After reading this article, you will be able to immediately identify an adjective in any page of the Quran even if you don’t have a clue what it means. There are things that you study that has no benefit whatsoever other than taking up brain cells. The subject Maths and accounting are something that I could never appreciate until I learn Arabic. To be more specific the study of Quran Arabic.
The study of Quran Arabic consist of two major branches of knowledge Nahw and Sarf which are the cornerstone of the language. Nahw deals mostly with nouns and Sarf deals with verbs conjugation. If you don’t know what conjugation means it is really a process of taking one word and turning it into dozens of other words. It is like vocabulary on steroids.
Now let’s get back to accounting and what does it have to do with Quran Arabic. In accounting both the debit and credit must balance out on a balance sheet. Similarly, in Arabic, there is the concept of As Sifah wal Mousuf
What is As Sifah wal Mousuf?
An adjective is called Sifah what it does is describes a noun’ and Mousuf is an ism that is being described. Take the sentence The Helpless Rohingyas are massacred by barbaric monks. The phrase helpless Rohingyas and barbaric monks both fall in the category of As Sifah wal Mousuf. The word Rohingya is (Mousuf) is described as helpless (Sifa) and similarly, the monks (Mousuf) are barbaric ((Sifa) shows that a particular group of monks is not pious, but they are monsters.
We learn earlier a noun has four properties which are Status, Number, Gender and Type. When there is an adjective combine with a noun there must be identical in terms of Status, Number Gender, and Type. (Check out Know more-about-Arabic-than-most-tajweed-teachers).
When you come across two words that have the same ending sounds it is a big giveaway that the phrase is As Sifah wal Mousuf. You can spot this by simply scanning the pages of the Quran. If the noun (Mowsuf) is nasb the adjective (Sifa) must also be nasb (ending with fattah sign), if it is rafa (ending with dammah sign)the adjective must also be rafa and if it jarr (ending with Kasrah sign) the adjective must also be jarr. If you don’t know what is status (irab) just go to(3 Actors in the Quran) to refresh it’ll take less than 3 minutes.
For demonstration purposes, we will use an ayah that everybody Muslim is familiar with, that is Bismillahirahmanirrahim.In this example the noun is Allah and the adjectives are Rahman and followed by Rahim. Both adjectives must have the same status as the word Allah.
The word Allah is a noun and we see the Irab or status is jarr because the word Allah ends with kasrah sign making ends with the ‘ee’. So the word describing Allah as gracious and merciful must follow the same ending sounds must follow the word it is describing. In this case it is jarr. So the word rahman must also ends with rahmani .
The second big giveaway is whether the word is a common word or a definite word.When it comes to type Noun can only be common or proper . If the noun is proper, the adjective must also be proper. They both must have the prefix Alif and lam before the noun and before the adjectives. As in the first ayah of Surah Luqman, the last two words are mowsuf sifa
The two words can be transliterated as Al Kitabi Al Hakimi both of these words are proper because both of them have the prefix Alif lam or Al in front of it. As you can see the status is also the same here, both words end with a kasrah. If the words are common then they both don’t have Alif lam as a prefix
The mousuf (noun) must also match the sifa (adjective) in quantity. If the noun is singular the adjective must also be singular. If it is plural the adjective must also be plural. Let’s us the phrase big masjid in Arabic it is masjidun kabirun. But this is singular, what about plural? The plural of masjid is masjidaini so the adjective kabirun must be plural. So it would be then masjidaini and kabirun has to be changed to kabiraini to match with the noun it is describing. You can learn how to identify plural and singular nouns here
The adjective should also mirror the gender that it is describing, by default all words are masculine. There are certain instances where the word is feminine as in a previous article 5 minutes feminine nouns. A lot of the times identifying gender is really easy they both have a letter ta at the end.
But sometimes, it can get a little bit confusing because every non human plural should be treated like it is feminine.We will deal with the confusing part in the next lesson. All you have to remember now is that you can, easily identify adjectives in the Quran when both have the same ending and prefix.
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.