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Arabic Rhetoric and Qur'anic Exegesis Author(s): John Wansbrough Reviewed work(s): Source: Bulletin of the School of Oriental

and African Studies, University of London, Vol. 31, No. 3 (1968), pp. 469-485 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of School of Oriental and African Studies Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/614300 . Accessed: 08/08/2012 18:03
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ARABIC RHETORIC AND QUR'ANIC EXEGESIS


By JOHNWANSBROUGH The evolution of technical terms in the Arabic science of rhetoric illustrates remarkably its gradual adaptation to the exigencies of scriptural interpretation. Proliferation of rhetorical figures in the writings of the late medieval scholiasts appears to be a consequence not so much of concern for stylistic embellishment as of preoccupation with the meaning of the Qur'an. In many of these figures a pre-exegetic existence can be discerned; others would seem to be the invention of industrious mufassirin. For the former it is sometimes possible to determine an approximate date of adaptation : the point at which the profane function of a rhetorical figure was abandoned, or at least relegated to an inferior position, in favour of its application to Qur'anicexegesis. An illustration of this process is provided by the figure called madhhabkalami, whose e volution I attempted to describe in a recent study. There it was seen that the figure treated by early rhetoricians shared its name, but neither its content nor its function, with that examined and applied to the Qur'anby the later schoolmen. While the result of this metamorphosis became firmly established in the treatment of badi' by al-Qazwini (d. 738/1338) and his successors,2it is in the earlier work of Ibn Abi 'l-Isba' (d. 654/1256) where we find the observation that although Ibn al-Mu'tazz (d. 295/908) had denied the presence in the Qur'an of madhhabkalami, the Holy Book was in fact full of it; and his examples fit perfectly the scholastic interpretation of the figure.3 A contributory factor to this process of adaptation was the uncritical collection of loci probantes (shawdhid)by literary theorists eager to illustrate their rhetorical figures with examples drawn from the entire range of Arabic literature, but unable to distinguish between accident and intention on the part of the authors cited. This phenomenon, which provided considerable latitude to later interpreters of the same shawshid, has been taken into account in a recent analysis of the tawriya and istikhdam.4 Such uncritical practice enabled mufassirin to select only those elements of a given rhetorical definition which could be pressed into the service of their own cause, to disregard other possibly refractory but equally important elements, and so eventually to produce what was practically a new figure. This procedure is, of course, easier
1 ' A note on Arabic rhetoric', in H. Meller and H. J. Zimmermann (ed.), Lebende Antike: Symposion fiur Rudolf Siuhnel, Berlin, 1967, 55-63. 2 The author of their Vorlage, al-Sakk~ki (d. 626/1229), Cairo, 1356/1937, MiftJb al-'uliim, does not in fact include madhhab kalimi under badi' (pp. 200-4), but in his discussion of istidlSl (pp. 207-44) uses the terminology later employed to describe madhhab kaltmi. Cf. EI, second ed., s.v. bayin, esp. 1115a. Still later and, in view of the scholastic development, more logically, al-Suyfiti (d. 911/1505), Itqan, Cairo, 1863, using Ibn Abi 'l-Iba', removed the figure from badf' (II, 94 ff.) and placed it in his section on jadl (II, 157 ff.). 3 Badi' al-qur'an, Cairo, 1377/1957, 37-42. Some early definitions of the tawriya and Safadi's Fadd al-xitam 'an 4 S. A. Bonebakker, at-tawriya wa-'l-istixdam, The Hague, Paris, 1966, 16-18, 29, 59, 61-2, 75, 89, 103, 105.
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to detect where the original name of the figure in question was retained, as was so for madhhabkalam;i. It is more difficult where the earlier designation had been discarded, and a new one adopted for any one of a variety of reasons. Such appears to have been the evolution of the figure called ultimately laff wa-nashr,which I propose to examine in the following pages. Here, adaptation by scriptural exegetes of an originally profane rhetorical figure was accompanied by the introduction of a new name, which can probably be explained by a development in technical terminology that rendered the original name of the figure ambiguous and eventually obsolete. An historical analogy may be of some value here. The madhhabkalam5 corresponds, at opposite ends of its evolution, to two separate but related elements in the tradition of Europeanrhetoric : the conceit and the enthymeme.5 Similarly, laff wa-nashrincorporates both the mannerist figure versus rapportati and the exegetic instrument subnexio, or gloss. The pertinence of the analogy rests on at least two phenomena, the first of which was the adoption of Aristotelian aesthetics in the formulation of both Latin and Arabic rhetoric.6 Mannerismas a species of ornatuswas derived from the recognition of a duality of form and content in literary production. Second, and perhaps more important, was the Patristic appropriation of Classical rhetoric to the service of Biblical exegesis.7 The parallel between this phenomenonand the Arabic practice alluded to above can be carriedeven further: the differencebetween applying the canons of Classical rhetoric to scripture and regarding scripture as the perfect embodiment, even source, of these canons, the difference between, say, Jerome and Cassiodorus,is found again in the treatment of badz'by Ibn al-Mu'tazz on the one hand, and Ibn Abi 'l-Isba' on the other. Both Latin and Arabic developments owe their origins, though not their subsequent ramifications, to the same theological impulse. Like that of madhhabkalami, the complex history of the rhetorical figure generally known as laff wa-nashrfound its resolution in the writings of the late medieval scholiasts. Because this resolution conceals two separate lines of development it will be easier in the following description to deal separately with the relevant shawchid : first, with those belonging properly to the profane tradition, which is the older of the two and probably represents the original
5 ' A note on Arabic rhetoric ', 56, 61. 6 G. E. von in Grunebaum, 'Die aesthetischen Grundlagen der arabischen Literatur', Kritik und Dichtkunst, Wiesbaden, 1955, esp. 134-8. 7 E. R. Curtius, Europdische Literatur und lateinisches Mittelalter, Bern, 1948, esp. 49-56, 79-85, 445-63. See also G. E. von Grunebaum, A tenth-century document of Arabic literary theory and criticism, Chicago, 1950, xv-xvi, xviii-xix, n. 24. An additional, and complicating, factor in Arabic rhetoric is, of course, the problem of i'jaz al-qur'Sn, though preoccupation with the meaning of the text antedated discussion of its inimitability and alone could account for the union of baligjha and tafs?ir. See I. Goldziher, Abhandlungen zur arabischen Philologie, Leiden, Qur'anic studies as 1896, i, 151; and further, S. Bonebakker, op. cit., 25-7; M. Khalafallah,' an important factor in the development of Arabic literary criticism', Bulletin of the Faculty of Arts, Alexandria University, 1952-3, 1-7; idem, 'Some landmarks of Arab achievement in the field of literary criticism', BFAA U, 1961, 3-19.

