There are 21 instances of “Rooh” (رُوح) in the noun form in the Quran, which literally mean spirit can be translated to the Spirit, spirit, revelation or inspiration etc. based on the contexts to reflect the message in the relevant contexts. These instances are carefully studied to refer appropriately to reflect the appropriate message in the specific context.
Review of relevant verses
Below are the translations of the relevant verses where these instances found may serve as a guide for us reflecting appropriate meaning depending on the context as we know that an Arabic word may have a variety of meanings in its context in the Quran:
[2:87] And indeed, we gave Moses the scripture, and after him we came up with the messengers. And we gave Jesus, son of Mary the clear proofs, and we supported him with the Holy Spirit (bi-roohi al-qudusi). Is it that every time a messenger came to you with what yourselves do not desire, you became arrogant? A party of you denied and a party of you killed!
[2:253] These are the messengers, we have preferred some of them over others; of them to whom God spoke, and He raised some of them in rank, and we gave Jesus, son of Mary the clear proofs and we supported him with the Holy Spirit (bi-roohi al-qudusi). And had God willed, the people after them would not have fought after the clear proofs had come to them, but they disputed, some of them believed and some of them disbelieved. Had God willed they would not have fought, but God does whatever He intends.
[4:171] O people of the scripture, do not exceed the limits in your religion, and do not say about God except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was a messenger of God, and His word that He had sent to Mary, and an inspiration (wa-roohun) from Him. So, you shall believe in God and His messengers. You shall not say, “Trinity.” You shall refrain, which is better for you. God is only one god. Glory be to Him that He should have a son for Him! To Him belongs what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. And God is the best Disposer of affairs.
Note: Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus was inspired by God to have a son and He designated her son, Jesus to be the Messiah.
[5:110] When God said: “O Jesus, son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and your mother that I supported you with the Holy Spirit (bi-roohi al-qudusi); you spoke to the people in the cradle and maturity; and when I taught you the scripture and the wisdom, and the Torah, and the Gospel; and when you make the shape of a bird from clay, then you blow into it, so it becomes a bird by My leave; and you heal the blind and the leaper by My leave; and you bring out the dead by My leave. And I restrained the Children of Israel from you when you came to them with the clear proofs, then those who disbelieved among them said: ‘This is not but a clear magic!’”
Note: Jesus was given many signs (miracles) but what is very important to reflect is God supported Jesus and his mother with the Holy Spirit to make him a portent in the earth.
[15:29] “So when I have designed him (Adam) and have breathed into him from My spirit (roohee), then you shall fall prostrate to him.”
[16:2] He sends down the angels with the Spirit (al-malaa-i-kata bil-roohi) of 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.
[16:102] Say: “The Holy Spirit (roohu al-qudusi) has brought it (Quran) down from your Lord with truth to strengthen those who believe, and as a guidance and good news for the submitters.”
[17:85] And they ask you (Muhammad) about the Spirit (al-roohi). Say, “The Spirit (al-roohu) comes by the command of my Lord, and the knowledge you are given is but very little.”
Note: The angels and the Gabriel were integral part of the process of revealing the Quran required for passing it piece by piece to the prophet so as to read it to the people.
[19:17] When she (Mary) took a separation from them, then we sent our Spirit (roohanaa) to her, so he (the Gabriel) appeared to her just like a human being.
Note: The Spirit designated as our Spirit sent to Mary appeared in the form of a human being refers to the Gabriel.
[21:91] And she (Mary) is the one who guarded her chastity, so we breathed into her from our inspiration (roohinaa), and we made her and her son a sign for the world.
[26:193] The Honest Spirit (al-roohu al-ameenu) came down with it (Quran).
[26:194] Upon your (Muhammad) heart that you may be one of the warners.
Note: The Gabriel gradually released the Quran from the prophet’s soul to his memory over the period of time.
[32:9] Then He shaped him (Adam) and blew into him from His spirit (roohihi). And He gave you the hearing, the vision, and the understanding; rarely are you thankful.
Note: God has created all of us from Adam and has given us what we need to be thankful to Him.
[38:72] “So when I have designed him (Adam) and have breathed into him from My spirit (roohee), then you shall fall prostrate to him.”
[40:15] Possessor of the highest ranks, Owner of the Throne. He sends the Spirit (al-rooha) with His command to whomever He wills from among His servants that he may warn of the Day of Meeting.
[42:52] And thus, we inspired (awhaynaa) to you (Muhammad) an inspiration (roohan) by our command. You did not know what the scripture was, nor was the faith. But we made it a light, we guide with it whomever we will from among our servants. And indeed, you undoubtedly guide to a straight path.
[58:22] You will not find a people who believe in God and the Last Day befriending those who oppose God and His messenger, even if they were their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their relatives. Those – He has built the faith into their hearts and has supported them with inspiration (bi-roohin) from Him. And He will admit them to gardens, the rivers flow underneath them wherein they will abide forever. God is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. Those are the party of God. Undoubtedly, the party of God are the successful ones.
[66:12] And Mary, the daughter of Imran, who has guarded her chastity, so we breathed into her from our inspiration (roohinaa). She believed in her Lord words and His scriptures, and she was one of the obedient.
[70:4] The angels and the Spirit (al-malaa-i-katu wal-roohu) ascent to Him in a day that measures to fifty thousand years.
[78:38] The day, the Spirit and the angels (al-roohu wal-malaa-i-katu) will stand in a row, they shall not speak except him whom the Most Gracious has permitted, and he will say what is right.
[97:4] The angels and the Spirit (al-malaa-i-katu wal-roohu) descend therein, by their Lord’s leave with every command.
There are 21 instances of “Rooh” in 20 verses across 18 suras in the Quran. If the relevant sura and verse numbers are added, the sum is a multiple of 19 => 2014 = 19x106 (as shown in the table below):
Note: This mathematical confirmation provides as a significant importance for us to explore the instances of “Rooh” to reflect to their appropriate meanings in different contexts to avoid any misinterpretation.
The Gabriel in the Quran
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, Muhammad etc.. He has brought down the Quran to place it into Muhammad’s memory while he has been mentioned three times by name in the following verses of the Quran:
[2:97] Say, “Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel (li-jib’reela), then you know that he has brought it (Quran) down into your heart, in accordance with God’s will, confirming what was before it, and a guidance and good news for the believers.”
Note: Since the Quran is divine, the Gabriel was an integral part of the process of revealing the Quran required for passing it piece by piece to the prophet so as to read it to the people over the period of time.
[2:98] Whoever is an enemy to God, and His angels, and His messengers, and Gabriel (wa- jib’reela) and Michael (wa-meekaala), then indeed, God is an enemy to the disbelievers.
Note: This statement is a part of our core belief including angels but emphasizing Gabriel and Michael.
[66:4] If the two of you (two wives of the prophet) repent to God, then your hearts have listened. But if you (both) band together against him, then God is his Protector, and Gabriel (wa-jib’reelu) and the righteous believers and the angels are also his helpers.
Gabriel has not only been mentioned three times by name in the Quran, he has also been called “Roohul-Qudus” (the Holy Spirit) four times (2:87, 2:253, 5:110 and 16:102), “Roohul-‘Ameen” (the Honest Spirit) once (26:193), “Al-Rooh” (the Spirit) seven times (16:2, 17:85, 40:15, 70:4, 78:38 and 97:4), and “Roohanaa” (our Spirit) once (19:17) in the Quran.
In addition, the Arabic words, “Roohee” (My spirit) twice in (15:29 and 38:72), and “Roohihi” (His spirit) once in (32:9) mean “the soul” while “Roohun” in (4:171), “Roohan” in (42:52) and “Roohin” in (52:22) three times mean inspiration, and “Roohinaa in 21:91 and 66:12 twice mean our inspiration to reflect appropriate messages in the relevant verses.
There is also two-fold mathematical confirmation of 13 instances of “Rooh” referring to Gabriel and 3 references of Gabriel mention by name in the Quran:
- There are 13 instances of “Rooh” referring to Gabriel in 13 verses including an extended verse (26:194) to place Quran upon prophet’s heart by the Honest Spirit along with 3 references of Gabriel mention by name in 3 verses. If the sura and verse numbers of 16 verses across 11 suras are added, the total is a multiple of 19 => 1824 = 19x96 (as shown in the table below):
The Arabic word “Jib’reel” has the same gematrical value of the Arabic word “Al-Rooh”, both being 245. The gematrical value of the word, “Jib’reel” (JBRYL) is Jeem = 3 , Ba = 2, Reh = 200, Ya = 10 and Lam = 30 [3 + 2 + 200 + 10 + 30 = 245] while the gematrical of the Arabic word, “Al-Rooh” (ALRWH) is Alef = 1, Lam = 30, Reh = 200, Waw = 6 and Ha = 8 [1 + 30 + 200 + 6 + 8 = 245]. Hence, the 7 instances of “Al-Rooh” that are talking about “the Spirit” including 3 instances of the Holy Spirit and 1 instance of the Honest Spirit are referring to the Gabriel while the connection between the Gabriel and the Spirit is direct, and any of these instances to mean inspiration (revelation) or soul would be a misinterpretation.
Note: This mathematical confirmation is not only an explicit proof of 13 instances of “Rooh” referring to Gabriel but also excludes 8 instances of “Rooh” to appropriately mean the soul and inspiration. It is also noteworthy that both instances, “al-Roohi” and “al-Roohu” in 17:85 referring to the Gabriel participate in the mathematical confirmation.
There are 21 instances of “Rooh” in the Quran having literary meaning “Spirit” refer to either Gabriel, inspiration or soul in the contexts to understand the appropriate messages coded in the verses. The mathematical confirmation of these 21 instances found in 20 verses across 18 suras instigates us to explore the instances of “Rooh” to reflect to their appropriate meanings in different contexts to avoid any misinterpretation.
13 instances of “Rooh” directly refer to the Gabriel supported by the mathematical confirmations as well. We may reflect to the fact that the designation of the Gabriel who supported Mary and Jesus, and brought down the Quran piece by piece being the Holy and Honest Spirit including our Spirit is a clear indication that the Quran is divine. The Gabriel delivered the pure Quran as our guidance, the clear proofs of the guidance and the statute book that we must always uphold at any cost to find our right ways to complete our one-way journey to meet our Lord for those who really expect it.
5 instances of “Rooh” refer to the inspiration, which is a transformation in the God chosen (42:51). Virgin Mary was inspired by God to have a son was Jesus, and his creation was as same as the creation of Adam (3:59) is an assurance from Him not to say “Trinity”. Muhammad was inspired to have a scripture, was made it a light to guide whomever God wills. The believers of God and His messenger are inspired to build strong faith in their hearts not to befriend those who oppose God and His messenger to admit them to gardens to abide therein forever while God is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him.
3 instances of “Rooh” refer to the soul, which is a driving force to keep us alive. God shaped Adam and blew into him from His Spirit to give him life and ordered the angels to fall prostrate to him, which was a test for them to prove their trustworthiness. He has created all of us from Adam and has given us what we need to be thankful to Him, i.e., the hearing, the vision and the understanding.
If we carefully review these 21 instances of “Rooh” in the Quran in different contexts being sincere reflecting to their appropriate meanings, we may have the opportunity to better understand the message coded in the relevant verses avoiding any misinterpretation for leading a righteous life.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless. Tafazzal (7/6/2018).