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Note 181 (Quran Ref: 4:171 )

Lit., "His word which He conveyed unto Mary and a soul from Him". According to Tabari, the "word" (kalimah) was "the announcement (risalah) which God bade the angels to convey to Mary, and God's glad tiding to her" (a reference to 3:45) - which justifies the rendering of kalimatuhu as "[the fulfilment of] His promise". (See also surah 3 note 28.) As regards the expression, "a soul from Him" or "created by Him", it is to be noted that among the various meanings which the word ruh bears in the Qur’an (e.g., "inspiration" in 2:87 and 253), it is also used in its primary significance of "breath of life", "soul", or "spirit": thus, for instance, in 32:9, where the ever-recurring evolution of the human embryo is spoken of: "and then He forms him [i.e., man] and breathes into him of His spirit" - that is, endows him with a conscious soul which represents God's supreme gift to man and is, therefore, described as "a breath of His spirit". In the verse under discussion, which stresses the purely human nature of Jesus and refutes the belief in his divinity, the Qur’an points out that Jesus, like all other human beings, was "a soul created by Him".(Quran Ref: 4:171 )

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