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Title: A linguistic study of Islamic religious discourse : conceptual metaphors in the prophetic tradition
Author: El-Sharif, Ahmad
ISNI:       0000 0004 2712 0424
Awarding Body: Queen Mary, University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2011
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This study examines the emergence of metaphorical language in the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and tradition. It principally argues that the selection of metaphors in the Prophetic discourse is chiefly governed by the rhetorical aim of persuasion. Additionally, the Prophetic metaphors are discursively used to express a distinctive Islamic doctrine and ideology that embody the laws, principles, and beliefs of Islam. The study is anchored by the theoretical framework provided by the cognitive theory of metaphor developed by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson and corpus-assisted and critical metaphor analysis approaches introduced by Jonathan Charteris-Black. The critical analysis of the Prophetic metaphors acknowledges the impact of the most frequent and significant metaphoric source domains appearing in a corpus compiled from the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and tradition. These metaphors are introduced to an audience on the basis of Islamic religious beliefs in addition to the socio-cultural experiences and knowledge of pre-Islamic Arabs and early Muslims of the time. This study demonstrates the Prophet Muhammad’s reliance on metaphorical language in introducing unfamiliar Islamic notions such as Islam and faith, rulership and Islamic laws, and rituals and unlawful practices among many other notions. The abstract nature of these concepts necessitates the use of conventional metaphors which provide epistemic and ontological information about the topics in hand. In addition, the study argues that behind his didactic discourse, the Prophet Muhammad’s selection of metaphors reflects a distinctive ideological perspective by which Muslims and non-Muslims are distinguished within the realm of spiritual life. Finally, the study establishes the persuasive impact of the Prophetic metaphors with reference to the three Aristotelian propositions: the ethical, emotional, and logical. The study provides the first effort to analyse conceptual metaphors used in the Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and tradition on the basis of modern cognitive and critical approaches to metaphor analysis. Furthermore, this study builds upon the findings of previous studies on critical metaphor analysis of metaphors employed in other religious discourses, such as the Bible and the Qur’an; so, it draws attention to the need for more study of metaphors in Islamic religious discourse
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Linguistics