Simile/at-Tashbeeh التشبيه  


Simile تشبيه literally is similarity. Rhetorically: تشبيه is the art of likening and comparing one object to another through a common feature or an established shared quality using a simile tool. The rhetorical function of simile is to add clarity and bring the two significations closer in meaning and easier to articulate. For example: زيد كالأسد في الشجاعة Zaid is like a lion in courage where two entities, Zaid and the lion, share a common feature, courage, and hence, the lion was used to articulate the feature of courage of Zaid. 


Simile تشبيه has four components: a) the two simile ends طرفا التشبيه (or the two things that are being likened to one another: tarafi at-tashbeeh), the first element is mushabbah المشبه in the example given above it would be Zaid, and the second element is mushabbah bihi المشبه به that would be the lion, the likened, the tool of simile (adaat attashbeeh) أداة التشبيه which is ك/الكاف in our example, and the common feature (wajh ash-shabah)وجه الشبه which is courage الشجاعة in our example. The common feature وجه الشبه is stronger and more apparent in the likened than in the likened to. 


The simile tool أداة التشبيه is either:    

1. Particle حرف/أداة like ك/كأن meaning like    

2. Noun اسم such as شبيه، مماثل، مضارع meaning “like”.   

 3. Verb فعل such as يشابه، يماثل، يضارع، يحاكي meanig “like” as we”.


Types of Simile أنواع التشبيه:   

1. Tashbeeh Mufrad/Single Simile التشبيه المفرد: the original form of simile where one common feature shared by both sides for example Zaid is like the lion in courage زيد كالأسد في الشجاعة where one common  feature of courage is being likened to and compared.


2. Tashbeeh Murakkab/Compound Simile التشبيه المركب: this is likening one image to another for example: stars are like water bubbles النجوم كثل فقاعات الماء where the likened, the stars, are being being compared to the likened to, water bubbles, as both share multiple features that cannot be taken out i.e. roundness, brightness, etc.


3. Tashbeeh Mursal/Unstrained Simile التشبيه المرسل: when the tool of tashbeeh is mentioned for example your words are sweet like honey كلماتك حلوة كالعسل where the tool of simile, ك, is mentioned.


4. Tashbeeh Mu’kkad/Confirmed Simile التشبيه المؤكد: the tool of tashbeeh is absent for example knowledge is light العلم نور where the tool of simile is missing.


5. Tashbeeh Mujmal/Synopsis Simile التشبيه المجمل:  the common feature is absent for example: knowledge is like light العلم كالنور where the common feature that both knowledge and light share (could be guidance or extent) is not mentioned but rather left to the addressee’ imagination to pounder.


6. Tashbeeh Mufassal/Detailed Simile التشبيه المفصل: the common feature is mentioned for example your words are like honey in sweetness كلامك كالعسل في الحلاوة are the common feature between words and honey, sweetness, is mentioned.


7. Tashbeeh Baleegh/Most Effective Simile التشبيه البليغ: the tool and the common feature are both absent for example Zaid is lion زيد أسد where the tool and the common feature are both not mentioned leaving it completely to the addressee’s imagination.


8. Tashbeeh at-Tamseel/Multiple Simile تشبيه التمثيل : When there is more than one common feature between the likened and the likened to for example Zaid is like his dad in knowledge, courage, the way he walks, etc. زيد كوالده علماً وشجاعةً ومشياً where we have more than one common feature and this is distinguished than compound tashbeeh in the sense that if one feature is removed the simile would be sound and correct.


9. Tashbeeh Dimni/Implicit Simile  لتشبيه الضمني: where the likened and the likened to are not mentioned but rather referred to their common feature for example the moonlight is taken from her beauty نور القمر مأخوذ من جمالها where the likened and likened to are not directly identified but rather implicitly mentioned.


10. Tashbeeh Maqloob/Reverse Simile التشبيه المقلوب: the likened to and the likened exchange their order to claim that the common feature is stronger in it to add exaggeration and emphasis for example the lion is like Zaid الأسد كزيد where it is said that the lion is like Zaid instead of saying Zaid is like the lion.


Functions of Simile أغراض التشبيه:

  1. To add clarity زيادة التوضيح
  2. To identify a specific feature or to express the extent of it تحديد مدى أو قوة وجه الشبه
  3. To affirm زيادة الإقرار
  4. To praise or dispraise للمدح أو الذم