I have been thinking about the claims I see many Muslims making about the Holy Spirit or Advocate of God, identifying him with either Mohammed or the angel Gabriel.
I believe the Bible verse that Muslims most frequently quote in reference to Mohammed is John 14:15-17, where it says “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you.”
Other verses that reference the Advocate / Spirit are John 15:26-27 and John 16:7-8, but the most pertinent verse I would think is in John 14:26 where it says, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you.”
It seems fairly clear to me we’re talking of an incorporeal being, not a human, so I’m struggling to see how Mohammed comes into it. If there was any doubt we’re talking about an incorporeal being, I would have thought John 20:22 clears that up where it is written, “When he had said this, he [Jesus] breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Note these verses are all from the same book, written by the same author.
As for the angel Gabriel, the only passage I’m aware of in the Bible that mentions the Holy Spirit and Gabriel together is Luke 1:26-27, 35 where it is written, “In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary … The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.” It sounds pretty clear to me that Gabriel is talking of someone other than himself. So I’m struggling to see how they could ever be seen as the same person.
If there’s any other verses that are relevant I’d like to know, but everything I’m seen suggests to me that the identification of the Holy Spirit / Advocate with Mohammed or Gabriel is considerably forced. At least as far as the Bible is concerned. I recognise that many will be committed to such identifications regardless, but my concern here is on an honest reading of the Bible, not the Quran. I’m not seeing how Mohammed or Gabriel could be read out of these texts without prior suppositions.