Book Review – The Parables of the Quran

The Quran uses a wide variety of literary forms to convey its message. These literary forms bring the message in a style which is full of life and is neithermonotonous nor repetitious.

The experts generally agree that there are four types of basic literary forms used in the Quran: Parable, oath, debate and narrative. Parable is one of these literary forms. It is called ‘mathal’ in Arabic. It is commonly translated as simile, metaphors or parables. It is a narrative of imagined events used to illustrate or convey a moral or spiritual lesson.

The book under review is ‘Parables of the Quran’ written by Ahmad Hasan
Qurashi and published by Suhail Academy Lahore, Pakistan. The only edition of this book was published in 2002. Professor Qurashi taught courses in several areas of English, American, Islamic literature, comparative literature and world literature, specializing in Victorian literature.

The Parables of the Quran is an attempt to introduce Quranic parables to the readership at large and breaks fresh ground in Quran Studies. This book takes a brief look at the traditions of the parable in literate and non-literate cultures around the world. It goes on to explore the significance of the term parable in Arabic, Hebrew and Western literature.

It demonstrates that the Islamic concept of the parables as reflected in the
Quran as well as the Hebrew concept are very comprehensive and have
much in common. In the spoken words of Jesus the parable evolves as a
literary genre. It is also pointed out that the Biblical parables are quite
different from the Quranic parables in their literary and moral orientation.

The question of the exact number of parables in the Quran is also discussed at some length.

This study presents the text of thirty-nine parables of the Quran augmented with Quranic analogues, relevant Hadith literature, and selected classical and contemporary Quranic commentaries, the moral and ethical dimension of the parables is brought out. The aesthetics of the parables is highlighted in terms of an analysis of the relationship of form to imagery, symbolism, narrative structures and subject matter. This analysis is offered with the sole objective of brining into focus the timeless beauty, uniqueness, and the perfect harmony of form and content of the Quranic parables.




Ahmad Hasan Qurashi
Suhail Academy,
Lahore, 2002

ISBN 969 519 0421

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