A Master of Arts thesis in Translation and Interpreting MATI (English/Arabic/English) by Alaa Gamal Abdelhakim Muhammad entitled, "Translating Metonymy in the Holy Qur'an: Surat an-Nisa as a Case Study," submitted in February 2017. Thesis advisor is Dr. Usman Ghani. Soft and hard copy available.
This thesis, as its title suggests, is mainly concerned with exploring the linguistically beautiful and rhetorically instrumental role played by metonymy throughout the Holy Qur'an, with special emphasis on Surat an-Nisa, the fourth surah (chapter) of the Holy Qur'an. This particular surah has been chosen due to its strikingly impressive metonymic examples and rich dialogues about women, orphans, inheritance, marriage laws, and even tayammum (using the earth for the performance of ablution when water resources are not obtainable), etc. This thesis also attempts to emphasize the distinctive character of metonymy as a fully independent figure of speech and explore how different strategies are utilized in the selected translations to overcome linguistic obstacles when translating metonymic expressions from Arabic into English. Four examples from the Holy Qur'an in general, and nine examples from Surat an-Nisa in particular, will be selected based on their exceptionally clear metonymic usages. Their general meanings will be introduced using some leading Books of Tafseer (Exegesis/Commentaries), including those of al-Qurtubi, Ibn Kathir, and Tantawy, among other Arabic and Islamic resources. Furthermore, two well-known English translations authored by notable translators from different ideological, educational, and cultural backgrounds will be compared and evaluated in terms of equivalence, translation strategies used, and contexts. These two translations are The Koran Interpreted by the British orientalist Arthur John Arberry (1955) and The Noble Qur'an by Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali and Muhammad Muhsin Khan (1997). The key focus will be on investigating how metonymic expressions are communicated to English readers and reflected linguistically in the translation. Results of the thesis outline how the Holy Qur'an employed the figurative power of metonymic language to convey specific messages and address certain topics by using expressions that give both common literal meanings and nonliteral allegorical meanings.