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form of the figure; and second, with those which formed the later exegetic tradition. Two examples of laff wa-nashrinvariably adduced by the schoolmen are the following: 'How can I forget, when you are a dune, a branch, and a sun, in glance, stature, and figure ? ' 'He is a sun, a lion, and a sea, in generosity, beauty, and valour'. These, the first ascribed to Ibn IjHayyiis (d. 473/1080) and the second anonyin al-Khatib al-Qazwini (d. 738/1338), Talkhis mous, appear respectively and al-Din al-Taftazini in Sa'd (d. 791/1389), Mukhtasar al-miftgh, Iv, 332, 332 included in (both al-Talkhis, Iv, Shurilh al-Talkhis, Cairo, 1356/1937). Within the system of classification developed by al-Qazwini these two examples illustrate subdivisions of the kind of laff wa-nashrcalled mufassal (' separated ').s In the first the cross-referencesin the nashr (lahzan-qaddan--ridfi) appear in the opposite order (ma'kis) to their antecedents in the laff (hiqfun--ghusnunghazalun). In the second the order of cross-reference between the two comand reconstruction of the elements would provide : ponents is mixed (mukhtalat), (laff) shamsun-asadun-bahrun/(nashr) baha'an--shujd'atan--jldJ. In neither of the two examples can there in fact be a question of ambiguity, since the relationship between each pair of elements is semantic rather than syntactic. Such, however, was not always the case, as will be shown below, and the importance of grammatical phenomena, particularly inflexion, increased. Characteristically, scholastic discussions about the grammar of laff wa-nashr, though not primarily concerned with profane examples of the figure, drew upon these for the formulation of convenient rules. Thus, with reference to the verse from Ibn al-Subki's observation, 'Arls al-afrdh, Iv, 332 (in H.ayyils, that the elements of each component of laff wa-nashrmust Shurih al-Talkhs), be grammatically isolated (mutlaq) so that disorder (gihairtartib) might not produce semantic ambiguity; and Dasiiqi's insistence, in his supercommentary (Shurih al-Talkhihs, loc. cit.) to the same verse, on the employment of tamy'z, in order to avoid a possibly ambiguous relative construction. The pertinence of such observations as these, as of the whole scholastic scheme of classification, become apparent only when they are applied to the exegetic development of laif wa-nashr. But to return to the profane tradition, this same verse from Ibn .Hayyfis of appears in the writings of other rhetoricians, with each of whom a difference emphasis and description is discernible. For example, Ibn IHijjaal-Hamawi (d. 837/1434) includes this example among 28 others in his Khizdnat al-adab (Cairo,1273/1857) in the description ofa figureentitled tayy wa-nas4r(pp. 81-5). This slight variation is apparently without significance, since the author adopted
s See A. F. Mehren, Die Rhetorik der Araber, Kopenhagen, Wien, 1853, 108.

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both the definition and the subdivisions of the figure devised by the schoolmen, and speaks throughout of laff wa-nashr. But he is concerned primarily with only one of these subdivisions, namely the mufassal murattab(' separated and ordered '). This, he claims, was the only type cultivated by the authors of badi'iydt and the one which offered the widest field for linguistic ingenuity basic criteria in judging a successful laff (op. cit., 84). Ibn HI.ijja's wa-nas.r appear to be two : the greatest number of reference-elementsin each component of the figure, and the avoidance of enjambment.9 Further, both components ought to have the same number of elements, an observation which suggests that the limits of this figure had not yet been clearly defined, since the example of non-conformity adduced by the author and ascribed to the qdd~iIbn al-B~rizI (p. 83) belongs more properly to the category of simile (tashbih). As two pleasing examples of laff wa-nashr Ibn H.ijja offers the following :

'My two eyes saw in my destitution not less than my good fortune and luck/ I sold my slave and my ass and was left with nothing over me and nothing under me' (p. 82, ascribed to Shams al-Din b. Daniyal, d. 710/1311) ' My passion, my yearning, my lament, my care, my grief, is for them, towards them, over them, about them, in them' (p. 84, ascribed to Safi 'l-Din al-H.illi, d. 749/1348). Though the two examples appear to have little in common, each of them conforms to the definition of laff wa-nashr adopted by Ibn H.ijja from the scholastic rhetoricians, to which I shall return. The second example, however, like those from al-Qazwini and al-Taftazani cited above, is a perfect illustration of what is commonly understood by laff wa-nashrin Arabic literature. In this form the figure corresponds to the versus rapportati of late Greek, Latin, and European baroque poetry, e.g.'o Pastor aratoreques Pavi colui superavi Capras rus hostes Fronde ligone manu or : Die Sonn, der Pfeil, der Wind verwundt,weht hin Verbrennt, Mit Feuer, Scharfe, Sturm Mein Augen, Herze, Sinn
B

The badi'rya to which Ibn

II.ijja 1348/1929. Enjambment in this figure is also a concern entitled Badi'Vyat al-'umydn, ed. Cairo, of Ibn Rashiq; see below, p. 474. and o10 The following examples are taken from E. R. Curtius, Europdische Literatur, 288; idem, Gesammelte Aufsaitze zur romanischen Philologie, Bern, 1960, 92, 129 n. 63.

refers is that of Ibn J~bir al-Andalusi (d. 780/1378),

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Aire, Water, Earth By Fowl, Fish, Beast Was flown, was swum, was walkt. In this form, too, the figure was common in medieval Persian poetry, e.g." but there, according to Shams-i Qays (d. 627/1230), the figure was called not laff wa-nashrbut tabyin u-tafsir. That the two figures are identical is clear from the examples assembled by Biichner, who, however, encountered the same difficulties in defining the figure that we have seen in the work of Ibn H.ijja. Pace Biichner (art. cit., p. 252, n. 1), both components of laff wa-nashr/tabyin u-tafsir must contain the same number of reference-elements. When this requirement is not fulfilled the figure becomes another, called in Arabic rhetoric Cam'wa-tafriq.1'2Further, it is unlikely (Biichner, art. cit., 253) that in the construction of laff wa-nasr/tabyin u-tafsir the presence of a conjunctive or comparative particle is a matter of indifference, since inclusion of the latter at least is very likely to produce a simile.l3 Finally, Biichner, following Shams-i Qays, appears to rule out enjambment and where this occurs, prefers to classify the figures differently (art. cit., p. 252, n. 1). The significance of these rules delimiting the function of the figure becomes clearer when examined in the light of the later scholastic arguments. with which we began appears also in the Now, the verse of Ibn HI.ayyfis Kitab al-sina'atain (Cairo, 1371/1952, 272) of Abil Hilll al-'Askari (d. 395/1005) who, though he appears to know nothing of laff wa-nashr,uses it to illustrate a figure called tafsir. This he defines as the addition of an explicative to a theme (ma'na) requiring one, but without subtracting from or adding to the qualities (ahwail)inherent there, a definition which presupposes a reader well versed in the lexicon of Classical Arabic.'4 Among other examples of this figure in verse adduced by al-'Askari are these : 'In him is a resemblance to the rain, the lion, and the full moon, for he is generous, warlike, and beautiful' (op. cit., 272, anonymous) 'Be not vexed nor succumb to impotence, for between weakness and anger perishes success' (op. cit., 272, ascribed to al-Muqanna' al-Kindi, ft. 80/700). As in the two examples from Ibn H.ijjacited above, there is some question as to whether both of these illustrate a single figure, but like those of Ibn HIlijja,
11 See V. F. Biichner, 'Stilfiguren in der panegyrischen Poesie der Perser', Acta Orientalia, II, 1924, 250-61. 'In battle he takes and in assembly he gives, a kingdom with a horseman and a world to a beggar.' 12 cf. al-Sakkiki, MiftVb al-'ulvim, 201; and Mehren, op. cit., 110. 1a cf. Ibn IIijja al-Hamawi, Khizanat al-adab, 83, and above, p. 472. 14 The presupposition by poets of a wide lexical familiarity on the part of their readers or audiences is a very special problem in the case of the tawriya, cf. Bonebakker, op. cit., 10, 21, 42.

or :

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al-'Askari's examples do conform to his definition, here not of laff wa-nashr, but of tafsir. For most of his material al-'Askari draws upon the Naqd al-shi'r (ed. S. A. Bonebakker, Leiden, 1956) of Qudama b. Ja'far (d. 320/932). Qudama's definition of the figure (op. cit., 73-4) is clearly the source of that found in al-'Askari and his first example is one which was retained by literary theorists for centuries, up to and including al-Qazwini (d. 738/1338). Before examining the problems provoked by the retention of shawahidfor apparently dissimilar rhetorical figures, it will be useful to observe the influence upon his successors of Qudama, to whom the naming if not the invention of the figure tafsir may surely be ascribed. His first example is this one :

'You came to a people with whom, had you been seeking refuge, exiled for blood or burdened with debt/ You would have found a patron or protector, prepared to defend you with upright spears' (op. cit., 74, ascribed to alFarazdaq, d. 110/728). The figure is contained in the two middle hemistichs, balanced by repetition of the same conjunctive particle: tarida thiqla dammin-mu'tiyan/h.amilan of reference-elements is limited, Though the number is clear that this example would do to illustrate laff wa-nashr. And it is in it maghrami-mut.5'inan. fact included by al-Qazwini in his expanded commentary to the Talk.his A sign of increasing stringency in defining Iv, 332, in Shur?iha-al-Talkhis). the verse from about is in the observation evident the (Id.h, al-Farazdaq made figure In his Kitib al-'umda of successors. (Cairo, 1374/1955, IX,35) by one Qudama's Ibn Rashiq (d. 456/1064) declares that the order of reference-elementshas been reversed, and that according to the opinion of scholars a sounder arrangement (in the first hemistich of the second line) would have been muta'inan aw mu'tiyan. Ibn Rashiq has, indeed, several other observations to make about the function of tafsir, and appears to be the first theorist to examine critically the legacy received from Qudima. He prefers, for example, to see the figure completed in a single line, and adduces several illustrations of this from al-Mutanabbi (d. 354/965) :

'If they had been written to, encountered, or fought against, they would have been found in writing, expression, and battle to be champions ' (op. cit., 1i, 38)

'A youth like the black cloud, object of fear and hope, the sustenance of life is there hoped for, while thunderbolts are feared' (op. cit., 11,38). Ibn Rashiq's preoccupation with enjambment (tadmin) was later taken up by Ibn H.ijja and, with reference to Persian, by Shams-i Qays, but did not affect

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scholastic discussion of the figure, since there could be no question of enjambment in the examples with which the schoolmen were primarily concerned. A curious instance of this figure, employing the same imagery as the second example from al-Mutanabbi cited above, is the following one adduced by Ibn Rashiq:

'More liberal than Tayy, as though his tunic enclosed the two venerables Zaid and HI.tim/ In generosity and evil like thunderbolts and rain, when joined in a mountainous cloud' (op. cit., II, 38, ascribed to al-Buhturi, d. 284/897). Ibn Rashiq observes that the origin of this construction was to be found in Qur'an xIII, 12--Huwa 'lladhl yurskumu'l-barqakhawfan wa-tama'an 'He it is who shows you the lightning, for fear and hope'. The analogy may be farfetched but is none the less instructive. In the verse from al-Buhturi both wa-ba'san-ka poles of a triple antithesis (Zaidin wa refer to the in in wa-H.timi-samah.an the Qur'anic 'l-hayya) pronoun 'l-sawd'iqi qamisahu; the antithesis wa-tama'an refers to the accusative passage single in While of number .hawfan between the components of pronoun yurzikum. disparity subject (laff) and predicate (nashr) is not characteristic of later, generally accepted, rhetorical notions of laff wa-nashr (see above, p. 472) Ibn Rashiq is, it must be recalled, talking about tafsir. But in providing an instance of multiple reference to a single antecedent, he offered an important precedent to the schoolmen for their discussion of laf wa-nashr. The simplest, and what must be very like the original, form of tafsir is given by Qudama in the following example :

'Surely if I am in need of prudence, I am sometimes even more in need of recklessness/ And I have a horse for prudence bridled with prudence, and one for recklessness saddled with recklessness/ For whoever wishes me upright I am upright, and whoever wishes me devious I am devious' (op. cit., 74, ascription uncertain; cf. I'jaz al-qur'aSn, p. 95, n. 3).15 Compared with the paratactic adverbial constructions characteristic of laff wa-nashr, the employment here of hypotaxis and repetition (for emphasis ?), while conforming to Qudima's definition of tafsTir, would appear to disqualify this example for use in illustration of the former. By means of another example,
15 The second verse appears also in al-'Askari, op. cit., 272; al-Baqillini (d. 403/1013), I'jaz al-qur'sn, Cairo, 1963, 95, both under tafsir (trans. von Grunebaum, Tenth-centurydocument, 34) ; and Ibn Qutaiba, 'Uyiin al-abiisr, Cairo, 1925, I, 289.

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however, Qudama elucidates a primary rule of formulation for tafsir, which did assume importance for later theorists concerned with laff wa-nashr:

' O you, perplexed in the gloom of darkness, and whoever fears encountering iniquitous hostility/ Come to him and find in the light of his face, brightness and at his hands a sea of generosity' (op. cit., 123, anonymous).16 The author describes these lines as defective (fasad al-tafsir) owing to a lack of and the correspondence there between the first antithesis (zrulami--dfiyd'an) second (bagxhyun min al-'id--bahran min al-nada); and adds that in the second antithesis one might substitute for the first component something like 'adam or faqr, or for the second component something in the order of nusra or 'isma or wazar, and so achieve the proper balance. Now, in addition to al-Marzubani and al-'Askari, both of whom are concerned only with tafsir and not with laff wa-nashr,two other writers introduce Qudama's example of fasid al-tafsir and use his explanation of its defects. Moreover, because they include both tafsir and laff wa-nashrin their respective treatment of badi' they are key figures in the process of transition with which we are here concerned. The first of these is the pre-scholastic Ibn Sinan al(Cairo, 1350/1932, 254-5) (d. 466/1074) who, in his Sirr al-fcasaha follows j__afaji Qudima's definition of tafsir and illustrates this with the verse from al-Farazdaq (see above, p. 474). But in another section (op. cit., 182) labelled a (' symmetry '/' harmony ') 17 he writes: 'And also sub-category of tctandsub part of harmony is the ordered reference of one expression to another so that that which refers back to the beginning comes at the beginning and (that which refers back) to the end comes at the end. And there is an example of this from al-Sharif al-Radi (d. 406/1016) :

(" My heart and my eye are yours, the one (as) in summer heat, the other (as) in spring gardens "). And the "eye "precedes [sic]. Similar to this is the verse of another :

(" Shining are spear-heads and countenances, strutting are spear-shafts and figures "), since "figures" came at the end it was necessary that "countenances" also be, and " spear-heads" preceded as did "spear-shafts ". And examples of this are numerous'. AI-Khafaji does not employ the term laff wa-nashlr,though it seems fairly certain that the figure he is describing is at
16 Also al-'Askari, op. cit., 272-3; 1343/1925, 235, both following Qudlma. 17 See Mehren, op. cit., 100.

and al-Marzubi-ni

(d. 378/988),

Muwashahab,

Cairo,

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least closely related to that one.'8 The first example, despite the puzzling comment wa 'l-tarf muqaddim,conforms more to the later convention than does the second example. But vagueness at this period, when laf wa-nashrhad not yet been finally separated from tafs;ir, is not surprising. In the scholastic handbooks of rhetoric finer distinctions were made, by which al-Khafaji's and to tafrgq.'9 Now these examples would belong respectively to taqs~im figures and their permutations are all closely related and differences depend, as far as I can see, upon the degree of hypotaxis employed, which in practice meant the use of relative pronouns to connect elements in the two parts of the proposition. By means of these distinctions the chief characteristic of laff wa-nashr could be isolated as the employment of a paratactic tamyiz construction, as has been shown above. The second author to mention both tafsir and laff wa-nashr,and this time unambiguously, was al-Nuwairl (d. 732/1332) in his Nihdyat al-arab (Cairo, 1341-62/1923-43, vii, 129-30). Though less concerned than they were with elaborating the system of rhetoric devised by al-Sakkaki, al-Nuwairi was a contemporary of the scholastic rhetoricians, and his terminology is nearly identical to that used by them. Indeed, they drew upon a common source, as will be shown. Al-Nuwairi (loc. cit.) begins with laff wa-nashrwhich he defines as mention of two or more items followed by an explanation of each, either preserving the same arrangement or not preserving it, but in either case relying upon the hearer/reader to refer back each explanation (tafsir) to its proper antecedent (thiqatan bi-anna 'l-sami'a yaruddu kulla shay'in ild maud.i'hi sawd'an taqaddacma aw ta'akhkhara). To illustrate this the author introduces the traditional line from Ibn H.ayyils (see above, p. 471), as well as the following : 'Are you not he at whose favour's flower and bounty's watering-place I pluck and dip ? ' (op. cit., vii, 129, anonymous). The same example was used by Ibn Hijja (Khizanat al-adab, 81, s.v. tayy wa-nashr), and it is juxtaposed in both works to the syntactically simpler example from Ibn Hayyils. Al-Nuwairi then proceeds to the figure called tafs;ir(op. cit., vii, 129-30) which, he observes, is very close to laff wa-nashr and consists of providing an expression which the poet imagines requires such with an appropriate explanation (wa-huwaan yadhkuralafzan wa-yatawahhama annahu ilU baydnihifa-yu'iduhu ma'a 'l-tafsir). In addition to several yuht.iju borrowed from Qudama, including fasad al-tafsir (see above, p. 476), examples al-Nuwairi offers the following: 'Rain and lion: rain when you ask him a favour, and a lion (when you meet him) in battle, fierce' (op. cit., vii, 129, ascribed to Abil Mushir,ft. 91/710)
is Only in the index to the work (p. 318), presumably expression laff wa-nasr appear. 19 Mehren, op. cit., 109. an insertion by the editor, does the

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'Ask about him, speak to him, and look at him, you will get an earful, a mouthful, and an eyeful' (op. cit., vii, 130, ascribed to Ibn Sharaf,d. 460/1068). Both of these would, of course, do to illustrate laff wa-nashr,as well in fact as the example of that figure given by al-Nuwairi above, and we must conclude that in practice at least a satisfactory distinction between the two figures had not yet been agreed, even by writers who chose to discuss both. With regard to the lines from al-Farazdaq cited by so many of our authors, al-Nuwairi, who uses them to illustrate tafsir, remarks that ' the condition of laff wa-nashrhas not been observed' (lakinnahu lam yura' sharta 'l-laJi wa 'l-nashri). One can only suppose that he has adopted the objection earlier voiced by Ibn Rashiq to the same lines (see above, p. 474), but this would appear to make nonsense of his observation with regard to laf wa-nashrthat the hearer/reader was expected to make the correct cross-referencesbetween the two components of the figure, irrespective of the order in which they occurred. This 'condition ', however, became the key element in scholastic discussion of the figure. Before turning to that subject, it may be remarked that in the eighth/fourteenth century the two figures tafs;ir(or rather, tabyin u-tafs;ir)and laff wa-nashrappear together in a Persian rhetorical treatise, and there the author includes among his examples of the latter figure one in Arabic : 'Your eyes and eyebrows are arrows and bows, (your) forelock and forehead dawn and evening' (DaqJ'iq al-shi'r, Tehran, 1341/1923, 70).20 It was, indeed, at this time that the figure gained currency in Arabic rhetorical terminology, but, as we shall see, not for reasons arising out of the profane tradition, to which our discussion has thus far been confined. Now, al-Nuwairi'sfirst example of laff wa-nashris Qur'an xxviiI, 73 : 'And of His mercy He has given you night and day, that you may rest therein and that you may seek of His grace '. This is one of the two key shawahid employed by scholastics to illustrate laff wa-nashr. Moreover, it appears in al-'Askari (Kitdb al-sind'atain, 271) under tafsir, and in Ibn Hijja (Khizinat al-adab, 81) under tayy wa-nashr,to be sure, but as the only Qur'anicexample in his detailed treatment of the figure. Because it is unlikely, though of course not impossible, that al-Nuwairi took this example from al-'Askari, we must turn to the Vorlage of the scholastic rhetoricians: al-Sakkaki's Miftah al-'ulim. There, as a subsection under badi' and with no mention of tafsir, appears the figure laff wa-nashrwith Qur'an xxvIII, 73 as its only illustration (op. cit., 200). Al-Sakkaki's definition runs as follows: 'It
20 I owe this reference to my colleague Dr. Tourkhan GandjeI, whom I should like to thank for his valuable observations on Persian adaptation of Arabic rhetorical terms.

ARABIC

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consists of wrapping up two elements in a (single) utterance, succeeded by an expression which includes reference to one and the other (but) without designation, relying on the hearer/reader to refer back each of them to that to which it belongs' (wa-hiya an taluffac baina shay'aini fi 'l-dhikr thumma tutbi'uhumJ kalaman mushtamilan 'ald muta'alliqin bi-whidin wa-bi-akhara mringhairi ta'yinin thiqatan bi-anna 'l-sami'a yaruddu kullan minhuma ila ma huwa lahu). While parts of this definition were, as we have seen, employed by al-Nuwairl, he omitted at least one significant element (min ghairi ta'yinin), which probably accounts for his failure to distinguish satisfactorily between laff wa-nashrand tafs'ir. Of such elementary oversights as this al-Qazwini and his successors cannot be accused. The consequences of their investigating and exploiting every implication of al-Sakkaki's definition of laff wa-nashr were two: elaboration of a systematic typology of the figure, and concentration upon Qur'anic examples of it. We have seen (above, p. 475) the introduction by Ibn Rashiq of a Qur'anic verse into his discussion of tafszrto explain the origin of a particular construction. For the scholastics the Qur'an was the foundation for their entire interpretation of laff wa-nashr. The system of classification elaborated by al-Qazwini and followed by his successors is this al-miftah, in Shurilh (Talkh.s of two types : ' separated' Iv, 329-35) : the figure may be either one al-Talk.his, (mufassal) or 'composite' (mujmal); the former may be subdivided into ' ordered' (murattab),'reversed' ('ald tartib ma'kis), and 'mixed' (mukhtalat or mushawwash).21These are the basic types; in due course further and finer distinctions became necessary as the rhetoricians began to comprehend the enormous exegetical task before them. The example invariably used for type A.1 (mufassal murattab)was Qur'an xxvii, 73. It will be useful to recall that although this example was employed by al-'Askari (d. 395/1005) to illustrate tafszr,it was first related to laffwa-nashrin the work of al-Sakkaki (d. 626/1229). And it is there that the name of the figure first appears, since we cannot be certain that al-Khafaji (d. 466/1074, see above, p. 476) could or would have used that name for his sub-category of tandsub. Thus, the name of the figure and Qur'an xxviII, 73 were adopted by al-Qazwini (d. 738/1338) from alSakkaki, though in other matters pertaining to bad;i'(e.g. madhhabkalami) the former did not hesitate to depart from his Vorlage. The name laff wa-nasr became quickly established, but Qur'in xxviii, 73, finally accepted by all the scholastics, did provoke one serious problem. Already Baha' al-Din al-Subki (d. 774/1372), in his commentary to al-Qazwini, entitled 'Aris al-afrah (in Shurih al-Talkhis, Iv, 329 ff.), suggested that two of the conditions laid down for the figure might prove troublesome. The first of these was absence of designation ('adam al-ta'yin) and the second, completion of the laff before beginning the nashr (ta'khir al-nashr 'an al-laff). While the meaning of the latter condition is more or less self-explanatory the former requires some
21 Owing to an early confusion between ma'kiis and mushawwash, the number of sub-categories of mufassal was sometimes two rather than three.

480

WANSBROUGH JOHN

comment. Ta'yin appears to mean inclusion of an element containing an explicit connexion between the components of laff wa-nashr. This may be either grammatical, like the 'd'id 'fihi' in Qur'an xxviiI, 73, or semantic, like the word in the following example, adduced by al-Qazwini in his al-&k.hiriydt al-Talkhis, Iv, 330) : (Shurih Id.h

'Your opinions, your purposes, and your swords in events when stars are overcast/ Are posts for guidance and lanterns dispelling gloom, and the last are friends' (ascribed to Ibn al-Ruimi,d. 293/889).22 Al-Subki's objection to al-dkhiriypt, which he translates 'the last(-named of the three elements of the laff: Jrd'ukumwa-wujihukum wa-suyifukum)', is that it is too explicit a connective between suyif and rujim, and thus leaves nothing to the imagination of the reader. He remarksfurther that the semantic relationship between all three elements of the laff is too close, producing a situation in which any one of the elements in the nashr could be related to any one of those in the laff. Al-Subki concludes by observing that if the lines from Ibn al-Rfilmi can be called laff wa-nashr, then they must be not of type A (mufassal)but of type B (mujmal). But before turning to the problems provoked by type B, it must be recorded that al-Subki does in fact accept Qur'an xxviI, 73 as a valid example of type A. In so doing, however, he refers to a similar Qur'anic construction, namely xxx, 23 :
4LaJ

i~

~C3Ls

,~3]

L j

"And among His signs are your sleep by night and (by) day and your seeking of His grace '. The importance of this example is twofold: it is semantically identical to Qur'an xxviii, 73, but grammatically opposed, in that the construction does not depend upon an '&'id. The significance of this argument lies in what appears to me to be the scholastic effort to bring exegetic laff wa-nashras close as possible to the examples of the profane tradition which, we have seen, depend upon extended parataxis. A1-Subki's acceptance of the verse from Ibn (see above, p. 471) supports this hypothesis. Now, in introducing H.Jayyfis Qur'an xxx, 23 al-Subki refers to a discussion of the verse by al-Zamakhsharl (d. 538/1143). In al-Kashshaf(Calcutta, 1276/1859, 1091) the latter makes the following observation: 'This (verse) belongs to the category of laff and its (normal) order would be: "And among His signs are your sleep and your seeking of His grace by night and by day (respectively)" '. He goes on to explain that expressions of time are semantically identical to actions taking place within their limits, and that there can be no confusion about the meaning
22 Also in al-Nuwairl,

op. cit., vii,

130, but under tafsir (!), with the observation

that it is one

of the best examples of that figure; and in Ibn HIijja, op. cit., 82, under tayy wa-nashr, with no comment.

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of this verse. Curiously, al-Subki (op. cit., Iv, 334) does not accept this argument for Qur'an xxx, 23 (on the grounds that the masdar 'ibtigha'ukum' cannot be preceded by its nomen rectum 'al-nahr '), but employs it in his is a finite verb form). But acceptance of Qur'an xxvIII, 73 (since li-tabtagih~i the real significance of al-Zamakhshari'sappearance in this argumentation is the employment in his exposition of Qur'anxxx, 23 of the term laff. It appears again in his interpretation of Qur'an xxviii, 73 (al-Kashshlf, 1064), where, however, there is no mention of the ambiguous '&'id'fihi'. Now, al-Zamakhshari wrote nearly a century before al-Sakkaki, who first used the term laff wa-nashr. Since the latter's only example of the figure was Qur'an xxvIII, 73, it seems not unreasonable to conclude that the figure owes its birth to exegetic speculation. This hypothesis is strengthened by examination of the scholastic discussions about the second type of laff wa-nashr,called mujmal (' composite '). For this the invariable locus probans is Qur'an II, 111: 'And they said: none shall enter heaven except those who are Jews or Christians '. Al-Qazwini's exposition is, as usual, straightforward if uncritical (Talkhis al-miftih, Iv, 333) : qgli is to be understood simply as qalati 'l-yahid wa-qglati 'l-nasJrd. Since al-Sakkaki mentioned neither mujmal nor Qur'an II, 111, we may turn at once to al-Zamakhshari(op. cit., 97). Here qaEl is interpreted qglat wa-qdlat,to which is appended the observation : ' And the two utterances are wrapped up, relying on the hearer/reader to refer back to each of the parties its utterance' (fa-laffa baina 'l-qawlaini thiqatctan bi-anna 'l-sdmi'a yaruddu ild kullifariqqinqawlahu). And here we are confronted with what must surely have been the source of laff wa-nashr. It is this interpretation of an ambiguous Qur'anic construction which was reproduced, nearly verbatim, not only by al-Sakkaki with reference to Qur'an xxvIII, 73, but by his scholastic successors in their typological elaboration of the figure. Before considering the process by which this purely exegetic figure was married to the profane rhetorical tradition (represented by tafsir) it will be useful to describe briefly the vicissitudes of Qur'an II, 111 at the hands of the scholastics. Their arguments reveal considerable discomfort at making a rhetorical figure out of a troublesome but very common phenomenon of Classical Arabic: the ambiguous Al-Subki (op. cit., Iv, 333-4), who incidentally damrn. introduces fresh confusion into the development of technical terms by equating (and cf. above, p. 479, n. 21), accepts al-Zamakhshari's mujmal with mushawwash interpretation of qali and mentions Qur'an II, 135 as providing an analogy.23 But he continues by suggesting that aw may here be equivalent to wa, in which
23 i.e. however, wa-qdlati (op. cit., wa-q2lb kLni hi2dan aw nas&rd .... Al-Zamakhshari's interpretation of Qur'An II, 111, was very likely adopted from II, 113: wa-qalati 'l-yahiidu laisati 'l-nasari shai'in 'al5 'l-nagar& laisati 'l-yahidu 'alj shai'in, though he does mention II, 135 at this point 97).

482

JOHNWANSBROUGH

case by postulating an omission the pronoun in qdli will refer only to the Jews and the possibility of laff is eliminated. On the other hand, it may be that the whole statement following qIl was made by each of the two parties. Such an exposition is permitted by the grammar of the sentence but not by common sense. The point of the damir must then be exclusion of Muslims from heaven by the joint assertion of the ahl al-kitab. In this way al-Subki indicates his acceptance of qilat wa-qilat. With less discomfort al-Taftazani (Mukhtasar Iv, 333) does the same, but goes into more detail in his Mutawwal al-Talkhgis, (Tehran, 1301/1883, 348-50). There he cites al-Sakkaki (to what purpose is uncertain since, as we have noted, the latter does not mention mujmal) and al-Zamakhshari 127-8) on Qur'an II, 185: (al-Kashshsf,

j* aCrj~j ei jP~Jl~I4~uljl"i~jj 'So whoever of you is present in the month (of Ramadan) he shall fast therein, and whoever is sick or on a journey...'
It is clear from this example, which fits rather better than Qur'an II, 111 the scholastic interpretation of laff wa-nashr, that the transition was not difficult between a proposition based on an exceptive construction (man... wa-man) and one containing an ambiguous pronoun. On the other hand, post-scholastic rhetoricians objected to this manner of treating pronouns. Both Ibn Ya'qfib al-Maghribi(d. 1110/1698), in his Mawahib al-iftdh (Shurih al-Talkhis, Iv, 331) and Muhammad al-Dasuiqi (d. 1230/1815), in his supercommentary to the Shurilh (op. cit., Iv, 330) reject even Qur'an xxvIII, 73 on the grounds that fihi (described as majrir), by providing an explicit connexion between constitutes and .damrr 'designation' (ta'y'in) and thereby disqualifies nashr, laff the verse. Now, while the concept and terminology of al-Zamakhshariare clearly the source of the scholastic shawdhid, the notion of ijmal itself as a principle of classification may be earlier. The interpretation by Ibn Rashiq (see above, p. 475) of al-Buhturi's verses and ascription of the construction there to a Qur'anic passage makes the idea of derivation a tempting one. Ibn Rashiq's apparent aim was to illustrate the use of multiple references to a single antecedent, producing a figure which he included under tafsir, but which later came to be called jam' wa-tafriq (see above, p. 473). Similarly, al-Dasuiqi's rejection of Qur'YnxxvIII, 73 is based upon his recognition that it belongs properly to taqsim (op. cit., Iv, 329). Ijmal is thus an exegetic figure devised to explain Qur'anic ambiguities, and has no proper part in the figure known as laff wa-nashr. One ought then to expect that outside scholastic circles ijmal would not be mentioned in connexion with laff wa-nashr. This is unfortunately not so. In his Khizhnat al-adab (p. 84) Ibn Hijja. al-Hamawi, who, it has been mentioned (see above, p. 472), was concerned primarily with the kind of laff wa-nashrknown as mufassal murattaband with examples of this from the authors of badi'iyat, offers none the less two similar. examples of ijml, of which one is the following :

ARABIC

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483

'The rain came and my needs with regard to it were sevenfold as the drops barred us from our affairs/ Shelter and purse and brazier and cup of pleasure with roasted meat, and tender flesh and covering' (ascribed to Ibn Sukkara, d. 385/995). Though related to one of the figures derived from jam'/tafriq/taqsim (Mehren, op. cit., 108-11), this example is clearly not laff wa-nashr or at least no closer to it than was Ibn Rashiq's variety of tafsir. Ibn IHijjadid, after all, adopt the system of classification elaborated by the scholastics, and probably felt compelled to provide an illustration of each category, however little he may have been persuaded of their relation to the mufassal murattab. It will have become clear that, in my opinion at least, ijma~l, or propositions of the type al-zaidani q&'imun wa-qd'idun,although they were the occasion for which the term laff wa-nashrwas invented, are not in fact part of that figure. Whether statements of the type illustrated by Qur'an xxvIII, 73 or xxx, 23 do properly belong to laff wa-nashr will depend ultimately upon the exact meaning of 'adam al-ta'yin. To what extent, in other words, may connexion between the reference-elements of laff and nashr be explicitly designated ? 'Adam al-ta'yin would appear to mean that there may be no explicit designation at all, and it could be argued that the very ambiguity of fihi in Qur'an xxvIII, 73 is sufficient demonstration of 'adam al-ta'yin (thus, al-Taftazani, Mukhtasar, Iv, 329-30). Al-Maghribi on the other hand, Mawdhib, Iv, 329, rejects that verse on the basis of an interesting and subtle argument. The links (qard'in) by which the hearer/reader is intended himself to make the correct connexion between reference-elements of the figure are two: formal (lafz2iya)and conceptual (ma'nawiya). The first may be illustrated by : 'I saw two persons laughing and frowning'. It is sad but necessary to note that al-Maghribi, who rejected both Qur'in xxviii, 73 and 11, 111 on the ground of their containing nothing more than ambiguous pronouns, here employs an ijmal construction. He makes his point none the less : the formal link (qar;ina is in this proposition the gender lafz.ya) and there can be no doubt as to who is laughing and who frowning. morpheme, His illustration of the conceptual link (qarina ma'naw~ya)is this:

'I met a friend and an enemy, and so I honoured and despised'. The example is mufassal and the link semantic, and again there is no cause for ambiguity. Moreover, both examples are paratactic. One is inclined to believe that had these statements included subject or object pronouns (which they

484

JOHNWANSBROUGH

well might), these would have been interpreted as performing the function of 'Y'id and thus making the designation explicit. The argument is subtle but perhaps not entirely sound. It is, however, corroborated by the presence in this particular work (as in most of the scholastic rhetorical treatises) of examples of the type with which we began our investigation (see above, p. 471). These were, of course, borrowed from the profane tradition originally called tafshr, but renamed by the scholastics laff wa-nasr. The assignment of names to the growing corpus of rhetorical shawdhid reflects not only confusion about the distinction between a rhetorical figure and a grammatical necessity, but above all inconsistency. For example, tafs;r gained some currency as a rhetorical figure even among scriptural exegetes. In his Badi' al-qur'Jn (pp. 74-7) Ibn Abi 'l-Isba' (d. 654/1256) devotes a chapter to the figure, of which Qur'an Iv, 66 is a characteristic example : 'And had We decreed that you lay down your lives or leave your homes, only a few of them would have done so'. Here the subordinate (imperative) clause is defined as tafsir.24 The same author does not discuss laff wa-nashrbut does have a chapter on a conceptual phenomenon which he calls talfif (pp. 123-6) and which appears to be identical to tadmin in the sense of' implication' as employed for example by al-Rummani
(d. 384/994).25 Whether talfIf can be etymologically related to the same source

as laff wa-nashris a question I am unable to answer. Al-Suyfiti (d. 911/1505), too, includes tafs;irin his Itqdn (II, 80), not, however, as part of bad5',but under jdaz(' conciseness '). There he employs it to describe inter alia glosses of the for example Qur'an II, 255: asma' h.usnd, 'God, there is no god but He, the ever-living, the self-subsisting, slumber overtakes Him not, nor sleep '. Or Qur'an cxII, 2-3: ' God is eternal, He begets not nor is He begotten '. But another example reflects the older rhetorical tradition, namely Qur'in LXx, 19-21 : ' Surely man is created impatient, fretful when evil afflicts him, niggardly when good comes his way '.
25

24 cf. Reckendorf, Arabische Syntax, ? 197.3. ft i'jez al-qur'an, Cairo, 1959, 94-5; Al-Nukat

and cf. von Grunebaum,

Tenth-century

document,p. 118, n. 1. Tadmin is not commonly used in this sense but, rather, for the (entirely unrelated) phenomena of enjambment and ' citation '.

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EXEGESIS

485

It appears to have been a construction of this sort which al-Suyiiti had in mind when he mentioned tafsir al-khaff in his 'Uqiid al-juman (Mehren, op. cit., Ar. text, p. 124, no. 55).26 Whether he meant to distinguish between tafsir and tafszr al-khaff is not clear, though it is of some interest to note that the latter term was used in the eleventh century by the Persian Radiiyani (Tarjumin al-balagha, Istanbul, 1949, 85-7). But al-Suyiiti, loath to omit any of the received tradition, also included laff wa-nashr in his Itqdn (II, 106-7). His definition of the figure, which unlike tafsir he included under badi', follows that derived from al-Zamakhshariand elaborated by the scholastics. His seven examples include three of the four for which the latter had employed the term laff (i.e. Qur'in xxvIII, 73, xxx, 23, II, 111, but not II, 185) and four others for which al-Zamakhsharidid not use laff, but which can be made to fit the scholastic interpretation. Summing up, we could describe the results of our investigation in the following manner: the name laff wa-nasr was the product of an elaboration by the schoolmen of an originally exegetic term; the content of the figure included material extracted from the tradition of profane rhetoric; rejection of the Qur'anic shawdhidby post-scholastic theorists produced a figure which retained its exegetic name but which consisted of one variation of the profane figure, described (by the scholastics) as mufassal murattab. Interpreted thus, the equivalence laff wa-nashr: versus rapportati is valid. Like the Oriental figure, the European one was, too, a later refinement of a simple syntactical variation: in Classical rhetoric hyperbaton,under which had been originally subsumed both tmesis (separation) and subnexio (gloss).27 In both traditions badi'/ornatus emerged triumphant.
Mehren, op. cit., 135, includes tafsir al-khafi (illustrated by Qur'8n Lxx, 19-21) among the conceptual figures which he added to those provided by al-Qazwini. 27 H. Lausberg, Handbuch der literarischen Rhetorik, Miinchen, 1960, 357-9, 428-9.
26

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XXXI.

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3.

33