The use of figurative language in the hadiths of prophet muhammad (p.b.u.h.) in the book paradise of the pious by imam an-nawawi
This study set out to examine the use of figurative language in Hadiths of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) in the book Paradise of the Pious by Imam An – Nawawi. It sought to analyze and demonstrate: the frequency in the use of varied figures of speech and the necessity of cultural background knowledge in arriving at the intended meaning. Hence the hypothesis that, some figures of speech will be used less frequent than others; while, background knowledge of the culture and context is necessary in interpreting the figures of speech used in Hadiths. Forty one Hadiths were considered and the figures of speech identified in the Hadiths analyzed using the Principles of Relevance Theory. Out of forty one hadiths, nine metaphors, eight metonym, six synecdoche, three proverbs and fifteen similes were identified. Four metaphors, four metonymy, four synecdoche, three proverbs, five similes were analyzed. Some figures of speech such as proverbs and synecdoche were less frequently used than others. Consequently the importance of cultural background knowledge was found to be of necessity in order to interpret the figures of speech. The results also indicated that the Prophet used images and figures that were familiar with the people during that era. For example, camels, shepherds, lightning amongst others for easy comprehension and interpretation of the figures used. In addition, Imam An - Nawawi never translated some words from Arabic to English. For instance, Amanah, Al - Karim amongst others in order to preserve and avoid distorting their meaning. Lastly, the Principles of Relevance Theory can adequately be used to analyze the figures of speech used in Hadiths of the Prophet in Imam An - Nawawi’s Paradise of the Pious.
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