• Arabic Analysis of Surah Balad

    This is post #35 in our series on Tafseer of Juz ‘Amma (click the link to see all posts in this series). In this post, we will insha’Allah do a word-for-word breakdown of each surah, as space permits. In the first ayah, Allah (subhannahu wa ta’ala) says: لَا أُقْسِمُ بِهَٰذَا الْبَلَدِ The first two words, laa uqsimu (لَا أُقْسِمُ) literally means “I do not swear.” Uqsimu is mudaari’ mutakallim waahid, i.
  • What is Hamd?

    Bismillah. As Muslims, the phrase “alhamdulillah” الحمد لله (all praise and thanks is for Allah) is an integral part of our deen; we are taught to say it from both the Qur’an and Sunnah. Linguistically, Hamd is from ha-meem-daal ( حمد or ح م د) and it is to mention the good attribute of a person, such an attribute that is the at the level of perfection. Hamd is based on mahabbah (love) and ta’dheem (greatness).
  • Words beginning with Fa

    Bismillah. Learning Arabic as a second language may be difficult for many, so I decided to share some tips that assist with learning the meanings of words and their structures. Words that begin with ف usually will always mean something that breaks open, separates, or breaks apart. Check out these examples: الفجر (Al-Fajr) from ف ج ر means the dawn, but it literally means when the daylight breaks/crack through the darkness.
  • The Calling Ya

    Arabic has something called the “calling ya” in it. The closest thing we have in English is the “calling o”–as in “o my teacher” or “Oh God!” (As you can tell from the examples, we don’t use it much anymore these days–though, in Arabic, it’s quite common.) The rules are quite simple–just like English, it’s “O so-and-so”. So for example, you could say “ya ummiy” (o my mother) or “ya taajiru” (o merchant).
  • Thumma, Wa, and Fa

    There are three conjunctions you can use in Arabic (among others)–wa (and), thumma (then), and fa (which is difficult to translate, think of it as “and”). They are all used to group multiple items. What are the differences between these three? Wa indicates grouping, but doesn’t specify order or timing. For example: Ahmed and Ghufran and Yusuf travelled to the masjid. It doesn’t indicate what order they arrived in, or anything about how long the people who came first waited for the people who came after then.
  • Kaana as Emphasis

    The word kaana is the past-tense masculine singular third-person (he) form of the verb to-be. So you can translate it as “he was”. (And the khabr takes the same rules as with any other verb.) So what does it mean when Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) uses kaana to describe Himself? For example, in surah Nisaa, He says: إِنَّ اللّهَ كَانَ غَفُوراً رَّحِيماً Translation: And seek the Forgiveness of Allah; surely, Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful [Surah Nisaa, 4:106]
  • Mubtada and Khabr

    In Arabic, default kind of sentence is called a nominal sentence. It looks something like this: Ahmad is rich The masjid is big I am a Muslim It has two parts–the mubtada (the subject — eg. Ahmad), and the khabr (the predicate–information about the mubtada — eg. rich, big, a Muslim). What are the rules of grammar as they apply to the mubtada and the khabr? There are three:
  • Laysa (Not)

    Laysa in Arabic means “not” (eg. that is not a pen). Unlike the other negations maa and laa, laysa is conjugated as a verb, depending on what you’re negating. For example: the duck is not big (al-battatu laysat kabiyratan) the cat is not lazy (al-qittu laysa bi kaslaana) Whenever you use laysa, the mubtada and khabr change: the mubtada becomes ismu laysa, and the khabr becomes khabru laysa.
  • Hadhaa Kitaabun vs. Haadhal Kitaabu

    One question that plagues many new students of the Arabic language is the difference between hadhaa kitaabun and hadhaal kitaabu … The difference is best demonstrated by example: hadhaa kitaabun kabiyrun means “this is a big book,” and “hadhaal kitaabul kabiyru” means “this big book …” Get the difference? The first (hadhaa kitaabun) is talking about any book. “This is a book.” Nothing special. The second–hadhaal kitaabu–is talking about a specific book.
  • Inanimate Object Plurals

    In Arabic, masculine plurals generally follow a couple of different patterns. Sometimes they acquire a waw-noon at the end (eg. muslim becomes muslimuwna)–these are called “sound plurals” (because the original word is still intact). Some acquire letters inside their form (eg. qalam becomes aqlaam)–these are called “broken plurals”. Feminine words, Allahu ‘alim, they also have sound and broken forms. One example of a sound feminine plural is muslimaat (plural of muslimah).