SPIRIT. Arabic روح
The word ruh (pl arwah), translated “spirit,” is the Arabic form corresponding to the Hebrew ruakh. It occurs nineteen times in the Qur’an:—
1. Suratu ‘l-Baqarah. (ii.), 81: “We strengthened him (Jesus) by the Holy Spirit (Ruhu ‘l-Qudus).”
2. Suratu ‘l-Baqarah (ii.), 254: “We strengthened him (Jesus) by the Holy, Spirit (Ruhu ‘l-Qudus).”
3. Suratu ‘n-Nisa’ (iv.), 169: “The Masih, Jesus, son of Mary, is only an apostle of God, and His Word which He conveyed into Mary and a Spirit (proceeding) from Himself (Rukun min-hu).”
4. Suratu ‘l-Mai’dah (v.), 109: “When I strengthened thee (Jesus) with the Holy Spirit (Ruhu ‘l-Qudus).”
5. Suratu ‘n-Nahl (xvi.), 2: “He will cause the angels to descend with the spirit (Ruh) on whom He pleaseth among his servants, bidding them warn that there be no God but me.”
6. Suratu ‘n-Nahl (xvi.), 104: “The Holy Spirit (Ruhu ‘l-Qudus) hath brought it. (the Qur’an) down with truth from thy Lord.”
7. Suratu ‘l-Mi’raj (xvii.), 87: “They will ask thee of the spirit. Say: The spirit (ar-Ruh) proceedeth at my Lord’s command, but of knowledge only a little to you is given.”
8. Suratu ‘sh-Shu’ara’ (xxvi.), 198: “The faithful Spirit (ar-Ruhu ‘l-Amin) hath come down with it (the Qur’an).”
9. Suratu ‘l-Mu’min (xl.), 16: “He sendeth forth the Spirit (ar-Ruh) at His own behest on whomsoever of His servants He pleaseth.”
10. Suratu ‘l-Mujadilah (lviii.), 23: “On the hearts of these (the faithful) hath God graven the Faith, and with a spirit (proceeding from Himself (Ruhu min-hu) hath He strengthened them.”
11. Suratu ‘l-Ma’arij (lxx.), 4: “The angels and the Spirit (ar-Ruh) ascend to Him in a day, whose length is fifty thousand years.”
12. Suratu ‘l-Qadr (xcvii.), 4: “Therein descend the angels and the Spirit (ar-Ruh) by permission of their Lord for every matter.”
13. Suratu ‘sh-Shura (xlii.), 52: “Thus have we sent the Spirit (ar-Ruh) to thee with a revelation, by our command.”
14. Suratu Maryam (xix.), 17: “And we sent our spirit Ruha-na) to her, Mary, and he took before her the form of a perfect man.”
15. Suratu ‘l-Ambiya (xxi.), 91: “Into who (Mary) we breathed or our Spirit (min Ruhi-na)
16. Suratu ‘t-Tahrim (lxvi.), 12 “Into whose womb (i.e. Mary’s) we breathed of our Spirit (min Rhi-na).”
17. Surutu ‘s-Sajdah (xxxii.). 8: “And breathed of His spirit (min Ruhi-hi) into him (Adam).”
18. Suratu ‘l-Hijr (xv.), 29: “And when I shall have finished him (Adam) and breathed of my Spirit (min Ruhi) into him.”
19. Suratu Sad (xxxviii.), 72: “And when I have formed him (Adam) and breathed of my Spirit (min-Ruhi) into him.”
Of the above quotations, all Muslim commentators are agreed in applying Nos. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 11, 12, 14, to the angel Gabriel; Nos. 3, 15, 16, are said to be Jesus, the Ruhu’llah, or “Spirit of God”; Nos. 11. 18, 19, the Ruh, or “Life,” given to Adam; Nos. 9, 13, “the Spirit of Prophecy”; No. 10 is held to mean God’s grace and strength. With reference to No 7, there is some discussion. The Khalifah ‘Ali is related to have said that it was an angel with, 7,000 mouths, in each mouth there being 1,000 tongues, which Unceasingly praised God. Ibn ‘Abbas held that it meant the angel Gabriel. Mujahid, that it meant beings of another world.
The Commentators al-Kamalan say the Jews came and asked Muhammad regarding the spirit of man, and the Prophet replied, “The Spirit proceedeth at my Lord’s command, but of knowledge only a little to you is given,” from which it is evident that it is impossible for the finite mind to understand the nature of a spirit.
The philosophical bearings of the question are fully discussed, from an Oriental stand-point in the Kashshafu ‘stilahati l-Funun, A Dictionary of Technical Terms used in the Sciences of the Mussalmans, edited by W. Nassau Lees, LL.D., 1862, vol. i. p. 541; also in the Sharhu ‘l-Mawiqif, p. 582.
Muslim writers hold very conflicting views regarding the state of the soul or spirit after death. All agree that the Angel of Death (Malaku ‘l-Maut), separates the human soul from the body at the time of death, and that he performs his office with ease and gentleness towards the good, and with force and violence towards the wicked, a view which they establish on the testimony of the Qur’an, Surah lxxix. 1, where the Prophet swears by “those who tear out violently and those who gently release.” After death the spirits enter a state called al Barzakh, or the interval between death and the Resurrection, the of the New Testament. The souls of the faithful are said to be divided into three classes: (1) those of the Prophets, who are admitted into Paradise immediately after death, (2) those of the martyrs who, according to a tradition of Muhammad rest in the crops of green birds, which eat the fruits and drink of the waters of Paradise; those of all other believers, concerning the state of whose souls before the Resurrection there is great diversity of opinion. Some say they stay near the graves, either for a period of only seven days, or, according to others, until the Day of Resurrection. In proof of this, they quote the example of Muhammad, who always saluted the spirits of the departed when passing a grave-yard. Others say, all the departed spirits of the faithful are in the lowest heaven with Adam,, because the Prophet declared he saw them there in his pretended ascent to heaven. [MI’RAJ.] Whilst others say the departed spirits dwell in the forms of white birds under the throne of God (which is a Jewish tradition).
Al-.Baizawi says the souls of the wicked are carried down to a pit in hell called Sijjin [SIJJIN]; and there is a tradition to the effect that Muhammad said the spirits of the wicked are tormented until the Day of Resurrection, when they are produced with their bodies for judgment.