Rūḥ al-qudus (Arabc: رُوحُ القُدُس) or the Holy Spirit, is a being whose nature has been a matter of disagreement among Muslim scholars. Some maintain that it is another name for Gabriel, others take consider is a being from the World of Command, a hidden force, the Active Intellect, the Spirit of the Spirits, or the greatest angel. In Islamic sources, such tasks as conveying revelation to prophets, helping believers, being the source of the knowledge of prophets, being the source from which the Imams (a) receive their knowledge, and intercession on the Day of Judgment have been attributed to the Holy Spirit.
The Nature of the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the spirit that is free from defects and imperfections. This word is mentioned in the Quran and the Bible. The Quran mentiones that the Quran was sent down by the Holy Spirit and that Jesus was supported by it.
Muslim scholars disagree as to the nature and identity of the Holy Spirit.
- Gabriel: Some Quranic commentators consider the Holy Spirit to be Gabriel. Calling Gabriel the Holy Spirit indicates his holiness as well as his role in preserving religion.
- A being from the World of Command: Allama Tabatabai maintains that the Holy Spirit is not an angel but a being from the World of Command, who would convey revelation to prophets.
- The greatest angel: According to a hadith attributed to Imam al-Sadiq (a), the Holy Spirit is an angel greater than Gabriel and Michael, who accompanied Prophet Muhammad (s) and then the Imams (a). According to other hadiths, the Holy Spirit is the spirit, which, according to the Quran, comes down together with Angels on the Night of Ordainment (Laylat al-qadr).
- A hidden force: According to a view, the Holy Spirit is a hidden force with which Jesus (a) revived the dead. A weaker degree of this force exists in other believers as well and helps them in the path of God.
- The first being: According to Sayyid Haydar Amuli, the Holy Spirit is a name for the first created being.
- The Spirit of the Spirits: In some mystical works, the Holy Spirit is said to be the Spirit of the Spirits, which is not a created being but rather a face among the faces of God, upon which the essence of created beings depends.
The Quran and hadiths mention a number of tasks for the Holy Spirit.
- Conveying the revelation to prophets: According to the view that the Holy Spirit is Gabriel, bringing revelation and conveying divine messages were among its tasks.
- Supporting prophets and the Friends of God: According to a number of Quranic verses the Holy Spirit supported Jesus (a).
- The source of prophets’ knowledge: According to some hadiths, prophets and Imams have five spirits, and the Holy Spirit is one of them. This spirit is that by which prophets and Imams gain their knowledge.
- Conveying divine verdict: According to hadiths, the Holy Spirit conveys divine verdicts to the Ahl al-Bayt (a).
- Intercession: Based on a hadith from the Prophet (s), the first interceder on the Day of Judgment is the Holy Spirit.
- Supporting believers: It is stated in some hadiths that the Holy Spirit supports believers as long as they support the Prophet (s) and the Ahl al-Bayt (a). Ibn Athir reports that the Prophet (s) asked God to support Hassan b. Thabit, a poet who composed poems in defense of the Prophet (s), with the Holy Spirit as long as he supported the Prophet (s).
- The material for this article is mainly taken from روح القدس in Farsi Wikishia.