Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE

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Allusion (in Ṣūfism)
(852 words)

The concept of allusion is expressed most closely in Arabic by the terms ishāra and īmāʾ, which denote both verbal and nonverbal allusions. Kināya, a special term for allusion in rhetoric, hints at something that is not named, by the evocation of something else that is necessarily connected with the thing intended. In the present article, only the Ṣūfī use of the term ishāra will be discussed.

Ishāra has a complex meaning in Ṣūfism. It may be used for indirect expressions of any kind that are used to hide esoteric teachings from the uninitiated. More importantl…

Cite this page
Berger, Lutz, “Allusion (in Ṣūfism)”, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, Edited by: Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson. Consulted online on 11 December 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1573-3912_ei3_COM_24210>
First published online: 2012
First print edition: 9789004225442, 2012, 2012-2



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