Saturday, September 15, 2007

Expressions in the Qur'an

There are a number of expressions used in the Quran. Some are used to clarify, others used to draw an imagery.

In Surah Al bayyinah (96) verse 16, Allah SWT uses a hyperbole. A hyperbole is a figure of speech in which statements are exaggerated. It may be used to evoke strong feelings or to create a strong impression, and is not meant to be taken literally1

نَاصِيَةٍ۬ كَـٰذِبَةٍ خَاطِئَةٍ۬ - translated as "The lying, sinful forelock"

If you look back at verse 13, there's a mention of a "kadhib" - a liar, someone who denies. From there on the verses describe the punishment of such a person. And verse under question declares the forelock as lying and sinful, as if to say, the person is so sinful, that every part of him is sinful.

This is an instance of a part of the body being attributed with the attribute of the whole. He is such a big liar that, it is as if every part of his body lies seperately. That's the stage of his sins - gives us an idea of the extreme2

1. Defination of Hyperbole, Wikipedia
2. Tafseer Ruhul Ma 'aani


Ibn Uthman said...

Assalamu 'alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh, Sisters

Masha Allah, you are doing sterling work. Just on the issue of "hyberbole" a possible Arabic equivalent might be "al-mubalaghah", which is one of the effects or functions of the particular figure of speech used in the verse, which could be that of metonymy (which includes substituting the part for whole). The instance of ناصية كاذبة خاطئة is referred to in Balaghah as majaz 'aqli which is to ascribe an action or attribute to other than its real agent. Here, the attributes / acts of الكذب and الخطأ are ascribed to other than their real agent, namely, the forelock, with the real agent being the owner of the forelock. So all-and-all the description given is spot-on I just thought of adding the bit on "majaz 'aqli".

Keep up the good work, Sisters, and I'm looking forward to the next post.

khany said...

assalamou alaikum,

jazakallah khair sister humairah.

here is another interpretation which does not regard the expression as hyperbole.

Eaalim Institute said...

Great blog, Thanks.

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