Is there exaggeration in the Quran and hadiths? If there is exaggeration, is exaggeration not a kind of lie?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Exaggeration is a kind of literary art. When the language that people use is not enough to express some issues in the Quran and hadiths, exaggeration is used. It is not a lie but a style that is preferred to make the meaning that the language cannot express be understood by the mind. 

Having defined "exaggeration" as "to show the meaning as bigger and more than its original state in the language in order to explain it", Rummani lists the six types of exaggeration included in the Quran as follows:

1. With the form exaggerative form of the word like Ghaffar, Tawwab, Rahman, Rahim, Wadud, Qadir and Alim. Ziyauddin Ibnul-Athir and Maghribi say that this kind of attributes will not exaggerate about Allah because divine attributes have endless perfection, that exaggeration takes place in attributes having the property of increasing-decreasing and that Allah's attributes are free from it. (al-Mathalus-Sa'ir, III/191; Mawahibul-Fattah, II/558)

2. Using the general instead of the specific style like the phrase "the Creator of all things" (al-An'am 6/102).

3. Mentioning the greatest one like saying, "And thy Lord cometh" (al-Fajr, 89/22) instead of saying, "The evidences of thy Lord came."

4. Expressing what is possible as impossible like the verse "Nor will they enter the garden, until the camel can pass through the eye of the needle" (al-Araf, 7/40).

5. Expressing something with more than one possibility in order to use a moderate style in a discussion like the verse "And certain it is that either we or ye are on right guidance or in manifest error." (as-Saba' 34/24).

6. The answer to be deduced from the expression. This expresses exaggeration because it necessitates the answer to be thought in different ways and leads the listener and reader to thinking and imagination like the following verse: "If thou couldst but see when they are confronted with the Fire!" (al-An'am, 6/27)

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