A Muslims Second Attempt of Addressing the Issue of the Holy Spirit Being Gabriel
And why he still falls short
Umar has produced another response (*) to our refutation (*) to his attempt of trying to prove that the Holy Spirit is Gabriel.
His comments will be displayed in red. Umar responds with:
In reality, it is Mr. Shamoun who hasnt understood our argument.
First however, he points out that in the Holy Quran, Allah SWT distinguishes the Spirit from the Angels, and that this makes his argument much stronger. This is obviously incorrect, since Muslims have always been calling Angel Gabriel as Ruh Al Quds, meaning the Holy Spirit. This is the title given to him in the Holy Quran.
Sam Shamouns argument is incorrect.
This is again more question begging since he again assumes his position without bothering to prove it from the Quran. We already know that Muslims erroneously assume that the Holy Spirit is Gabriel, but this doesnt tell us anything about the Qurans view on this matter.
As it stands, my argument is quite strong. He goes on to produce some more logical fallacies.
Besides citing the scholars, we provided Quranic Ayats as proof to show that Gabriel is indeed the Holy Spirit, since:
1) Gabriel brought down the Holy Quran. (Sura 2 Ayat 97)
2) The Holy Spirit brought it down. (Sura 16 Ayat 102)
3) Hence, The Holy Spirit is Gabriel.
Later on we will refute Sam Shamouns response to the above conclusion InshaAllah.
It seems that we need to basically repeat ourselves in order to assist Umar to see what his problem is. Umars conclusion would be sound if he could prove that his premises are valid. But, as we stated in the rebuttal to Abualrub, the problem with this view is that Umar is operating under the erroneous assumption that only one entity brought down the revelation, which would make his syllogism valid if true. In fact, he even says as much later in his "rebuttal":
Thus, Gabriel was the ONLY one who brought down the Revelation, and it was through him that Allah SWT conveyed his messages to the Holy Prophet (S)!
Therefore, if Gabriel is the ONLY one who brought down the Revelation, then the only logical explanation is that Gabriel is Ruh Al Quds, since it is made clear in the Holy Quran, that:
1) Ruh Al Quds brought down the Revelation
2) Gabriel Brought down the Revelation
3) Gabriel is the ONLY one who brought down the Revelation
4) The Angel Jibreel (Gabriel) is indeed the Holy Spirit (Ruh Al Quds)
Therefore, Sam Shamouns criticism of my example is incorrect.
He repeats this point again:
As already made clear above, Angel Jibreel was the only one who brought down the Revelation. The only logical explanation is that Ruh Al Quds is indeed Angel Jibreel.
It is obvious that Umar hasnt read the Quran or my rebuttals carefully since if he did he would have avoided making these rather basic mistakes in logic and exegesis. The Quran NOWHERE says that Allah used only one entity to inspire Muhammad with the message, or that Gabriel was the sole agent of revelation. It emphatically states that Allah used more than one messenger to bring down the Quran:
By those who bring down the Reminder, S. 77:5 Pickthall
According to the Quran, the Reminder refers to the revelation given to the prophets and to Muhammad:
And they say: O thou unto whom the Reminder is revealed, lo! thou art indeed a madman! Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder, and lo! We verily are its Guardian. S. 15:6, 9 Pickthall
Seeing how Umar likes the view of Islamic scholars so much here is how one commentary attributed to Ibn Abbas explains Q. 77:5:
(By those who bring down the Reminder) and He swore by THOSE who bring down the revelations, (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn Abbâs; source; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
It is obvious that this implies that Allah used a group of angels to communicate his message, which is exactly how the following Muslim translators and exegetes explained this reference:
And by the angels that bring the revelations to the Messengers, Hilali-Khan
by the casters of the remembrance, that is, [by] angels that descend with the revelation upon the prophets and messengers, casting the revelation onto the [various] communities [of mankind], (Tafsir al-Jalalayn; source; bold and underline emphasis ours)
Another verse records the supposed response given to Muhammad by what is believed to be a group of angels:
(The angels say:) "WE descend not but by command of thy Lord: to Him belongeth what is before US and what is behind US, and what is between: and thy Lord never doth forget, -" S. 19:64 Y. Ali
And we (angels) descend not except by the Command of your Lord (O Muhammad SAW). To Him belongs what is before US and what is behind US, and what is between those two, and your Lord is never forgetful, Hilali-Khan
Thus, the foregoing plainly demonstrates that the author of the Quran believed that Allah used more than one agent to communicate the revelation to Muhammad. The Quran never says that Allah used only the Holy Spirit or Gabriel to bring down the message. In light of this, we issue the following challenge to Umar:
Since the Quran expressly states that there were several entities that Allah used to inspire Muhammad, specifically the Holy Spirit, Gabriel and some other unnamed Angels, please prove to us that the Holy Spirit is Gabriel as opposed to one of these other Angels. In fact, prove to us that the Holy Spirit is not the angel Michael whom the Quran also mentions in Q. 2:98.
More importantly, even if the Quran did say that Gabriel was the only agent that Allah used this still wouldnt prove Umars point. This would only prove that the Quran contradicts itself since it claims that Allah also used the Holy Spirit to inspire Muhammad. Umar cant simply assume that the Holy Spirit and Gabriel are identical on the grounds that both were sent down to reveal the Quran to Muhammad, and then further assume that the Quran claims that only Gabriel was sent to reveal the message thereby showing that they must be one and the same person. He must prove all these assertions, not merely assume they are correct, which he has failed to do thus far.
Umar quotes another scholar, namely Syed Sulaiman Nadvi, to prove his position but failed to see how this gentleman actually refutes him by proving our point:
"The biographies of all the Prophets (peace and blessings of Allah be upon them) bear ample testimony to the appearance of angels who gave glad tidings of success and victory. The Torah, the Bible, the Holy Quran and all other Divine Scriptures are full of the excellent achievement of angels. They prostrated before Adam (peace be upon him). They reached the guest house of Ibrahim (peace be upon him). They were assigned the duty of protection of Lut (peace be upon him) and destruction of his people. Hajirah (peace be upon her) saw the angel in the desolate desert. It were they who conveyed glad tidings to Zakariya and Maryam (peace be upon them). They performed various duties for the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). THEY SERVED AS THE MESSENGER OF ALLAHS COMMANDS TO HIM. They were ordained to protect the sacred person of Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and support the weak and poor Muslims. Gabriel, the archangel served as a messenger between Allah and his Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). It was through him that Allah conveyed his messages and commands to His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)."
(Source: Sirat Un Nabi by Syed Sulaiman Nadvi rendered into English by Mohd. Saeed Siddiqui, Vol. IV p.48, Kitab Bhavan New Delhi)
This writer doesnt say that Allah only used Gabriel to convey the message to Muhammad, but emphatically states that Allah used various angels to assist and communicate to Muhammad! Only Umar can believe that this scholars comments somehow help his case.
Umar exposes more of his confusion and inability to reason logically since he thinks he has exposed my hypocrisy:
We will title this part of the response:
The Missionaries Hypocrisy!
If we recall correctly, in one of Sam Shamouns rebuttals to me regarding Mariyah the Copt, he writes:
"More importantly, weren't all the other Muslim writers and scholars aware that Muhammad had situated Mariyah in the outskirts of the city? Of course. And yet they still didn't see this as a problem for their position that Mariyah was nothing more than Muhammad's slave? Obviously not."
Now, I can ask the question saying:
More importantly Mr. Shamoun didnt all the Muslim commentators and scholars know that knowledge of the Holy Spirit given to men is little, yet they still said that the Holy Spirit is Angel Gabriel!
It seems Mr. Shamoun, who hasnt understood the Quranic Ayats properly, has now more knowledge then the scholars of Islam!
It is only Umar who can see any connection between what I wrote in response to his article regarding Muhammads female slave, Mariyah, and my rebuttal to his article regarding Gabriel being the Holy Spirit. One deals with what the Quran expressly teaches whereas the other issue deals with what Islamic sources claim. The Quran doesnt mention the status of Mariyah whereas it does mention the Holy Spirit and clearly says that his exact identity is unknown since only a little knowledge has been given. Thus, whereas the Muslim scholars were correct to see no relevance between Mariyah being situated in the outskirts of Medina and her status as Muhammads slave, they were grossly mistaken to assume that the Holy Spirit is Gabriel. Umar is comparing apples and oranges and is merely demonstrating his ability to commit logical fallacies, this time the fallacy of false analogy.
After I mentioned specific texts that speak of the Quran confirming the Holy Bible, and therefore confirming the Biblical teaching that the Holy Spirit is not Gabriel, Umar quotes one Muslim who concludes:
"How can the Holy Quran stand witness to the truthfulness of these books, the followers of which themselves do not call them original and free from interpolation? And how, in spite of the interpolation and additions to such an extent some moral values are still found in these books, the Holy Quran affirms these values but not the books in their totality. The fact is that the meanings of Mussadaq (the affirmer) here are not the one that testifies the truthfulness," its meanings are the one that proves the truth contained in them"
(Source: Why Is Islam the Only True Deen? By Allama Chaudhri Ghulam Ahmed Parwez rendered into English by Dr. Manzoor Ul-Haque, p. 43-44)
To expose just how desperate this argument is note how the word musaddaq is used in the following reference:
Then the angels called him, while he was standing in prayer in Al-Mihrab (a praying place or a private room), (saying): "Allah gives you glad tidings of Yahya (John), confirming (musaddiqan) (believing in) the Word from Allah [i.e. the creation of 'Iesa (Jesus), the Word from Allah ("Be!" - and he was!)], noble, keeping away from sexual relations with women, a Prophet, from among the righteous." S. 3:39 Hilali-Khan
If the reasoning of this author were valid then this means that John didnt confirm Jesus mission in its totality or testify to his complete truthfulness, but merely proved only those parts of his ministry which happened to be true!
Moreover, the Quran uses variations of this word to convey the same idea of belief and confirmation:
And Mary, Imran's daughter, who guarded her virginity, so We breathed into her of Our Spirit, and she confirmed (saddaqat) the Words of her Lord and His Books, and became one of the obedient. S. 66:12
Again, if this Muslim authors logic were correct then Mary only believed a part of Allahs words!
thou hast confirmed (saddaqta) the vision; even so We recompense the good-doers. S. 37:105 Arberry
Abrahams willingness to sacrifice his son is his way of proving his absolute faith that the vision he received was from God. In other words, his actions demonstrated that he truly believed that God had spoken to him in a dream. This is the point that the author of the Quran was making, namely that he had complete trust in the Holy Bible since he believed it to be Gods Word, and not just some parts of it but all of it.
And say: "What! shall we give up our gods for the sake of a Poet possessed?" Nay! he has come with the (very) Truth, and he confirms (saddaqa) (the Message of) the apostles (before him). S. 37:36-37 Y. Ali
It would be purely nonsense to say that this reference means that Muhammad merely confirmed only parts of the message of the prophets, but not all of it since not all that they said was true.
And he who has come with the very truth and confirms (saddaqa) it, those they are the godfearing. S. 39:33 Arberry
No Muslim would say that this means that they are called to believe or confirm only a portion of the truth brought by Muhammad, or that their belief in it somehow proves that it is true.
who confirm (yusaddiqoona) the Day of Doom S. 70:26 Arberry
This obviously cannot mean that Muslims are to believe only certain aspects of the Qurans teachings regarding the Day of Judgment, but that they are to have full faith in all that it says regarding this subject.
The word is also used for the person who fails to confirm Allahs message:
For he confirmed (saddaqa) it not, and did not pray, S. 75:31 Arberry
What the foregoing usages of the word show is that just as John had absolute belief in Jesus person and mission, just as Mary believed all of Gods words, just as Abraham confirmed the vision he received, just as Muhammad believed in all of Gods prophets, and just as Muslims are called to fully affirm their faith in the last day, the Quran likewise confirms the absolute veracity and textual integrity of the Holy Bible. Hence, the word saddaq does not mean what Umar and his source wishes it to mean.
For more on what the Quran truly says about the Holy Bible we recommend the materials that are found here: http://answering-islam.org/Quran/Bible/index.html
Umar tries to deny that the Spirit that is mentioned in Q. 15:29 is the Holy Spirit, and cites Muhammad Asad to prove that this is merely a metaphor. We have refuted Asads erroneous exegesis (more like eisegesis) of the text here so that there is no need to waste time on his arguments. Here is Umars response to my appeal to Q. 19:16-21 and 66:12:
Sam Shamoun when citing this verse says "The Spirit gives and creates life". Yet, he forgets that it was Allah SWT who actually gives the life:
She said, 'Lord! how can I have a son, when man has not yet touched me?' He said, 'Thus God creates what He pleaseth. When He decrees a matter He only says BE and it is; (Sura 3 Ayat 47)
Therefore, it is Allah SWT who gives and creates life, not the Spirit. The Holy Spirit only acts upon the orders of Allah SWT.
Again, this verse is not saying that the Holy Spirit gives life, infact it is very clear above in the bold, that it is Allah SWT who gives life, as it is made clear in this Quranic Ayat:
(Oh Muhammad, SAW), say, "Oh mankind! I am certainly the messenger of Allah towards you all _ (the entire world). To Him belongs the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. There is no god but He. It is He Who gives life. And He gives death! So believe in Allah and His messenger, the prophet who can neither read nor write, and who believes in Allah and His words (the commandments). Follow him, so that you may receive guidance." (Sura 7 Ayat 158)
It is truly amazing that Umar imagines that he has refuted my argument when all he has done is proven that the Quran contradicts itself. Note carefully what Q. 19:19 says:
He said: I am only a messenger of thy Lord, that I MAY BESTOW ON THEE a faultless son. Pickthall
He said: I am only an apostle of your Lord: That I WILL GIVE YOU a pure boy. Shakir
The Spirit allegedly tells Mary that he himself will give her a son. Q. 66:12 then says that Allah breathed the Spirit into Mary:
And Mary the daughter of 'Imran, who guarded her chastity; and We breathed into (her body) of Our spirit; and she testified to the truth of the words of her Lord and of His Revelations, and was one of the devout (servants). Y. Ali
Now the question that Umar needs to answer is why did Allah breathe his Spirit into her? Well the answer is obvious when we interpret this text in light of Q. 19:19, namely that the Spirit granted Mary a baby by Allah breathing him into her body in order to cause her to conceive.
In fact, that is precisely how the commentators whom Umar loves to quote ad infinitum understood these two texts. They believe(d) that the Spirit, who they erroneously assert(ed) was Gabriel, was sent to breathe into Mary in order to cause her to get pregnant. In other words, they clearly saw that Allah sent the Spirit to create Jesus in Marys womb:
(And Mary, daughter of Imran, whose body was chaste, therefor We breathed therein something of Our Spirit) and so Gabriel BREATHED INSIDE HER GARMENT and she became pregnant with Jesus. (And she put faith in the words of her Lord) she believed in what Gabriel told her that he was the Messenger of Allah entrusted with giving her a holy son (and His Scriptures) and she also believed in His Scriptures: the Torah, the Gospel and all other Scriptures; it is also said this means: she believed in the words of her Lord that Jesus the son of Mary will come into being by Allah saying "Be!" and he became a human being, and she also believed in His Scripture: the Gospel, (and was of the obedient) in times of hardship and comfort; and it is also said that this means: and she was obedient to He Who is far transcendent and majestic'. (Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn 'Abbâs; source; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)
Thus, all that Umars quotes prove is that the author of the Quran was confused since he claimed in several texts that Allah gives life and that he caused Jesus birth, but in a few other passages he says that it was actually Allahs Spirit who gave Mary a baby!
