The Book of Adornment in the Rhetorical Arts


Kitāb al-tarṣīʻ fī ʻilm al-maʻānī wa-al-bayān wa-al-badīʻ (The book of adornment in the rhetorical arts) is primer on Arabic rhetoric. The author, ‘Abd al-Qādir ibn Muḥammad Salīm al-Kīlānīlal-Iskandarānī, states he will be “brief, useful, and simple.” In this he is largely successful. Kitab al-tarsi’ was printed at the government press in Damascus in 1922, presumably for use in schools, although there is no evidence that it formed part of the official syllabus. A note on the title page says that the book was distributed “for love of the Prophet,” from which it can be inferred that the author financed the printing himself. Al-Kilani treats ‘ilm al-balaghah (rhetoric) in its traditional divisions of al-ma’ani (clear expression), al-bayan (use of tropes), and badi’ (embellishment and beautiful style). He states at the outset that the goal of communication is al-fasahah (eloquence), that is, expression that is free of fault, distraction, and infelicity. Little is known about al-Kilani other than that he was a Syrian Islamic scholar who was born in Alexandria (also called Alexandretta, present-day Iskenderun, Turkey) and lived in Damascus. In addition to works on language, he wrote a rebuttal of the Protestant criticism of the Qur’an. He is perhaps best known for his refutation of the doctrines of Wahhabism contained in Al-Nafkhah al-Zakiyah (The refreshing breeze) and al-Minhah al-Ilahiyah (The divine gift), which he advertises in a note at the end of this volume.

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Government Press, Damascus


Title in Original Language

كتاب الترصيع في علم المعاني والبيان والبديع

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33 pages ; 22 centimeters

Last updated: January 16, 2015