BALAGHA I: COURSE DETAILS

Arabic Figurative Speech and Imagery (`Ilm al-Bayan)

This course is the first (I) of four (IV) courses in the study of balagha: Arabic eloquence and rhetoric, which is central to discussions on the linguistic beauty and inimitability of the Qur'an. After briefly introducing the broader field of balagha, the major part of the course delves into `ilm al-bayan, the study of modes of presentation. Just as a painted picture can represent its subject to varying degrees of accuracy and beauty, so too language can express an idea with different degrees of clarity and eloquence. Students learn to recognize and understand the major stylistic devices (simile, metaphor, tropes metonymy and allusion), which allows for deeper understanding of the depths and nuances of language in general and the Qur'an in particular.  More specifically, insight is gained into how these dimensions of language tie into some prominent theological (`aqida) and legal (fiqh) discussions that revolve around literal and figurative interpretations of certain Qur'an and hadith texts.