Research Article


DOI :10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029   IUP :10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029    Full Text (PDF)

The Sementic Dimensions and Change Process of Basic Colors in Arabic Poetry

Mahmut Üstün

Colors are vital to human life and are often used as a silent communication tool to express feelings and thoughts. In the early stages of life, colors are employed to describe phenomena. However, over time they become elements actively associated with positive and negative connotations attributed to them and hence convey varied meanings for discrete purposes in all areas of life. This study explores how Arabic poetry treats colors such as black, white, red, blue, green, and yellow. Initially, the paper provides general information about the social and psychological significations of colors. It subsequently discusses the effects of Arabic culture and Islam on the meaning of colors in Arabic literature, reinforcing the argumentation through examples from poetry that employs only the first names or forms of colors, not their alternatives. The cited poetry samples aim to demonstrate the use of colors in poetry from a historical perspective. The exemplars are thus selected from poets ranging from the past to the present who have skillfully used colors in their work and have been restricted to poems about people as much as possible. 

DOI :10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029   IUP :10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029    Full Text (PDF)

Arap Şiirinde Temel Renklerin Anlamsal Boyutları ve Değişim Süreci

Mahmut Üstün

İnsanoğlunun yaşamında önemli bir yere sahip olan renkler, duygu ve düşüncelerin ifade edilmesinde kullanılan sessiz bir iletişim aracıdır. Renkler yaşamın ilk dönemlerinde bir şeyi tanımlamak için kullanılmış olsa da zaman içerisinde çeşitli anlamları olan bir öge haline gelmiş ve kendilerine yüklenen olumlu ve olumsuz çağrışımlar nedeniyle hayatın bütün alanlarında çeşitli amaçlarla aktif bir şekilde kullanılmıştır. Bu bağlamda çalışmanın konusunu siyah, beyaz, kırmızı, mavi, yeşil ve sarı gibi renklerin Arap şiirinde nasıl ele alındığı oluşturmaktadır. İlk olarak renklerin sosyal ve psikolojik anlamları hakkında genel bilgiler verilmiştir. Sonrasında Arap edebiyatında renklerin anlam kazanmasında Arap kültürü ve İslâm dininin etkileri ele alınmış ve şiir örnekleri ile bu durum pekiştirilmiştir. Renkler ele alınırken müradifleri değil sadece renklerin farklı sigalarının kullanıldığı şiir örnekleri verilmiştir. Şiir örnekleri ise geçmişten günümüze renkleri ustaca kullanan şairlerin şiirlerinden seçilmiş ve renklerin tarihsel süreçte nasıl kullanıldığının gösterilmesi hedeflenmiştir. Ayrıca şiir örnekleri mümkün olduğunca insanı konu edinen şiirlerle sınırlandırılmıştır.


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


The word “color” is defined as the feature that distinguishes one thing from another. Colors initially used by people to define their environments were over time transfigured into symbols or signs of different ideas. Eventually, colors became invested with cultural, social, political, and religious significations. The physiological and emotional impact of color on every individual is influenced by varied factors such as past experiences, culture, religion, natural environment, gender, race, and nationality. Colors are used effectively in almost all areas of life and have become a psychological tool. They can transmit positive or negative messages, encourage sales, calm a crowd, remove exuberance, or perform diverse therapeutic functions. Colors denote a non-verbal form of communication. Every color is vested with numerous aspects. The meanings assigned to colors may vary depending on cultures and conditions.

Culture and religion function as factors that designate the positive and negative meanings of colors. For example, black represents the negative aspects of life in black Arabic literature. Because it has been used to describe black people in cases such as infidelity or deception, murder or fear in the stories told in some works, the color is considered as bad luck or bad luck, the color black as death, extinction and death the use of black color in proverbs to describe bad, difficult and distressing situations and to describe bad things in daily conversations.

Black appears in different forms in six verses of the Qur’an. It is used to describe situations such as determining the time of fasting or specifying the colors of the roads passing over the mountains. It is also employed to characterize infidels, criminals, and hypocrites. It is used in varied forms in the hadiths: to indicate the color of people, animals, clothing, and various foods as well as to symbolize evil, sin, darkness, devil, and the color of hellfire. White conveys a positive significance for many reasons. Because it has been used to express for beautiful things in prayers, the dog with different colors, etc. the choice of the white one of the two animals, the color of white being an indicator of wealth and nobility, the color of the night sometimes turning white, the body of some deceased persons being white, the adjective of chaste and chaste people with the word white, the previous prophets wearing white clothes, the envoys wearing white clothes, the use of the white handkerchief as a symbol of peace, the use of white as a sign of optimism in ancient works, and the use of white for good things in proverbs. White is mentioned in different forms in twelve verses of the Qur’an. Some verses designate white as the color of the rope, goblet, or milk; in others, it is used to describe the light bestowed on the visage of believers and indicates mercy, good news, and virtue. In some hadiths, angels of mercy generally represent “white” states such as mercy, modesty, cleanliness, goodness, humility, purity, guidance, being removed from fitnah, and being in Paradise.

Red is used negatively in Arabic literature because it has been used to described to the severity of the war and the multitude of those who died in the war, the red eye as a sign of wrath, the danger, the devil, the rage and lust. However, no verse in the Qur’an employs red to denote a negative meaning. Red is used both metaphorically and literally in the hadiths to convey numerous negative meanings such as to reflect the color of the Prophet’s angry face, to represent the color of long-burning hellfire and drought, and cited as considered by the Prophet to be a distracting color and a source of strife. Red is also employed to transmit positive connotations: red clothes or accessories such as hats and turbans signify boasting; red jewels such as rubies and red roses symbolize love; red cheeks indicate beauty; a red face epitomizes shyness in literary expression. Redness is often considered an indicator of health and physical strength; it also arouses extreme desire and is accepted as the color of freedom.

Blue is invested with negative connotations in Arabic literature because It is seen as the color of smoke, the king of the jinn is accepted as blue, some Romans fought by Muslims have blue eyes, and those who are far right or band of partisans are described as blue. It is mentioned as a sign of fear in the Qur’an and the hadiths. Noteworthily, the color blue attains a positive meaning in Arabic literature in congruence with the changes in the perception of blue eyes over time. With time, blue begins to transmit the additional sense of peace and calmness it evokes in people because it appears as the color of the sea and the sky. Blue is regarded in the early periods as the eye color of the enemy but later turns into the eye color of the beloved and also represents calmness, peace, thought, and optimism.

Green is used positively in Arabic literature. It has become the symbol of jewelry such as emerald and ruby, describing fertility and abundance, adding a different beauty to the beauty of nature, telling good deeds with green, the domes of various masjids and mosques being green or naming them with the color green. characterizing people with good manners and adab as green-hearted, and naming some black virtuous people as green. Eight verses of the Qur’an mention green to convey favorable meanings: it describes the color of the earth, the revival of nature, the color of heaven and its clothes and life. In the hadiths, the green indicates the verdure and peace in the world and is imbued with positive signification because the Prophet wore and recommended green clothes, and it was designated as the color of heaven.

Arabic literature infuses yellow with negative connotations: The person’s skin color becomes yellow due to extreme anger, fear or various diseases, blond people are reproached or vilified, and the color yellow is used more in the sense of envy in proverbs. The Qur’an mentions yellow to denote varied phenomena, four negative and one positive. In three verses, yellow describes attractiveness, transience, and submissiveness to worldly life; one verse denotes it as the color of the camel to indicate the severity or magnitude of fear. The affirmative connotations of yellow could be ascribed to the following reasons: In some periods, blonde women are considered as beauty monuments, the colors of various assets such as the moon, sun and stars, and precious materials such as gold and saffron are yellow, and yellow dresses were popular for a period. The Qur’an mentions yellow in a positive sense as the color of ornament and charm. The hadiths record various rumors that the Prophet dyed his hair, beard, turban, and clothes yellow; that he liked to have his hair dyed yellow; that his favorite color was yellow; and that yellow denoted the color of the flag.

Colors are used effectively in almost all areas of human life, and it would thus be inappropriate to contemplate them separately from poetry, which emanates from society. Arab poets handled colors meticulously and used them extensively in their poetry: in descriptions of nature, sometimes using the different tones of the same hue for other types of poetry, and sometimes to evoke phenomena such as darkness, light, blood, or sea, garden, and sun. The colors used in Arabic poetry may be said to be shaped in concordance with the contemporary living environment of poets. For instance, green is almost non-existent in the Arabic poetry of the Jahiliyya period but was used abundantly during the Abbasid era, which also denotes the time when colors began to be effectively used in poetry to describe people.

In general, black, red, blue, and yellow are negatively connoted. White and green are accorded more positive significations and uses. However, no color should be evaluated merely as positive or negative, or as specific to a certain poetic theme. Numerous poetic examples may be cited to demonstrate that almost every poet has used the same color to denote different people and to connote both positive and negative meanings. Therefore, colors may be asserted to be shaped in accordance with the imaginations or experiences of poets. Black and white stand out as colors used consistently and effectively in all periods. Exception examples may be observed in colors used in poems written from the Jahiliyya period to the Modern era; however, it can be claimed that colors preserve their first meanings. 


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APA

Üstün, M. (2022). The Sementic Dimensions and Change Process of Basic Colors in Arabic Poetry. darulfunun ilahiyat, 33(1), 177-208. https://doi.org/10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029


AMA

Üstün M. The Sementic Dimensions and Change Process of Basic Colors in Arabic Poetry. darulfunun ilahiyat. 2022;33(1):177-208. https://doi.org/10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029


ABNT

Üstün, M. The Sementic Dimensions and Change Process of Basic Colors in Arabic Poetry. darulfunun ilahiyat, [Publisher Location], v. 33, n. 1, p. 177-208, 2022.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Üstün, Mahmut,. 2022. “The Sementic Dimensions and Change Process of Basic Colors in Arabic Poetry.” darulfunun ilahiyat 33, no. 1: 177-208. https://doi.org/10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029


Chicago: Humanities Style

Üstün, Mahmut,. The Sementic Dimensions and Change Process of Basic Colors in Arabic Poetry.” darulfunun ilahiyat 33, no. 1 (Jul. 2022): 177-208. https://doi.org/10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029


Harvard: Australian Style

Üstün, M 2022, 'The Sementic Dimensions and Change Process of Basic Colors in Arabic Poetry', darulfunun ilahiyat, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 177-208, viewed 6 Jul. 2022, https://doi.org/10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Üstün, M. (2022) ‘The Sementic Dimensions and Change Process of Basic Colors in Arabic Poetry’, darulfunun ilahiyat, 33(1), pp. 177-208. https://doi.org/10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029 (6 Jul. 2022).


MLA

Üstün, Mahmut,. The Sementic Dimensions and Change Process of Basic Colors in Arabic Poetry.” darulfunun ilahiyat, vol. 33, no. 1, 2022, pp. 177-208. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029


Vancouver

Üstün M. The Sementic Dimensions and Change Process of Basic Colors in Arabic Poetry. darulfunun ilahiyat [Internet]. 6 Jul. 2022 [cited 6 Jul. 2022];33(1):177-208. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029 doi: 10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029


ISNAD

Üstün, Mahmut. The Sementic Dimensions and Change Process of Basic Colors in Arabic Poetry”. darulfunun ilahiyat 33/1 (Jul. 2022): 177-208. https://doi.org/10.26650/di.2022.33.1.1067029



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Submitted02.02.2022
Accepted29.03.2022
Published Online14.04.2022

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