Episode 1: Introduction in Proverbs in Sunnah


Praise be to Allah and peace and blessings be upon His trustworthy Messenger Muhammad, his family and Companions, and those who follow them righteously until the Day of Recompense.

Facts that are sublime in its meanings and goals take their correct and right image if they are formulated in material form to draw them near to minds. Figure of speech is the form which highlights the meanings and put them in vivid images that rest in minds, through comparing the absent with the present, the image with the fast, and measuring peer to peer. How many beautiful meanings that earned beauty and magnificence by figures of speech, which made it acceptable to oneself and minds; this is one of the styles used by the Sunnah to deliver the meaning.

The Definition of Proverbs:

Az-Zamakhshary said: "Originally the meaning of giving an example is to draw something near to the mind i.e., the peer. Then he said: it can be called to a situation, quality, or story if it is weird.”(1)

 Ibn Al Qayyim said: "It is likening something with another which has the same ruling and drawing the image near to minds, or one of the material things to the other and giving it the same rule.(2)

 Al Baydawy said: “Originally, a parable has the same meaning of a peer. It is not given except if there is something weird, such as Allah’s Saying: “The description of Paradise which the Muttaqun” [Surat Muhammad: 15], and His Saying: “And for Allah is the highest description.” [Surat Ar-Rum: 27](3)

As for parable in literature is: a narrated example that is given to liken the condition of a story or a situation with a previous prominent example, such as: “Perhaps there is a good shot without a good shooter.” Namely, there may be a good shot hits its target although the shooter is bad. The first one who said that example is Al Hakam ibn Yaghouth An-Naqry; and this parable is given to a similar case.

A parable is given to a situation, quality, and weird story. Az-Zamakhshary denoted to these three meanings in the index of his book saying: “Originally, the meaning of a parable is the peer then it was called to similar situations. People used to give examples when they see that the situation in which this story took place is weird in some aspects. Then it was called to situation, quality, and story if they are weird.

There is a fourth meaning which linguists reached in the definition of a parable which is: the compound metaphor which is based on similarity when it is spread among people; its origin is derived from Dramatic metaphor as your saying when you see someone who is hesitant to do something: "Why do I see you advance one leg and delay the other?!"

It was said regarding the definition of a parable: It highlights the meaning in a sensory form to earn more magnificence and beauty. A parable with this definition does not require to have a similar famous or weird situation, and it is not required to be a complex metaphor.

Proverbs are the description of actions, and the one who give an example is like a craftsman who estimate his manufacture; and like a tailor who sews a garment according to the sizes of the customer. Everything has a form and estimation, and the form of speech is proverbs.

Al Khafajy said: it is called a parable or an example because it is vivid in the mind of a person to follow, take a lesson, fear, and hope.(4)



1)               See Al Burhan fi `Ulumi Al Qur’an 1/490.

2)               I`lam Al Muwaqi`in of Ibn Al Qayyim 1/150 and Al Amthal fi Al Qur’an Al Karim 1/9.

3)               Tafsir Al Baydawy 1/186.

4)               See: Al Burhan fi `Ulumi Al Qur’an 1/487.




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