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Article: Abu Deeb, K.: Jurjani's Classification of Metaphor

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Abu Deeb, K.: Jurjani's Classification of Metaphor :VOL: 2 :NO:

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Al-jurjani, who died in 471 A.H., has always been considered in b~th . classical and modern Arabic. works. on :rhetoric and lite:ary CrItiCISm, as one of the most promlllent cnncs In Arabic. His books Asrdr aJ-Baldgba and Dald'il al-I'jclz have been given great attention especially in the last twenty years. However, no full treatment of his work on poetic imagery has been produced. The present paper is an attempt to analyse some aspects of al- Jurj ani's work on isti'dra only and, more specifically, his classification of isti'drcl. However it is obvious that in such a short article it is difficult to consider 'all aspects of this classification. The purpose of the present study is to show the basic features of this classification and its importance for his theory of poetic imagery, on the one hand, and its relevance to his comprehensive concept of both the nature and the function of literary expression on the other. It is also planned to show that this classification is of great interest not only in its historical context, but also in its striking similarity to some twentieth century classifications worked out by modern European critics, and its avoidance of some features of these classifications which have been considered as defects."

The comparison between al- Jurjani's classification and the modern Eur~pea~ ones is helpful in j~dging the relation between al- J urj ani's cl~SS1?Cat~on ~nd that of Aristotle, whose influence on al-jurjanl's thinking IS said by some writers to be overwhelming.s The line of argument followed in this respect is that Aristotle's classification is held by modern critics to be of a completely different nature from the modern German classification by dominant trait. If it could be demonstrated that the latter classification is based on the same principles as ~~- J_~rj ani's. one, it would ~hen be natural to suggest that aljurjaru s classification IS of a different nature from .Atistotle's,

J See Christine Brooke-Rose, "A Grammar of Metapbor" Mercury Books

(London 1965), Introduction. "

2 Sec T~~a_ J:Ius~~n, In.traduction to NaM af-Nathr (Cairo 1933). Husain says that al-jurjam was a philosopher commenting on Aristotle."



Aristotle's Clcmijicatioll of Mettlpllor

Aristotle does not write at length on the classification of metaphor.

All he says on this point is: "Metaphor consists in giving the thing a

that belongs to something else; the transference being either

name .

f m genus to species, or from species to genus, or from species to

to • 1 " 1 Thcrc J 1

ecies or on grounds of unaiogy'. , 101:e IS a genera agreement

:~ong' European critics that this passage represents all that Aristotle a s on the classili.cntion of metaphor. In fact, Aristotle himself has s ~errec1 in his Rbetorio to the existence in his Poetics of what he clearly

re .

called "classification of Il1ctaphors".2 However, in spite of that,

Christine Brooke-Rose, who Iirst considered the passage quoted as representing Aristotle's classification," proceeded to say:

"Aristotle abandons his D\I'Il clnsshicution by mental process as soon as he is Faced with actual examples, and accepts metaphor as an entity ill active t'eiatiomltil' to the thing described. In doing so he hints at the cluanificntion or his succcssocs (·.l'Yl'holl, Grcgorius Corinthus, COCOllddllS), which was 1:11 he thai: of the Latin and medieval rhetoricians, namely IIIl' animale··inanimat<.: classlficotlou".'

Miss Brooke-Rose docs not exemplify Aristotle's hint at this new classification, but it is Iikel Y that: the passage which she has quoted from Aristotle before arriving; at: her conclusion is responsible for the opinion she expresses. This passage reads:

"All smart sayln!i" nrc derived From pm[lol'tional metaphor and expressions which set: tili ngs hefo!'e !ll<: eyes ... that is, by words ~hat sigtlify actuality ... In all thcsv then, .IS "l'pcarnnce of actuality, Sit1.CC the objects arc represented as nuirnatc ... Horner ~UlS attac.hed these attributes (shameless, eager) hy the employment 01: pro/Jorilo/IIII metajJhor; foe as the stone is IIJ Sisyphus, HI> is the shameless one to the one who is shamelessly tl'cat"d".'

Is it [ustiliable to consider l he (lUOICt! passage as a hint at another c1assificlltioll? As fat: as the present writer is cOllcerned the answer is negative. In the first phu:e, it is not: true that Aristotle "abandons his own classifie'ltioll by mental pj'()cc~s as soon as he is ljlced with actual examples." In many other places in his hook he quotes as examples

! PoclicJ"Ch. 21, IA·51> J, (Bywuter's l1';u\Hhtil)J1).

, Rbetorii Hook lll, 2, 1'105" (Rhy« 1\0"e1"t'" nunslution). 'I'hc rcfcJ:el\cc seems to be to the paHsag~ quoted ,,1>< )VIJ, hl..'CaUHi.: thiN is the /lnly plucc in Poetlss in which Aristotle discusses the vari.jtLlH rl'hth'llti involved in till! pruc.:~6ti of tt~l.nSfcl·t.!nc~.

• OJ/, cit, p, 3.

4 Ibid. p. 5.

6 Rbetori: Buok III, 11.2, "H l'cr"l'l:ed to in B",,()ke~RIl8C. III W, Rhys Roberts'

translation, which is slif,lbtly dill'cl'el\l:, rhu {,,,""age jH in 1I""k HI, 2, 1412".

joumat uf Arable Lltorn tum, 1.1



of metaphor instances which are based on the genus-species, species_ genus and species-species relationships." On the other hand, Aristotle's words make it clear that the process of representing objects as animate is achieved by Homer by the employment of proportional metaphor. N ow proportional metaphor is the fourth type of his classification quoted above. This. exc~udes ~he possibil!ty of taking his analysis of the process of animatmg objects as a hint at a new classification.

In the present study, the discussion of Aristotle's classification of metaphor will be based entirely on his well known passage in the Poetics quoted earlier. No other part of his treatment of metaphor will be considered as forming any further development of this classification. This is not to say that no other part of his study is relevant to his classification of metaphor, but this is something entirely different.

Aristotle's classification enumerates four possible relations in the process of transference. It is of interest that in this classification complete identity is established between metaphor and transference. Transference produces metaphor only. Metaphor can be produced only by transfcrence.P The four relations involved in creating a metaphor are of an obvious logical nature. They are based on the generalparticular relat!onship, as in the first three types, and the relationship of analogy, as 111 the fourth type. It is also of interest that the relation between metaphor, or transference, and the similarity relationship is not discussed at all. Nevertheless, Aristotle does not seem to be coherent when he says that simile is the same thing as metaphor, but is put differently. a For this statement means either that simile is based on transference, or that metaphor is based on similarity. The first case is obviously in:alid, the second contradicts the relationship general-particular on which Aristotle's first three divisions ate based.

Tivo Concepts of the Classification

. It ~las been pointed out earlier that Aristotle establishes a complete identity between transference and metaphor. His reference in the

1. s~; f~; ins~ance Poe~ics ,~~. 21, 1450a, where be studies the metaphor in the wo.t:~ all (~ sayltl.~ that all 18 tnet~pho1'ical1y put for "many", since "all" is the species of many. Other examples In the Rbetoric itself Book III 2 1411b

2. Th~s feature of Aristotle's concept of metaphor co~stitlltcs O;1€,,' of the 'most ba:lc .d~ffer~nces from al- jurjdnf's concept of istiCrira, as will be seen later.

'. 1 hIS, w11.1 be compared with al-jurjani's view later on. The incoherence in Arl.stotle S View is carried further by his analysis of the merits of metaphor on which he ~om~ents ~s f~l~ows: u ... and it is also a sign of genius, since a good metaphor implies an mtutttve perception of the similarity in dissimilars", (Poetit'J' ch.21, 1459a).



Rhetoric to a "classification of metaphors" which he produces in his

P ,'N could thus be interpreted as a "classification of transferences".

oeftQoJ, ." .

The failure to acknowledge this aspect of 1118 study led MiSS Brooke-

Rose to a confusion in the comparison between his classification and the classification by domain of thougllt, and especially, the classification by dominant trait. Aristotle's ch\ssilicatio.n concentrates mainly on the external relation between the two terms 111 the process of transference, i.e, whether they arc both gene1'a1 01: one is general and the other is particular, or, as in the fourth type, whether they are analogous. The classification by dominant trait concentrates on the internal relation between the two terms. 'I'hus, the basic question which Aristotle's classilication answers is: What is the nature of the two terms involved in the process of transference? '1 he classification by dominant trait is based on an already dclincd concept of the nature of the relation between the two terms, this relation being sirnilarity, The question which is answered here is: What is the point of similarity between the two terms involved? Metaphors arc then classified according to the nature of the point of similarity, or dominant: t:rait. In other words, the Aristotelian classificarion docs not: assume II tralt, or substance existing in both terms, but: tries to define the logical categories to which each term belongs, and the relarion between these categories (of the terms) rather than till' relarion between the terms themselves. The classification by dominant trait takes as its basis the existence of the same trait in both terms and proceeds to analyse this trait itself. This conclusinn is rcspcmsihle ror the exrcrnal-inrernal antithesis expressed above, as being tit,'. basil' difference between these two types of classifications.

The external .. internal antithesis is hased on a fundarncntal difference between Aristotle's concept of metaphor and the concept of this figure adopted in the cII\Rsili(:I\l'iol1 hy dominant unit. In the former, the relations involved in mctnpho» aft: of two types: the species .. genus-species relationship and the relntlonship of analogy.' Analogy is by its own nature based on II certain type of similarity. Whereas in the latter classification, the only rclution which is Haiti to be involved is similarity.s

1 This seems w he It m()I'~', ~lPIH!lpl'iitl:e way of l~XIH'C:1sil1g the FOUl: types of Aristotle's mcuiphor than calling rhcru "'1'lw HpccluH.·gCJ1lW cl:tssHicatlol1" as Brooke-Rose has cone. (II). til. PI' .. ,.·5.

2 Except in Steru'« \VOI'I .. us jj will l>l: seen.



Bearing in mind those differences between the Aristotelian classifica_ tion of metaphor, and the classification by dominant trait, it will be possible to say that Aristotle's classification is a classification not of a group of metaphors based on the same principle, but of different types of transferences which have different natures. In other words and taking into account al-jurjani's analysis of the process of transfer: ence and the terminology he uses in this analysis, Aristotle's classifica_ tion is one of al-m'!fiiz and not of al-isti'iira.

This distinction is essential for the understanding of al-Jurjani's classification of isti'dra and its relation to Aristotle's classification of metaphor. And in this sense, it is evident that Aristotle has not produced a classification of isti'iira, He has only named one type of it, namely, the proportional one, as being one type of transference. Hence, it is possible to suggest that the Arab translators of Aristotle were confused when they translated Aristotle's metaphor by isti'ara. Aristotle's metaphor should have been translated as a type of tIIajiiz, including me species-genus-species relationship and that of analogy.! It will be shown that this forms only one part of al-jurjani's liI'!faz, w hich includes more types of transference based on the contiguity relation man the species-genus-species one, and another type of isti'iira besides the proportional one.

The Relations Involved in Transference

The emphasis on the similarity relation as a differentia of the classification by dominant trait was a basic feature of such works as Hermann Paul's 'Priltzipien del' Sprachgeschichte', which was first published in 1886.2 Paul's analysis of the precise nature of the similitude between the two terms included in the metaphor is discussed by Christine Brooke-Rose as representing the classification by dominant trait. The oilier analysis is the one produced by Miss Hedwig Konrad.' The former work, in addition to G. Stem's:' 'iii/caning ami Change of

1 ~'his sta:ement is.~ase.d on t~le view held by the present writer) and contrary to the VIews of many cntics Including Kratchkovsky, that is/icIJr(1 in Arabic tradition l~nd almost always been thought of as being based on aimllariry before al- JurjanI's time.

2 Hermann Paul, "Priflzlpim der Spr(lchgcsd)ichtc", seventh edition, Max Niemeyer Verlage (Tubingen, 1966), [would like to acknowledge the hclj, given to me by Miss Ruth Stolle? who kindly translated the chapters on metaphor. The ~atemcnt made here 18 bused on Brooke-Rose's view of Paul's work.

a Iitttde stir ia l/18tap/Jore, Paris 1939.

4. Gustaf.Stern, j}fea1Jing and Chonge of i1if(!(mil1g, second printing, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1965,



MMffing', and S. Ullmann's 'The Principles of Semantios' 1 wH.1 form h basis of the attempt made in the present study to establish the

t e 'fi . f'" - . b did .

thesis that al- ]urjani's classification 0 isti <Ira IS ase on t re ominant

trait or resembling attributes, and corresponds in its basic structure

ne of the latest well-formed classifications of metaphor produced to 0 1 UII ' "F . I in modern European. studies,,, name y mann s -uncnona

classification of Semantlc Change .

The c1assificlltion by dominant trait is based 011 the principle that the relation involved in metaphor is the si111i.bdty relation. The s.imilarity is established between one or more attributes of the teJ:l11S Involved in a metaphor. Naturally, a similarity between all the attributes o~ the two objects makes it impossible to create a metaphor, for the objects

will be iclen tical.

Miss Konrad's work on the nature of the similitude in metaphor,

as discussed in Miss Brooke-Rose's book, seems to be a better representative of the classification, by c1?minant trait ~h~n ~aul's. F.ot, although Paul makes a clear distinction between similarity relat.lon and other relations involved in the transference, and emphasises similarity as being a characteristic of mctaph?r only,2.his c~assjficatiol1 can hardly be called a classification hy dominant trait. MISS B~o(]keRose gives the impression that Paul's classification is "according to the common attributes of the proper term and the transposed term (such as form, dimension, function)." II However, this view. is o:i8- leading. It is obvious that Paul has not "sketched out a classification according to the common attribute" as she says. Indeed, Paul, has enumerated the relations, or points of similarity, which she mel1t1on~, such as "form, dimension and function"." But he has not called this part of his analysis a classification. This analysis has dealt with such types of metaphor as those based on the concrete-abstract, :abstmctconcrete and animate-inanimate relationships."

Of course, it is possible for It critic to establish a ~lassificati()~ of metaphor by dominant trait, in which the above mentioned relations are included, but in this case, his aim will be to analyse the nature of the point of similarity involved in these types of metaphor, and not

1 Stephen Ullmann, "The Priuiiplos '?! ,\'I!I!ltlllt/c,r", 3t:d lmprcsskru,

well, Oxford, jucksou, Son & Co, Ciln.!iguw, '1963. , Of!. cit. p. 95 § 69.

• Op. cit, p. 1'1.

• Op.'cil. §;69. s Ibid.

Bneil. Black-



merely to indicate the spheres or categories where the terms belon The former approach certainly forms a classification by domina!~ trait, as al-jurjani's approach will be shown to have done, whereas the latter will form classifications of domain of thought and animate inanimate types. It is this method of approach which was adopted by Paul. Therefore, his classification cannot be considered a classification by dominant trait.

It is surprising to notice that the writer who is probably the most representative of the classification by dominant trait amongst the European writers dealt with in the present paper was not even mentioned in Miss Brooke-Rose's study of this type of classification.l Stern has produced a full classification of metaphor by dominant trait, which could be taken as a useful basis to understand al- Jurjani's own classification.

Stern's basic emphasis in his classification of transferences is laid on the intentional nature of the transfer creating a metaphor 2, a feature which al-jurjani himself has emphasised. When intentional transfer is used for emotional (including aesthetic) reasons, then the figures of speech, of which metaphor is one, are produced." It is obvious that ~tern's co~cept of the expressive and purposive functions of metaphor 15 rc~pon~lble for his two divisions of this figure. Metaphor in his classification can be based on similarity and on relations other than similarity. Stern rejects the concept held by most writers that the rel~tion in a metaphor is always one of similarity.s However, he points out that metaphors based on this relation arc probably more frequent than the other type."

What. is relevant to the purpose of this study is that Stern has emphasised the distinction between the similarity relation and other relations as his basis for the classification of the various types of

1 ~roo~e~Rose mentions Stern's classiricarion in her study uf the linguistic classifications,

, Op.cit. pp. 298-299

3 Ibid. p, 299, also p. 293, "Intentional transfer is distinguished from regular transfer by being int~ntional (sec 11.13). Figures of speech differ from intentional tr~1sfe~ by the emO~10jlalnaturc of their causes (sec 11.14r',

lbul. p, 309. This may seem contradictory to the statement made earlier in the pre~en~ paper, .namely, that the basis of the classification by dominant trait is the similarity rel~tlon. The contradiction, however, docs not exist. For, even though ~ter~ a type of metaphor which is not based on similarity, in the classi-

c~t10n of this typ~ ~f metaphor he docs not use the principle of dominant t'a;tI~~."· he calls It common element". See Ibid. p. 314 and 1'l'. 326-330.




transfers, ancl that he considers this distinction "applicable to metaphors" .1

On the other hand, he classifies the type of metaphor which is, ac-

cording to him, based on similnrity" on the basis of the resembling attdbutes or dominant trait. His classification of metaphors based on similarity3 is formulated as follows: " ... among the metaphors based on similarity we may, for the moment, make rl ivisions according to the nature of the common clement." The similarity 11111 y refer to (1) the appearance, (2) the qualities, functions, activities, or (3) the perceptual or emotional effects of the reference. With a larger. and more diversified body of material, it might have been possible to make further distinctions along these lines.' '1'11is classification occurs in


As for ac1jectives, Srern says: "Most adjectives denoting qualities

of concrete objects can he used metaphorically of ahstract things ... synaesthesia is .,. very common in adjectives." G This principle also

applies to verbs."

