In Acts 2, we see the disciples and followers of Jesus received the Holy Spirit. It came down upon them and they began to speak in languages that were not native to them. Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to His followers before He ascended to heaven in Acts 1 and Mark 16:19.
The Holy Spirit is how we are able to communicate with God directly, because He lives within us! For our Muslim friends, they are not promised this same kind of access to Allah.
What Islam says about the Holy Spirit
Islam doesn’t believe in the Trinity. Therefore, they don’t believe in the Holy Spirit. Islam teaches that Allah is one being, and the Trinity goes against this. They say Christians worship three gods; God, Mary, and her son, Jesus.
“O People of the Book! Do not go to extremes regarding your faith; say nothing about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, was no more than a messenger of Allah and the fulfillment of His Word through Mary and a spirit created by a command from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers and do not say, “Trinity.” Stop!—for your own good. Allah is only One God. Glory be to Him! He is far above having a son! To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And Allah is sufficient as a Trustee of Affairs.” Quran 4:171
Islam teaches that Allah is spirit and when the Quran talks about this spirit it is not seperate from Allah himself who is a single unit. This is the main explanation of God as spirit in Islam.
Christian beliefs about the Holy Spirit
We believe that the Holy Spirit is part of the Holy Trinity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. As such, He is personal and also fully God, co-equal and co-eternal with God the Father and the Son of God.
Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
The Holy Spirit is the helper who lives in us. Jesus goes on in verse 26 to say, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.”
“In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…” Romans 8:26
So the Holy Spirit helps us, teaches us, and intercedes for us. It is how we can talk to God whenever we need to without going to a particular place or time- He is within us! The Holy Spirit gives us discernment when reading the Bible and understands us intimately.
How to talk about the Holy Spirit with your Muslim friends
There’s no easy way to talk about the Spirit of God who lives within you without your Muslim friend being skeptical. Before you talk with them, say a quick prayer asking Christ to open up your Muslim friend’s heart to receive what you say and give you the right words to say. Your friend might approach you with a question such as, “How do you believe in three gods? We only believe in Allah.”
It is important to emphasize that God is three persons simultaneously and continuously, together as ONE. Even when God manifests Himself to us through one of His three Persons – as when Jesus came to earth and became man, or when the Holy Spirit descended on the Disciples – the Triune God does not cease being the infinite one true God.
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word [Jesus], and the Holy Spirit: and these three are one.” 1 John 5:7-8
The theology of the Trinity is heavy and complex. The best thing you can do is point your friend to scriptures about the Holy Spirit to show them what you believe. You could even tell them about your personal experiences with the Holy Spirit interceding for you or prompting you to do something. Whatever you say, do it humbly and speak the truth with love. And remember, that it is the Holy Spirit’s job to work in your friend's heart to help them understand biblical truths that you cannot fully explain.