top_heading

The Gabriel (Jib’reel) in the Quran

Introduction

Gabriel (Jib’reel in Arabic) is mentioned in both the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, he appeared to the prophet Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel’s visions (Daniel 8:15–26, 9:21–27) while in the New Testament, he appeared to Zechariah and the virgin Mary to foretell the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, respectively (Luke 1:11–38). In the Book of Daniel, Gabriel is referred to as “the man Gabriel”, while in the Gospel of Luke, he is referred to as “an angel of the Lord” (Luke 1:11). Gabriel is not called an archangel means a high ranking angel in the Bible, but he is so called in the Intertestamental period sources like the Book of Enoch (Idris in Arabic). In Islam, Gabriel is considered one of the four archangels whom God sent with His message to prophets and messengers, including other individuals chosen by Him. The named archangels in Islam are Gabriel, Michael, Israfil and Azrael.

Our Core Belief

To believe in the angels is a part of our core belief, and in the sequence that we read below in the Quran, the angels are placed in the second position followed by God who is the foremost of our all beliefs. As Muslims, we must know that we should believe as we should believe otherwise all our work will be in vain. In fact, to institute appropriate and firm belief is the most difficult part for most people who claim they are Muslims.
[Quran 2:285] The messenger has believed in what was sent down to him from his Lord, and so did the believers. They believe in God, His angels, His scripture, and His messengers: “We make no distinction among any of His messengers.” They say, “We hear, and we obey. Forgive us, our Lord. To You is the ultimate destiny.”
[Quran 4:136] O you who believe, you shall believe in God and His messenger, and the scripture He has revealed through His messenger, and the scripture He has revealed before that. Anyone who refuses to believe in God, and His angels, and His scriptures, and His messengers, and the Last Day, has indeed strayed far astray.

Concept of Revelation

Revelation (Wahy in Arabic) what we usually mean God’s Word which is delivered to His chosen individuals. The word, Wahy is derived from the root word “awha” means to reveal which occurs in a number of shades of meaning in the Quran including inspiration, each of them indicating the main underlying idea of directing or guiding someone.
[Quran 4:163] We have inspired (awhaynaa) you, as we inspired (awhaynaa) Noah and the prophets after him. And we inspired (awhaynaa) Abraham, Ismail, Isaac, Jacob, the Patriarchs, Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon. And we gave David the Psalms.
[Quran 53:10] He then revealed (fa-awhaa) to His servant what was to be revealed (awhaa).
[Quran 29:45] You shall recite what is revealed (uhiya) to you of the scripture, and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), for the Contact Prayers prohibit evil and vice. But the remembrance of God (through Salat) is the most important objective. God knows everything you do.

​How God Communicates with Humans

The Quran teaches us that God has not given us strength and vision to see Him physically (Quran 6:103) and He does not talk to people directly but He uses three different methods to reach His chosen individuals through which humans receive knowledge from Him as promised by Him (Quran 2:38). The first one is the inspiration which is not a word or message but an idea – can enter the heart of the chosen individuals. The second one is the word heard by the person spoken to, like, from behind a veil, and the third one is the revelation sent from God through archangel like Gabriel and is delivered to His chosen individuals, which is the highest form of divine message (Quran 42:51):
[Quran 42:51] And it is not to human that God would speak to him, except inspiration (wah’yan), or from behind a barrier, or sending a messenger when he reveals (fa-yoohiya) by His permission what He wills. Indeed, He is Most High, Most Wise.

Even we know from the Quran that God spoke to Moses directly but this conversation was not a direct communication of God with human either:
[Quran 4:164] Messengers we have told you about, and messengers we never told you about. And God spoke to Moses directly.