Under these headings Stem dassilics a great number of sub-divisions

as follows:

1. Similarity or Ap)1l!arancc (a) Ohjcds Name for Ohject, (b) Object: for Person, (c) Propel' Names in !\ppcllfltive lise.

2. Similarity of Quality, Activity, or Function (a) Object's Name for Other Object, (11) Object for Person, (e) Quality for Person, (d) Animal for Person, (e) National Name (used for Individual) in Appellative Usc, (f) Proper Name in Appellative Usc, (g) Place Names in Appellative lise.

3. Similarity of Perceptual or 1'~I1l()tivc Hflcct (a) Synaesthesia, (b) Abusive Words as Elllkal'mcnls, (e) Apprcdativc or Depreciative Uses.

Adjectives ami verbs are not suh-divklcd.

1. 1bM. pp. 273-294. "There art! 1\1,.'0 PWlHihilitic,!', the Ji.1'!'.t of rhcse is 1'0 distinguish transfers based oil. nimilnrlry FI'om those haNetl 011 other relatif)ns, .. the HilI1H~ distinction is npptiruhlc l:{) n\elnp!1ill'~., .aince it is thUH evidently an [mportnnt

point (If vlcw, I shall tukc it fill' Illy !irsl hasiH of d:u;HiJkat:inll/l .

2 Many of Sl:cm\ '-~xalllpk~H fall under headings of tlf""N{j(i.'(, tll~lJJlIl'sal til aiM Ju.rjani's work.

:I Ibid. p, 314. Stern clln!incs himself to mcruphurlcnl words, leaving (Jut of account metaphorical ph\'aHl.·~. IL iH the f01'llle!' Lype ofmcmphol"s only which al- Jmjnnl classifies. ~l"l'c()vct:, he <,III"H not call the type. which is based <In ph"",c. isti({1rtl,

, IbM. p. 314.

, Ibid. p. 314. u Ibid. p. 326.



The Similarity Relalion ill Ullmann's Classification oj Metaphor

Ullmann's classification of metaphor is one of the latest and probably most closely knit systems in the analysis of metaphor. 'The basis of this classification is a clear distinction between two welldefined relations in the process of transference. These two relations ar similarity and contiguity.! The emphasis on these relations is apparen~ in th~ fact that they for~n major criteria by which Ullmann judges the contribution of such writers as Cornbocz and Roudet to the 'functional classification' of semantic change, which he has perfected. 'The functional classification is formulated by Ullmann as follows:

(A) Semantic changes due to linguistic conservatism.

(B) Semantic changes due to linguistic innovation.

(i) Transfers of names:

(a) through similarity between the senses. (b) through contiguity between the senses. (il) Transfers of senses:

(a) through similarity between the names. (b) through contiguity between the names. (iii) Composite changes 2

The most important part of Ullmann's classification for the purpose of the present study is Section (B) (i). For it is on this aspect of transference that al-jurjanl has concentrated his acrivitics.P But it is part (a) of this section which concerns us more at present, It is here that Ullmann's classification of metaphor is produced and Ullmann himself calls this part". , . in many ways the most crucial division of diachronistic semantics." 4 It is of vital interest to notice that the crucial role he attributes to the similarity relation is accompanied by a statement that what the similarity is based 011 is a "common denominator", between 81 and 82, the two senses involved in the transference.s This common denominator determines the mechanism of metaphor:

lOp, cit, p. 267. Ullmann says" ... the two most vital categories of semantic c~1angcJ name transfers based on sense similarity and those reflecting contigutty between the senses."

2 Ibid'l?' 220. Ullmann uses transfer (tin a neutral sense withoi .. it any implication as :0 th~ intentional or unintentional, sudden or grndunl nature of the change". ~t 15 of mteresc that al-Jurjani failed to distinguish between the intentional un-

intentional, sudden or gradual types of transfer. '

3 However, it_is possible to establish certain links between (B) (ti) and ,,1- Jurjani's work, such as hIS study of maj{iZ in ellipsis.

4 Ibid. p. 213.

5 Ibid. p. 223.



"The mechanism at work is implicit in the diagram. Sense S1 has SOllie lea/llres ill CO/JIII/li/l II,il!1 some other sense 1 S2, lying within its associative field. At a given moment attention will be focused solely on the common denominator, or the overlap between their semantic ranges and the name pertaining to S1, N1 will be felt as an adequate desigMtion for S2, quite irrespective of whether S2 did or did not have an N2 at its command."

Ullmann suggests two terms to describe the types of similarity: "sN/;slllllti(i! and ClIJotit,o similarity. The former will be responsible for anthropomorphic transfers like 'leg of a table, foot of a hill .. .'

While the substantial similarity transfers may be tinged with affective nuances, they arc rooted in some referential/or/hl1J1 cOlllparationis. Emoiue similarity, 011 the other hand, entirely depends on the analogous impact and effective resemblance of the two senses . .A special subgroup is formed by transfers of physical sensation to mental states, 'hitterncss', 'sweet: temper', 'warm feelings'. Not unrelated is the usc of abusive terms as endearments, .. " 2

It will be shown later that these divisions and sub-groups correspond to al-Jurjani's distinction between two types of similarity: one is what he calls "the very physical existence of the attribute" (fi (.Ia#/f:,at al-.r{fa), the other is what he calls "a natural consequence cotrelatcd to the attribute"(.fi 11111~1tcl(I(7 IIl-,'i.f(1).n To this latter division ill al-jurjanl's work Ullmann's division of "Synaesthesia" also corresponds,

The final feature of Ullmann's classification of metaphor discussed here is the fact that it is also based on the'dominant trait; " ... this classification is based on the nature of the sl;11ilarity itself".5

An 13vct/II(1tit1o Approach

Unlike the classifications discussed Llp to now which are produced by semanticists who were concerned with metaphor as a factor in semantic change, al- J urj ani's classification of is/i'dra is an organic part of his critical theory of construction, The basic feature of this theory is its concentration on the study of style and the nature and

t (Italics mine).

• Ibid. 1'. 224-225.

a Asrttr aJ-li(J/a..t!,lia, edited, with an incroducrion, by H .. Ritter, Governmenl

Press, (Istanbul, 1954) p. 88.

4 Op. cit. I'. 225-226.

, Ibid. p. 226. UII"1Onn procccda to establish another "alternative, or flllld~llIentuJ}J derived from the mcchnnism of the precess", This new classification 1S irrelevant to the present study bemuse it is not con6ned to category (i) (a).



function of artistic expression. In the main, the principles on which al-jurjani bases his theory of construction are psychological. These principles are derived from analysing the nature of artistic experience and its expression in two phases: the first phase is its formulation in the psyche. of the creator,. its relation t~ him and the psychological process winch shapes the literary expresslOn. The second phase is its impact on the recipient, its interaction with him, and the psychological factors :vhich shape his comprehension of an~ reaction to the literary expression.! The study of the two phases of literary creation are also applied at great length to one of the most important elements of artistic expression, namely, poetic imagery.

