ETP – Introduction to Arabic Studies – Sarf – Class 1

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

الحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله وسلم وبارك على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين, أما بعد

                                                           ~~~~~                    LINK TO PDF NOTES

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:

Ustaadh mentioned that this will be the last time repeating Sarf classes and it will be made easier and faster in shaa Allaah with extra exercises.


The Arabic studies are given the parable of any House.

1. Knowing your bricks (words)

  • How to form them
  • When they should be short, and when they should be long, and when it is proper to use which

This is what you learn in Sarf, so basically it is studying the words and how they are formed, before being put into sentences.

2. Knowing how those bricks are put together (Forming sentences)

  • In what order should this construction follow and what are the rulings to such

This is what you learn in Nahw (Grammar), so basically it is studying the words after being put into sentences.

3. Knowing how to decorate, beautify this house (those sentences) in a manner, which is pleasant to hear, and complies with the different levels of understanding, this is called Balaaghah

  • The reason why the newbies to Arabic do not succeed in learning is because they start with Grammar (Nahw). The one with the non-Arabic tongue should not start with grammar, but with getting familiar with how the words are formed before him starting into using those words.   How can you use something which you do not know how to use?

That is why they said: “Knowing the singular comes before knowing the complex.”

In Arabic:  “مَعرِفَةُ المُرَكَّبِ مَبنِيَةٌ عَلَى مَعرِفَةُ المُفرَدِ”

And anything which is complex you have to know what it is formed of in order to understand it. So           you can never understand sentences before understanding the words which form those                         sentences.

  • The one we are studying now is level one: Sarf

Here in Sarf, not only will you know how words work, and how they are formed.  But you will also obtain all the principles which create the ability to form words –by yourself- in a correct manner, just by knowing the root letters.

Definition of Sarf:

Linguistically means:  A Turning 

  • In general any kind of turning
  • Our concern here is the technical meaning of Sarf. If it isn’t then why do the scholars mention it? This because they say that there is a strong relationship between the technical meaning and the linguistic meaning. The technical meaning is based upon the linguistic meaning.

Important benefit: Any technical meaning is the very linguistic meaning but specified by a certain science. Therefore we can say that the linguistic meaning is always (General). And the technical meaning is always (Specific)

Technically means: Turning the source in to different  forms in order to express different meanings which aren’t expressed except through their certain forms.

  • Here in this science is sarf taken as a technical term or a linguistic term? A technical term
  • Sciences are innovated/originated and since that is so, the terms used in those sciences are innovated with the innovation of those sciences. With the birth of those sciences technical terms were born with them. This brings you to a very important point:
  • Example:

Medical sciences is an innovated science. There is a medical term which is called ‘operation’, which means ‘surgery’  (a surgical operation).  When it is said among a group of doctors ‘operation’ does it apply to any kind of operation? No, it only applies to a specific one which is known among that group of sciences.  This means that this meaning is originated, that it wasn’t there before. What specified that word ‘operation’ to mean a specific type of ‘operation’?  Medical science.  The same thing with any other science.

So the word ‘operation’, what specified it to a certain ‘operation’, which is the ‘surgical’ one, is when this medical science was born.  Otherwise before the originating of this science the word ‘operation’ meant ‘any procedure/process.

The same applies to this science, which is Sarf.  It has a technical meaning which has been taken from a linguistic meaning, just as the word ‘operation’.

  • This has to be understand, because a lot of the confusions that happened in understanding religion came from this issue. From the issue of people not understanding the different technicalities.
  • If anyone comes to you and says: What do you know about Islam? What is the first thing that comes in to your mind? The religion.

Islam to mean the religion, is that the general linguistic meaning or a religious meaning? A religious meaning.  If you ask any people of knowledge, they will say Islam is taken from the word ‘islam’, which means:  Submitting/ Surrendering.

If you look at the word ‘Islam’ in a linguistic meaning, which is ‘surrendering’. Surrendering to what? Surrendering to anything.  So any submitting is called ‘islam’ no matter who submitted or to whom that submitting was done.

When Allaah commanded us to enter Islam, Allaah meant something more specific than the general meaning of ‘islam’ in the Arabic language.  Why? If we said that Allaah commanded to submit unspecifically, the submitting could be to anything/anyone besides Allaah.  But the religious meaning to ‘Islam’ is submitting to Him Alone.

