Advanced search
Visit
13443
Last Updated: 2009/09/24
Summary of question
Why do they call Prophet Isa “The Spirit of God”?
question
Why do they call Prophet Isa “The Spirit of God”? And what is meant when it is said that Allah blew his spirit into Prophet Adam?
Concise answer

Although certain characteristics are shared by different individuals or things and can be found in numerous places, but sometimes for certain reasons, a certain thing or person is identified with that characteristic, despite it not belonging exclusively to it. For example, out of all the things in the universe which all belong to Allah, the Ka’bah has been introduced as the ‘House of Allah’. It is along these lines that although all the prophets are associated with the spirit of Allah, Prophets Adam and Isa, because of their special creation, are known by the title of “Spirit of God”. It is as a result of this that Prophet Isa has come to be known as Ruhullah or the “Spirit of God”, without such title bringing the least flaw in his servitude or bringing him any degree of divinity.

Detailed Answer

There is a verse in the Holy Quran that introduces this prophet of Allah’s as such: “إِنَّمَا الْمَسیحُ عیسَى ابْنُ مَرْیَمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ وَ کَلِمَتُهُ أَلْقاها إِلى‏ مَرْیَمَ وَ رُوحٌ مِنْه[1] (Jesus, son of Mary, is only a Messenger of God, His Word, and a spirit from Him whom He conveyed to Mary).

It is also relying on this verse that Ruhullah or the “Spirit of God” has been counted as one of his names in Islamic literature.

On one hand, we must note that the issue of the spirit is one that, according to the explicit assertion of the Quran, we cannot understand entirely and encompass with the limited human intellect we bear[2]. Nevertheless, we see many different verses in the Quran that give numerous meanings for the term “Ruh” or spirit, all of which share a common theme. Here are some examples of the meanings mentioned in the Quran:

1- A proximate angel of Allah’s who delivers Allah’s message to the prophets.[3]

2- A divine book.[4]

3- Aid from the unseen from Allah to His servants.[5]

4- One of the characteristics of Prophet Isa.

Regarding this final meaning, we see that the Quran once names Prophet Isa as a spirit of Allah’s[6], and in another instance, says that he was supported and backed by the Ruh al-Qudus.[7] This difference in wording can be because of the different dimensions of the spirit which isn't very clear to us.

All of what was said might not give rise to any particular question in anyone’s mind; it is certain beliefs of the Christian faith that causes questions to rise regarding this title of Prophet Isa, namely the trinity[8]. The Christians would use these verses to convince the Muslims that even the Quran attributes certain things to Prophet Isa that eventually prove what they believe in, such as him being deity and not the creation of God and rather, the son of God.

It should be known that this matter has existed from a long time ago and our infallible imams have given us appropriate answers to them. Here are two examples:

1- Hamrān asked Imam Sadiq (as) for an explanation on the verse “وَ رُوحٌ مِنْه”. The imam (as) replied: “What is meant by “روح” here is a creation that Allah (swt) has embedded in Isa.[9]

By saying this, the imam implied that just because anyone has the spirit of God in him doesn’t necessarily mean he will also become like his lord.

2- On another occasion, in response to Muhammad bin Muslim in this regard, the sixth imam (as) says: “The same way the lord chose a house from all the houses and named it ‘His’ house, He chose [Ibrahim] from all the prophets and announced him as his ‘friend’ and khalil, and just like other similar cases, He called Isa ‘His spirit’ because he had chosen his spirit from all the other spirits, and this isn't the least in conflict with his createdness; he was just another prophet [like the rest of the prophets] and would carry out His [God’s] will.[10]

Here, the imam (as) is pointing to a very important point, and that is sometimes Allah makes a quality that many share, stand out in a particular individual or thing, but this doesn’t disprove it for the rest. For example:

1- Although this whole universe belongs to Allah[11], He has stressed on a very small area of it (Makkah and the Ka’bah) and used the title ‘My House’ for it[12].

2- Although the Quran unequivocally states that all the prophets and angels are Allah’s chosen ones[13], yet in other places of the same holy book, Allah has touched on specific prophets as his chosen ones.[14]

3- And finally, although divine spirit has been blown into all the prophets, and even believers who aren't prophets, and they are all supported by Allah[15], but this quality has been highlighted in Isa and also before him in Adam[16].

Therefore, we can't see this quality of prophet Isa as something that implies divinity, as if God has incarnated in him.[17]

The first thing Prophet Isa said in the cradle was that he is the servant of the lord[18], and in the end of his mission he says to God that he told his companions to worship the God who is my and your lord[19], “You know whatever is in my self, and I do not know what is in Your Self”[20], once again declaring his servitude to the lord.

This divine messenger was created without a father, the same way Adam was created without a father and mother. Based on this, although the creation of each and every individual is in and of itself a miracle by Allah, but the miracle in the creation of these two prophets stands out more, hence the focus on them by Allah and associating His spirit with them, even though, as was repeatedly mentioned, Allah blows His spirit into whom he desires[21].

The second part of your question has been answered in Question 4431 (website: 4671); you can refer there for your answer.



[1] Nisa:171.

[2] Isra:85 “وَ یَسْئَلُونَکَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّی وَ ما أُوتیتُمْ مِنَ الْعِلْمِ إِلاَّ قَلیلا”.

[3] Nahl:102; Maryam:17; Shu’araa:193, etc.

[4] Shura:52.

[5] Mujadalah:22; Baqarah:87.

[6] Nisa:171 “وَ رُوحٌ مِنْه”.

[7] Baqarah:87 and 253 “وَ آتَیْنا عیسَى ابْنَ مَرْیَمَ الْبَیِّناتِ وَ أَیَّدْناهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُس”.

[8] Of course some Christian theologians do not consider themselves tritheists, and through certain expositions, try to prove that they are monotheists. It should be noted that true Christians were indeed worshippers of the one God, as verse 64 of surah Aal Imraan states.

[9] Kuleini, Muhammad bin Yaqub, Kāfī, vol. 1, pg. 133, hadith 2, Dar al-Kutub al-Islamiyah, Tehran, 1976.

[10] Ibid, hadith 3.

[11] Aal Imraan:189 “وَ لِلَّهِ مُلْکُ السَّماواتِ وَ الْأَرْض” and tens of other similar verses.

[12] Baqarah:125 “أَنْ طَهِّرا بَیْتِی‏”; Hajj:26 “طَهِّرْ بَیْتِیَ لِلطَّائِفینَ وَ الْقائِمینَ وَ الرُّکَّعِ السُّجُود”.

[13] Hajj:75 “اللَّهُ یَصْطَفی‏ مِنَ الْمَلائِکَةِ رُسُلاً وَ مِنَ النَّاس”.

[14] Aal Imraan:33 “إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفى‏ آدَمَ وَ نُوحاً وَ آلَ إِبْراهیمَ وَ آلَ عِمْرانَ عَلَى الْعالَمین‏”; Baqarah:130 “مَنْ یَرْغَبُ عَنْ مِلَّةِ إِبْراهیمَ إِلاَّ مَنْ سَفِهَ نَفْسَهُ وَ لَقَدِ اصْطَفَیْناهُ فِی الدُّنْیا...”.

[15] Mujadalah:22 “أُولئِکَ کَتَبَ فی‏ قُلُوبِهِمُ الْإیمانَ وَ أَیَّدَهُمْ بِرُوحٍ مِنْهُ”.

[16] Hijr:29; Saad:72 “فَإِذا سَوَّیْتُهُ وَ نَفَخْتُ فیهِ مِنْ رُوحی‏ فَقَعُوا لَهُ ساجِدین”.

[17] You can refer to Question 4671 of this website in this regard.

[18] Maryam:30 “قالَ إِنِّی عَبْدُ اللَّه”.

[19] Ma’idah:117 “ما قُلْتُ لَهُمْ إِلاَّ ما أَمَرْتَنی‏ بِهِ أَنِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ رَبِّی وَ رَبَّکُم”.

[20] Ma’idah:116 “تَعْلَمُ ما فی‏ نَفْسی‏ وَ لا أَعْلَمُ ما فی‏ نَفْسِک”.

[21] Ghaafir:15 “یُلْقِی الرُّوحَ مِنْ أَمْرِهِ عَلى‏ مَنْ یَشاءُ مِنْ عِبادِهِ”.

Question translations in other languages
Comments
Please enter the value
Example : Yourname@YourDomane.ext
Please enter the value
Please enter the value

Thematic Category

Random questions

  • Please list the reasons behind the permissibility/impermissibility of music.
    3673 Laws and Jurisprudence 2009/12/28
    In fiqhi terms, ‘ghina’ and ‘music’ are two different concepts. Ghina refers to the singing voice that comes from the larynx and is turned up and down in the throat in a way that it makes the listener joyful and somewhat ecstasizes him and is ...
  • What are the secrets and philosophy of prayer in Shiism?
    3064 Philosophy of Religion and Law 2012/01/15
    Without doubt every divine ruling has its philosophy and reason(s), but we do not have to investigate every ruling and find its philosophy. A true Muslim must surrender before the message of revelation. This character of submission and acceptance creates perfection in ...
  • Did Prophet Lot offer his daughters to homosexual men? Did he commit incest with his daughters, as the Bible says?
    10635 Traditional 2012/05/21
    The two accounts of the story of Prophet Lot (pbuh) in the Holy Quran and Bible contain many commonalities. It can even be said that they share the same fundamentals; the only difference lying in the incest of his daughters with their father. The Quran not only ...
  • Did the imams ever do anything supernatural in order to prove their imamate?
    2577 Traditional 2011/04/20
    “Miracles” in Islamic theological terms are acts that surpass normal limits that challenge others to do the same and are in accordance with the claims of the person performing them. What is meant by surpassing normal limits is that it seems contrary to the ...
  • What is the meaning of ‘moon in the Scorpio’?
    18676 Laws and Jurisprudence 2012/03/07
    It has been narrated from Imam Sadiq (a.s.) that he said: “Whoever embarks on a journey or marries when the moon is in the Scorpio (qamar dar aqrab), he will not see any good.” The subject of ‘moon in the Scorpio’ is something according to which fatwas ...
  • Who is Zaid bin Haretha?
    2674 برخی صحابیان 2013/04/18
    When still a child, Zaid bin Haretha, accompanied by her mother (Sa’ada bint Tha’laba bin ‘Abd Âmer), was going to Tha’laba bin Âmer tribe, to visit his relatives. On the way to his destination, Zaid bin Haretha was attacked and his property was confiscated by Bani ...
  • What is the meaning of “the seven heavens” that have been mentioned in the Quran?
    9380 Exegesis 2008/06/17
    Considering the questions that science still has regarding space and the galaxies, one cannot reach a definite conclusion on what is exactly meant by “the seven heavens”.  Nevertheless, some viewpoints have been stated regarding this subject. But we mustn’t forget that the main goal of the Quran is the training ...
  • Does a virgin girl need to get her father’s permission for marriage?
    2936 Laws and Jurisprudence 2011/12/20
    The maraje’ consider the permission of the father or paternal grandfather [in the case of her not having a father] of a virgin girl necessary for her marriage[1].[2] The baligh virgin girl who can distinguish between what is ...
  • Please let me get a short sketch of the life, children and grandchildren of Imam Musa Kadhim (AS).
    2108 امام کاظم ع 2015/04/18
    If we are to embark on describing and narrating the lives of Imam Musa Kadhim and his children, we would need to write many books. This article gives a cursory look into the Imam's life and if you would like to learn more, you can refer to ...
  • Is the saying authentic that, "Satans are chained during the Holy Month of Ramadan”?
    668 روش شناسی 2017/01/25
    In some authentic traditional sources like Al-Kafi and Tahzib, a tradition has been mentioned regarding the blessings of the Holy Month of Ramadan from the Holy Prophet (PBUH) as follows, “When the Holy Month of Ramadan enters, the outcast Satans are chained." ...

