03 Nov Sūratu’l-Baqarah [The Cow] : (2:87)
وَآتَيْنَا عِيسَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ الْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَيَّدْنَاهُ بِرُوحِ الْقُدُسِ
And We granted Jesus son of Mary the clear proofs of the truth (and of His Messengership), and confirmed him with the Spirit of Holiness. (Al-Baqarah 2:87)
A great number of verifying scholars opine that the Spirit of Holiness is the Archangel Gabriel. This is so in many of the Qur’anic commentaries, too.
On the other hand, Hassan ibn Thābit, a Companion of the Prophet Muhammad, said in the presence of the Prophet:
“Gabriel, the emissary of God, is with us. There is no one equal to the Spirit of Holiness.”[Muslim, Fadā’ilu’s-Sahāba, 157.]
And Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, appreciated it.
Therefore, according to the logic of this hadīth, Gabriel is not the Spirit of Holiness. The Spirit cannot be Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, either because it is said in the verse,
“…and confirmed him (Jesus) with the Spirit of Holiness.”
It is obvious in the verse that the one who is confirmed cannot be the same as the one who is employed to confirm.
▪In my opinion, the Spirit of Holiness is a spiritual power from the heavenly realm that is poised to support anyone whom God wills to be supported by His order and leave. Thus, when the time came to support Jesus, it took on the “color” the Gospel; when the time came to support Prophet Muhammad, this Spirit was manifested in the Qur’ān.
First of all, Prophet Jesus was sent to his people with self-evident miracles that serve to elevate the people to crystal clear proofs, faith, and persuasion.
In addition to becoming self-evident, they are also very clear evidences in regard to proving certain other truths. Those miracles are mentioned in the Qur’ān as follows:
*Prophet Jesus, peace be upon him, fashioned out of clay something in the shape of a bird, then he breathed into it, and it became a bird by God’s leave.
*He healed the blind from birth and the leper, and he revived the dead, by God’s leave.
*He informed of what things people ate, and what they stored up in their houses.(3:49)
▪Apart from these, Jesus’ confirmation by the Spirit of Holiness indicates the existence of a particularity in his mission.
That is, Prophet Jesus is confirmed with the Spirit of Holiness as his mission is distinguished by spirituality. Or else, the Spirit is not a part of Jesus’ personality as some Christians assert. It marks a special favor of God and a particular manifestation for Jesus. This favor or manifestation may well be represented by Gabriel or another angel.
The Spirit of Holiness was constantly with Jesus in different forms of manifestation or representation.
He was with him from the moment Mary conceived him until her delivery of the child. Since Almighty God willed to send Jesus as a Prophet to people who were addicted to a materialist world-view, He embraced him with and brought him up in a pure spiritual or metaphysical atmosphere and confirmed him with pure spirituality which would dispel the materialism of people.
In addition, the confirmation of Jesus with the Spirit of Holiness marks his and his mother’s sanctification against the slanders of people. This also denotes the Qur’ān’s verdict of Jesus’ acquittal against the slanderers. Certainly, God knows the best.