The meanings are three:

  1. Linguistic meanings      لُغَوِيّ
  2. Religious meanings      شَرعِيّ
  3. Customary meanings (Technical meanings)   عُرفِيّ
  • The technical meanings are meanings according to different customs. And what they mean by customs, is different groups of people (doctors, physicians)
  • Linguistic meanings are general –not specified-
  • Religious meanings and Customary/technical meanings are specific
  • Customary : عُرفِيّ
  • Technical : اِصطِلَاحِيّ

What is meant by (source)?

In Arabic it is called: Al Masdar    المَصدَرُ  , which is a synonym to: The verbal noun.

Dear Beginner –for now- what the word (source) should mean to you is (the root letters) which you shall be given.

The root letters in Arabic are only from 3 to 4

  • This means that the least of letters you can find in a word is three, and those letters are what you are going to use to make different forms.

The word ‘Form’  here includes:

  • The number of letters
  • The vowels that are used with those letters
  • The order of letters
  • The extra and the original letters



  • The source given here is ع – ب- د    and from this source different forms are built.
  • By default each form has to be different.
  • Those three letters are going to be found in every form no matter which form it is.

عَبَدَ  (‘abada):  He worshipped

  • Past

أَعبُدُ  (a’budu) : I worship

  • Here an extra letter has been added (the hamzah)
  • A’budu is a different form than ‘Abada
  • Present

عِبَادَاتٌ (‘ibaadaat): Acts of worhsip

  • Here three letters are added, two alifs and a taa

عَابِد  (‘aabid): A worshipper

عُبَيد   (‘ubayd): A mini worshipper

نَعبُدُ   (na’budu): We worship

  • Present

عَبَدَتْ  (‘abadat): She worshipped

  • Past

يَعبُدُونَ  (ya’budoona): They worship

  • Present

What do we notice here? That the root letters stay in all different forms.  The ‘ayn, the baa and the daal are found in all different forms, that is why they are called: Original letters . And any added letter is called: Extra letters

Here the forms are all different.

Why turn them into different forms? In order to express different meanings.

  • In shaa Allaah at the end of Sarf you will be able to do more than 150 forms, using the same three root letters. And it will be so easy that it will be a second nature to you.
  • We will learn in shaa Allaah principles to form these words and the rest.

 ~~~~ END OF CLASS ~~~

الله تعالى أعلم والحمد لله والصلاة
والسلام على رسول الله

Notes transcribed by: Umm Sufyaan Al Maghribiyyah

Screen Shots:

sarf_1.1 BLGH





9 thoughts on “ETP – Introduction to Arabic Studies – Sarf – Class 1

  1. Alia radjeb January 4, 2015 at 8:24 pm Reply

    as salaamu Alaykum. For an old student u m very fortunate to get an understanding alhamdullahi., I’m concern about the new students and iight seem simply but it is a lesson full of double standard yet very close and similar in conception of hearing understandig. And Allah ouaalam.

    • Alia radjeb January 4, 2015 at 8:26 pm Reply

      Jazaikum Allah khayran for this kheer

  2. Abdul Rahman January 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm Reply

    السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
    Nearing the end of the notes , it says ,
    “Here the sources are all different.”
    The source is the same 3 root letters. Do you mean the forms are all different?
    السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

    • Zaiba binth Hashim January 5, 2015 at 2:04 am Reply

      Walaikumus salam warahamathullahi wabarakathuh!

  3. sarf4sisters January 5, 2015 at 2:10 am Reply

    Assalaamu alaykum
    Jazaakumullaahu khayran – it is corrected walhamdulillaah.

  4. Umm Safiyyah January 5, 2015 at 11:04 pm Reply

    JazaakumuLlaahu Khayran.

  5. Parveen January 8, 2015 at 3:20 am Reply

    As Salam alaikum
    So from the root word I have to by heart all the forms
    How I must prepare my self pl help

  6. asha January 23, 2016 at 9:51 am Reply

    Assalaam alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.Iam new in this blog but i find this blog is very beneficial.could you give me wiziq link so iwant tohear recording about sarf level 1.May Allah reward abundantly in this world and akherah

Ask a question or leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: