Sarf and Nahw Summary: 1.3 - Nouns


Section 1.3 – Nouns


A Noun is either flexible (مُعْرَب) or Inflexible (مَبْنِيٌّ). Flexible means a noun can have all three states. For example, the word Allah can be Allahu (اللهُ), Allaha (اللهَ) and Allahi (اللهِ).


An inflexible noun (مَبْنيْ) means it has only one state to represent Nominative, Accusative, or Genitive. For example, the name Musa, is Musa (مُوْسٰى) in Nominative, Musa (مُوْسٰى) also in Accusative and Musa (مُوْسٰى) again in Genitive.



a.    Nouns Required to be Nominative رَفْع


Following is a list of positions in which a noun has to be in Nominative (رَفْع).


1)    Actor/subject فَاعِل which is the noun for a verb that is performing the act for which we saw the example above.


2)    Object مَفعُوْل is a noun on which either the action is being performed or other conditions are happening and is always Accusative مَنْصُوْب. Since in passive voice verb, there is no actor, but you still see a nominal noun, then it is given the name نَائبُ الْفَاعِل (Surrogate Actor).


3) Nominal Subject or Beginning noun مُبْتَدَأٌof a Nominative sentence. This is the first noun in a Nominative sentence (جُمْلَة اِسْمِيَة). Note that a compound or a sentence can be مُبْتَدَأٌ and it will be called Nominative by position (مَرْفُوع مَحَلًا).


4) The predicate الْخَبْر of a Nominal sentence.  This is the second noun in a Nominative sentence (جُمْلَة اِسْمِيَة). Note that a compound or a sentence can be الْخَبْرand it will be called Nominative by position (مَرْفُوع مَحَلًا).


1)    The predicate الْخَبْر of إِنَّis also Nominative and  إِنَّis a verb like a particle called ((حَرْف مُشِبْهَةُ بِالْفِعْل and its sisters الْخَبْر إِنَّ وَ أَخْوَاتُهَا.


Since this is not a verb directly, it forms a Nominative sentence and its Nominative is not the Object مَفْعُوْلbut is called a noun of Inna and accordingly it’s an actor which is Nominative, is called a predicate الْخَبْر of Inna.


Same this happens with Kana كَانَ and its Nominative noun is called a noun of Kana and it predicate which is always in Accusative نَصْبis called its predicate الْخَبْر.


An example would be إِنَّ الَّذِيْنَ كَفَرُوْا. Here الَّذِيْنَ is in Accusative state (by position) and is the noun of Inna and كَفَرُوْا(which is a verb meaning “who disbelieved”) is the predicate and is Nominative.


6) The noun اِسْم of كَانَ which is an incomplete verb (فِعْل نَاقِص) and of other incomplete verbs كَانَ وَ أَخْوَاتُهَاor Kana and it’s sisters. For example, كَانَ اللهُ غَفُوْرًاmeaning Allah is the most forgiving. Here اللهُ is Nominative and noun of Kana and غَفُوْرًاwhich is the predicate الْخبْر and it is Accusative.


7)    The predicate (الْخَبْر) for لَاwhich is for the elimination of possibilities of all kinds الْخَبْر لَا لِنَفْيُ لِلجِنْسِ. For example, لَا اِلٰهَ إلَّا اللهُ meaning “There is no deity except Allah”. Here اِلٰهَis Accusativeنَصْب  and it is an indefinite noun نَكِرَة and is the noun of لَاand اللهُ is the predicate الْخَبْرُ.


8) Noun for مَا and لَاwith meaning/use of لَيْسَ. Laisa is from the class of kana from no. 6 above. The example in 7) above is applicable for these also.


b.    Nouns Required to be Accusative نَصْبٌ


Following is a list of positions in which a noun has to be in Accusative نَصْبٌ:


1)    اَلْمَفعُوْل الْمُطْلَقُ The Absolute Object and it provides emphasis and adds the explanation of how the act is being performed for the verb.


2)    اَلْمَفعُوْل بِهٖ Object of a Verb. This is the noun on which the action of the verb is happening as in “Zaid called Hamid”. Hamid here is اَلْمَفعُوْل بِهٖ.


3)         اَلْمَفعُوْل فِيْهِ Adverb of Time or Place also called (ظَرْف). This defines the time or place when the action is happening. As in Zaid came in the evening (زَمَان) or Zaid came to my house (مَكَان).


4)    اَلْمَفعُوْل لَهٗ Adverb of Purpose which gives the reason why a verb (action) is happening like saying “I stood up to show respect”.


5)     اَلْمَفعُوْل مَعْهٗComitative Object. The object that gives the meaning of “with” using a Waaw before it. A common example used is “cold came along with jackets”.


6)    اَلْحَالُState/Circumstantial Accusative. This gives the state of the actor while he is performing the act. An example commonly used is جَاءنِي زَيدٌ رَاكِبًا “ Zaid came while he was riding”.


7) اَلتَّمْيِيْزُ An Accusative of Clarification. اَلتَّمْيِيْزُclarifies a noun if the meaning is vague. An example would be:


An example would be أَيُّ شَيْءٍ أَكْبَرُ شَهَادَةً “meaning which thing is bigger in witnessing”. Here أَكْبَرُ is the clarification for أَكْبَرُ.


8) اَلْمُسْتَثْنٰى Exception. This noun is used to exclude apart of any rule mentioned before the exceptive particle (إلَّا) like saying everybody came except Zaid. A good example, here again, is لَا اِلٰهَ إلَّا اللهُ where اللهُis being excepted from اِلٰهَ (meaning all gods) using the اَلْمُسْتَثْنٰى which is إلَّا.


9) The noun of إِنَّ (described before) and its sisters اِسْم إِنَّ وَ أَخْوَاتُهَا. An example was given before.


10) The predicate الْخَبْر  of كَانَ(described before) and its sisters كَانَ وَ إِخْوَاتُهَا. The example was given before.


11) The noun of لَا لِنَفْيِ الْجِنْسِ. This Laa is used to exclude all types of possibilities used very frequently in the Qur’an. An example would be (لَا ريْبَ فِيْهِ) which means “there is no doubt of any kind” which Qur’an uses in the beginning.


12) The predicate الْخَبْر for مَا and لَا when used as لَيْسَ. Laisa is from the class of kana mentioned before.


c.     Nouns Required to be Genitive جَرٌّ


Following is a list of positions in which a noun has to be in Genitive جَرٌّ:


a)    A Possessor (مُضَافٌ إلِيْهِ) which is the second part of the possessive Compound (مُرَّكَبِ إِضافِيْ)is always Genitive. The first part is called the Possessed (مُضَافٌ).


b)    By the addition of a Genitive Particles which is also called a preposition (حَرْف جَر) and the noun after that goes into a Genitive state and creates a Genitive compound (جَار/مَجْرُوْر).


d.    Dependencies (تَوَابِع) and Flexibility (إعْرَاب)


The nouns are sometimes dependent on each other because of the position of reference, meaning, or part of a sentence (Nominal or verbal).


There are many types of dependencies and a few of them are described here.


Dependencies of words on each other can happen in all three states that are Nominative رَفْعٌ, Accusative نَصْبٌ, and Genitive جَرٌّ. The flexibility اِعْرَابof dependent (تَابِعٌ) will be the same as that for the independent (مَتْبُوْعٌ). These are five:


1)    اَلنَّعْتُ- The adjective is also called (صِفَّة) and the Described is called (مَوْصُوْف) or Man’oot (مَنْعُوت).

For example, Haamid is intelligent will be حَامِدٌ ذَكِيُّ in Nominatice مَرْفُوْع. Haamid is مَوْصُوْف and intelligent is صِفَّة or اَلنَّعْتُ. This could be also حَامِدًا ذَكِيًّ or حَامِدٍ ذَكِيٍّif Haamid is in an Accusative مَنْصُوْبor Genitive جَرّ position.


2)    اَلتَّاكِيْدُ– This is the emphasis and the emphasized part is called (مُوْكَّد). For example, جَاءَنِيْ زَيْدٌ نَفْسُهُ meaning "Zaid came to me himself". Here نَفْسُهُ is emphasis تَّاكِيْدُ and زَيْدٌ is emphasized مُوْكَّد.


3)    اَلْمَعْطُوْفُ بِحَرْف الْعَطْف - The additive/conjunction by a Particle. For example, if you want to say Haamid and Sayeed, it will be حامِدٌ و سَعِيْدٌ in Nominative مَرْفُوْع and similarly in Accusative مَنْصُوْب or Genitive جَرّ. Haamid will be called مَعْطُوْف عَلَيْه and Sayeed will be called مَعْطُوْف.


4)    اَلْبَدْلُ- The Substitute, and the part that is substituted for, is called Substituted (مُبْدَل مِنْهُ). For example:


جَاءنِي زَيْدٌ عَالِمٌ “Zaid came to me who is a scholar” in which scholar is a complete substitute for Zaid.


5)  عَطْفُ الْبَيَانِ – Additive/conjunction of Declaration which is adding a sentence to a sentence with a conjunction particle. It is dependent on an independent word مَتْبُوْعٌ that is not an adjective صِفَةٌ and there is no Additive Particle between them.


For example, عَمْرٍو أَبُوْ زَيْدٌ جَاءَنِيْ meaning “Amr’s father Zaid came to me”.


Non-Flexible Nouns (Inflexible) مَبْنِيٌّ:


1)    Pronouns اَلضَّمَائرُ also called اَلْمُضْمَرَاتُ like he, she, they, him (هُوَ/ هِيَ/ هُم/ هُ), etc.


2)    Demonstrative Nouns اَلْأَسْمَاءُ الْإِشَارَةُ like this, that, these (هٰذَا/تِلْكَ/هٰوْلَاءِ).


3)    Relative Pronouns اَلْأَسمَاءُالْمَوْصُوْلَةُ like those who, the one who for masculine, who for feminine (اَلَّذِيْ/اَلَّتْيْ), etc.  These are called اَلْمُبْهَمَاتُ loosely translated as “vague” and require a relative clause (صِلَة) to create meaning. For example, الَّذِيْنَ اٰمَنُوْا meaning “those who believed”. الَّذِيْنَ meaning those are the relative pronoun and اَمَنُوْا is the relative clause (صِلَة) which clarifies the vagueness of who “those” are.


4)    Verbal Nouns أَسمَاءُالْأَفْعَالِ. These are also called مُشْتَقُّات(Derivatives from verb) described in Section 1.3, part a” below.


5)    Adverbs (time or place) ظُرُوْفٌ like before (قَبْلُ), after (بَعْدُ), day (يَوْم), night (لَيْل), etc.


6)    Some proper nouns such as Musa مُوْسٰي (AS), Esa عِيْسٰي (AS), etc.