The word Shekhinah (Hebrew: שְׁכִינָה ; Arabic: السكينة) is the Italian transliteration of a Hebrew word meaning “dwelling” or “habitation” and therefore denotes the “settlement” of the Divine presence of GOD. The Semitic triliteral root from which shekhinah derives is š-k-n, which means “to settle, inhabit or dwell”.
The term does not appear in the Bible and comes from rabbinic literature.
Shekhinah is referred to as manifest in the Tabernacle and Temple in Jerusalem throughout rabbinic literature.
The Talmud states that “the Shekhinah does not rest upon man either with sadness, or with sloth, or with frivolity, or with lightness, or with idle chatter, but only with a matter of joy in connection with a mitzvà.” (Tractate Shabbat 30b)
Usually in Christianity this concept of shekhinah is related to the Greek term parousia “presence” or “arrival,” which is used in the New Testament in a similar way to “Divine Presence.”
In Islam and in the Qur’an
Sakīnah in Arabic ( سكينة ) means “presence of GOD” (or also “Peace of GOD”). As “support and reassurance” it was infused by GOD into the hearts of believers. In the Qur’an, Sakīnah is mentioned six times, in the sura al-Baqara, at-Tawba and al-Fath. (Qur 2, 248 ; 9, 26 ; 9, 40 ; 48, 4 ; 48, 18 & 48, 26)
The ordinary Arabic usage of the root of the word is “the sense of dwelling or dwelling in a place.” A story in the Tafsir and Isra’iliyyat literature tells how Ibrahim and Isma’il, when looking for the place to build the Kaaba identified it through the sakīnah.