Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān

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An illustrative story teaching a lesson. The word for parable, mathal (pl. amthāl, often used with a form of the verb ḍaraba/yaḍribu, “to strike,” “to coin”), occurs numerous times in the Qurʾān and evidences a much broader semantic range than does the English word “parable.” For Arabic literature in general, mathal can be translated by such terms as simile, similitude, example, parable, allegory, proverb, motto, apothegm, aphorism, fable and maxim (see also similes; literary structures of the qurʾān). This range of meaning for mathal also characterizes other Semitic language…

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Zahniser, A.H. Mathias, “Parable”, in: Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān, General Editor: Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Georgetown University, Washington DC. Consulted online on 05 June 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1875-3922_q3_EQSIM_00313>

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