The pragmatic functions of the recitation of Qur’anic verses by Muslims in their oral genre: The case of Insha’ Allah, ‘God’s willing’

Ayman Nazzal

Abstract

In this study, I set out to investigate the motivations and reasons which induce Muslims to invoke the recitation of Qur’anic verses in their ordinary discourse. Based on the analysis of the data complied, Muslims seem inclined to recite Qur’anic verses for a host of pragmatic functions. These pragmatic functions range from mitigating one’s commitment for carrying out a future action or failing to honor one’s commitment, to avoiding the effects and adverse consequences of one’s actions on others. In addition, the recitation appears to function as a confirmation of the participants’ religious, cultural, and linguistic identities. Furthermore, the findings of this study underlie the multifaceted functions that Muslims attach to and associate with use of Qur’anic verses. Muslims can exonerate themselves from the responsibilities of rejecting directives or turning down offers or avoiding staking the self-image of their recipient particularly when their actions are face-threatening or have undesirable consequences on their recipients. Moreover, the findings of this study reveal that Muslims are inclined to use Qur’anic verses as a rhetorical strategy of indirect persuasion to lend credibility to the claims they wish their prospective audiences to act upon them.

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