Rhetoric


Rhetoric is essential and inseparable constituent element of language, be it of Arabian Peninsula or Non-Arab land. Rhetoric is in speech, whereby, it is essentially a communicative instrument/device. Rhetoric is the element of such Speech where the Speaker has the intent to subtly influence the audience for a particular response, emotional, psychological, or behavioural, or to subtly make him realize an otherwise unpleasant possibility and eventuality.

An old book on Rhetoric by Aristotle (4th century (BC.)) defines the rhetorician as someone who is always able to see what is persuasive. Correspondingly, rhetoric is defined as the ability to see what is possibly persuasive in every given case. However, it does not mean that everyone in all circumstances will get convinced.

Aristotle made distinction among the three means of persuasion: The speech can produce persuasion either through the character of the speaker, the emotional state of the listener, or the argument (logos) itself. The second tripartite division concerns the three species of public speech. The speech that takes place in the assembly is defined as the deliberative species. In this rhetorical species, the speaker either advises the audience to do something or warns against doing something. Accordingly, the audience has to judge things that are going to happen in the future, and they have to decide whether these future events are good or bad for the polis, whether they will cause advantage or harm. The speech that takes place before a court is defined as the judicial species. The speaker either accuses somebody or defends herself or someone else. Naturally, this kind of speech treats things that happened in the past. The audience or rather jury has to judge whether a past event was just or unjust, i.e., whether it was according to the law or contrary to the law. While the deliberative and judicial species have their context in a controversial situation in which the listener has to decide in favour of one of two opposing parties, the third species does not aim at such a decision: the epideictic speech praises or blames somebody, it tries to describe things or deeds of the respective person as honourable or shameful.

The term in Arabic for Rhetoric is: البلاغة stemming from Root: ب ل غ.  Ibn Faris [died 1005] stated:

(مقاييس اللغة)

الباء واللام والغين أصلٌ واحد وهو الوُصول إلى الشيء. تقول بَلَغْتُ المكانَ، إذا وَصَلْتَ إليه

That its basic signification is of arrival, access towards the specific object, when crossed over/arrived at the intended location point, when got connected with that.

In keeping with the concept embedded in the Root it will denote, when used with reference to speech and written text, such an effective communication that crosses over into the heart and mind of the target audience. Par excellence rhetoric is such that addressee perceives something in the like manner as may have been perceived by the one who actually experienced it.

Qur’ān is unique in all respects in the family of books. It is described as: the Speech, the Parlanceverbal Message, the Discourse spoken by Allah the Exalted exclusively to His elevated universal Messenger Muhammad Sal'lallaa'hoalaih'wa'salam. It is then declared as: the Book of Allah the Exalted which is the verbatim transcription of: in black and white by the elevated universal Messenger Muhammad Sal'lallaa'hoalaih'wa'salam as its First Publisher. It is thus the Intellectual Property exclusively of Allah the Exalted.

  • This (Qur’ān) is a communication delivered-transmitted, a persuasive discourse in easy to comprehend composition for the mankind in space- time to take counsel and so that they get warned-cautioned-awakened by taking recourse to it (Qur’ān). [Refer 14:52]

The use of a verbal noun: in absolute indefinite state as Predicate of declarative/informative Nominal Sentence, where there is no direct addressee, subtly expands the informative value. It entails the time-space demolishing linguistic boundaries. And the following prepositional phrase relating to the elided circumstantial clause and the conjunct sentence not only adds much more information but also personifies the book that enables peoples of all intellectual levels to comprehend and get advised and cautioned by taking recourse to it. What it implies at delicate level is that once it has reached to someone the need for a corporeal Messenger has ceased for ever. 

The discourse that has the potential of influencing the inner self of rational being is termed and described in Arabic by Adjectival Phrase: قَوْلَاۢ بَلِيغٙا

  • They are the people about whom Allah the Exalted best knows that (disease) which is self implanted in their (Muna'fi'qeen: Imposter believers) hearts. Therefore, you the Messenger overlook and ignore them.

  • However, counsel them and relate for them the discourse (Qur’ān) that has the potential of reaching and influencing their inner selves . [4:63]

The word: بَلِيغٙا is Adjective resembling participle (الصفة المشبهة) which is derived from non-transitive verb and signifies the one who establishes an action or state with the meaning of permanence. And it indicates on the root meaning being an attribute which is usually perpetual or intrinsic.

The ultimate objective of rhetoric is to influence the audience to make him synchronise with the perspective of the Speaker/Author. Thereby, it is necessarily a two-way phenomenon. Rhetoric is thereby an art of involving the whole self of the audience, all of his mental, heart and sensory faculties. This necessitates that speech be succinct like a solid object since the audience suffer attention limitations. Thought of the speaker which is intended to be transmitted into the Self of the audience is in physical terms like liquid and air which needs to be solidified for delivery to the target audience. This is what the rhetoric aims at to convert the thought into: قَوْلٙا ثَقِيلٙا a discourse intrinsically solid: always easy to discern:

  • Certainly Our Majesty will keep exposing closely compacted - succinct discourse upon you the Messenger. [73:05]

Semantic density Greater the density, easier to perceive and translate

The greater the semantic density of information in a limited number of words and sentences, easier is it to translate, understand, comprehend, and reflect on that small number of words. It caters for the need of a man of ordinary or everyday prudence and the sensibilities of men of higher intellect, critical reasoning and pondering. It is rightly said that the truth does not need many words. The truth - infallible fact in itself is quite heavy, as told by Qur’ān. On the contrary, voluminous texts void of substance are weightless like the froth and scum.

Only that speech - discourse which is qualitatively: قَوْلَاۢ بَلِيغٙا and قَوْلٙا ثَقِيلٙا can be claimed by the Speaker/Author as:

  • This (Qur’ān) is a communication delivered-transmitted, a persuasive discourse in easy to comprehend composition for the mankind in space- time to take counsel and so that they get warned-cautioned-awakened by taking recourse to it (Qur’ān). [Refer 14:52]

The obtaining of counselling and cautioning is the property equally shared by humans. None is rhetorician who lacks these two aspects in speech.

Rhetoric is science, a composite discipline. It is more than mere communication, the primary purpose of language. Rhetoric is to restrain, encircle, and try mould the target audience into a typical character, psyche, frame of mind and heart, affectionately and willingly. It is simultaneously an art and science as it has a speaker and audience, expressing knowledge, most often in the form of subjective representation and for audience science, a system of acquiring knowledge.    

  • Know it, when You the Messenger [Sal'lallaa'hoalaih'wa'salam] read out the Qur’ān, Our Majesty did render (a vacuum, self proclaimed acoustic impedance) as invisible partition between you and between them who believe not in the Hereafter [17:45]

  • And Our Majesty have rendered that what they claim covers upon their hearts as protection that hinders them comprehending it (Qur’ān).

  • And Our Majesty have rendered their so called (41:5) heavy load deposited within their ears as acoustic impedance persisting in their ears.

  • And when you the Messenger described your Sustainer Lord in the Qur’ān as: "He is the only Sustainer Lord":

  • They about-faced on their backs in grip of aversion. [17::46]


The other method of science, apart from listening, in the meaning of acquiring knowledge is the use of faculty of vision by reading the text. But it needs that the text reflects light for the eyes, but Grand Qur’ān, personified as a living entity, blurs itself for a certain class of people:

  • Know it, had Our Majesty rendered it (Qur’ān in Arabic) as a transcription in some language of Non-Arab land, [contrary to their present assertions of teaching by a Non-Arab-16:103]

  • Certainly they would have said to people exclaiming: "Why its Aa'ya'at: Verbal Passages (of Qur’ān in non-Arabic language) are not rendered distinct?

  • Can a Non Arab: indistinct language and Arabic: distinct-eloquent language of the sons of soil of Arabian Peninsula be considered at par?"

  • You the Messenger [Sal'lallaa'hoalaih'wa'salam] pronounce;: "It (Qur’ān in Arabic) is guidance: regulatory information for aright conduct and healer for all those (whether Arab or Non Arab) who have heartily accepted it."

  • Know about those who do not believe in the Hereafter heavy load is deposited within their ears: acoustic impedance is persisting in their ears.

      Human Ear - Acoustic impedance

  • And it (Qur’ān) is in enveloped - obscured state not reflecting light upon them (whether they are Arabs or Non-Arab).

  • They are the people as if they are being called to listen it (Qur’ān) from a far distant place. [41:44]

The persuasive and penetrating effect and impact, i.e. rhetoric, is produced when all elements of language are simultaneously employed in the speech in a novel manner uniquely for each situation and purpose that its transcript conveys to the reader not only the voice of speaker but also tone, tenor and even gestures. At reader's level the science of rhetoric needs minute analysis of word and phrase choice, both from the perspective of conceptual field as well the type that may limit or enhance the conceptual domain with the collocates, and grammatical and syntactic structures which will also reveal ellipses; after having segmenting the text into the Frames [in Arabic: تَفْصِيلٙا; فُصِّلَتْ] by which the original speech was delivered.

Knowing what rhetoric is, it is understandable that it will need greater and greater scholarship with the increase of number and intellectual levels of the audience. The audience of Grand Qur’ān is the humanity, billions and billions of people of thousand of intellectual levels, thereby, I need not say it is the par excellence inimitable Rhetoric. But humanity is classified into general public and people with specialized knowledge or interest and similarly knowledge is classified into Exoteric and Esoteric. For a reader of general public who intends to glean merely from the surface, the delicacies and subtleties of rhetoric will pose no problem because of the superb choice of words and phrases that suffice for him to aright guide himself. This in itself is reflective of the fact that the Discourse is of the Unique unparalleled Rhetorician.