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Qur'an 17:85: Is Amr proclaiming Jesus Christ?

There are some mysterious verses in the Qur’an about deeper spiritual life that cannot be explained in a simple way. One of them is the following one:

“They ask thee concerning the Spirit (of inspiration). Say: ‘The Spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord: of knowledge it is only a little that is communicated to you, (O men!)’” (Qur’an 17:85 – Yusuf Ali)

“They are asking thee concerning the Spirit. Say: The Spirit is by command of my Lord, and of knowledge ye have been vouchsafed but little.” (Qur’an 17:85 – Pickthall).

“And they ask you, [O Muḥammad], about the soul. Say, "The soul is of the affair [i.e., concern] of my Lord. And you [i.e., mankind] have not been given of knowledge except a little.” (Qur’an 17:85 – Saheeh International).

This verse needs evaluation with a lens, from a Biblical perspective, because the Qur’an says that it confirms the earlier Scriptures of God.

Muslim commentary

According to traditional Islam the Arabic word Rooh means "soul" or "human spirit" that is breathed into the body and brings life to it. Ibn Arabi commented on Qur'an 17:85: “The soul is a creation among Allaah's creations; Allaah put it in the human body and gave it life by it, and gave it knowledge and power; and He based on it the noble qualities and honorable traits, and He made their opposites in contrast to them belonging to the shortcomings of human nature. Were the person to try denying the existence of the soul, he would not be able to do so given its evident effects. Were he to try to know about it while it inhabits his own body, he would be unable to attain that knowledge given his inability to grasp its true essence and that he was not given knowledge of it.”

Bridge to Christian faith

It is possible to look at Qur’an 17:85 with a look from the Gospel, because the Qur’an states that it is in line with the Previous Sciptures. “Say: ‘The Spirit (cometh) by command of my Lord” means that the knowledge which has been put within man is very limited. What is meant by spirit? It is Ruh, the Holy Spirit. In the Qur’an is Jesus called "Ruh Allah" or the "Spirit of God" (Qur’an 4:171). Therefore Amr in the Qur’an is comparable with the Christian concept of the Word of God (Greek: Logos) [1][2][3]. The Word of God is connected with Jesus, (Qur’an 3:45). So when the Qur’an mentions Amr, it mentions Jesus, the Word of God.

How is Amr in Qur’an 17:85 proclaiming Jesus Christ? As a Muslim, you believe that there is one God: God Almighty. According to the Qur’an, He has His own powers which He can embody into someone and can get His own manifestation expressed: Amr. As you are seeking the Most High, also the Most High is seeking you. Your seeking will be awarded if you understand the simple thing about God. That God has given you a free will and a mind with intelligence. He is the one that has given you wisdom to make your own decisions.

Now, when you surrender with fear, it goes like this: if somebody comes with a sword and says: “you must surrender”, you may. But when that person with a sword will disappear, surrender will have no meaning. That surrender is a surrender which is just forced onto you. All such surrenders have been creating problems because it has a reaction. But your surrender to Jesus Christ is extremely joy-giving, because he is the way and the truth and the life. Without Jesus Christ, a human being cannot be saved. But Muslims have no idea how this will be realised. The good news is that God has acted through the person of Jesus, to liberate human lives from the power of sin and unite them to God [4].

The possibility exists to become a Child of God. Anything you find very difficult is not, because Jesus Christ will do it for you:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

“My yoke is easy”: Nothing is difficult; nothing is so bad that Jesus Christ cannot manage it.


Amr in Qur'an 17:85 is a reference can be seen as an eye opener to the glorious Jesus Christ who forgives your sins and offers a new start a new life by following Jesus Christ.


  1. J.M.S. Baljon, The Amr of God in the Koran, Acta Orientalia, vol. 23, Copenhagen, 1959, 5-18.
  2. K. Craigg, The Mind of the Qur’an, London, 1974, 44.
  3. Geoffrey Parrinder, Jesus in the Qur’an, Oxford, 1996, 51.
  4. Keith Ward, Christianity: A Short Introduction, Oxford, 2000, 56.


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