The Language Game in the “Fraudsters’ Literature” from Pragmatic Perspective—The Arabic Maqamat as a Model


The art of cheating is based on the manipulation of the vocabulary and structures used, and the use of images of linguistic performance that convince the speaker, in which the listener is weak and needy, which causes the other party to respond to it. This type represents the manipulation of words and structures in the most beautiful form in the art of Maqamat, which was prevalent in the Arabic literature in successive eras. Due to this, the research aims to find out the cheating language which is used by the fraudsters in terms of its characteristics and its impact on their dealings.

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Alhaiadreh, M. (2020) The Language Game in the “Fraudsters’ Literature” from Pragmatic Perspective—The Arabic Maqamat as a Model. Advances in Literary Study, 8, 68-77. doi: 10.4236/als.2020.82007.

1. Introduction

The Language is a method of communication between people, some use it correctly and in return, we find a team that uses it differently for that, so they use it in ways that achieve goals and objectives for them, which they can only achieve by manipulating the language and using various methods to achieve their goal. This image was popularized in the use of language in previous times in the art of cheating

2. The Body of the Research

The language triangle is the tool used by humans throughout the successive ages to express their daily needs and their communication, and then its use began to develop by the development of the needs of people. It has been used for the purposes of persuasion to reach the goals beyond what was used at an early age.

By an effect from frayjah, Wittgenstein studied the natural language or ordinary language, so he addressed the problem of ambiguity and falling into abstract contradiction. His study depends on three basic concepts: meaning, grammar and language game (analogy to the game of mathematical questions), a thesis that homogenizes with the nature of the western mind which is saturated with materialism. The concept of the linguistic game is consistent in its thesis with the human dimension of language in the framework of everyday practice that achieves human knowledge through diverse and integrated formative paths.

This is a pragmatic sight that makes the language similar to the games based on rules which can be taught by practice. Also, the rules of language which activate the social role in communication, and the philosophical interest in the study of the rules of the linguistic game in order to distinguish what has a real meaning of what is nonsense and what is not proved by the existential reality, and to offer an image of the language that reflects its verbal construction, its rules, and its birth. Language is like a city which represents different historical periods (Okasha, 2013) .

When Wittgenstein at the very varied uses language, he called it “play the language”. These games are minor, because what explains the performance of language, its function, its internal economy, and its frequency is the conditions of communication, not the expression of thought (Sabila & Ben’abd al-’Ali, 2005) .

Undoubtedly the use of language has circumstances that determine the path it follows. The goal sought by the originator of the text determines the appropriate linguistic performance, the structures and the words used in their construction. Hence, we find that the religious text has its characteristics, as well as the educational text. The manipulation of language in some texts is an important way to reach the desired goal.

This leads us to the fact that the text is a sketch of reference. It can raise different representations for the readers of the reference horizon which the text refers to; and then on the issue raised and the solution proposed by the text. The nature of the literary text also presents enormous potential for installation and construction, so that we discover each time new aspects of the lack of types and the solution that was proposed by the text. There is no doubt that there are many texts understood as a reaction to their external reality, but in very different ways. Here we must understand that the reference context which the text refers to is an “empty” horizon, that is, it always changes according to the reader’s interventions and according to the historical moment (Sharafi, 2007) .

The writer must take into consideration when he creates the text that it’s suitable for the receiver whether in writing or creation, because there is no worth to any text which is far from the receiver, and far from achieving the goal that the writer wishes, whatever his purpose is, whatever the text record regulates the reader’s position towards the text, and then to the problematic spaces of the reference types presented in the record.

Thus, the record regulates an indicative structure that must be given as much output as possible while reading the text. This output will necessarily be conditioned by the knowledge and efficiency of the reader. If the reader determines the compatibility of the elements of the text record, this does not mean that this type and its meaning will be arbitrary because they are always conditional to activate the text structures and the strategies that guide the reader in each of the possible investigations. At this point, we have entered into the effectiveness of textual strategies (Sharafi, 2007) .

When analyzing the texts, the analysis of the text focuses on the narration as a distinctive speech, dealing with linguistic signs as a problem of special communicative situations that characterize narrative speech. Hence, the analysis of the elements contained in the text level is an analysis of the total requirements of the narrative as a communicative attitude in particular. Those requirements gained their existence from the narrative speech existence (Bakr, 1998) .

The text itself consists of a set of symbols that open to each other and extend between them a large network of semantic relations, which makes the process of interpretation available in the text. Also, it means that the interpreter put himself in the meaning direction which is referred to by this interpretation that is supported by the text. As long as this is the case, the interpretation becomes an objective process that is identical to the act of the text itself.

This interpretation will lose its ownership, its spontaneity, and its subjectivity necessarily. It becomes a restoration of what is going on within the text itself, i.e. what happens through the labor of the meaning within the text. The speech per se will be just a new saying that activates the deep original saying of the text (Sharafi, 2007) .

In dealing with the text, it must be seen as a set of parts; each part plays its role in the construction of the text and performs its semantic role in the text. Some researchers do not require that these parts have a comprehensive meaning that combines them. Abd Al-Kareem Sharafi, for instance, sees that the textual relations give us a large set of indicatives, disconnected signals, instead of giving us meanings that are dissociated. However, we can always build through them a certain indicative type which is reasonable, and it can combine them together (Sharafi, 2007) .

3. The Art of Al Maqamat

If we move from this reality to the literary texts, we find that the texts chosen by the writers to express their potentials are in line with the goal that they submit their texts for. There is no difference between poetry texts and prose texts. This was evident in the art of cheating, which grew up in the Abbasi civilization and beyond. Also, it presented the reality that the fraudsters lived in their life in order to convince the listeners to respond to their demands. The writers proved this in the art that was founded by Badi’a Al-Zaman Al-Hamathani in his Maqamat

The texts in the Maqamat don’t differ from other texts in seeking to reach the desired purpose by using the language. Since the different literary texts directly employ the language, the art of Maqamat is based on manipulating the language to reach its goal.

Muhammad Zaghloul Salam defines Al-Maqamah: “Al-Moqama is a set of short stories, whose hero is a model of a deceitful human. It has a narrator and a hero. Also, it is about a humorous situation that is a literary paradox, or a religious matter, or a funny adventure that carries within it a color of criticism, or Placed which was put in a framework of verbal and rhetorical work (Sallam, n.d.) .

In the narratives, speeches vary in order to achieve the goals that the writer seeks. It is difficult to find a pure narration that stands only at the limits of the speech that is formed for its purposes without any breakthroughs of one or more speeches that do not participate in applying these requirements. This does not deny that these speeches contribute to the production of the total significance of the text; they are there inside the narrative (Bakr, 1998) .

The literary text needs to be characterized by a set of features that enable it to perform its role properly. It is not enough to choose the words and structures that are capable to carry the meanings and significance that we seek to give to the readers. Rather, it must be in a beautiful and coherent from that makes the recipient accept and follow it.

It is known among critics and linguists that the doubling of arrangement, construction, and the firmness of the structure, by means of all the substitutionary, structural, rhetorical and stylistic ways that help it, make the aesthetic form of density so that it can constantly evoke new inspirations. This doubling arrangement allows us to touch the material stimuli within the aesthetic form, which means that it gives a large number of inspirations.

At the same time, it gives the material foundations of all these inspirations showing that each reflective or emotional attribution has its material stimuli. This makes each suggestion possess its own material path drawn by the regular material stimuli within the aesthetic form, which always gives us reasons for pleasure and satisfaction, because it constantly invites us to exploit new imaginary paths (Sharafi, 2007) .

The great question in the eleventh century AD was: How can literature convey the mythical image of the eloquence of the Bedouin made by Ibn Duraid and other narrators to be a test of the ability of holding on the character in performance, while expressing the needs of the city? Suddenly, Badi’ AL-zaman Al-Hamathani found his lost in Abu Dulaf al-Khazraji al-Yanbu’i. He knew him well; he knew that by means of cheating he represents the view of the civil society and by eloquence he represents the purity of the Arabic language, so he saw him as a model, and named him Aba Al-Fateh AI-Eskandari.

It was necessary for this storyteller to be fraudulent to travel, to know the people and customs, to talk about different forms of experience, to explore the city, and to talk about it in a style well-known to Bedouins (Abbas, 1993) .

4. The Practical Side

When looking at the texts of the Maqamat, we find that the hero and the narrator have an excellent ability to manipulate the words that appear on their tongues in the folds of the Moqama. Also, they choose the words that fit the place in which they appear to convince others of what they want, especially when they are in trouble or when they want to achieve a goal; they use words that can help them when they are in trouble. It maybe that a person does something wrong, while he thinks that is right, so if he starts blaming and ridiculing, he is like those who are promptitude and enjoy presence of mind, eloquent and the ability to respond wisely (Nasser, 2012) .

On the other hand, talking a lot, exaggeration it, for a reason or not, disrespect the listener, and not giving him a suitable opportunity to speak, make us laugh, because laws do not prevent talkers from talking. The chatter and dullness are not crimes punished by law. They are not flaws which harm others or need to be responded the same way as revenge, so the best way to punish a talkative is to laugh (Nasser, 2012) .

The structure of the literary text is not limited to the systems of the formation of the text, but rather to the narrative ways, subjective or objective, to the centers of visions, to the types of narrators, their positions, their roles in the speeches and to the characteristics of the artistic elements; they are sources that promote the narrative. The literary narrative cared for text, because it is the focal point of news which is woven narratively, so that gives it its specific literary characteristics. Text is the most important thing which narrators care for (Ibraheem, 1990) .

If the literary text expresses its origin self, whose writer aims to deliver a certain idea or achieve a specific goal, in Ricor’s opinion “one cannot understand it himself except by distance, and can never be achieved within that direct self-reflection without the mediation of symbols, signs and cultural effects”. This means that understanding a text is not the purpose, but mediates the relationship of the self with itself.

On the other hand, it means that the interpretation of the text is completed only by self-interpretation, which is interpreted for its self where one can understand better and different. In this way, Ricor connects understanding of the text with its interpretation and self-understanding with its interpretation, and between the establishment of meaning and the establishment of self. He minimizes the importance of any textual approach that does not exceed the text to the self” (Sharafi, 2007) .

If we return to the text we find it a set of symbols that represent the interpretation of others, that is, the signs of the text open to each other and provide a vast network of indicative relationships. This makes the process of interpretation internal to the text and renders the exercise of interpretation for the interpreter a place for himself in the direction of the object to which this interpretation relationship supported by the text refers. As long as this is the case, the interpretation becomes an objective process that matches the act of the text itself (Sharafi, 2007) .

From here, we can enquire how the creators of Maqamat through the successive ages can achieve themselves or convey the ideas they seek to achieve through the various texts they have created, starting with choosing the title of the Moqama and the events in which they take place, the words and phrases from which they build their texts and the means and ways they choose to present their ideas.

In dealing with the literary text, we find that the impression of the reader and the critic intervene openly to cast off its shadow over the connotations that can be derived from the text and probe into the depths of the writer without his awareness, and interpret the texts different from intension of the writer or does not come to his mind before choosing the words.

The Impressionistic approach has been a free, unconscious approach to its monetary effectiveness as a descriptive, analytical, and interpretive process that has worked within another level. Not by raising the main problems that enter the core of criticism, but by mobilizing evidence to promote or refer to external domination. This trend of strength has left only a narrow space that has emerged in the recent years, a trend that ousted the vision and clung to the curriculum.

It seems that it is a reaction to the first direction, other than the direct quotation from the formal and linguistic methodologies after they have emptied their own vision of literature and restored their analytical mechanisms only. Despite the limited work of this trend, which leads to the exclusion of vision and adherence to the methodology, it commits the same mistake of the first direction, although it reflects the image of error (Ibraheem, 1990) .

When we look at the relationship between cheating and science, we find that literary sources mention that some of the fraudsters were standing at the circles of grammarians and scholars, and those who sit down were surprised by their sermons and asking about their ambiguous or unfamiliar words (Al Hussein, 1995) .

The style adopted by the fraudsters in their speeches depends on the rhetorical improvers that bring their speeches closer to the listeners. The literary taste, as well as the critical taste, both were seen in the rhetorical way as the optimal literary model; the prevailing stereotypical image, but the other examples were seen as outlandish not only related to rules of higher rhetoric, but also from the point of view of the critics of the fourth century AH (Qamiha, 1985) .

The fraudsters defend science and scientists and complain about what they have suffered from the ravages of time and pride themselves on their belonging to the class of scholars and even challenge them sometimes. Alexandrian complains of the time of ignorance that blinded science and scientists, and enabled the ignorant and the stupid; Al-Saruji case does not differ from Alexandria’s. Al-Saruji is a scholar who knows everything; he is a linguist, critic, and jurist. Also, he is discerning in magic and Astrology. When he sets with scholars, he can argue with them.

When he sets with the writers, he amazes them and he triumphs, Taking advantage of his knowledge and knowledge of cadres and gain. In the moqama of the herd, he reveals his sight in the grammar and its details, and in the military moqama he is a jurisprudent. As we find in the Euphrates moqama, he is brilliant in the construction industry. We can add these to another Maqamat group which he was mystifying listeners by them including: the hypothesis, the Maltese, and often his board was closed after he earns money and gifts from attendees (Al Hussein, 1995) .

They had a position on the differences between the linguistic teams at that time considering that the basis of the difference between them is inherent in the ability of the eloquence and fluent in the argument. This leads to an important position that distinguishes the identity of the author and appears to be a major engine of the process of authorship. This position is the author’s implicit faith in language and expressive abilities and Literature and its arts both as an end and a means of existence at the same time (Bakr, 1998) .

The writer was trying to show the talents of the hero and the narrator in his Maqamat, which represents his ability to manipulate the words and choose the appropriate ones for the position he makes, then it comes to a description that fascinates the minds and hearts and draws attention to the quality of what it offers.

We found Alexandrian begging his knowledge as in his Maqamat (naqdiyah, Qaridiya, Iraqi, Ibelisian... etc) where we found him asking and answering, and mystifying in literature and jurisprudence. If the listeners couldn’t rival him, he would take the money from them to tell them the answers of his puzzles (Al Hussein, 1995) .

This is what we find when a group of people asked the hero (Alexandrian) about his literature and news, he said: “take them in one exhibition.” This combination of his literary ability and his situation seems to be an apt formula for him. He often describes himself in the form of poetry or prose, supplementing his literary ability for his interlocutors (Bakr, 1998(.

In Al-Moqama of Al-Qarideiah, the narrator starts building the story progressively; he describes the council using the appropriate words to portray this young man, who sits in a place not far away and plays the role of the listener, who captures the words he listens to. He surprises the listeners, and shows a great skill in portraying himself by showing his linguistic and scientific status.

This is in the words of Hamdani “we sat one day, remembering the Poetic and his people, and we met a young man who had sat not too far as he listened, as if he understood. And he is silent, as if he does not know even if the words have tilted toward us his inclination, and the debate dragged us in its tail. He said: You had known his branch, and And you reached its rapture, and if I wanted to utter and Speak a lot” (Hamadani, 1993).

The narrator contributes to the enhancement of the image of the hero in the recipients’ eyes and exaggerates the impact of his words and his place by saying: “I said: “O generous man, come closer; you are offered a wish. Give me and you have thanked.” He came closer and said:” ask me, and I will answer you, hear me, and I will amaze you” (Hamadani, 1993) .

That guides us to the description of the poets and mentions their traits depending on the verses of poetry created by these poets, and combines them with the views of the critics that were said about them, fluctuating between rhyme, comparison, amalgamation and diversification between methods used brilliantly. As in his saying: “We said: What do you say about imrea alqais1? He said: He is the first person who stands with the Homelands and its Yards, and He went in the morning when the birds in their nests, He described the horse with its features, He did not organize the poet for earns” (Hamadani, 1993) .

This picture goes beyond when he was asked to compare some poets such as Jareer and Al-Farazdaq; he did not resort to the characteristics of one of them in contrast with the characteristics of the other. Rather, he uses details, as if he tried to mention the differences between them in each feature separately before moving to the following features, using one method in each field compared to them such as preference, condition and others, in order to demonstrate his proficiency and his possession of the cornerstone of rhetoric and the adoption of judgments. He said: “We said: What do you say in Jareer and Alfarazdaq2? Which of the two comes first? He said: Jareer organized tone down and prolific. And Alfarazdaq stronger than Rocks And more proud, jareer more inflict and ennoble” (Hamadani, 1993) .

After this manipulation and diversification methods and showing his proficiency in everything that he offers, he achieves the goal sought without exposing himself only after he gets what he wants (Hamadani, 1993) .

In Al-Moqama Al-Balkhiyya, Al-Hamadani draws the hero’s quest to achieve the aspirations of science and knowledge that make him distinctive, holding on to the words and able to perform the meanings that wander through his mind with the best view. This striving leads him to be a prey of those who seek to achieve their financial goal using the linguistic skill they possess, he said: “Where do you want? I said: the country, so he said: you reached the country and have what you wanted, when did you come back? I said: Next year. He said: Where are you from the generosity? So I said: Where you want? He said: If Allah returns you intact from this path, so bring me an enemy to me as a friend. Issa ibn Hisham3 said: I knew that he was seeking a dinar. I said you got it in cash and like it promise” (Hamadani, 1993) .

In all of this, he dabbles in the diversity between the words that make the picture beautiful in the eyes of the listeners. Also, he varies between the methods used such as question, dialogue, and narrative, and the rhetorical images that adorn the phrase in the eyes of people such as rhyme, homonym and concealment.

In Al-Moqama Al-Kufiyya, excels in presenting his low status condition, so he showed his need fill hunger forced him to resort to them, despite his self-respect and the lightness of his presence on his hosts for the little he asks from them. He uses statements which describe his situation, taking advantage of the image of the environment and the reality they live in to inspire the good in them relying on the outstanding linguistic skill that prompts them to follow his request. We find that in his saying:” The door was knocked on us, so we said: Who is the knocker? He said: night visitor and its mail, Fleeing hunger and being expelled from it. And Freeman led him the harsh time, A slight guesthouse, needs a loaf, A neighbor complains of hunger and the torn pocket, And a stranger set fire to his travel, And the howl barked behind him” (Hamadani, 1993) .

After this brilliant presentation of his situation, which raises the desire for help, we find him reap the fruit of it quickly. Also, the narrator asks him to request more to give him more benefits. Thus, he returns to enter a new door for praising and raising a new tendency which was not urged before. He indicates that what he obtained is just a generosity from the host, leading him to more thanks. That prompts them to host him, discovering later that he is the Alexandrian (Hamadani, 1993) .

In AL-Moqama Al-Asadiya, we find that he uses what is available in the surrounding environment to deceive those whom he meets on his way, after he deludes them that he is the savior knight who seeks for their relief. He takes advantage of their need for water after long traveling and their need for the shadow to escape from the desert; he tempts them to come to the shadow and drink water. This enables him to achieve what he wanted. He was able to obtain his purpose easily as a result of their suffering in this difficult situation (Hamadani, 1993) .

In AL-Moqama Al-Asfahania, we note that we are in the front of the skill of the hero’s talk to draw everyone’s attention, and resort to the skill of performance which is not less than his proficiency in speaking. In addition to this, we find ourselves in front of a text that Al-Hamadani excelled in its construction in a distinctive artistic manner, combining the different rhetorical arts such as, rhythm, antonyms, comparison and others, which appears crystal clear in this Moqama.

5. Practical Implications

· Maqamat in Arabic literature represents a realistic picture of the life that the Arabs were living in during the Abbasid era, and it is a broad field of research.

· Fraud is one of the negative social images that occur in some societies, and looking at the relevant literature helps to overcome these problems.

· Language manipulation is the ideal means for fraudsters to achieve their goals. Attention should be paid to the role of language in social communication.


1He is one of the pre Islamic poets.

2Both are Umayyad poets.

3He is one of al Maqamah characters.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest regarding the publication of this paper.


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