Popular

  • Why are shrimps halal and crabs haram? What makes one of them halal and the other halal despite the fact that both of them are from the same category?
    67393 Philosophy of Religion and Law 2012/03/18
    Although all Islamic laws are a result of the benefits or disadvantages and harms that back them, and there is a particular reason behind each and every one of them, discovering the exact reason in detail for every one of them is extremely difficult. The most we ...
  • What is the definition of "Muslim" according to the Quran?
    61334 Exegesis 2010/04/06
    According to the Quran a Muslim is one who has absolutely surrendered to Allah and his commands and believes in pure Tawhid (the oneness of God) that isn't tainted with any Shirk and this is why the Almighty has introduced Prophet Abraham as a true ...
  • Why hasn’t Imam Ali (a.s.) been mentioned in the Holy Quran?
    59784 Exegesis 2008/05/11
    One should be aware that although the imam’s names, )especially Imam Ali’s(, haven’t been mentioned in the Quran, nevertheless, their names, )especially Imam Ali’s(, can be found in the Prophet’s sayings. One very good example is the hadith of Ghadir which is considered the official announcement of the appointment of ...
  • Is lobster, clam, oyster and octopus halal?
    58033 Laws and Jurisprudence 2012/02/18
    Eating lobster, clam, oyster and octopus is haram. According to religious resources regarding halal and haram meat, there are general rulings and numerous standards; for instance, a set of rulings has been given for land animals, sea creatures, birds and so on.The condition for halal meat sea ...
  • What is meant by Sidratul-Muntaha that the Quran has mentioned?
    46101 Exegesis 2010/04/07
    This question doesn’t have a brief answer. Please click on the detailed answer. ...
  • How do you prove that Imam Ali (as) was imam and khalifa after the Prophet (pbuh)?
    36533 Traditional 2008/07/21
    There is no doubt that in order for Islam to survive, it needs a keeper and guardian and individuals to deliver and express the teachings and guidelines of religion for the people, and carry them out. Since one of the reasons of creation is the ...
  • Why do we the Shia pray at three times while the Quran tells us to pray at five times?
    32205 Laws and Jurisprudence 2010/08/14
    The reason the Shia perform their prayers in three times is the Quranic verses and traditions on the matter. Although the Quran has mentioned that prayer is wajib several times and hasn’t gone into the details, it has spoken of its times: “Maintain the prayer from the sun's ...
  • Which animals and insects have been named in the Quran?
    30617 Exegesis 2009/12/16
    Approximately 35 animals have been named in the Quran; the birds and insects of which are:Salwa (سلوی)=The quail (Baqarah:57), Ba’uth (بعوض)=Mosquito (Baqarah:26), Dhubab (ذباب)=Fly (Hajj:73), Nahl (نحل)=Honeybee (Nahl:68), Ankabut (عنکبوت)=Spider (Ankabut:41), Jarad (جراد)=Grasshopper (A’raf:133), HudHud (هدهد)=Hoopoe (Naml:20), Ghurab (غراب)=Crow (Ma’idah:31), Ababil (ابابیل)= probably ‘Swallow’ (Fil:3), Naml (نمل)=Ant ...
  • What are the rewards and benefits of wearing rings with valuable stones on them?
    30195 Laws and Jurisprudence 2008/08/20
    Wearing a ring of aghigh, firoozah, yaqut and…is permissible for men and according to hadiths, wearing them has thawab and rewards, and wearing them in prayer causes one’s prayers to be of higher virtue and of more rewards, given that the ring isn’t made of gold (for men ...
  • What is the Maqam Ibrahim? What is its purpose?
    28650 Traditional 2010/02/14
    One of the clear signs in Makkah (as a verse in the Quran tells us) is the Maqam Ibrahim where Prophet Ibrahim stood.Regarding the meaning and interpretation of “Maqam Ibrahim”, some believe that it is equal to all of Hajj. Others ...

Links