The Title Ruh.(spirit)
In the same verse where Jesus is given the title of Kalimah, he has
also been called Ruh (spirit).
"O People of the Book! Do not commit excesses in your religion,
nor say of Allah, but the truth. Masih, I`sa (Jesus) alayhis salam, Son
of Maryam (Mary) is no more than a Messenger of Allah and His Word and
a Ruh ( Spirit) proceeding from Him." Quran 4/171.
In the last verse of the chapter named Tahrim (Prohibition), the
same title also occurs.
"And Maryam (Mary), the daughter of Imran, who guarded her chastity,
We breathed into her from Our Spirit and she testified to the truth of
the words of her Lord and His books and was one of the devout servants."
A verse similar to the one above, is noted in the chapter entitled Al-Anbiyah
(The Prophets) as follows :
"And remember her who guarded her chastity, so we breathed into
her from Our Spirit and we made her and her son a sign for all people."
The word Ruh literally means soul, spirit (in all senses), breath
of life, revelation, mercy and a blow.
As the word Ruh has many meanings, the exegetes have differed
as to its meaning as a title of Jesus. Imam Qurtubi (d.671/1227)has given
the following meanings :
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Ruh is related to Rahmah , which means mercy, because Jesus
was a mercy for the people, this is the reason for this title.
Ruh is related to Nafakhah , which means breath as mentioned
in the two verses of the chapters Tahrim and Al-Anbiya (cited
above). In this case the translation would be, "We breathed into her
with Our Breath."
Ruh is related to Al-Wahy , which means revelation. In this
case it would pertain to the revelation sent to Maryam (Mary) in the form
of glad tidings of the birth of Jesus.
Ruh refers to Quranic verse , which means a sign. This would
emphasise the point that Jesus was a sign from God - as Jesus performed
many miracles. The twenty first verse of the chapter named after Maryam
(Mary), also refers to Jesus as a sign to mankind. The verse is as follows
: "He said, "So it will be," your Lord said, "It is easy for Me and
We will appoint him as a sign unto men and a mercy from Us, it is a matter
Ruh is used for the meaning of soul and spirit. Different reasons
have been given as to why this particular definition has been given to
Jesusí title. Al-Imam Alusi(d.127/705) has supplied the reason to be because
Jesus was able to bring the dead back to life. This is similar to the soul
which is a life giving source. Imam Qurtubi has stated in his tafsir that
the reason for this title is that when God created all the souls, He then
placed them in their relevant bodies, except for the soul of Jesus, which
was held back by God until the time of his birth came close and thus Jesusí
soul was breathed directly into Maryam and Jesus was created.
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