Literally: to borrow. Rhetorically: it is a metaphor (type of simile) which does not have one of the two tashbeeh/simile ends neither does it have the tool of tashbeeh. The relationship between the literal and the metaphorical meaning is always similarity (mushabaha) and this relationship is given through the contextual clue (qareena) that is found within the context. For example: be ware of the sword between your jaws احذر لساناً بين فكيك where a metaphor of a sword for tongue is used and there are no tools neither are there no elements (the two ends) of simile which is why it is a metaphor استعارة and not simile تشبيه. The relationship between the two ends of the metaphor استعارة is similarity i.e. sharing a feature that is common in both, in our case both the sword and the tongue share the quality of being sharp, the sword is sharp and can hurt physically, and the tongue is sharp and can hurt emotionally, hence, the relationship is similarity of meaning (sharpness) which is found within the context “between your jaws” “بين فكيك“.
Isti’ara has three components:
a) the borrowed from المستعار منه (the likened)
b) the borrowed to المستعار له (likened to)
c) the borrowed (the common feature) المستعار
Types of Isti’arah: أنواع الاستعارة
- Explicit Metaphor: (tasreehiyya) تصريحية: when the likened is there but the likened to is absent for example: beware of the sword between your jaws احذر سيفاً بين فكيك.
- Implicit Metaphor: (makaniyya) مكنية: when the likened is absent while having something that alludes to it for example: wars burn green and the dry الحروب تحرق الأخضر واليابس alluding to destruction without mentioning it literally.
- Proverbial Metaphor: (tamtheeliyya) تمثيلية: where the common shared feature is not mentioned – these are proverbials that are said to someone who does not take advice, pretends to be your friend, or other purposes. For example: you are yelling in an empty belly أنت تصرخ في واد and you are flogging a dead horse أنت تضرب في حديد بارد. Both examples are missing the borrowed or the simile feature which is “no benefit” or “without effect/result” “عديم الفائدة“.
- Enhanced Metaphor: (Murashahha) المرشحة: this type has a component that is relevant to the borrowed from/likend for example: I saw a lion giving a speech and had claws رأيت أسداً يخطب وله مخالب where claws are relevant to the lion.
- Simple Metaphor: (mujarrada) المجردة: this type of metaphor has an element that is relevant to the borrowed to (the likend to) for example: I saw a lion giving a speech wearing glasses and a turban رأيت أسداً يخطب مرتدياً نظارات وعمامة where the glasses and the turban are relevant to the likened to, speaker, who is described as the lion أسد.
- Absolute Metaphor: (mutlaqa) الاستعارة المطلقة: this type of metaphor does not contain any elements that are relevant to the borrowed from or the borrowed to (likened, likened to), or includes elements that are relevant to both. For example: I saw a lion in the room رأيت أسداً في القاعة where no element that could be relevant to the lion or the human/speaker that is described as the lion are mentioned. Second example: I saw a lion giving a speech wearing glasses and a turban and he had claws رأيت أسداً يخطب مرتدياً نظارات وعمامة وله مخالب where relevant elements to both the lion and the human/speaker are mentioned.