Instances of the study of these two phases are numerous in both of al-jurjanl's books. His analysis of the first phase is based entirely on a fundamental principle concerning the psychological structure of literary expression. He formulates this principle as follows:

"The nature of the process of construction is based on the understanding of th~ grammatical functions ?f words because you [as a creator of a literary e~preSSlOtl] establish an arrangement of the mearu~gs [or concepts] 111 your psyche, and Ibm arrange your words according to the first arrangement ... One can not create an arrangement of words except when one has thought of [and arranged] the meanIngs".2

'Thus, the inner arrangement determines all the elements of the literary expressio~, including imagery which, al-jurjani says, is "an orgaruc element m the construction, which is inseparable from it. All these figures contribute to the creation of the construction ... because it is impossible to find a noun or a verb in which the iJ'fi'iil'a occu~~, which is not compound with other elements. Do you not see that ~t the word head in the [Kur'anic] verse 'My head has blazed with h_oanness' was not thought of as a subject of the verb 'blazed' (tsbta'ala) . and. the word 'hoariness' (JhClibatt), was not thought of as a specification (tClmyiz) no isti'iira can be said to occur in the verse?" The _principle of the inner arrangement of the meanings, which underlies the whole of al- J urjani's theory of construction, is

• 1 ~t is obvious that a full treatment of this question is not possible here. Tt is l~ev1tab~ ~or :he paper to rely on the opinion expressed above concerning t ep~yc a ogical principles of al-jurjfini's theory without trying to establish the validity of such an interpretation.

2 Dalii'il al-I'jiiZ edited by Rashid Ralia, (third eclition, Cairo, 1366 A.H.),

p. 349. See also pp. 41, 310, 320.



losely connected with the emphasis laid upon the necessity of anal sing the lirerary expression from the point of view of its relation to

Y 1 J '--

the creator. A - urjant says:

"The consideration [of the qucsrion] of constructlon should be concentrated on the state of the creator and composer of the artistic expression, and the nnnlysls of the meanings must be one of the relations of these meanings to this composer, and not to the hearer." 1

As for the second phase, namely, the analysis of the impact of the artistic expression, or, for our purpose, of poetic imagery, on the recipient, it is thought sullicicnt to quote one instance at present, because a fuller treatmcnt will be produced later. Al-Jurj1inl discusses tajltis,2 commenting on its various types, those which are pleasant, and those which an! not. I lis view of the effectiveness and pleasantness of this branch of /li/di' is based entirely on its impact on the recipient, and the psychological process which is involved in the recipient's reaction to the expression. Llis comment is:

" ... the pleasat1tness Itl this example] is due to the fact: that the poet has repeated the same word in your hearing, as if he was deceiving you by giving the impression that rhcrc is !lO new additional meaning or significance when, in fncr, he has givc,n YOll this significance ... In another example I where' the two wort\s diller only in the last letter], the reason for I'1w pleasantness is the same, that is, the giving of an additional or new significance, in the form of a non-signilicaut repetition. For hen, you iJ1lllgitll', when yOlt 1",,,1' the first word and then the second word before you come to its end, that yon have heard the same word, und thu t the new one is it form of emphasis. The word, then, establishes 11 self in Y')lI t: l'~;ydll', Hilt! Y'lU hear its end, and suddenly all your previous imprcssiuns vanish, and you have a new meaning. This is what 1 mentioned I'!I you before sayinf( that it is the process of getting a signilic<lm:(, aFter heing in despair of getting any slgniIicancc, and it is a form of nchicving pwl1t after you were deceived and made to feci that it was only the capitnl YOll had which .. ."a

Al-Jurjuni's analysis of poetic lmngcry in general, and i,rti'iira in particular, has another bask dlflcrcncc from the classifications considered earlier, Whereas rhcsc classifications are in the main descriptive, al-Jllrjani's classification is evaluative. His interest is not in discover-

1 Ibid. p. 320. See also p, '\O() ~ ". .. speech COIlHisl:!1 of cunccpts, or mcunlugs (1/i(l~(illl) which Ht'C created hy the cumposC!l' in biH psychu, und which he considers in his mind, and whispers to his heart."

2 Tajl1ts, or pnroru Imasin, iH tHling the Hallie. wurd ill two tlifrcn.\l1t meHnings, or using two words which Hh;u~c 1l11,!:\l (.F their sounds in the same expression.

3 Amir, Pi'. H, 18.



ing the laws which govern the process of transference, although he sketches out a valid scheme for the relations involved in this process.t Even when he does this, though, his concern is with its relation to his basic thesis of the importance of IIlt!jiiZ to provide evidence for the nature of literary expression, its psychological basis, and its relation to his theory concerning the role of "meaning and words" (al-JIIa'na IIJa al-IaJ0.

The evaluative approach adopted by al-jurjanl is of immense influence on his concept of the classification of isti'ara, and his studies on the nature of the resembling attribute, or dominant trait, or as he calls it, al-khaua al-rtt'is!y'ya or akhau a!-,rifat.2

Another direct result of al-jurjani's evaluative approach is his concentration, in his analysis of isti'iira, on examples taken from ~rabic poetr~, the Kur'an, and: to a much less extent, artistic prose Instances. ThIS m.akes the question of popular and poetical metaphor, or, as Stern puts It, regular transfer and elaborate poetical metaphor, irrelevant to his classification. The difference between the evaluative and the descriptive approaches has also strong bearings on the analysis of the two psychological phases pointed out earlier. For it is natural that in an evaluative classification of metaphor, the central issue will be: What are the criteria which make a certain image, or for our purpose, a certain metaphor, more expressive and of greater emotional and aesth.etic effect than another? To answer this question requires an analysis of the two phases mentioned above. It is of interest to notice that Stern has complained that the psychological process in the psyche of the creator of metapbor has always been overlooked. Stern himself concentrates on this process and ignores the psychological process of the recipient completely, saying "It is evident, however, that the genesis of a metaphor lies entirely with the speaker. It is the speaker who perceives the association on wbicb the metaphor is based ~:d formulates i:s !eculiar bilgtlistic expression". Stern goes on to say:

The c~aractetlStlcs of metaphors must therefore be sought in the s~eaker s mental process and in the linguistic form in which he gives them expression, The hearer's part is to adapt himself to the

1 A,l- J urjani's classification of the relations of rrnnfcrcncc in majaz is of great interest in its own turn. It: will be interesting to compare his scheme with thos.e of,modern semanticists, especi~lly Ullmann's, such n comparison is likely ;0 YIeld lm~ortant results. However, m the present paper, this will be done only 111 so far as It affects the classification of isticara

2 It ,i,8 tctn.arkable that al~Jurjani's term is ~hc direct translation into Arabic of the Dorninant Trait".


f I



speaker's mood and to comprehend the unusual symbol." 1 Needless to say, the concentration on the speaker's role is a result of the descriptive naturc of Stern's study.

Contrary to this, al- J ur] ani tries to discover the impact of the nature of the dominant trait and its two most important features which determine the emotional and aesthetic effect on the recipient, namely its degree of exaggeration and fusion between the referents of metaphor, ancl its remoteness and strangeness,2 which make it more


The evaluative nature of ul-jurjani's classilication which is based

mainly on the two factors just mentioned, is the basis of his divisions of metaphors by dominant trait. The term "dominant trait" here is accordingly different from its usage in the previously discussed classifications. In the latter, the dominant trait is merely mentioned. No attempt is made to show its crnotionul und aesthetic impact on the pleasantness of the mctaphur, In fact, in many instances, as in the studies of Paul, and to a lesser degree Stern's and Ullmann's, this dominant trait is not even mentioned, and the study of the metaphor is confined to pointing out the nature of the domains of the referents, whether. they nrc abstract, animate 01: inanimate." It will be shown that ill al-Jurjrtni's work, this docs 110t happen. Even when he analyses the nature of the domains of the referents, he is concerned with the impact of this nature on the basic theme ill isti'sra, namely, the degree of fusion, rcruotencss and stmngcness.

AIJlI1jlini'.r Alli/D'.ri.r ()/ tbe P()illil!/,.I'illli/tlri{J'

Al-Jurjftl1i devotes a major part. of his book AmiI' (tI-Balcic~ba to analysing the nature oj' the point of similarity lli,!j/) al-sbabab, which is all-impnrmnt to his whole work Oll poetic imagery. He does not classify i.r/i'l7rll only according to the characteristics of I/lqjh al.rbabah; he also disringuisbcs between the various ligures of speech Or! this basis. I lis nnnlysis or the rcscmbliru; attributes is naturally

1 OJ). cit. p, 301; SCC "lSi I PI" 304 .. 3115.

2 The terms fClllo('cnCHH and slTlmgenl'liH need to he examined closely to show al-Jutjani'H crltcriun ()f the pk~',tH:lnt11CH~ of i,rli'(il'ft, However, It full annlYHis h~ not possible here. III hr.uul lines, these LCL'nU:i mean the degree of remoteness of itt/c(im from pluin stntcmcut and t11L" lkgl:CC (IF tlH: intellectual cm.n:t requited to pen::civc it ami to comprehend it.

a See Stern, ,,/).0'/1. Pi'. :>l4 .. 3IH. I'llI' instnucc: "Abstract for Abstract ...

Knowledge is I~t!h/, pussion is fir», .. HI ~ we spenk of a rl{)' (,f hi lPC". Compare with tll-Juljflni's study of II," ,,\111(' example: /1J')'(/i'1'. H3. Also Ullruunn, oj).eil. p. 224.



based on his concept of isti'iira and its relation to simile and comparison.!

isti'dra, al-Jurjani says, is based on transference involving the similarity relation.f Thus similitude is its basis, and the mechanism of discovering this similitude preoccupies him very strongly. As a jHndamentul1J for the discovery of similitude, al-jurjani analyses the mental and psychological processes which occur in the creator's psyche (al-najs). The mechanism, he says, is that "the !llllshabbih" 3 of an object with another concentrates on the attribute (ai-war!) which is common to both objects; and excludes [from his thinking]' everything else. For instance, if he uses a lion in a comparison, he perceives 0 "the image of braveness onl y and ignores all other [attributes] ... " 7

As the point of similarity, or akbau al-cIIJi,rii.!, varies in its remoteness 8 and in the intellectual effort, on the creator's part, required to perceive it, the mental processes vary from the immediate association

1 For instance} he distinguished ltt.rhbi!J fn.H11 Itm;.tbil according to the simple or complex nature of the point of similarity and the degree of intellectual effort (al-!;ajat 'ila a!-ta'alJ!)vul) requited to comprehend this point. Sec A.rr,ir, pp. 85-87.

2 A major difference between Aristotle's concept of metaphor and al- Ju.rjani's concept of i%tiCiira lies in the relation between metaphor and simile (Aristotle) and isti'iira and tasbbtb (al-jurjanl]. The former says that the simile is a metaphor put differently (Rh,toric III, 4, 1405b. Also 1412b-1413a, especially 1413. where he says "", and that similes arc metaphors has been stated often already.") Al- Jurjani establishes a sharp distinction between i.rti'('ra and taJ'bblh in 1"nnny aspects-as far as transference is concerned, in the linguistic form, and most important, the degree of fusion between the referents (0/,. cit, 1'1'. 220·222). The two critics also take opposite stands on the possibility of turning a simile into a metaphor (or into isti'iira). Aristotle believes that "All these ideas 111ay be expressc:l either as similes or as metaphors: those which succeed as metaphors w~ll obviously do well also as similes, and slmllcs, with the explanation omitted, Will appear as metaphors" (Rbetorlo III, 4, 1406b). Al- J urjanl rejects this opinion very strongly. He devotes whole chapters to prove it wrong (needless to say, he doe.s not refer to Aristotle at all, but to the concept us expressed by earlier Arab critics). He holds that it 19 the nature of the point of similarity which determines whether this is possible or not. Some similes can be expressed as rnctaphors, others can not (As,."r, pp. 224-228).

3 "The establisher of the comparison". 1. retained the Arabic word because it is derived from the same root aa "tashbfb" which is different from the English "comparison" (Arabic: rlltf!::iirana).

,1 "AI-17Jalj al-Iadhi yajmaC bain al-shaPah!,'. 5 "Yanfi {an nafsib al-fikr jim(7 !illl(ill'.

6 "AI/!(i [Iirat a!-shajii(a bain« 'uinaihi",

, Ibid. pp. 231-232. Al- Jurjilni repeats this view in numerous other places in his books.

a Asrar p. 381.



which links two objects in the mind, to a more complicated process of "remembrance, search for the images which the psyche has stored, evoking the imagination to visualise and analyse these images and bring out what was absent ... " J

Between these two poles of immediate association where there is 110 need for interpretation (ta'alll1lJtlI) and the search of the psyche where the need for ta'a/li/lJ/lI is so great:, fall the various types of dominant traits according to which metaphors are classified.

Thl Factors !J!hich COIt/ribllio to the Need [or Ta'all'lIJtli in tho Dominant Trai:

The psychological principles of al- J urj ani's theory of construction and its elements have already been pointed out. Some of these principles ate applied to his analysis of the beauty of the point of similarity and its appeal to the hearer, and to the formation of isti'ara in the creator's mind. His analysis of these two aspects of isti'nr« are inter-related, for it is the intellectual effort required for the t(f'all!llJtt! of the point of similarity which is responslble for its distinction, AI-]lll:jilni states that very clearly." He then proceeds to analyse the factors which contribute to the remoteness and strangeness of the point of similarity. lIe points out two fundamental reasons which are responsible for its strangeness:

1. The principle of the comprehension of details.

2. The principle of the scarcity or repetition of contact with the senses.

The first principle is based on a psychological view of the process of comprehension. AI- J ur] ani holds that "the whole is comprehended more immediately than the details"." Applied to the senses, this means that "the sense of sight docs not comprehend the details immediately and without any effort, but you see at first glance the whole in general, then, hy a repetition of the act of looking, you see the details. This also applies to henring and all other senses." 4

1 IbM. /'. 144: "llrhlll I1I1hllM)(/1 11'11 .f1l!Y Ii ,11-1141' '1111 '''-,tllJI,"" allat] la"'ijllhc7 1I'a taVl'iJ.7 Ii ("~lfYabJJl.ll dblili!,';(1 lIJrI i.rtib(1(71· 11I(7,g/Jt7/Jtl mil/IJII." 'I'he emphasis on the conscious nnCU1'C (,f thi~ P1'(JC~~jS is :t basic fcucurc of such worlra as Paul's, Stern's, Ullmann's, Wundt, anti Winkb, (see, for the latter two, Brooke-Rose op, cit. p.12).

2 Asrar, p. 128.

3 Ibid. p. 142 "/mlti l/(/cl((1II 1'11111(1 "/")11111/(1 a/NIt/fill (J.r/Ja~1 if(7 a/~1JIrft7s miu al-t4/it'. oj The whole Ill' thiH p:l~C is of great intcrcsr for the nnalysis of this principle.

It is useful tu teat! the detailed :It'gll1'llcnt put forward here.



According to the capacity to comprehend the details (aI-tiff/I), one viewer or hearer is said to be better than another. But all viewers or hearers comprehend the wholeness (af.jtltl1al), at equal levels. This principle applies not only to sensory comprehension, but also to the intellectual and psychological one.!

As an application of this principle, there are various types of domi. nant traits which are classified according to their degree of detailed similitude, or "according to the placement of the description in the categories of 'wholeness' or 'detailedness'; and the deeper it goes into detail, the greater is the need for consideration and reflection." 2

An instance may be quoted here: if an object has the dominant trait "redness", one could compare it to another object whose dominant trait is "redness" as well. Here the "redness" is of a general nature without any detailed characteristics. On the other hand, the "redness" may be "bright". The need here for more search for an object whose dominant trait is "bright redness," is greater than in the first case. In the latter type more details are involved."

However, in these two types, the degree of detail involvecl is small. AI-Jurjani quotes other instances where the detail is of a fat more complex nature. The poet Umru' al-Kais says: " ... a lance which was as though its tip were a gleam. of fire unsullied by smoke." Another poet, namely 'Anrara, says: " ... a sword like the blazing firebrand."

Comparing these two lines, al-jurjani says: "Here you find a great difference in their merits unci success, although 'the thing compared with (al-7IJIIJ"habbah bihi)' is the same in both of them. This is only because the former achieved a delicate and fine degree of detail, whereas the latter contented himself with comparing the wholes. It is obvious that this degree of detail does not occur to the imagination immediately, but is the result of analysis and careful consideration of the objects compared." 4

As for the second principle, namely, the scarcity of the repetition of contact with the senses," al-jurjani's view is that the more the eyes see

1 Ibid. p. 147. , I/Jid.

a Ibid. pp. 147-148.

. 'Ibid. pp. 149-150. Al-.Jurjani goes on to say: "If you think that this is possible to ~clllcVC instinctively WIthout the search of the psyche of the poet for the images Whl~h arc restored there ... you arc completely mistaken, and YOll arc ass Liming the Impossible .. "

, Ibid. pp. 151·164.



of an object, the more deeply rooted its image injhe psyche (al-nafs) is thus it is alway,; present to the senses, and conversely.' .Al-jurjani's c~nclusion derived from this principle is that "every similarity which is based on a trait or image Dr form which is always present to the sense of sight, leads to it huse ant! very ordinary simile. On the other hand, the similes which arc based on the opposite type of similarity arc strange, rare and creative." 2 Similes VRry according to "their lelation to this principle"."

There is another type of remoteness which is achieved when these two principles arc combined in one i.l'ti'dr(/. This type is one of the highest degrees of remoteness which can be achieved."

The study of the factors which contribute to the remoteness of the point of similarity has m.ulc it possible to proceed now to give a fuller account of al- J ur] ani's basic div isions of the types of dominant


AI-Jurjanl's view of making it comparison bel ween two objects

is that this could be based 011 two types of similitudes: the first is the type which is "obvious" and docs not require further interpretation (ta'IlI/1/Pul). The second is comprehended only by intellectual effort and interpretation."

The first type is represented by such physical characteristics as "form, colour, or a combination of both form and colour, dimensions, sounds, smells. Under this category fall all the moral traits such as courage, cunning, etc"." ln other words, this category includes everything which is coruprchcndcd through the BellSCS, and the moral and instinctive trairs.

According to al-jurjflnl, in this gwup 11(1 1t"(/}I'IIIt/! is required because "one is aware of the existence of redness in both the cheek and the rose and I inc sees it In both, in the same way that one 'knows' the existence of coumgc in the lion us one knows of its existence in the man".7

The second type of dominant trair which can only be realised by ill'alii/NI! is sub-divided into three grol1PS:

1 'I'hia certainly appllt.::i ill its eJltin.~ly In l.rli9ra.

, !11M, p. 151. Sec a1,<> 1>1'. 15H,,15'). i\l .. llll'jrill'i proceeds 1:0 discuss the vurious methods of uchic v illl!, c.uh I d·11HI!1(.~ two ~:It;ll':le\L~dl1tks in pOi.!tl'y, sec pp. 151-154. " Ibid. 1'1'. 157··15H .

4. IbM. pp. HO-Hl H •• ,minji/J{II (1IJ11' /Jdb!yjllid"YIi(ll(ri/11J ild /a'(/wiJ.IfI/,1I''' (i/N(lkbeJf

/mytlklin (j/-.I'ha/J{dl JllII(lii:I)'IJ/fllllJi d,/r/J min tJlld)tIllJIlIffI," a Ibid. pp. Hl··H2.

a Ibid.

, Ibid.

Ioumal of Amlli(\ Llteru t tu'e, II



1. The first group requires the least possible degree of ta'aJvlv,iI and it is so easy to comprehend, that it almost belongs to the fits; type of dominant trait. J\ case in point is "The argument is like the sun in its clarity". Al-]urj1ini comments on this example as follows:

"Here you have compared the argument with the sun from the point of view of its clarity, just as you had previously compared two objects from the point of view of their colours or forms. But nevertheless you know that the comparison in question could not be achieved except with an intellectual effort and interpretation (la' aJlJJvul). This can be done by realizing that the reality of the clarity of the sun and other similar objects lies in the fact that there is no veil on such objects which may conceal them and make the eye incapable of seeing them. This is why an object appears clearly to one's eye. For, had there been such a veil, it would not have been clear. You then realize that uncertainty is like a veil to the mind and intellect because it prevents the heart from sed~g the doubtful object: .. and this is why doubt 1S described as veiling things from the Intellect which tries to discover their realities. Therefore, if the uncertainty vanishes, an understanding of the meanings of the composition you are considering occurs, and the discovery of the truthfulness of the argument is achieved,. so tha: one can say: 'T:"\is is as clear as the sun', meaning that there 1S nothing to conceal It from the understanding, or to throw doubt on it ... like the clear sun which cannot be denied or concealed. Now you can sec that you needed a certain degree of ta'alJ)JvJlI to interpret this comparison between the argument and the sun, and to comprehend it." 1

2. The second group requires a higher degree of ""{tll)IVIII, but it is still easy to comprehend immediately. This group is veq similar to the first one. An instance is "His words arc like honey in sweetness, the breeze in gentleness, and water ill fluency". In this instance, according to al- jurjant,

"The purpose is to describe the easiness and familiarity of the expression, and to show that it is not strange or odd or unpleasant, as well as to describe the harmony between its various dements. This makes. it l~ke pure water which one enjoys drinking ... This interpretanon 1S based on ta'alP})Jtll because it requires an intellectual effort to relate something to something else ami discover their connections. Therefore this form of expression is in a higher rank of !a'amp," than the first, and the need in it for all intellectual effort is greater than in the first one." 2

1 Ibid., pp. 82-3. e Ibid., pp. 83-4.



3. The third group is not comprehended immediately and it requires a great degree of la'tlIJ)lvlti. This is the type which i> found only in the most distinguished works of literature. An instance of dus group is the expression "They were like a ring cast of metal, whose ends are not recognisable". "As you can see", al-] urj ani says, "this obviollsly requires a great degree of ta' Cl!PlIwl, intellectual effort and careful analysis. Do YOll not see that no one can understand it rightly except him who h~\s sharpness ofn~ind and penetration, w~1ich distinguish him from ordiuary people? It IS clear that the companson of the argument to the sun is not of this nature, for it is common and ordinary and is known hy both the clever lind the stupid, You can also say this about the second type concerning the comparison of the words to wntcr, because yOll can lind it in the speech of ordinary people. As for the type 'They are like a ring of cast metal .. .', yO]] can only lind it in the best of literature and the works of the noble and those who have perfect minds." i

The classificatlon according to the degree of ta' rli/!JJJtlI needed, alJurjani says, is a result of the basic nature of the resembling attribute or clomimLtlt trait, in which tile i.rhliriili:1 occurs. This ishtiriik may be established either in the trait itself (fi I/rljj'ihll 1)Ja !;tI#/,wt .iins/bel), or in an adventitious implication of this trait. The cheek shares with the rose redness itself, and. you find redness existing physically in both objects. Whereas words do not share with honey sweetness as a physical clement, they share with honey a condition of it an~ a contingency which is the feeling of pleasure felt by someone tastl1lg honey, and the psychological state which prevails in the ~s~che during the tasting of something which is appealing ... The similarity, thea, lies in the psydw[ugical state occurring both when thehe~rer hears the words, and. when he mstcs honey. If these two psychological states materialised, they WOldt! have the slime image and would be as harmonious with each other as the redness of the cheek is harmonious with the redness of the rose."

.AI-Jurjrmi's conclusion at which he arrives at this point is that

'D~ . . . .'

I would like to ucknowlcdg« the help of P.rUf~S!:l(ll· A. F. L. Beeston in translating

rhis nnd somc other t.t~I(llad!lns from ul-jurjuni, .I would like also to acknowledge his useful remarks on this ankle.

g "Link" is nut the best: wurd to nnuslurc irlJlirilk, but it seems dlfficuh; to suggest

a more exact trunslurion i~t prescu].

3 Ibid. p. H8 ", , . rll.i,rbliJ'17t: Ii' II/'ll/;' J'(/~(/( lmm'(lttllJ J7 muiibri l}Ja !Ja/Ji/j.aJ jillsih{i JP1I1IJarralan./7 (lIdulI If';"'" 11'11 !IIffl:/a(!tI,1)



ta' aJvJvI11 is required when the similitude occurs in the adventitiolls implication of the trait and not in its physical nature. The former type of similitude is called by al-Jurj ani "the intellectual similitude" (al-shabah al-'a#i), the latter is "the apparent or original similitude" (al-ll1f1shtibaha al-alliyya al-K,iihirCl).l He considers this latter type "the real and original similitude", and the former type "a branch of it which is based entirely on it".2

The Classificasio« of Isti'sra

It is according to the nature of the dominant trait as analysed here that al-jurjanl has classified isti'ara. The counterpart to the nature of the dominant trait in his classification is his concept of i.rli'ara as being based on "lending the meaning of one object to another object, the aim being the attribution of the dominant trait in the first object to the second one"."

On the basis of this concept of isti'dra, and according to his analysis of the nature of the dominant trait, al- J urj ani suggests a classification of this figure into two divisions. The first is "the non-significant type" (al-isti'llra ghelir ClI-?ll/1M,,), the second is "the significant type" (lilisti'llra ell-?mifida).·

In the first type the terms of the i.rti'dra originally signify the same referents, but in two different objects, e.g. the word "lip" (al-.rhafa) signifies the same referent as the word II/~j(l~j;II(/, the only differ-

l J/Jid. p. 90. • Ibid. p. 89.

3 Ibid. p.375. In Dats'it, al- Jurjiini nrguca convincingly that the view that isti-ara is a transference (nalal) of a name front its oJ:ig,inul significance to signify something clsu is wrong, (sec Dalti'il, pp, 331-332). IIi, H'·gU11lCnt is that In forming an isli'(1r(1 the process is one of borrowing the meaning or attributes of an object to be attributed to another object. F01', he argues, in the process one docs not change the meaning of the borrowed il:l111C; it is essential that this meaning should be present in the mind when an i.rli(rJra is being formed. Ibid. pp. 333-335. This is the opposite of the whole line of reasoning in European studies, which originates in Aristotle's clefinition : "tyLctaphol: consists in giving something the name of something else). Ullmann, for instance, classifies metaphor as "a name transfer". AI-Jl.lrjani rejects this, and his view is crucial for the study of semantic change. It shows that the name docs not change its meaning in metaphor. This only happens when metaphor fndcs and becomes n dead metnphor. It is obvious that while the metaphor is still active, no change of meaning can possibly occur. This aspect of al-Jurjonl's concept of iJ'/t'ct/rtl will not be analysed ill this study.

4 AJTiir. p. 29.



ence being that the former signifies the lip in a human being, the

latter in an ani mall. . . .

Such a use of words produces no distinct achievement. In fact,

al-Ju~ani says that he prefers not to. call it is~i'iir<t at all.~ Howeve~, the same phenomenon could be said to achieve a certam aesthetic !feet and in this case it should not be confused with this type, but ~hou{d be considered as belonging to the second division, namely al-;sti'Jr(1 cd-llJI!fida.

Al-Jurjani produces as an instance of this type a disputed image which, he says, had been described as a non-significant ;s!i'iirtl. His analysis of it shows that it is a significant one used'for certain artistic effects. The poet Muzarrad says: "The children had hardly fallen asleep when I saw him [the guest] urging his camel [to move fast towards my tent] by hitting it on its sides with his leg and his boo!" 3

AI- Jurj ani analyses this image in the light of its organic relation 1:0 the other elements of the poem. Thus, seeing it in its context, he says that,

"even though the [1m:t did not want t.o cxPt~ss l;i8 scorn of ~he guest by attributing the word boof (III-Mil") to hlt;J Instead of us~ng the word foot «(iI-*"&III/), nevertheless, the poet aune.d at dCsc~lbtng the miserable state in which the guest: was, and his long aimless journey in t:he desert, and at describing vivicl.~y his :lcsperatc eiTo!: in pushing his animal. In fact the poet has described his .guest as having a miserable physicalllppcamncc. All these facts make 1t almost l1atur~1 for him to talk about the hoof of the man to show the strength of 1118 urging his animal to go fast." 4

As for significant i.rti'{it'(/, it can be classified into three divisio~"s: 1. The type in which "the meaning of the borrowed term exists in the proper term in reality as a gcncml category but nevertheless this meaning (quality or characterlstic) can be classified in a scale of excellence and non-excellence, 0.1" of strength and weakness; YOll may borrow the word f1"0111 the more excellent and apply it to the less excellent, c.g. the application of the quality of 'flight' to something without wings." The analysis of this type pr~cllJcecl. here r~ads: "when you lend the quality of 'fligllt' to something Without wmgs, to show its speed, or when you use the fall of the stars to apply to

1 Ibid. [>)1. 29-31. , Ibid. p. 373.

:I HFa1lJrj rrlkarla al-lJIi/d(flllt /wli(7 rtl1ajtlllilt 'aJii tll-b"kri.Ytllllrlbi bi-J'r7j,ill lJia vr7Jiri

, IbM.~pp.~35-36.



a horse which runs fast, or when you describe a horse as swimtnin to express his running fast. It is known that f1ying, the falling of a~ object, swimming and running all belong to one category (jim), in the sens.e that they arc al~ n:ove~nents. The characteristics of objects [or bodies 1 (q;satll) are distinguished by separate names, but when a poet sees in one of those ajsiim a movement which is similar to the movement of another, he then borrows the wore! from the latter to the former. Thus they say the horse has flown." 1

2. A type which is similar to the first, but is not identical with it. In this type, the similitude is taken from a trait which exists in both objects in reality, as is :he case in the ph~ase "I saw a sun", meaning a ma~ ,,:,h~se face shines (yataha/lal) like the sun. This, al-jurjani says, IS similar to the example quoted in the first type, because the similitude is taken from the trait "shining" which exists in the face of the smiling man (al-i17san al-l1m/ahallil),2 The difference between these two types, according to al- J urj an! is one of the nature of the point of similarity in each of them. Tn the first type, the attribute is the same, existing in two different objects, whereas in the second type, it is not one attribute which is involved. It is rather two attributes which belong to the same category, but differ in the degree of excellence and strength in each of the objects compared.!

3. The type which represents isti'c7rc/ at its highest degree of pleasantness and superiority. Here similitude is taken from "intellectual im~ges", like borrowing light to describe eloquence and argll1l1ents.~ Th~s. ty~e of isti'ara is described as "the pure type" (al-fal1!illl alkhahf I11tnha).

Comparing the nature of the dominant trait in this type with the first and the second types al-Jurjani says: "Here you are certain that the similarity between light and argument is not the same as the one existing between the flight of a bird and the running of a hors~,. as. far as sharing the general nature of the category of the qu~litles IS concerned. For light is a quality of physical or concrete objects and argument is words. Nor is the similatity in this third type and the similarity between a man and a lion the same, because the latter two share a definite and known quality existing in the animal such as courage. The similarity between light and speech and argument

1 Ibid. pp. 51-52. Sec also pp. 53-58. a Ibid. p. 53.

a Ibid. p. 59.

4 Ibid. p. 60. Al- Jurjaru praises this type very highly.





is that when the heart becomes aware of the atglllDcnt [or hears it] it is transferred into a state or mood similar to that of the sense of sight when it meets light and Wh~l1 light ~1l1~111i?atcs ~ver!thing. for it.1'his, as YOLl know, IS not lin attribute OJ: R11111Iar1ty which IS acquired [rolD a category (fillS) or instinct 01: form or image, hut is 'In intellectual image." 1 This type is divided in its turn into three sub-


a) The similitude is taken from sensorily comprehended objects

and applied to intellectual meanings or concepts, i.e. concreteabstract, for instance, when "light" is applied to argument and artistic

expression. 2

b) 'I'he similitude is between concrete objects, but the point of

similarity is intellectual (ah,tract). An instance Is the Tradition "Beware of the green plant growing on dung"." "In this image the point of similarity is not: the colour of the plant, its greenness, taste, smells, form or image. Nor i, this point an instinctive quality or any such characteristic. The similarity is an intellectual one between a beautiful woman who is brought lip ill a corrupt environment or who comes from a base origin, and a plant growing on dung. Thus the dominflnt: trail: is the 'beauty of the appcamncc to the eye accornpanied by the corruption of rhe inner world' and the goodness of the branch when the ot".igin is C()I:I·Upt ••• " 4

As a result of his nnnlysis of this type of i.rll'lirCl, al-Ju1"jfln! comes to the conclusion that "the same word can be burrowed metaphorically in two different: Wl\ys •.. the Iirst produces an Isli'lim which is based on the concrete or physical characteristics of the word; the second produces an lsti'ilr« hascd Oil attdhutc~ which are comprehended through the intellect, and are [Jon-physical. Those two types are exemplified by the images 'the stars of guidance' applied to the companions of the Prophet, where the similit1J(\e is non-physical, and 'the stars' when the Iantcrns an.' compared to them, where the similarity is physical." Ij

c) The simllltudc is taken from tile intellectual to the intellectual, (abstract-abstract), This type bas many forms, the most important of which ate the following two: "The comparison of nothingness to

1 Ibid. p. Gil.

2 Ibid. 1'.61. Al-Jurjiilli .t",," ""I' "H" the terms mnet,utc···,,\lstmct. :I Ibid. p. 62. ul,Xyiikroll 1J'(j kh(I(lrt"P al-dimau,"

, ibid.

, Ibid. 1'1'. 63-64.



existence, and the comparison of existence to nothingness. These two forms are represented in describing an ignorant man as being dead, and in saying that begging is death," respectively. Those two forms are discussed in great detail, but it seems irrelevant 1:0 consider them in any detailed way in the present paper.!

