Ilm al-Balagha


With a very limited cohort of the pre-Islamic Arab society having the ability to write, an amazing oral culture developed therein instead. Men and women alike resorted to their minds rather than the written medium to host vast amounts of information; including, in some cases, the genealogy of their horses. Poetry and poetic displays flourished with the market of Ukaaz hosting yearly events where the most prominent and gifted artists engaged in literary showdowns. Due to their bedouin lifestyle, the Arabs never built large monuments to their gods and civilization, instead relying on poetry and language to cement their legacy. Poets were the historians, propagandists and news media of their day, able to destroy or redeem reputations with a phrase.

This all changed with the revelation of the Qur'an. Suddenly, with one angelic descent, the world of the linguists had been transcended. The new revelation laid out a clear challenge that the brightest minds of this immense poetic culture could not stand up to. The solitary example of Labid stands as testimony to this. He was a warrior poet so highly recognized that his musings were hung on to the Kaaba as a monument to his brilliance. When he heard the shortest chapter of the Qur'an, Surah Kawthar, he vowed never to engage in poetry again. "The Qur'an suffices me" was his final statement.

What was so eloquent about this revelation that made even its ardent enemies like Abu Jahal and others have to admit to its immensity? What was so powerful about its verses that listening to them lead to Hazrat Umar forsaking his false idols and clinging to the way of Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) till his death?

To understand this, one needs to engage in a study of the rhetoric within Arabic and understand what it meant to be truly eloquent. Once a student has grasped this, the beauty of the Divinely originated Qur'an becomes apparent.

Course Details

We will cover a text taught in Islamic universities, "Duroos Ul Balaghah" (Lessons in Arabic rhetoric), written by four scholars from the legendary Azhar University. The book will cover what makes different forms of the Arabic language eloquent and how the Qur'an manifests itself as a linguistic miracle. Once students are sufficiently grounded in this science, we will move on to looking at the linguistic prowess of some specific chapters of the Qur'an.

Student requirements

Students will need to have studied Arabic to at least an intermediate level.

Course Instructor

Sheikh Sulayman van Ael is the founder of The Ark Institute, an educational institution based in London. After becoming Muslim at the age of 18, he travelled the world to seek knowledge and gained ijazah (teaching licenses) in various disciplines from scholars from Sudan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Jordan (where he received ijazah from the Grand Mufti of Amman to give religious verdicts). He graduated from Rotterdam University with a BA in Theology and MSc in Islamic Counselling. He lectures extensively and has appeared on CNN and Al Jazeera. His multi-award-winning Belgian national television documentary, My Jihad, was translated into 12 languages. As a scholar who resonates with young and old alike, Sheikh Sulayman is a powerful, dynamic and credible voice for the emerging formation of a confident, faithful identity of Islam in Europe.

The Shaykh studied Arabic rhetoric and linked sciences with many prominent experts in the field including Dr Fadl Abbas and Dr Abdullah, the head of Arabic at the University of Jordan.



Event Date 05-Jan-2020 7:00
Event End Date 30-Nov-0007
Registration Start Date 26-Sep-2019 23:30
Capacity Unlimited
Registered 30
Individual Price Free
Location Castlefield - High Wycombe
We are no longer accepting registration for this event


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