The above verse indicates that though the conversation was direct in the presence of God but it happened behind a barrier as supported by the other verses of the Quran mentioned below. In addition, it was a prophetic sign for Moses to convince his people.
[Quran 7:143] When Moses came at our appointed time, and his Lord spoke with him, he said, “My Lord, let me look and see You.” He said, “You cannot see Me. Look at that mountain; if it stays in its place, then you can see Me.” Then, his Lord manifested Himself to the mountain, and this caused it to crumble. Moses fell unconscious. When he came to, he said, “Be You glorified. I repent to You, and I am the most convinced believer.”
[Quran 7:144] He said, “O Moses, I have chosen you, out of all the people, with My messages and by speaking to you. Therefore, take what I have given you and be appreciative.”
[Quran 27:9] “O Moses, this is Me, God, the Almighty, Most Wise.”
[Quran 27:10] “Throw down your staff.” When he saw it moving like a demon, he turned around and fled. “O Moses, do not be afraid. My messengers shall not fear.”
[Quran 2:55] Recall that you said, “O Moses, we will not believe unless we see God, physically.” Consequently, the lightning struck you, as you looked.

​Gabriel Mediates Revelation

In the Quran, Gabriel has been defined as the angel-messenger between the Almighty God and the human being to deliver God’s revelation to His chosen individuals such as Mary, Jesus, Muhammed etc., and he has brought down the Quran to place it into Muhammad’s memory. Thus, God opposes those who disbelieve the Gabriel as their disbelief in the Gabriel means to reject the Quran:
[Quran 2:97] Say, “Anyone who opposes Gabriel should know that he has brought down this (Quran) into your heart, in accordance with God’s will, confirming previous scriptures, and providing guidance and good news for the believers.”
[Quran 2:98] Anyone who opposes God, and His angels, and His messengers, and Gabriel and Michael, should know that God opposes the disbelievers.

Gabriel as the Holy Spirit, the Honest Spirit, the Spirit and our Spirit

Gabriel has been mentioned by name as well as calling him the Holy Spirit, the Honest Spirit, the Spirit and our Spirit in many times in the Quran to be a proof of divine authorship of the Quran. In reference to Gabriel, the Arabic Quran calls him; “Ruhhil-Qudus” (the Holy Spirit), “Roohul-‘Amiin” (the Honest Spirit) and “Al-Rooh” (the Spirit) and “Roohanaa” (our Spirit). To understand the connection between the angel Gabriel and calling him the Holy Spirit, the Honest Spirit, the Spirit and our Spirit in the Quran, we should read and mean the Gabriel in the related verses. Thus, here are the verses from the Quran that are talking about Gabriel:
[Quran 16:102] Say, “The Holy Spirit has brought it (Quran) down from your Lord, truthfully, to assure those who believe, and to provide a beacon and good news for the submitters.”
[Quran 26:192-193] This (Quran) is a revelation from the Lord of the universe. The Honest Spirit (Gabriel) came down with it.
[Quran 2:87] We gave Moses the scripture, and subsequent to him we sent other messengers, and we gave Jesus, son of Mary, profound miracles and supported him with the Holy Spirit. Is it not a fact that every time a messenger went to you with anything you disliked, your ego caused you to be arrogant? Some of them you rejected, and some of them you killed.
[Quran 2:253] These messengers; we blessed some of them more than others. For example, God spoke to one, and we raised some of them to higher ranks. And we gave Jesus, son of Mary, profound miracles and supported him with the Holy Spirit.
[Quran 5:110] God will say, “O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My blessings upon you and your mother. I supported you with the Holy Spirit, to enable you to speak to the people from the crib, as well as an adult. I taught you the scripture, wisdom, the Torah, and the Gospel.
[Quran 19:17-19] While a barrier separated her from them, we sent to her our Spirit. He went to her in the form of a human being. She said, “I seek refuge in the Most Gracious, that you may be righteous.” He said, “I am the messenger of your Lord, to grant you a pure son.”
[Quran 78:38] The day will come when the Spirit and the angels will stand in a row. None will speak except those permitted by the Most Gracious, and they will utter only what is right.
[Quran 97:4] The angels and the Spirit descend therein, by their Lord’s leave, with every command.

It is noted that God chose to mention “the Spirit and the angels” in the last two verses. In the Arabic language it is not unusual to specify part of a whole group to emphasize the significance of that part. Quran has many examples like these, e.g. in 55:68 God talks about fruits, dates and pomegranate to emphasize the last two kinds of fruits while in 2:238 God talks about Salat and the middle Salat to emphasize its significance of the middle Salat.
[Quran 55:68] In them are fruits, date palms, and pomegranate.
[Quran 2:238] You shall consistently observe the Contact Prayers, especially the middle prayer, and devote yourselves totally to God.

It is interesting to know that the Arabic word “Jibreel” has the same gematrical value of the Arabic word “Al-Rooh”, both being 245. The gematrical value of the word, “Jibreel” (JBRYL) is J=3 , B=2, R=200, Y=10 and L=30 [3+2+200+10+30 = 245] while the gematrical of the Arabic word, “Al-Rooh” (ALRWH) is A=1, L=30, R=200, OO (Waw)= 6 , H’=8 [1+30+200+6+8 = 245]. Hence, the following verses of the Quran where “Al-Rooh” is translated to either revelation(s) or inspiration are talking about the Gabriel, and we should read “the Spirit” referring to the Gabriel in place of revelation(s) or inspiration to understand the meaning of the verses:
[Quran 16:2] He sends down the angels with the Spirit (Gabriel) with His commands, to whomever He chooses from among His servants that you shall warn that there is no other god beside Me. Therefore, you shall reverence Me.
[Quran 17:85] And they ask you (Muhammad) about the Spirit (Gabriel). Say, “The Spirit (Gabriel) comes by the command of my Lord, and the knowledge you are given is but very little.”
[Quran 40:15] Possessor of the highest ranks and Owner of the Throne sends the Spirit (Gabriel) with His commands, to whomever He chooses from among His servants, to warn about the Day of Meeting.

We also know that the Arabic words, “Roohee” and “Roohanaa” in several verses in the Quran are translated to My spirit and our spirit respectively that we should mean “the soul”:
[Quran 15:29] “Once I perfect him, and blow into him from My spirit, you shall fall prostrate before him.”
[Quran 21:91] As for the one who maintained her virginity, we blew into her from our spirit, and thus, we made her and her son a portent for the whole world.
[Quran 38:72] “Once I design him, and blow into him from My spirit, you shall fall prostrate before him.”
[Quran 66:12] And Mary, the daughter of Amram, who maintained her chastity, then we blew into her from our spirit. She believed in the words of her Lord and His scriptures; she was obedient.

Conclusion

The Quran teaches us that the revelation of the Quran has occurred in 2 different ways: the whole Quran has been placed into the soul of Muhammad on the day of his journey to the highest Heaven (Quran 17:1, Quran 53:10) and then the Holy Spirit (Gabriel) gradually brought it down to put it in his memory. So it is very clear that there were 2 intermediaries between source (God) and target (people) to reach the Quran to the people. The Holy and Honest Spirit (Gabriel) brought it down piece by piece from God and passed it to the Prophet while the Honest Prophet (Quran 68:4) memorized and read it to the people, which took place over a period of about 23 years, 610 to 632 to complete the delivery of the whole Quran (Quran 17:106). Thus, God has confirmed us the integrity of 2 intermediaries who have carried and delivered the message with the utmost and absolute perfection and purity of the message. In addition, He has provided us with mechanism in the text of the revealed message to detect any distortion and remove it from His message to purify it (Quran 15:9). It is not a sufficient evidence for us to believe that there is no chance of missing or modification of any piece of information from the Quran. So, what else we need to know and realize the awesomeness of the Quran to trust it. Since both the Gabriel and the Prophet are directly connected with the revelation of the Quran, anyone who disbelieves and refuses the Honest Gabriel and Prophet i.e., the Quran has to face consequences. Therefore, we must give our priority to study and understand the Quran to know and uphold God’s laws to lead a righteous life.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (1/30/2015)