In all three divisions, al-Iurjlinl concentrates on analysing; the nature of the point of similarity and the intellectual effort rcq II incd for its perception on the part of both the creator and the hearc r , 2 It is of interest to notice that he does not content himself with pointing out the domains of the terms involved in isti'iira; those dornn ir'rs are not mentioned for their own sake. He proceeds 1:0 define the nature of the point of similarity in each of them. This is evident: in that he docs not base his classification on the fact that the sun and the rrin n helong to different domains, but on the physical existence of chc point of similarity in both of them. It is also evident in his rreatrru: III of the borrowing of "light" to be applied to argumcnr, which he classifies not according to the different clomaiosinvolvcdin it, Inn to the ta'mJJIJJltf needed to comprehend it.a It is also interesting to notice that the relations of concrete-abstract and genns-species arc mentioned in certain examples, but here also they ate not considcl:cd for their own sake. The concrete-absrracr-conerere relation, ('''I'instance, is discussed only in so far as it affects the rcrnoto ncss and strangeness of the point of similarity, and its physic~tl or I n tcllcctnal nature. This is evident in al-jurjanl's discussion of type (3) of iui'ar«, as is the case in the Tradition quoted earlier, on which al-] LL I.·jani com. me.nts: "~o~h ;voman and plant are physical bodies ('1/r<71,'/), hut the point of similarity or dominant trait is not the colour, greenn ~~S!;, taste,

11"D d i r '

sme ,or. orm an Image .. -;It is an ictellccrualImage 01: sinlil:tl'.itv."!1

As for the genus-species relationship, it is obvious thnr in the only place where aI-Jurjani mentions a similar type of rclatio n , namely the second type of isti'sra, he is not concerned with this re lntion for its own sake. His analysis is concentrated on the nature of the domina~t .trait and the difference between this nature and the dominant trait In the first type. This difference, al-]urj1ini says, is a clircct result

of the second type being hI· 1·' "1

. asee on a reiation sirnr ar to the gcnus-

1 Ibid. pp. 67-68. 2 Ibid. pp. 61-78.

. 3 . H~he . s[mi~tity is established between concrete objects, SImilarity 1. an Intellectual one." Ibid. pp. 82-83

4 See preceding page. . .

but tile pnint of





species nne, However, this aspect of al-jurjaul's study requires a fuller treatment: than is possible here. It: can form It major criterion when judging his classiticurion by dominant trait in relation to the classiticatious discussed earlier in this parer. Nevertheless, even in its brood outlines considered here, it lends support to the thesis that al-] urjiini's classification of isti'dl'a is the most coherent and comprehensive classification by dominant trait analysed in the present paper.

The classification of i.f/i'(/I'd as it: is analysed above is confined to the type of isti'iira whichis based on transference. However, al- Jutjani discusses another type of i.r/i',il'lI which, he says, is not based on transference. In this type, the relation involved is likely to be an or[lHnisation of relations hased on analogy. i\1-] docs not lise the term analogy tD describe those relations, hut he defines the type of example:; in which this form of isti'ara is to be found, namely, personilic:ltion, or the nttrihutkm 01' II human chnrncrcrlstic, usually a physical one, to [In object.' lIowever, even in this type, al-Jllr.janl's interest is notIn the humnnjnon-hurnan domains, but in the nature cf the relation involved, and the complex similitude established. This is evident in his annlysis or tilt' line:

"Many II blusrcrlng cold morning have I encountered its reins were held hy the hand of the north wind" ~

AI-.J\II'junl comments on this type of i.rti'(il'tl as follows:

"You must know thaI: there is a typc of ,:rl/'(;I'(I which cannot be said 10 he- "'1St·" on I runsfcrcncc ... [In the line of Lahtd] it is certain rluu there is an i.l-/i',11'1J i II I he word hand Utili). However, you cannot claim rluu rhls word is trnnsfcrrcd Fl'Om ')fi" thing ttl Mother. For the mt:Hllill~' is 11"( rhur ~'>tl1<.:lhing is compared to the hand, ill which ensc y,,:t can claim that "hand" .i:; rmnsfcrrcd to that thing. The meaning here j~ thnt the I'",:t wunts to ':'~Jll]1arl: the north wind. in its control "f the mo ming III it human hCill)!, who holds something ill his hund ant! cunrruls i( alld mOVl!S it as he likes. When the poet nttrihurcd to lit" wind. a similar nctiou to that of a l11a11 using his hand,

, /lil'ii,., 1'[1. 43-014 itlld I Jill,I'I/, 1'1'. ~3il"~:15, .

'I'hia t ypu or i,fli((7ra !;l'l'IIH1 to el)rJ'l.~sp!llld to Ullmann's '.'at1~hrOpOn10rplllc metaphor" which itl haflt.:'d j til suhsnuulul, :is tlppn!lt~d to emotive, factors.

" {l"id'll, p. 3:14.

II IF'(I .~h(/(Mli ,'1//1'1/ hui k(lJ/J({/ttl 11'11 trart'(lliJl Mil (/:rba/lnt 1Ji-:JlfJd; tJi"sbwIII/li ZIIl1;IIII,,;'(7."



he lent the word "hand" to the wind ... This is true of all similar images, where a limb or a part of the body of a human being is attributed to objects ... " 1

As is obvious here, al-jurjani is not concerned with the domains of the terms involved in isti'iira, but with the point of similarity, which is of a complex nature. It seems safe to suggest that this is true of all examples which he discusses in his classificatiori of i.rti'{ira.

It is hoped that the analysis of al-jurjanl's classification of isti'lira which has been carried out here has demonstrated the coi1cl:cncc and analytical nature of this classification. It has been show n that the three modem European critics who produced c1assificadon~ of metaphor by dominant trait were not always coherent. Their clas.siticntlons turned out, in many instances, to be concrete-abstract, a.ncl domain of thought types. This makes al-Jurjiini's classification the truest representative of the classification by dominant trait discu sscd here.

On the other hand, if one accepts Christine Brooke-Rose's criticism of the European classification by dominant trait as being" i n the main psychological or linguistic, and not very helpful in lircmry crit icism", 2 one will find it difficult to accept this criticism as true of alc-JnrjiLOi's classification by dominant trait. For, as has already be<:n shown, al-jurjanf's classification is an organic part of his theory of construetion. It is 110t easy either to accept Miss Brooke-Rose's criticism of this type of classification on the grounds that "it makes no distinction between metaphor and comparisonv.? It has been shown lila!: aljurjani makes a very sharp distinction between I:rli',il'a and !tHUd;' ()I" simile. However, a fuller treatment of these and other po i rit:s oF Miss Brooke-Rose's criticism Df the classification by dominant rruir, to show that they do not apply to al-jurjanls classification, is n()t possible here.

The results arrived at in this stu ely contribute 1:0 a close!' analysis of the relation between Aristotle's classification of ruct.a phor and al-jurjani's classification of I.rti'etra. As has been ~tated curlier, the classification by dominant trait is said to be of a different nat urc from that of the genus-species one. Miss Brooke-Rose, for Insrn nce, Iiuds links between the latter classification and the other types () f da~sifications she analyses, those by animate-inanimate and domain. of thought.

1 Ibid. pp. 334-335. , op. cit. p. 13.

3 IbM.




Nevertheless, she mentions no such relation between the genusspecies and the class i lication by dominant: trait. Ullmann discusses what he culls "the logico-rhctorical classification" which, he says, is based 011 Arisrotlc's classification. Ullmann sees no Link between tbis c1assilicatiol1 and his functional classification. As has been shown, Ullmann's clnssification of metaphor is based on similar pdllciplcs to al-jurjnni's one. In view of the studies of Bt~oke:Ro~e aod Ullmann, it is possible to suggest that al-jurjani's clnssification is of a completely different nature from Aristotle's. It shows that a further analysis of uoth Aristotle's and al.-Jurjnni's work on metaphor :Lod i,rli'/il''' is imperntivc, before the work of a critic of al-JurjfinI's

. \. I " "

qualities can be said to be "comrucntnries on I. ristot c s views

as '['rrld [Iusnin has said.

r':UI:lhcrmol"(\ it is hoped that al- ] urj1ini'S work has been shown to be of value Ior modern studies of poetic imagery in general anel i.rli\il'iI in pnrricular. Undoubtedly, his achievement in this field c~n he of' benefit if put in the context of modern criticism, not only In Arnhk lltcrature, hut also in EU1"Opcnn languages. This is an aspect of al .. Jurjilni's work which it is hoped CHIl be given Further analysis.

KAMAl. Auu Dw:m