The Persuasive Power of Religious Metaphor in Selected Qur’anic and Biblical Verses

Ontological, Structural and Orientational

  • Hayder Sadeq Naser College of Arts/Mustansiriyah University
  • Ali Badeen Mohammed Mustansiriyah University - College of Arts- Department of English Language
Keywords: Qur’an, Bible, Metaphor, Cognitive Theory, CDA


The issue of identifying metaphors is not clear-cut in most religious texts (Charteris-Black, 2005). For metaphors that are dealt with by religious texts such as human life as a journey or as a game, a prayer as a flowing river, the living martyrs (the living dead), a taste of death, the journey of the dead and “die, yet shall he live” are mostly spiritual matters for which academic appraisal is essential (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980; Gibbs, 2008). That is, the quality of the explanations that are presented by such metaphors need an intensive investigation, because these are the key function of metaphor in religious texts. Moreover, metaphors in sacred texts may be misjudged due to: the absence of the image in the target language and the different symbolic meanings of metaphor in the source text. Therefore, we aim to tackle such a problem via analysing the different forms and functions of metaphors in selected Qur’anic and Biblical verses. To operate such metaphorical analysis, a two-dimensional model is adapted from two different discourse analysts: aI-Sakaaki (2000) and Lakoff & Johnson (1980). The study reveals how the persuasive power of metaphor in the Qur’anic and Biblical verses related are regulated around the diversity of ontological, structural and orientational forms, and how every correlation between two domains of metaphors can shape its functions.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Ali Badeen Mohammed, Mustansiriyah University - College of Arts- Department of English Language

Ali Al-Rikaby (Dr.) is a lecturer and researcher presently attached to the College of Arts in Mustansiriyah University, Iraq. He previously served as the Assistant Director of the Studies Abroad Section in the Iraqi MOHSR, Head of the Translation Centre of Mustansiriyah University, and Head of the English Language Department at the College of Education in Libya. His research interests include language and literature studies, translation and discourse analysis.


Abrams, M. H., & Harpham, G. (2011). A glossary of literary terms. Cengage Learning.

Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (1988). The Holy Qur 'an: Text, Translation and Commentary, Elmhu rst, NY: Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an, Inc.

Al-Ghazali (1904). Kitab al-Mustafa min Ilm al-Usul. Cairo: Al-Matba'ah AlAmiriyyah.

Al-Jurjani, A. (2001). Asrar al Balaghah (Secrets of Rhetoric). Beim t: Dar al­ Ku tub al-Ilmiya.

Al-Rumani A. (1976). Al-Nukit. fi 'Aejaz al -Qur'an (Important Points in the rhetoric of the Qur'an). Egypt/ Cairo: Dar al-Maaref Printing and Publishing House.

Al-Sakkaki, A. (2000). Muftah al-Uloom (Key to Sciences). Beim t: Dar al­ Kutub al-Ilmiya.

AI-Zemkhshari, J.A. (I986). AI-Kashaf Dar AI-nasher AI-Arabi. Beirut, Lebanon.

Arberry, J. A. (1996) The Quran interpreted: translation with an Introduction. Oxford University Press.

Bladick, C. (1996) The Oxford dictionary of Literary Terms. Oxford University Press. UK.

Charteris-Black (2005). Politicians & Rhetoric. Basingstoke: Palgrave­ Macmillan.

---------- (2004). Corpus approaches to critical metaphor analysis. Hampshire/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Dickins, J. (2005). Two Models for Metaphor Translation. John Benjamin's Publishing Company. UK.

El-Sharif (2011). A Linguistic Study of Islamic Religious Discourse: Conceptual Metaphors in the Prophetic Tradition, PhD Thesis. Queen Mary, University of London.

Goatly (1997). The Language of Metaphors. London: Routledge.

Gibbs Jr, R. W. (2001). Evaluating contemporary models of figurative language understanding. Metaphor and symbol, 16(3-4), 317-333.

Gibbs Jr, R. W. (Ed.). (2008). The Cambridge handbook of metaphor and thought. Cambridge University Press.

Kovecses (2010). Metaphor. Oxford, Oxford: University Press.

------------ (2002). Metaphor: A practical introduction. New York Press.

------------- (1993). The contemporary theory of metaphor. In Ortony, A. (Ed.).

Kovecses, Z. Metaphor and thought. 2"d edition. (pp. 202- 521). USA: Cambridge University Press.

Knowles, M and Moon, R. (2006) Introducing Metaphor. Routledge USA and Canada.

Lakoff (2008). The Neural Theory of Metaphor. In J. R. Gbbs (Ed.). The Cambridge Handbook of Metaphor and Thought (ED.). pp. (17-38). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Lakoff (1988). Cognitive semantics. In U. Eco, M. Santambrogio and P. Violi (Eds.). Meaning and mental representation. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Lakoff & Mark Johnson (1980). Metaphors we live by. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.

Lakoff & Turner (1989). More than cool reason. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Levinson (1983). Pragmatics. Cambridge: CUP.

Mohamed (2014). The Metaphor of Nature in the Holy Qur'an: A Critical Metaphor Analysis (CMA). Journal of Arabic and Human Sciences Qassim University, Vol. 7, No. 3, PP 83-100.

Murray & Moon (2006). Introducing Metaphor. London/ New York: Routledge, 180 S. Annika Kerz, Saarbrücken

Musolff, A. (2016). Political metaphor analysis: Discourse and scenarios. Bloomsbury Publishing.

Newmark, P. (1988) A Textbook of Translation. London and New York: Prentice Hall International. UK.

Sadock (1993). Figurative speech and linguistics, in Ortony (Ed.). Metaphor and Thought. 2"d (pp. 42-57). Cambridge & New York: CUP.

Saeed (2007). Semantics. 2nd Ed. UK, USA and Australia: Blackwell Publishing Company.

Searle (1979). Expression and meaning: Studies in the theory of speech acts. Cambridge: CUP.

Soskice (1985). Metaphor and Religious Language. Oxford: Clarendon. Zahri, M. (1991) Metaphor and Translation. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Department of Modem Languages. University of Salford.

How to Cite
Naser, H., & Mohammed, A. (2020). The Persuasive Power of Religious Metaphor in Selected Qur’anic and Biblical Verses. Al-Adab Journal, 2(135), 11-32.
English linguistics and literature