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November 24th, 2009 7 comments
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Desmond says chat
Sat 28th Nov 09@08:49 am

In this podcast Ehab and Mohamed proffer a glimpse of a domain which European Arabists have neglected for many years (cf. G. Ueding, Rhetorik, Tbingen: Niemeyer, 2005, p. 284). It might be useful to set up a link with the podcast entitled Letter from granddad. To my knowledge this is the only other podcast in which the term balagha (ﺒﻼﻏﺔwink has been used. Balagha means eloquence, and ilm al-balagha (ﺍﻠﺒﻼﻏﺔ ﻋﻠﻢwink is the Arabic equivalent of rhetoric.

Since the subject of this challenging new podcast is the use of metaphorical language (ﻜﻨﺎﻴﺔwink, it might be profitable to examine a metaphorical phrase which Mohameds grandfather uses in his letter. That phrase is musalahiin bililm. Musalahiin (ﻤﺴﻠﺤﻴﻦwink literally means armed, but in the present instance it is used figuratively. When we are told that a person is armed with knowledge a metaphorical image imposes itself upon our imagination. The person becomes a soldier, his knowledge a weapon.

At first sight, this metaphorical expression might seem original, but, as Terence said, nullumst iam dictum quod non sit dictum prius (Nothing has yet been said that has not been said earlier. [Eunuchus, Prologus, v. 41]). If we were to run a Google search we would in all likelihood discover that the phrase under discussion is a clich one of those defunct metaphors which have fallen into the public domain.

I dont know who coined this metaphor, but the fact that it has found its way into many different languages suggests that it is very old. The Latin equivalent of musalahiin bililm is multa eruditione praeditus, which literally means equipped with much knowledge. Equipped isnt the same as armed, so the image conveyed by the Latin expression is not necessarily that of a soldier.

By contrast, there are closely parallel expressions in English, French and German. Thus, for instance, we can say Armed with this knowledge, you can finally sit in the car [] (The Guardian 14.11.1996: 16), le disciple, arm de connaissances or mit vielseitigen Kenntnissen gerstet. (The sources of the French and German examples can be found on the Net) A closer examination of such word combinations reveals a marked tendency to qualify the noun denoting knowledge. In English, for instance, we find adjectives like encyclopaedic (armed with an encyclopaedic knowledge), demonstrative pronouns like this and that (e.g. armed with that knowledge) and subordinate clauses introduced by that (e.g. armed with the knowledge that []. In French we find adjectives like solide (e.g. arm de connaissances solides), and in German we find adjectives like vielseitig or profund (e.g. mit profunden Kenntnissen gerstet).

Since Arabicpod listeners come from the four corners of the globe (another defunct metaphor!) and speak a wide variety of languages, they might be able to provide more detailed information about the origin or the distribution of the metaphor I have analysed here.

In conclusion Id like to mention a somewhat bothersome software problem I have repeatedly encountered. When I write an Arabic word combination from right to left and copy it into the box reserved for comments the order of the words is automatically reversed. As a result, my readers get the impression that I do not know how Arabic is written. Does anyone know how to resolve this problem?
Moshaya says chat
Sat 28th Nov 09@10:22 am

We love your contributions Desmond, very informative.

With regards to the issue you have when copying Arabic and it getting reversed, It sounds like the software youre using might not have right-to-left support. We can try to help fix the problem if you tell us the name of the software
jookieapc says chat
Sat 28th Nov 09@02:17 pm

Ya Shabab I've noticed none of the Advanced lessons show up on the podcast. Any idea why that is? Is it easy to fix?
Moshaya says chat
Sat 28th Nov 09@06:31 pm

Ahlan ya abu ashabab Jookieapc, I presume you mean the RSS & iTunes feeds. The reason why the advanced lessons dont show up, is because were not sure how to mix Arabic and English text together in one RSS feed. The feed complains when we do this, but we will research a solution and see if we can come with one in the near future
jookieapc says chat
Wed 2nd Dec 09@02:13 pm

Ok great, thanks Moshaya. You don't want to just have the plain English for the Advanced lessons in Arabic? Anyway, I think somehow there will be a way. has some podcast listings in Arabic and some in English.
sakina786 says chat
Sun 13th Feb 11@07:55 pm

the saying is from naghal balagha the book of saying s and history and words of wisdom by imam ali as and his khutaba it is it has a deep spirtual meaning the saying when your intellect increases your speech decreases very deep spitual meaning hardn to be explained in a short time.
Wed 30th May 12@11:14 pm

ash l far9 bein kalam majaazi wa al kenaaiya?
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