy Ghost. The idea may have arisen from some such misapprehension as the following. Mary conceived Jesus by the power of the Holy Ghost, which overshadowed her. But it was Gabriel who visited Mary to announce the conception of the Saviour. The Holy Ghost was therefore another name for Gabriel. We need hardly wonder at this ignorance when Mahomet seems to have believed that Christians held Mary to be the third person in the Trinity!
With reference to the verse quoted above, from the Surat ‘l-Baqrah, Sale says the Commentators say that the Jews asked what angel it was that brought the Quran to Muhammad, and on being told that it was Gabriel, they replied that he was their enemy and the messenger of wrath and judgement, but that if it had been Michael they would have believed on him, because that angel was their friend, and the messenger of peace and plenty.
It is also important to observe that the only distinct assertion of Gabriel being the medium of divine revelation, occurs in a Madanivah Surah.
Gabriel is called in Muslim books ar-Ruhu ‘l-A’zam’ “The Supreme Spirit”; ar-Rahu ‘l-Mukarram, “The Honoured Spirit”; Ruhu ‘l-Ilqa’, “The Spirit of casting into”; Ruhu ‘l-Qudus, “The Holy Spirit”; and ar-Ruhu ‘l-Amin, “The Faithful Spirit.
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam