Wa yas'aloonaka 'anirrooh; qulir roohu min amri rabbee wa maaa ooteetum minal 'ilmi illaa qaleelaa
And they ask you, [O Muhammad], about the soul. Say, "The soul is of the affair of my Lord. And mankind have not been given of knowledge except a little."
1 A. J. Arberry
They will question thee concerning the Spirit. Say: 'The Spirit is of the bidding of my Lord. You have been given of knowledge nothing except a little.'
2 Abdul Haleem
[Prophet], they ask you about the Spirit. Say, ‘The Spirit is part of my Lord’s domain. You have only been given a little knowledge.’
3 Abdul Majid Daryabadi
And they ask thee regarding the spirit, Say thou: the spirit is by the command of my Lord, and ye have not been vouchsafed of knowledge save a little.
4 Abdullah Yusuf Ali
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!)"
5 Abul Ala Maududi
They ask you about "the spirit". Say: "The spirit descends by the command of my Lord, but you have been given only a little knowledge."
6 Ahmed Ali
They ask you about revelation. Say, revelation is by the command of your Lord, and that you have been given but little knowledge.
7 Ahmed Raza Khan
They ask you concerning the soul; proclaim “The soul is an entity by the command of my Lord, and you have not received knowledge except a little.”
8 Ali Quli Qarai
They question you concerning the Spirit. Say, ‘The Spirit is of the command of my Lord, and you have not been given of the knowledge except a few [of you].’
9 Ali Ünal
They ask you about the spirit. Say: "The spirit is of my Lord’s Command, and of knowledge, you have been granted only a little."
10 Amatul Rahman Omar
And they question you about the revelation, and the human soul. say, `The revelation and the soul is by the command of my Lord, (because) little is the knowledge there of that you have been given.´
11 English Literal
And they ask/question you about the Soul/Spirit , say: "The Soul/Spirit (is) from my Lord`s matter/affair, and you were not given from the knowledge except little ."
12 Faridul Haque
They ask you concerning the soul; proclaim "The soul is an entity by the command of my Lord, and you have not received knowledge except a little."
13 Hamid S. Aziz
They will ask you about the Spirit. Say, "The Spirit is (or comes) by the command of my Lord, and you are given but a little knowledge (or control) thereof."
14 Hilali & Khan
And they ask you (O Muhammad SAW) concerning the Ruh (the Spirit); Say: "The Ruh (the Spirit): it is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little."
15 Maulana Mohammad Ali
Say: Everyone acts according to his manner. But your Lord best knows who is best guided on the path.
16 Mohammad Habib Shakir
And they ask you about the soul. Say: The soul is one of the commands of my Lord, and you are not given aught of knowledge but a little.
17 Mohammed Marmaduke William Pickthall
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.
18 Muhammad Sarwar
They ask you about the Spirit. Say, "The Spirit comes by the command of my Lord. You have been given very little knowledge.
19 Qaribullah & Darwish
They question you about the spirit. Say: 'The spirit is from the command of my Lord. Except for a little knowledge you have been given nothing'
20 Safi-ur-Rahman al-Mubarakpuri
And they ask you concerning the Ruh (the spirit). Say: "The Ruh (the spirit) is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little."
21 Wahiduddin Khan
They question you about the Spirit. Say, "The Spirit is at my Lord's command, and you have been granted but little knowledge."
22 Talal Itani
And they ask you about the Spirit. Say, “The Spirit belongs to the domain of my Lord; and you were given only little knowledge.”
23 Tafsir jalalayn
And they will question you, that is, the Jews, concerning the Spirit, from which the body receives life. Say, to them; `The Spirit is of the command of my Lord, that is, [it belongs to] His knowledge, about which you know not. And of knowledge you have not been given except a little', relative to His knowledge, exalted be He.
24 Tafseer Ibn Kathir
The Ruh (spirit)
Al-Bukhari recorded in his Tafsir of this Ayah that Abdullah bin Mas`ud said,
"While I was walking with the Prophet on a farm, and he was resting on a palm-leaf stalk, some Jews passed by. Some of them said to the others, `Ask him about the Ruh.'
Some of them said, `What urges you to ask him about that?'
Others said, `Do not ask him, lest he gives you a reply which you do not like.'
But they said, `Ask him.' So they asked him about the Ruh.
The Prophet kept quiet and did not give them an answer, and I knew that he was receiving revelation, so I stayed where I was. When the revelation was complete, the Prophet said;
وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي
And they ask you concerning the Ruh (the spirit).
Say;"The Ruh (the spirit) is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord..."
This context would seem to imply that this Ayah was revealed in Al-Madinah, and that it was revealed when the Jews asked him this question in Al-Madinah, although the entire Surah was revealed in Makkah.
This may be answered with the suggestion that this Ayah may have been revealed to him in Al-Madinah a second time, after having previously been revealed in Makkah, or that he was divinely inspired to respond to their question with a previously-revealed Ayah, namely the Ayah in question.
Ibn Jarir recorded that Ikrimah said,
"The People of the Book asked the Messenger of Allah about the Ruh, and Allah revealed;
وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ
And they ask you concerning the Ruh...
They said, `You claim that we have only a little knowledge, but we have been given the Tawrah, which is the Hikmah,
وَمَن يُوْتَ الْحِكْمَةَ فَقَدْ أُوتِىَ خَيْرًا كَثِيرًا
and he, to whom Hikmah is granted, is indeed granted abundant good.' (2;269)
Then the Ayah;
وَلَوْ أَنَّمَا فِى الاٌّرْضِ مِن شَجَرَةٍ أَقْلَمٌ وَالْبَحْرُ يَمُدُّهُ مِن بَعْدِهِ سَبْعَةُ أَبْحُرٍ
And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the sea (were ink wherewith to write), with seven seas behind it to add to its (supply), (31;27) was revealed.
He said, "Whatever knowledge you have been given, if Allah saves you from the Fire thereby, then it is great and good, but in comparison to the knowledge of Allah, it is very little."
وَيَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الرُّوحِ
And they ask you concerning the Ruh.
Al-Awfi reported that Ibn Abbas said,
"This was when the Jews said to the Prophet, `Tell us about the Ruh and how the Ruh will be punished that is in the body - for the Ruh is something about which only Allah knows, and there was no revelation concerning it.'
He did not answer them at all, then Jibril came to him and said;
قُلِ الرُّوحُ مِنْ أَمْرِ رَبِّي وَمَا أُوتِيتُم مِّن الْعِلْمِ إِلاَّ قَلِيلً
Say;"The Ruh (the spirit) is one of the things, the knowledge of which is only with my Lord. And of knowledge, you (mankind) have been given only a little."
So the Prophet told them about that, and they said, `Who told you this'
جَاءَنِي بِهِ جِبْرِيلُ مِنْ عِنْدِ الله
Jibril brought it to me from Allah.
They said, `By Allah, no one has told you that except our enemy (i.e., Jibril).'
Then Allah revealed;
قُلْ مَن كَانَ عَدُوًّا لِّجِبْرِيلَ فَإِنَّهُ نَزَّلَهُ عَلَى قَلْبِكَ بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ مُصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيْهِ
Say;"Whoever is an enemy to Jibril (let him die in his fury), for indeed he has brought it (this Qur'an) down to your heart by Allah's permission, confirming what came before it." (2;97)
The Ruh and the Nafs
As-Suhayili mentioned the dispute among the scholars over whether the Ruh is the same as the Nafs, or something different. He stated that;
it is light and soft, like air, flowing through the body like water through the veins of a tree.
He states that the Ruh which the angel breathes into the fetus is the Nafs, provided that it joins the body and acquires certain qualities because of it, whether good or bad.
So then it is either a soul in (complete) rest and satisfaction (89;27) or inclined to evil (12;53), just as water is the life of the tree, then by mixing with it, it produces something else, so that if it mixes with grapes and the grapes are then squeezed, it becomes juice or wine. Then it is no longer called water, except in a metaphorical sense.
Thus we should understand the connection between Nafs and Ruh;
the Ruh is not called Nafs except when it joins the body and is affected by it.
So in conclusion we may say;the Ruh is the origin and essence, and the Nafs consists of the Ruh and its connection to the body. So they are the same in one sense but not in another.
This is a good explanation, and Allah knows best.
I say;people speak about the essence of the Ruh and its rulings, and many books have been written on this topic. One of the best of those who spoke of this was Al-Hafiz Ibn Mandah in a book which we have heard about the Ruh