The Encyclopedia of Arabic Rhetoric

Welcome to al-Balagha.com,
the Encyclopedia of Arabic Rhetoric.

 

Arabic Rhetoric (known in Arabic as al-balāgha) is the branch of the Arabic language which is related to the art and science of conveying a message with greater beauty, impact and persuasiveness.

Arabic Rhetoric is as ancient as the Arabic language itself, and is used extensively in both classical and modern Arabic poetry and prose.

In practical terms, Arabic Rhetoric is the intelligent use of word order, figurative speech and linguistic embellishments to deliver your message with greater impact.

al-balagha-logo2.png The Encyclopedia of Arabic Rhetoric brings together everything about Arabic Rhetoric in one place.

 

Rhetorical devices of Arabic Rhetoric

Arabic Rhetoric contains a large number of rhetorical devices which are used to create a rhetorical effect. This site lists 88 of the most common ones. They are traditionally grouped into three categories:

  1. Rhetorical devices related to Word Order & Sentence Construction (‘ilm al-ma‘ānī)
  2. Rhetorical devices related to Figurative Speech (‘ilm al-bayān)
  3. Rhetorical devices related to Linguistic Embellishments (‘ilm al-badī‘).


Additionally, there is a category of literary features which reduce the rhetoric qualities of a text:

  1. Rhetorical devices related to Negative Rhetorical Effects

A) Word Order & Sentence Construction
(‘ilm al-ma‘ānī)

1) Use of a reporting sentence where an informing sentence is expected, and vice versa
(ẓahar jumlat khabariyya fi makan muqtadā lijumlat ’insha’iyya wa ‘aksih)

2) Affirmation (al-ta’kīd)

3) The Imperative (al-’amr)

4) Prohibition (al-nahiyy)

5) The Interrogative (al-istifhām)

6) Wish (al-tamannā)

7) The Vocative (al-nidā’)

8) Definiteness and Indefiniteness (al-ta‘arīf wa al-tankīr)

9) Conjunction and Disjunction (al-waṣal wa al-faṣal)

10) Brevity, Verbosity and Moderation (al-’ījāz wa al-’īṭnān wa al-musāwāa)

11) Foregrounding and Backgrounding (Anastrophe, al-taqdīm wa al-ta’khīr

12) Ellipsis (al-dhikr wa al-ḥadhaf)

13) Exophora (al-’ḍmār muqām al-’ẓhār)

14) Use of Noun in Place of Pronoun (al-’ẓhār muqām al-’ḍmār)

15) Use of Appropriate Linguistic Style and Register (istikhdām al-’slūb al-munāsib)

B) Figurative Speech
(‘ilm al-bayān)

1) Simile (al-tashbīh) - 8 types

2) Metaphor (al-isti‘āra) - 6 types

3) Allegory (Hypallage, Synecdoche, al-majāz) - 2 types & 12 subtypes

4) Metonymy (Implicit Reference, al-kināya)

5) Hinting (al-ta‘riḍ)

6) Pun (Double-Entendre, al-tawriya)

C) Linguistic Embellishments (‘ilm al-badī‘)

Word Choice

1) Meaningful Proper Nouns (al-tawjīh)

2) Oxymoron (al-’rdāf al-khalfī / ijtimā‘ lafẓatayn mutanāqiḍatayn)

3) Amphibology (al-ībhām)

4) Onomatopoeia (al-muḥākāa al-ṣawtiyya)

5) Litotes (al-’thbāt bilnafī)

6) Alliteration (al-mujānisa al-istihlākiyya)

7) Palindrome (al-qalb / mā lā yastaḥīl bi al-’n‘kās)

8) Equivocation (al-mawāriba)

9) Adornment (al-tadbīj)

10) Metabole (al-takrār bi‘bārāt mukhtalifa)

11) Zeugma (al-‘bārā al-jāmi‘a)

12) Al-Istikhdām (al-itikhdām)

13) Repetition (al-takrār) - 3 types


Addressing Groups

1) Congeries (marā’āat al-naẓīr)

2) Collectiveness (al-jam‘)

3) Al-Taqsīm (al-taqsīm)

4) Differentiation Between Similar Items (al-tafrīq)

5) Epanodos (al-ṭay wa al-nashar / al-laff wa al-nashar)


Sentence Construction

1) Antithesis (al-ṭibāq)

2) Chiasmus (al-muqābala al-‘akasiyya)

3) Paronomasia (al-jinās / al-tajnīs) 2 types & 6 subtypes

4) Tail-Head (rad al-‘jaz ‘lā al-ṣadar / al-taṣdīr)

5) Head-Tail (rad al-ṣadar ‘lā al-‘jaz)

6) Similarities of the Start & Finish (tashābah al-‘ṭrāf)

7) Parallelism (al-mawāzana / muqābala bi al-lafẓ)


Musicality

1) Assonance (al-saja‘)

2) Homeoptoton (al-tarṣī‘ / al-murādif)

3) Concordance of the Pronunciation and the Meaning (’tilāf al-lafẓ wa al-ma‘anā / al-murādif)

4) Concordance of Pronunciations (’tilāf al-lafẓ ma‘ al-lafẓ / al-murādif)

5) Al-Tashrīʿ (al-tashrī‘/ al-murādif)

6) Proportioning (al-izdawāj)

7) Excellence of Division (ḥusn al-taqsīm)

Argumentation & Debate

1) Integration of Imagery (al-’idmāj)

2) Stacked-up Descriptions (al-istitbi‘)

3) Incorporation of Proverbs (’irsāl al-mathal / al-kalām al-jāma‘)

4) Abstraction (al-tajrīd)

5) Quotation (al-iqtibās)

6) Hinting at the Source (al-talmīḥ)

7) Euphemism (al-tahwīn)

8) Rhetorical Shift (al-iltifāt)

9) Epitrope (al-taslīm al-khiṭābī)

10) Evasive Response (’slūb al-ḥakīm)

11) Feigned Ignorance (tajāhal al-‘ārif)

12) Observation (al-’rṣad / al-tashīm)

13) Apostrophe (mukhāṭabat ghayr al-‘āqal)

14) Personification (tashkhīṣ / tajsīd)

15) Hyperbole (al-mubālagha)

16) Conceit (ḥusn al-ta‘līl)

17) Affirmed Praise (ta’kīd al-madaḥ bimā yushbah al-dham)

18) Affirmed Dispraise (ta’kīd al-dham bimā yushbah al-madaḥ)

19) Al-Mughāyra (al-mughāyra)

20) Tapinosis (al-taḥqīr)

21) Sarcasm (al-istihzā’)

22) Scholastic Approach (al-madhab al-kalāmi)


Paragraph Construction

1) Multi-Genre (al-iftinān)

2) Pleasantness of the Opening(ḥusn al-ibtidā’)

3) Finesse of Initiation (Exordium, barā‘at al-istihlāl)

4) Digression (Excursus, al-istiṭrād)

5) Change of Topic (ḥusn al-takhalus)

6) Finesse of Requesting (birā‘a al-ṭalab)

7) Pleasantness of the Ending (ḥusn al-intihā’)

8) Finesse of the Ending (barā‘at al-maqṭa‘)