The Quran uses a wide variety of literary forms to convey its message. These literary forms bring the message in a style which is full of life and is neither monotonous nor repetitive.
Generally the experts agree that there are four types of basic literary forms used in Quran: Parable, oath, debate and narrative. One of these, the parable is called ‘mathal’ in Arabic. It is also commonly translated as simile or metaphors.
A parable is a narrative of imagined events used to illustrate or convey a moral or spiritual lesson. The parables of the Quran have many lessons for us. They promote the cause of belief and expose the error of disbelief in God 2. They tell us:
about the rewards of thankfulness to God, generosity and good deeds;
about the punishment of disbelief and niggardliness;
that the deeds inspired by narrow self-interest are passing;
that the deeds done for the sake of God and for the benefit of humankind are lasting;
that good words and deeds are like a shady tree;
bad words and deeds are like an uprooted tree.
Below we present a list of parables with their commentary: