pl. arwah; Heb. ruakh, spirit soul; life.” Ibnu ‘l-Asir, author of the Nihaqah, says it is the nervous fluid or animal spirit. A vaporous substance, which is the principle of vitality and of sensation, and of voluntary motion.
In the Kitabu ‘t-Ta’rifat, it is defined as a subtle body, the source of which is the hollow of the corporeal heart, and which diffuses itself into all the other, parts of the body by means of the pulsing veins and arteries. See also Gen. ix. 4: “Flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof.” Many of the ancients believed the soul to reside in the blood. (See Virgil’s Æn., ix. p. 349) The breath which a man breaths and which pervades the whole body. Called in Persian jain جانThe philosophers say it is the blood, by the exhausting of which life ceases. The word is generally rendered in Hindustani as of the feminine gender, but Arabic authors render it as often masculine as feminine. (See Lane’s Arabic Dictionary, in loco.)
In the Qur’an the word is sometimes used for Jesus, who is known as Rullu ‘llah (“the Spirit of God “), for the angel Gabriel, and also for life, grace, soul, and the Spirit of Prophecy. (A complete list of texts is given in the article SPIRIT.)
According to the Kitabu ‘t-Ta’rifat. p. 76, spirit is of three kinds:-
(1) Ar-Ruhu ‘t-Insani, الروح الانساني”the human spirit,” by which is understood the mind of man, which distinguishes him from the animal, and which is given to him, by the decree of God, from heaven, of the true essence of which we know nothing. It is this spirit which is sometimes united to the body and sometimes separated from it, as in sleep or death.
(2) Ar-Ruhu ‘l-Haiwani, الروح الحيواني”the animal spirit,” by which is understood the life, the seat of which is in the heart, and which moves in the veins with the pulsations of the body.
(3) Ar-Ruhu ‘l-A’zam, الروح الاعظم”the exalted spirit,” that human spirit which is connected with the existence of God, but the essence of which is unknown to all but the Almighty. The spiritual faculty in man. It is called also aI-’Aqlu.’l-Awwal, “the first intelligence”; al-Haqiqatu ‘l-Muhammadiyah Wadidah, “the essence of Muhammad”; an-Nafsu ‘l-Wahidah, “the single essence” al-Haqiqatu ‘l-Samaiyah. “The original spirit of man first created by God.”
The following terms are also found in Muslim works:—
Ar-Ruhu ‘n-Nabati , “the vegetable spirit.”
Ar-Ruhu ‘t-Tabi’i الروح الطبعي”the animal spirit.”
Ar-Ruhu ‘l-Ilahiالروح اللهي, “the divine spirit.”
Ar-Ruhu ‘s-Sufli الروح السفليthe lower spirit,” which is said to belong merely to animal life.
Ar-Ruhu ‘l-’Ulwi الروح العلوي”the Lofty or heavenly spirit.”
Ar-Ruhu ‘l-Jari الروح الجاريthe travelling spirit,” or that which leaves the body in sleep and gives rise to dreams.
Ar-Ruhu ‘l-Muhkam الروح المحكم, “the resident spirit,” which is said never to leave the body, even after death.
Ruhu ‘l-Ilqa روح الالقاء”the spirit of casting into.” Used for Gabriel and the spirit of prophecy. [SPIRIT.]
Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam