Quranic Arabic Grammar Lessons: Meanings of the Different Forms of Verbs

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by Tabassum Mosleh |

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim.

Studying Arabic grammar is very similar to studying mathematics: There are various clear-cut rules that come together to form an intricate framework of words. The same three or four root letters can be used to form many, many words, and the same rules can be applied to form other such multiplicity of words with other sets of root letters. And most interestingly, the format of the word indicates towards its meaning, so that if you know the meaning of the original root letters and the format, you will in most cases know exactly what the word means and in what context it can be used.

Here are some ways of figuring out the meanings of the different forms of the three-lettered mazeed verbs. Please note that they won’t apply in all cases and can’t be used as a general rule. But they can come in useful in better understanding meanings of ayat of the Quran.

Form no. Mudari’ verb Meaning Notes Examples From Quran
II

 

فَعَّلَ 1.     To indicate doing something a lot

2.     to make the verb transitive

1.     For example, tawwafa means “to do a lot of tawaaf”.

2.     عظُمَ means “to be grand” while عظّم means “to praise” (or “to make someone grand”)

جَوَّل -to roam a lot

صَدَّقَ – to be truthful

كَذَب – to lie

كرَّم – to honour

دَرَّس – to teach

عَلَّم – to teach

 

الرَّحْمَٰنُ عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ

The Most Merciful Taught the Qur’an. [55:1-2]

III أَفْعَلَ To make the verb transitive Dakhala means “to enter” while adkhala means “to enter something into something else”. أخرج – to take out

أهلك – to destroy

أدخل – to enter

أرسل – to send

أشرك – to associate

أفسد – to corrupt

الَّذِي جَعَلَ لَكُمُ الْأَرْضَ فِرَاشًا وَالسَّمَاءَ بِنَاءً وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِ مِنَ الثَّمَرَاتِ رِزْقًا لَّكُمْ ۖ َ

[He] who made for you the earth a bed [spread out] and the sky a ceiling and sent down from the sky, rain and brought forth thereby fruits as provision for you. [2:22]
IV فَاعَلَ to denote participation between two The meaning indicates “X did the action with Y.” So jaadaltuhu means “I argued with him.” جادَلَ – To argue

حارَبَ – To fight

فارَقَ – To separate

سابَقَ – to compete

خالَفَ – to go against

 

وَإِن جَادَلُوكَ فَقُلِ اللَّهُ أَعْلَمُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

And if they dispute with you, then say, ” Allah is most knowing of what you do. [22:68]

V تَفَعَّلَ To denote undertaking This form hints towards a hidden third person behind the scenes. So “I became pure” hints to something that made me pure. تنَزَّل – to come down

تقرب – to come close

تطهر – to become pure

تزوج – to get married

تأخر – to be late

تفرق – to be separate

تَنَزَّلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ وَالرُّوحُ فِيهَا بِإِذْنِ رَبِّهِم مِّن كُلِّ أَمْرٍ

The angels and the Spirit descend therein by permission of their Lord for every matter. [97:4]

VI تَفاعَلَ to denote participation between two or more The difference between form VI and and form IV is that the former denotes “A did the action with B.” While the latter denotes “A and B did the action together.” تَعارف – to know one another

تنافس – to compete with one another

تعاون – to help one another

تحاسد – to be jealous of one another

وَإِذَا مَرُّوا بِهِمْ يَتَغَامَزُونَ

And when they passed by them, they would exchange derisive glances. [83:30]

 

VII انْفَعَلَ To denote compliance Something is being done to the subject of the verb, while the subject itself is doing nothing. انقلب – to be returned

انتهى – to end

انصرف – to leave

انفجر – to flow

انفرد – to be alone

وَإِذَا النُّجُومُ انكَدَرَتْ

And when the stars fall, dispersing, [81:2]

VIII افتَعَلَ To denote compliance Jama’tuhum means “I gathered them”. While ijtama’a means “They gathered.” اتَّبَع – to follow

اتخذ – to take

اهتدى – to follow the right path

ابتغى – to seek

وَلَا تَكُونُوا كَالَّذِينَ تَفَرَّقُوا وَاخْتَلَفُوا مِن بَعْدِ مَا جَاءَهُمُ الْبَيِّنَاتُ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ

And do not be like the ones who became divided and differed after the clear proofs had come to them. And those will have a great punishment.

IX افْعَلَّ 1.     To denote defect (or colour)

2.     To intensify the original verb

اعوج – to become bent

احمر – to become red

اغبر – to become covered with dust

اعور – to become one-eyed

وَلَئِنْ أَرْسَلْنَا رِيحًا فَرَأَوْهُ مُصْفَرًّا لَّظَلُّوا مِن بَعْدِهِ يَكْفُرُونَ

But if We should send a [bad] wind and they saw [their crops] turned yellow, they would remain thereafter disbelievers. [30:51]

X

 

استَفْعَلَ 1.     To denote seeking and asking To try to do something, with or without success. استغفر – to seek forgiveness

استكبر – to be arrogant

استفهم – to ask

استعجل – to hurry

 

إِلَّا إِبْلِيسَ اسْتَكْبَرَ وَكَانَ مِنَ الْكَافِرِينَ

… Except Iblees; he was arrogant and became among the disbelievers. [38:74]

افْعَوْعَلَ, افعَوَّلَ, افعالَّ To intensify the original verb These forms are relatively rare in usage. اعشوشب – denotes plenty of grass

احمار – to become very red

 

وَمِن دُونِهِمَا جَنَّتَانِ … مُدْهَامَّتَانِ

 

And below them both [in excellence] are two [other] gardens – …   Dark green [in color]. [55: 62, 55:64]

 

I ask Allah’s forgiveness for any mistakes I have made above.

Understand 50% of the Quran in 9 hours!

 

Ref: Aysari al-Tariq Ila marifatu al-serif: Morphology Made Easy by Dr. Abdoul Khadri.

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