Wednesday, 29 January 2014

DawahMan - 11 Rhetorical devices in 3 words of the Quran

On the London Dawah Movement's last show (Fridays at 7pm UK time) there was some brief talk about the linguistic miracle of the Quran.  It was claimed that there are 11 rhetorical statements in only 3 words in the Quran.  Someone later emailed me and asked me what my opinion was on this claim, so I watched the video link they had provided.

My immediate impression was that Imran was doing a lot of talking without actually saying anything; it was nothing more than rambling repetitive sophistry.  The verse in question is the first in Sura Al Kauthar (108.1)

So to prove a point, I too have performed this exercise on a 3 word sentence that I have made myself.

Everything, we've given!

Imran said: Quran used the correct word - Gift/Reward
Response: I have used the word "Given", which is also the perfect word to use for something that has been given.

Imran said: Quran used a past tense word
Response: So did I in "We've"

Imran said: Quran uses hyperbole
Response: So did I by using the word everything, there is nothing more than everything, how much more hyperbole can you get?

Imran said: Quran used Emphasis
Response: I emphasised the word everything by making it the first word of the verse.  Also by placing a comma after it for additional emphasis in the pause.

Imran said: What Allah has given is all good.
Response: Yes, the universe is amazing, and that comes under "everything" so I have done that too.

Imran said: The inclusion of AL (The)
Response: "Everything" includes THE universe.  I was able to do the same thing without having to include an additional word in my English sentence.

Imran said: The thing given can be many things (love etc)
Response: "Everything" in my sentence also includes emergent phenomenon such as love, awe, and happiness: rather than only physical things.

Imran said: Quran uses We (plural) have given
Response: I used "We've" which is equally as miraculous.

Imran said: Emphatic particle
Response: I have used the emphatic particle too by capitalising the W in "We've"

Imran said: Grammatical shift
Reponse: No, the grammatical shift occurs in the next verse, you can't count the next verse without counting its total number of words too.  I can just as easily claim I do this too in my next verse when I too use to "Us" instead of "We".

In addition to the 10 above...

1: There is a double meaning in my sentence.  It is not only addressing the people and telling them they have been given everything, it is addressing everything and telling it that it has been given to (The eagle its eyesight, the bird its wings, the Earth its existence, and the Sun its radiance)

**I have used an exclamation mark at the end, this has a double-emphasis
2: It emphasises the whole sentence.
3: It is attached to the word "given" to emphasise even more that this has been given in free will.
4: It denotes confidence that this is a statement of unquestionable fact.

**The word "everything" consists of two logical parts, "every" and "thing".
5: Using the word "every" is all-encompassing not only in physical aspects but also time. For example "On every individual occasion We have given, it has been a gift."
6: Using the word "thing" additionally notes that all material items in our possession are by the grace of Allah alone.

7: In using the word "given" the verse implies what has been given is a gift (otherwise it would be sold/rented/passed), so there is a double-meaning not only that everything has been given in free will, but also freely as a gift.

8: And finally...PARODY. In writing this verse I am mocking the silly claims about there being 11 rhetorical devices in 3 words of the Quran proving it is from a divine entity.

I could add Cliché, Irony, Satire and Farce too, perhaps Tragedy is appropriate too?  I'll leave it there, my point has been made.

I had the option of using a mixture of capital and lowercase letters too which would have added further emphasis in the speech(EVERYThing) but didn't want to take advantage of the inherant features of the English language and claim them as miracles of my own words.

My verse is 8 syllables, where'as the verse in the Quran is 10.  So that's 18 Rhetorical devices in only 3 English words and 20% more efficient in terms of the number of syllables used.  I can make mundane statements about short unimpressive sentences too.

Al Hamdu Rashunaleezer


  1. You know one has utterly lost the plot when "past tense" or using "the" is claimed as evidence for the supernatural

    1. it's not just past tense. It is past tense with the meaning that it is something that will happen in the future without a doubt. The Kauthar is a river in paradise which the believers will drink from (which also could mean the abundance of good as Imran stated in the video) and it is as if Allah is saying there is no doubt that this thing will be given to you even though it has not happened yet; with the past tense verb.

    2. its in past tense, because Kauthar here means Progeny of the Prophet, this ayat was revealed when Fatima was born, and from her the progeny of the Muhammad will continue, the verse last sentence confirms Kauthar means offspring

    3. its in past tense, because Kauthar here means Progeny of the Prophet, this ayat was revealed when Fatima was born, and from her the progeny of the Muhammad will continue, the verse last sentence confirms Kauthar means offspring

  2. Yeah this is classic handwaving. In my literature classes in college we would regularly extract "rhetorical features" from the poems we read at far greater density than Imran's doing here. It's actually amazing how close you can read some texts.

  3. seriously, i mean seriously???? so stupid. how can you rhetorically express 5 meanings by 1 same word, it would be like saying in arabic Everything everything everything everything everything and calling it a sentence. You should have done at least a basic research of arabic language.

    1. I challenge you to translate this sentence into Arabic or any language of your choice while preserving all of its rhetorical features. Then bring one like it.

      If you fail (which surely you shall), accept that these are the words of my God and join my cult. Capiche! ... Here is the sentence

      "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo"

      P.S. It is an actual sentence. Google it if you can't comprehend its eminence.

    2. sounds more like morse code. Not even close Captain.

    3. A sentence in Arabic in order for it to be considered speech has to be beneficial; meaning that the listener is not waiting for any more additional information to complete the meaning. Try again.

    4. The Quran's verses are not as simple as a bunch of homonymns masquerading as sentences. It has a meaning that is simple to understand despite its linguistic complexity.

    5. The above sentence does not give any information to the listener and only a scholar or a student of linguistics would see anything of meaning in it. It does not guide to God nor does it help any human being understand their purpose in the universe. It is simply an argument made to waste people's time and direct them away from their true purpose in life to worship God the Creator without giving a share of worship to the creation. In other words, you just said it for the purpose of argument alone.

  4. My humble attempt:

    "When Eminem raps back, Imrans going to feel a twat"

  5. Salammalikum Brother,

    I am honestly saying, this is really effective and powerful blog. It is actually amazing how close you can read some texts.Thank you very much for sharing this with us.This is my blog about on Arabic language, please go through it:

  6. Very useful post for me,, thanks for share it,,
    quran academy

  7. Also, the "everything" word used in the Quran refers specifically only the "everything" that is "good". Yours is general and includes good and bad :)

    1. Awesome and sound point!!! Of course ignored.

  8. Your translation is not accurate. As a person who is studying linguistics and translation, I will discuss it.
    First of all, the most obvious mistake is that the verb "given" is a transitive verb(it needs two objects), so where is the second object. He gave it to whom?!!

    Second, the word Kauthar carries two meanings in Arabic: a river in Paradise and all of the good things. By translating it as Everything, you did not reflect the two meanings. moreover, everything includes the bad things also. So, you are using a superordinate word rather than a synonym. So, the translation will be less accurate. So, your usage of hyperbole is not accurate since the word you used includes bad things as well while in Arabic it includes just good things.

    third, you used emphasis by placing the object at the beginning. By the way, we can use this strategy in order to emphasize something in Arabic. You can place the object (Mafool beh) at the beginning. But, the miracle in Quran is emphasizing the object without changing its place by using (enna). Can you do that? Can you emphasize without changing the place of the object.

    Fourth, the Quran uses the letter Al (the) in (Alkawathar). You said you conveyed it by saying "everything". By the way, the word "everything is not a linguistic miracle!
    and it is not related to linguistics. The "AL" is used for specification. So, you could not convey this aspect by using a general word like "everything". For example, if I say " I gave her the good things", the good things is not equal to everything. Furthermore, the letter "the" which is equal to "AL" is used for specification which means there may be other good things. Ok, you said you could convey it without any additional word! Can you convey it with an additional word?

    Fifth, there is no double meaning in your sentence. It is just too general and grammatically wrong (it lacks a second object as I had said before). Is the object, the entity which is given everything is invisible! Why it is not mentioned! At least mention a pronoun!!! In the Surah, Allah is addressing the messenger not all of the people, or animals or whatever you mean.

    Sixth, the miracle in the Quran is emphasizing without using any punctuation. Can you emphasize it without using any punctuation or capitalizing any letters?

    Seventh, the word "given" is not just used for giving gifts!!! You can give somebody a poison! Would it be a nice thing to be given !!
    You said you can use many rhetorical devices in just three words!! By the way, your sentence "Everything, we've given" consists of four words not three. "We've" is a shortened form of "We have" . Also, writing in shortened forms breaks the rules of good writing. Divine books use highly formal and elevated language and you are using shortened forms in incomplete sentences!!!

    1. jazakAllahu khaira ya Akhi Ghadeer.

    2. jazakAllahu khaira ya Akhi Ghadeer.

    3. Masha'Allah, that was a brilliant!!! Thank you!

  9. Thanks for this post, School Quran also provides learning quran online for kids.

  10. The rationaliser? Don't you realize that the way that makes it possible to have so much rhetorical devices is because of the pattern created by the words and sentences. Exactly replacing the words and making it just shorter doesn't mean you reproduced and achieved the same. You just exactly used the same pattern the Quran created so easily by just exactly saying what it needs to say. What you did was unconciously copy it and made use of the miralce of the Quran.

    The challenge lies in exactly writing a chapter BY YOURSELF, by not even looking at the Quran or replacing words. Write one chapter like the shortest of the Quran, let it be something about what you might want to teach humans. You won't be able to without making use of the miracle of the Quran as you just did.

  11. haha rationaliser owned and atheists gone quiet. clearly he knows nothing about linguistics. note he also basterdised grammer and started re-inventing english yet still failed. and we didnt even focus on rhyme, metrical and other features lol. Irrationaliser, RIP.

  12. this guy is a twat he does not represent Islamic scholarship see people like Hamza yusuf white western language specialists

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  17. To find the miracle in the Quran you have to know Arabic. It is not possible to simply translate the Quran into English and say you met the challenge. If you knew both languages you would see that English is a fixed language without any grammatical variance except a little. Every sentence is basically subject, verb, object with slight variations for adverbs or prepositional phrases. If you study Arabic you would see that it can basically be put in any order you like because of grammatical inflections which are not present in English. Every time you change the word order a new meaning is given as well. For example when you bring the object early in a verbal sentence it may give the meaning of restriction.
    take the verse from Surat al fatihah where Allah says: iyyaaka na'budu wa iyyaka nasta'een. iyyaka is the object of the sentence brought in the beginning which gives the meaning that (Only) You do we worship and (Only) You do we ask for help.
    I suggest you learn Arabic and then try to meet the challenge. Thanks.

  18. And just to comment on what I wrote above..the english version has nothing to do with the Arabic it just simply cannot be explained by translation alone. You need to learn Arabic to know what I am talking about.

    1. translation of a text from one language to another is not the miracle in question. The miracle in question is far beyond a mere translation. You do realize that your translation to an Arab is overwhelmingly simplistic compared to what you tried to imitate?

  19. وَإِن كُنتُمْ فِي رَيْبٍ مِّمَّا نَزَّلْنَا عَلَىٰ عَبْدِنَا فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِّن مِّثْلِهِ وَادْعُوا شُهَدَاءَكُم مِّن دُونِ اللَّهِ إِن كُنتُمْ صَادِقِينَ

  20. فَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلُوا وَلَن تَفْعَلُوا فَاتَّقُوا النَّارَ الَّتِي وَقُودُهَا النَّاسُ وَالْحِجَارَةُ ۖ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْكَافِرِينَ

  21. I challenge you if you are such an expert on Arabic linguistics to find all the rhetorical devices present in the above two verses of the Quran; not from translation, but from the speech itself in Arabic.

  22. Couldn't be a better explanation than this. Thumbs up !!!

  23. Pete/Rationalizer, it's been a while!

    I just wanted to add that the Quran was speech and not in written form when it was revealed to the Prophet ( peace be upon him). There were no commas or exclamation points etc.

    If we use the same standards of the initial revelation then your sentence would read:

    Everything we've given

    Which makes an incomplete sentence with a missing predicate.