AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 5, Number3.  August 2021                                Pp.113-124

Full Paprt PDF

An Ecolinguistic Perspective on Framing of Animals in Quranic Discourse

Ansa Hameed
Department of English
College of Science and Humanities, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University
Al Kharj, Saudi Arabia


Received: 6/22/2021                       Accepted:  7/27/2021             Published:  8/25/2021


Whether animals are of lower rank compared to humans or not is a debatable issue among scholars of various disciplines. However, there is no denying that they play a significant part in sustaining ecological balance on earth. The discourses in this regard play a considerable function in presenting animals in either beneficial or destructive roles. Such studies can contribute to spreading awareness regarding animals’ prominence from religious perspectives. The present study aims to examine the religious discourse concerning the ways animals are framed linguistically. For the said purpose, the Quran (the Holy book for followers of Islam) is chosen to analyze the framing technique used to portray animals concerning target words/ phrases. The identified frames are further described with reference to the ecological perspective. The content analysis technique is used to identify target words that are later used to recognize frames. The findings reveal that animals are most importantly presented in four significant frames: as beings, as benefactors, as ornaments, and as celestial signs. These frames further reflect how animals are represented in various roles, from food sources to valuable possession and from war tools to Godly signs. The beneficial story of animals’ existence as narrated in the Quran provides a comprehensive overview of their role in bio-network.
Keywords: animals, ecolinguistics, framing, Quranic discourse, target words

Cite as: Hameed, A. (2021). An Ecolinguistic Perspective on Framing of Animals in Quranic Discourse.
Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 5 (3) 113-124.


Aarts, N.M.C. & Van Woerkum, C. (2006). Frame construction in interaction. In Multi-Organisational Partnerships, Alliances and Networks. Engagement, Proceedings of the 12th MOPAN International Conference, Wales, UK, 22–24 June 2005; Short Run Press: Exeter, UK, 2006.

Ali, W. I. & Abdullah, I. A. (2019). Animal language in the Quran: The application of Charles Hockett design features. International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, 23(2), 764-771. DOI: 10.37200/IJPR/V23I2/PR190329

Bang, J. C. & Trampe, W. (2014). Aspects of an ecological theory of language. Language Sciences, 41 (part A). 83-92.

Beheshti, S. (2017). Animals in the Quran: The Epistemological Significance of Sacrifice, Personhood, Vegetarianism, Mercy and Dominion through the Lens of Islamic Moral Philosophies. Retrieved from

Bormann, E.G. (1985). Symbolic convergence theory: A communication formulation. J. Commun., 35, 128–138.

Christmas, S., Wright, L., Morris, L., Watson, A. & Miskelly, C. (2013). Engaging people in biodiversity issues: Final report of the biodiversity segmentation scoping study. London: Simon Christmas.

Cook, G. (2015). ‘A pig is a person’ or ‘You can love a fox and hunt it’: Innovation and tradition in the discursive representation of animals. Discourse & Society 26(5), 587–607.

Cook, G. & Sealey, A. (2017). The Discursive representation of Animals. In A. Fill & H. Penz (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Ecolinguistics. New York: Routledge.

Derrida, J. (2008). The animal that therefore I am. New York: Fordham University Press.

Dewulf, A., Gray, B., Putnam, L., Lewicki, R., Aarts, N., Bouwen, R., & van Woerkum, C. (2009). Disentangling approaches to framing in conflict and negotiation research: A meta-paradigmatic perspective. Human Relations, 62 (2), 155–193.

Elton, C.C. (n.d). Animal Ecology. Nature, 119, 193-193.

Foltz, R. (2014). Animals in Islamic tradition and Muslim cultures. Simon and Schuster.

Foust, C. & O’Shannon Murphy, W. (2009). Revealing and reframing apocalyptic tragedy in global warming discourse. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, 3, 2, 151-167.

Kingnorth, P. & Hine, D. (2009). The dark mountain project manifesto (online). Available at

Khalid, F. (2010). Islam and the environment: Ethics and practice an assessment. Religion Compass, 4, 11. Blackwell Publishing. DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-8171.2010.00249.x

Lynteris, C. (2019). Tarbagan’s winter lair: Framing drivers of plague persistence in Inner Asia. In C. Lynteris, (Ed.) Framing Animals as Epidemic Villians (n.p). Palgrave McMillan.

Marcot, B. G. & Heyden, M. V. (2001). Key ecological functions of wildlife species. In In D. H. Johnson, & T. A. O’Neil (eds.), Wildlife-Habitat Relationships. USA: Oregon State University Press.

McMurray, R., & Pullen, A. (eds.) (2020). Gender, Embodiment and Fluidity in Organization and Management (Routledge Focus on Women Writers in Organization Studies). New York: Routledge.

Midgley, M. (2011). The Myths We Live by. New York: Routledge.

Nijland, H. J., Aarts, N. & Woerkum, C. M. J. V. (2018). Exploring the framing of the animal farming and meat consumption: On the diversity of the topics used and qualitative patterns in selected demographic contexts. Animals, 8(2), 17. DOI:

Okri, B. (1996). Birds of heaven. London: Phoenix.

Singer, P. (2009). Animal Liberation (4th ed.). USA: Harper Collins.

Schwartz, B. (2020).The Animal Welfare Battle: The Production of Affected Ignorance in the Swedish Meat Industry Debate. Culture and Organization 26(1): 75–95

Stibbe, A. (2012). Animals Erased: Discourse, Ecology, and Reconnection with the Natural World. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.

Stibbe, A. (2015). Ecolinguistics: Language, ecology and the stories we live by. Routledge. DOI: 10.4324/9780367855512

Tlili, S. (2010). The Meaning of the Qur’anic Word ‘dabba’: Animals’ or ‘Nonhuman Animals?  Journal of Quran Studies, 12. Edinburgh University Press on behalf of the Centre for Islamic Studies as SOAS.

Tlili, S. (2012). Animals in Quran. Cambridge University Press.

Tlili, s. (2018). Animal ethics in Islam: A review article. Religions, 9(9), 269. MDPI AG. Retrieved from

Yule, G. (2017). The Study of Language (6th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Received: 6/22/2021
Accepted: 7/27/2021 
Published: 8/25/2021

Dr Ansa Hameed is currently working as an Assistant Professor at Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. She has received her Ph.D. degree from NUML Islamabad in 2013. She has interests in contemporary domains of Linguistics including Ecolinguistics, Corpus Linguistics, Discourse Analysis and ELT. ORCID ID: