Establishing the Principles: Arabic – Sarf – Book 1- Class 4

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Our teacher began with praising Allaah and sending salaat and salaam on the Messenger of Allaah, his family, companions and  followers until the Last Day and began:


Continuing from the introduction, the author said:

وَالصَّلاةُ وَالسَّلامُ عَلئ سَيِّدِالخَلْقِ مُحَمَّدٍ, وَ آلِهِ, وَأَصْحَابِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ

As-salaatu was-salaamu alaa sayyidil-khalqi Muhammad

May the salaat and the salaam be upon the best of all creatures, Muhammad (sallallaahu`alayhi wasallam)

We know  the meaning of  وَالصَّلاةُ وَالسَّلامُ

سَيِّدِ (Sayyid) means, “the one who is superior” or “the master.”   

  • This means that Muhammad sallallaahu alayhi was salaam is  the best of all creation 
  • Muhammad is one of his names – he has many names, Sallallaahu`alayhi wasallam.

*Ustaadh read some splendid poetry from Imaam Al Iraaqi in his سيرة    (seerah – biography) of the Rasool- sallallaahu `alayhi wasalaam – which contains many names of Muhammad sallallaahu `alayhi wasalaam as proof that he has many names.*

 This is because of a principle:  Whenever something is of great importance it has many names.   The more important, the more names and attributes it has.   Just as Al-Qur’aan has many names and this religion has many names.   The greater something is, the more attributes it has.  And because of the many attributes, then the more names.   So, Muhammad is one of his names. 

Q: What is the meaning of Muhammad?
A: “The one who is praised a lot” – the one worthy of praise because of his many virtues and attributes. 

Q: What is the difference between Muhammad and Ahmed?
A: “Ahmed” is the one who praises Allaah the most.  This is the difference between these two names, it is the same meaning but from different aspects.  Muhammad means one who is praised a lot and Ahmed is one who praises Allaah a lot – the one who praises Allaah the most.  And it also means “the one who is praised.  That is why Allaah said in Qur’aan in surah Saaf  61/6:

وَإِذْ قَالَ عِيسَى ابْنُ مَرْيَمَ يَا بَنِي إِسْرَائِيلَ إِنِّي رَسُولُ اللَّـهِ إِلَيْكُم مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَيْنَ يَدَيَّ مِنَ التَّوْرَاةِ وَمُبَشِّرًا بِرَسُولٍ يَأْتِي مِن بَعْدِي اسْمُهُ أَحْمَدُ ۖ فَلَمَّا جَاءَهُم بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ قَالُوا هَـٰذَا سِحْرٌ مُّبِينٌ

And (remember) when ‘Īsā (Jesus), son of Maryam (Mary), said: “O Children of Israel! I am the Messenger of Allâh unto you confirming the Taurât [(Torah) which came] before me, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmed…

In Sarf you will learn that some forms have more than one meaning and this is where the meanings sometimes meet together although having different forms.

وَ آلِهِ

Wa Aallihi 

And his house of kin

  • Meaning the believers of them –  the believers of his relatives

وَأَصْحَابِهِ أَجْمَعِينَ

Wa ashaabihi 

and his companions-   All of them

  • The salaah and the salaam on other than the prophets is to be done only when following the prophet- Sallallaahu`alayhi wasallam.  You cannot send it to other than the prophets independently.  If done once or twice it is okay but it should not be done excessively.  It is a praise that is done specifically for the prophets.



تَعْرِيفُ عِلْمِ الصَّرفِ

Ta`reefu `ilmis-sarfi

Definition of the science of Sarf

  • He started this topic with an introduction and usually you can find in the introductions mentioned in the beginning of these books, ten concepts:

1.Definition   2.Subject  3.Outcome   4.Place according  to other sciences   5.Merit    6.founder /originator  7.Source   8.Ruling   9.Issues   10.principles

  • Here the author is starting with the definition of this science.

اِعْلَم: أَنَّ التَّصْرِيفَ فِي اللُّغَةِ: التَّغْيِيرُ. وَفِي الصِّنَاعَةِ: تَحْوَيلُ الأَصْلِ الْوَاحِدِ إِلى أَمْثِلَةٍ مُخْتَلِفَةٍ؛ لِمَعَانٍ مَقْصُودَةٍ, لا تَحْصُلُ إِلاَّ بِهَا

I`lam:  Annat-Tasreefa fil-lughati at-tagheer.  Wa fis-sinaa`ati: tahweelul-Aslil-waahid ilaa amthilatin mukhtalifah, lima`aanin maqsuudah, laa tahsulu illaa bihaa.

Know that “at-Tasreef” in the language means “changing.” Technically/scientifically it means: changing the source (masdar) into different forms in order to express different meanings that aren’t expressed except through their certain forms.

