From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article
While the general concept of a spirit that permeates the cosmos is a general feature of most religions (e.g., Brahman in Hinduism and Tao in Taoism and Great Spirit among indigenous peoples of the Americas), the term Holy Spirit specifically refers to the beliefs held in the Abrahamic religions.
For the majority of Christians, the belief in the Holy Trinity implies the existence of three distinct holy persons being one eternal Triune God. Although the New Testament does not have a formal doctrine of the Trinity and contains no discussion of the Trinity as such, it speaks of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament the doctrine never becomes a "tritheism"; it does not have three Gods or even two. The Shema of the Old Testament
The Bahá'í Faith has the concept of the Most Great Spirit, seen as the bounty of God. It is usually used to describe the descent of the Spirit of God upon the messengers/prophets of God, which are known as Manifestations of God, and include among others Jesus, Muhammad and Bahá'u'lláh. In Bahá'í belief, the Holy Spirit is the conduit through which the wisdom of God becomes directly associated with his messenger, and it has been described variously in different religions such as the burning bush to Moses, the sacred fire to Zoroaster, the dove to Jesus, the angel Gabriel to Muhammad, and the maid of heaven to Bahá'u'lláh. The Bahá'í view rejects the idea that the Holy Spirit is a partner to God in the Godhead, but rather is the pure essence of God's attributes.
For the majority of Christians, the Holy Spirit (prior English language usage: the Holy Ghost from Old English gast, "spirit") is the third person of the Holy Trinity—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and is Almighty God. The Holy Spirit is seen by most Christians as one person of the Triune God, who revealed His Holy Name, YHWH, to His people Israel, sent His eternally begotten son Jesus to save them from their sins, and sent the Holy Spirit to sanctify and give life to His Church. The Triune God manifests as three persons (Greek hypostases), in one divine being (Greek: Ousia), called the Godhead, the Divine Essence of God.
The term "holy spirit" occurs only three times in the Hebrew Bible, once in and twice in , although the term "spirit" in the Hebrew Scriptures, in reference to "God's spirit", does occur more often. In Judaism, God is One, the idea of God as a duality or trinity among gentiles may be Shituf (or "not purely monotheistic"). The term Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) is found frequently in Talmudic and Midrashic literature. In some cases it signifies prophetic inspiration, while in others it is used as a hypostatization or a metonym for God. The Rabbinic "Holy Spirit", has a certain degree of personification, but it remains, "a quality belonging to God, one of his attributes" and not, as in mainstream Christianity, representative of "any metaphysical divisions in the Godhead."
In Judaism, the references to The Spirit of God, Ruach HaKodesh, The Holy Spirit of YHWH, abound, however it has rejected any idea of The Eternal God as being either Dual or Triune. The term ruach ha-kodesh (Hebrew: רוח הקודש, "holy spirit" also transliterated ruah ha-qodesh) occurs once in Psalm 51:11 and also twice in the Book of Isaiah  Those are the only three times that the precise phrase "ruach hakodesh" is used in the Hebrew Scriptures, although the noun ruach (רוח, literally "breath" or "wind") in various combinations, some referring to God's "spirit", is used often. The noun ruach, much like the English word breath, can mean either wind or some invisible moving force.
However, Shekinah is derived from the Hebrew verb שכן. In Biblical Hebrew the word means literally to settle, inhabit, or dwell, which suggests the concept of a Holy Spirit, and is used frequently in the Hebrew Bible. (See Exodus 40:35, "Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting, for the cloud rested [shakhan] upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle." See also e.g. Genesis 9:27, 14:13, Psalms 37:3, Jeremiah 33:16), as well as the weekly Shabbat blessing recited in the Temple in Jerusalem ("May He who causes His name to dwell [shochan] in this House, cause to dwell among you love and brotherliness, peace and friendship").
In Islam, the Holy Spirit (Arabic: الروح القدس al-Ruh al-Qudus, "the-Spirit the-Holy") is mentioned several times in the Qur'an, where it acts as an agent of divine action or communication. In Hadith it is commonly identified with the angel Gabriel (Arabic Jibreel). The Spirit (الروح al-Ruh, without the adjective "holy") is also used as the creative spirit from God by which God enlivened Adam, and inspired the angels and the prophets. The belief in Trinity, as it is defined in the Qur'an, is explicitly forbidden by the Qur'an and called a grave sin. The same applies to any idea of the duality of God (Allah). Though grammatical gender has no bearing on actual gender in non-personal nouns, the term holy spirit translates in and is used in the masculine form in all the Qur'an. In Arabic language the word "Holy Spirit" does not translate as سكينة Sakinah used in a feminine term. The term sakinah means state of relaxation.