The only way Umar can avoid admitting that there is a contradiction is to admit that this Spirit is God since he does what God alone can do, create and give life. But to admit this is to admit that, a) Allah is multipersonal, and b) that the Spirit cannot be Gabriel since that would mean that Gabriel is God!
For more on the Qurans gross errors on this issue we recommend the following:
Umar simply brushes aside my appeal to Q. 58:22 with:
This verse shows that the Spirit has Gods attributes, only when you look at it through a Missionarys eyes! The reason why is because Allah SWT is making clear that HE has written faith in their hearts, and HE has strengthened them with a Spirit.
These verses in no way show that the spirit is Allah SWT, as the missionary claims!
It is rather unfortunate that we need to constantly spell things out for Umar. The only way that Allahs Spirit can be with all believers at the same time in order to strengthen them is if the Spirit is omnipresent and omnipotent, characteristics which God alone has. Since Umar loves Yusuf Ali note what he wrote at this point:
"Cf. ii 87 and 253, where it is said that God strengthened the Prophet Jesus with the holy spirit. Here we learn that all good and righteous men are strengthened by God with the holy spirit. If anything, the phrase used here is stronger, a spirit from Himself. Whenever any one offers his heart in faith and purity to God, God accepts it, engraves that faith on the seeker's heart, and further fortifies him with the Divine Spirit, which we can no more define adequately than we can define in human language the nature of God." (Ali, The Meaning of the Holy Quran, p. 1518, f. 5365; bold emphasis ours)
Ali didnt fail to see that the Spirit must be divine in order for him to be able to do what this text says he does.
Umar contradicts himself since he challenges me to prove from the Holy Bible that the Holy Spirit is not Gabriel:
In conclusion, we must say that Mr. Shamouns "response" is a failed attempt to show that the Holy Spirit ISNT Gabriel in Islam. With this, we would like to play the Missionary Game and challenge Mr. Shamoun:
Show us where in the Bible where the Holy Spirit is NOT called Gabriel.
But earlier he claimed that:
What we can conclude is that the Holy Quran is correcting the Bible, clearly showing through the Ayats that the Holy Spirit is the Angel Gabriel.
If the Quran is correcting the Biblical teaching that the Holy Spirit is not Gabriel, as Umar claims, then there is no need for me to meet his challenge. Umar has already answered the challenge for me by admitting that the Holy Bible does distinguish the Holy Spirit from Gabriel! Despite the fact that he has basically refuted himself and answered his own challenge, let me post the Biblical text once again that clearly shows that the Holy Spirit IS NOT Gabriel:
"In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. How will this be, Mary asked the angel, since I am a virgin? The angel answered, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God." Luke 1:26-35
Gabriel stated to Mary that she would conceive Christ by the Holy Spirit, not that he would cause her to get pregnant since he is the Holy Spirit. But this is precisely what we would expect him to say if he were indeed the Holy Spirit.
Here is another example:
"Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteousto make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Zechariah asked the angel, How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years. The angel answered, I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time." Luke 1:11-20
Gabriel tells Zechariah that his son John would be filled with the Holy Spirit, which again shows that they are not one and the same person. In fact, if Gabriel were the Holy Spirit then he should have said that he would fill John with himself or his presence while the latter was still in his mothers womb!
Moreover, the Holy Bible ascribes the following qualities and characteristics to the Holy Spirit which cannot be attributed to an angelic creature:
In light of the foregoing it is inarguable that the Holy Bible does indeed make a clear distinction and differentiation between Gods Holy Spirit and the angel Gabriel.
Rebuttals to Answering-Christianity
Articles by Sam Shamoun
Answering Islam Home Page