In the next 5 minutes you ‘ll know 7 ways to identify nouns in the Quran
Noun or Ism in Arabic can be divided into two types common اَلنَّكِرَةُ) ) and proper(الْمَعْرِفَةُ) . Common words are generic words that do not refer to something specific. You can identify common noun easily by looking at the ending sounds. If it has a tanween at the end then it is a common noun.
Proper words refer to a specific noun and common noun refers to an unspecific noun.
What that means is if we take the word girl as an example, the common noun would be ‘a girl’ the proper noun would be ‘Fatima’. Similarly, if we say a car it is a common noun when we say the car, then it becomes proper. A general rule is all Arabic nouns in the Quran are common unless otherwise indicated. Altogether there are 7 categories of proper nouns in Arabic and any word that does not fall under this category are deemed to be common.
The 7 categories of Proper Arabic noun in the Quran
Alif lam word– Any word that you see that starts with the letter Alif and lam is proper. These two letters combine together make the word definite. Alif lam really means ‘The’ in English, by adding alif lam you automatically makes a word definite and definite noun are always proper.
Pronoun– All pronoun in the Quran is proper. Pronouns in English are words like he, she, they, you, I and etc. Pronouns are proper because they are talking about a specific person or group of people.
Pointers– These are words that direct your attention to something or someone. In English, it is words like This, These, That, Those. In Arabic it’s hadza, hadzihi, ulaika, tilka and so on. They are all proper. Pointers are proper simply because it points to something specific.
Specific Names – Names of places and people are always proper, It could be a name like Shah or Kuala Lumpur these are proper names. Any names of places, person or a particular book, courses and so on are proper
Mudaf Mudaf Ilaihi – There is a situation where a word takes the role of Mudaf in which case it is followed by mudaf illaih. If the mudaf is proper the mudaf illaih must be proper to. Mudaf and Mudaf illaihi always come together. A simple sentence is the book of the boy. The book is Mudaf and the boy is Mudaf illaihi. Right now all you have to remember is if the Mudaf is proper the mudaf ilaihi is also proper.
Ya words– In Arabic when you called someone you use the word Ya. If your name is Umar and I want to call you I would say Ya Umar. The ‘Ya’ at a beginning ofa word when used to call someone it makes the word after it proper like the word Umar is proper.
Alladzi words– In the Quran you frequently come across words like Alladzi, Alladzina and other variations which will be discussed later. All these words are proper simply because they have Alif lam in front of the word.
So noun has four categories that you can identify which is status, gender, number, and type. When it comes to type of Ism there are only two which is common and proper. All nouns are common by default unless there are signs that they are proper. Nouns are proper when in seven situations and all of them are listed above.
Shahfizal Musa is the editor of Halalop. He graduated with a Law degree from Thames Valley University London. He is an award-winning journalist covering topics such as human trafficking, Muslim research discoveries, and exceptional Muslims.