  • اِعْلَم linguistically means: “Know”
    • Here the author is telling us to: know/acknowledge/believe/store it in your heart/act upon it
    • Knowing this thing is very important –   اعلم is mentioned in front of significant issues and matters as Allaah said in 47/19:

فَاعْلَمْ أَنَّهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا اللَّـهُ

So know (O Muhammad) that Lâ ilâha ill-Allâh (none has the right to be worshipped but Allâh),

     And Allaah said in 5/98:

اعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّـهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Know that Allâh is Severe in punishment and that Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

  • For example:  No one would come and say to you, “Know that you are a human being!”  But one may come and say, “Know that you will die one day!” The one who asks you to acknowledge something will not ask you to acknowledge something that is of no or insignificant importance.  By saying, “know”, the author is going to tell us something very important.


التَّصْرِيفَ At-tasreef and As sarf are one.  You can say tasreef and you can say sarf.

فِي اللُّغَةِ means: In the  language / linguistically

  •  Why does the author mention the linguistic meaning?  Because you will not fully understand the technical meaning without knowing the linguistic meaning.

التَّغْيِيرُ  means: “changing”

  • this is any type of changing. 
  • Linguistic meaning is general.

(The author also brought the subject that we are going to study in this definition.)

وَفِي الصِّنَاعَةِ means: “in the science” (technically) it means “Changing”

  • This is a specific changing –  it is changing the verbal noun –  the masdar

*The teacher mentioned that you can’t really translate the meanings of these Arabic words, but he brings the English terms to get it close to our understanding*

  • A verbal noun is the act one does like hitting drinking eating etc…The source (masdar) from which forms branch out is the verbal noun in Arabic.

Sarf is changing the verbal noun into different forms … in Arabic the word has root letters.  We change it by adding letters to it or changing the signs placed over the letters  –  these are called “forms” and they change.


 ضَرْبٌ    (Dharbun) it means hitting  –  the act of hitting. 

  • This is the common example they (the language scholars) use in their books.
  • These three letters are the root letters:  ض – ر – ب

Now using those three letters, we change it into different forms:

ضَرَبَ  (dharaba).  It has the same letters but it is different because it has different vowel signs above the letters.  Means:  He hit (past tense)

ضَرَبَتْ (dharabat).  Now we have added one extra letter (the taa’) means: she hit (paste tense)

ضَرَبُوا   (Dharaboo)  Now we have added two extra letters. (the waaw and the alif)  Means: They Hit(in the past).

يَضْرِبَانِ  (Yadhribaani) Now we have added three extra letters (the yaa, the alif and the noon) –  Means: They (two) are hitting ( present tense)

يَضْرِبُونَ   (yadhribuunaSame as above but instead of extra alif we have an added waaw, Means: They all are hitting (present tense)

*We also notice that many of the signs above the letters in all of these words are different.*  

Teacher listed many forms of (dharbun – the masdar) which are listed in the screen shot below.  All the forms share the same three root letters.  You will never find those three root letters missing in any of the forms.  The reason/cause behind this changing is in order to express different meanings that aren’t expressed except through their certain forms.  Each meaning has a certain form. 

More examples from Dharbun:

ضَرَبَا  (dharabaa)- they both were hitting (past tense)

ضَرَبْنَ  (Dharabna)- they (group of females) hit (past tense)

ضَرَبْتُ (dharabtu) – I hit (past tense)

ضَرَبْنَا (dharabnaa)– we hit (past tense)

ضَرَبْتُمْ  (dharabtum) – You (group) hit (past tense)

ضَرَبْتُمَا  (dharabtumaa)-  you both hit (past tense)

تَضْرِبُونَ (Tadhribuuna)– All of you are hitting (present tense)

أَضْرِبُ (adhribu)– I hit (present tense)

  نَضْرِبُ (nadhribu)– we hit (present tense)

 ضَربَة  (dharbatun)-  A single hit/strike

ضَرَبَات  (dharabaat)-  many hits/strikes

ضَرَّاب  (dharraabun)– a person who hits  a lot

ضَرِيب  (Dhareebun) –  another way to say a person who hits a lot …

ضَرِب (dharibun) – same as above.

So each different form has its own different meaning, and those meanings aren’t expressed except through their certain forms.  The best way to remember the definition of sarf is to ask yourself these questions:

What are we doing in Sarf?  A:  we are changing the verbal noun into different forms.

Why do we do such a thing?  A:  In order to express different meanings.

But why many forms?  Why not just one form?  A:  Because each specific meaning has its own specific form.

This is what Sarf is all about.  In Sarf you will know which form goes with which meaning –  you will learn the certain principles to know which meaning goes with which form and when you know these principles you will be able to express the meanings you want to express. In this class you will be given the principles and when you know how to apply those principles you will be producing Arabic  –  Pure and proper Arabic.  Once you know this you will know what words to use, then you will know which words go together to form sentences.  

~End of Dars~

الحمد لله والصلاة والسلام على رسول الله

Notes transcribed by Umm Omar Al Amreekiyyah

Screen Shot >>>


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