7.0-7.3 - Verb Basics/Root Word/Definitions/Active Voice Past Tense

 


Section 7.0 -
Verb فِعلٌ (fei-lun)

 

The verb is a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence, and forming the main part of the predicate of a sentence, such as hear, become, or happen. The main element of a Verb is that it is associated with time.

In the English language, time is defined by what is called a tense, and in simple terms, these are three. Past Tense, Present Tense and Future Tense.


In this chapter, we will be covering Past tense الفِعلُ الْمَاضِيْ (al-feil-ul maa-di) only.

 

Imperfect tense الفِعلُ المُضَارِعُ (al-feil-ulmu-daa-ri-u) will be covered in a later chapter.

 

Before we start, you need to understand some important points and fundamentals.

 

Section 7.1 - Root Word

 

. Three Alphabet ثُلَاثِىْ مُجَرَّدٌ (thu-laathi mu-jarra-dun): Almost 99% of the Verbs in Arabic are based on three alphabet root words called ثُلَاثِىْ مُجَرَّدٌ thu-laathi mu-jarra-dun. We will be concentrating on the three-alphabet root word.

  • Four-Alphabet رُبَاعِىْ (ru-baa-yee): Part of the remaining 1% are 4 alphabet root words. These small numbers of words have 4 root alphabets. Many of these are the same two alphabets repeated twice.
  • Five-Alphabet خُمَاسِىْ (khu-maa-si): There is a very small number of Nouns which have 5 root alphabets. However, no Verbs have 5 root alphabets.
  • Two-Alphabet: Officially there are no words with a two-alphabet root. But there are words with only two alphabets like أَبٌ (father) and أَخٌ (brother).  According to linguists and historians, Arabs used two alphabet root words in the past extensively but transitioned into three alphabets and traces remain in a small number of two alphabet words.


What alphabets can form the root?

 

  • Short vowels and the ة taa mar-boo-ta Never form part of the root
  • Weak alphabets can form part of the root but are often missing or altered
  • Besides, the following 10 alphabets are sometimes part of a pattern/form and not part of the root. The 3 weak alphabet ا (alif) ي, (yaa) و (waaw), the hamzah (ء) and these 6 alphabets ت س ل م ن هـ. These are used as additional alphabets for indicating Imperfect, future, emphasis etc.


Over time you will get better at separating the root from the pattern
/form and it will become easier.

 

Section 7.2 – Important Definitions for Verbs and Root Words

 

1) Three Alphabet Root Word ثُلَاثِىْ مُجَرَّدٌ (thu-laa-thi mu-jar-rad): The three alphabets that are used as standard are (ف faa), (ع ayn) and (ل laam). An example of a three-alphabet root word is فَعَلَ (fa-ala).

 

2) Four رُبَاعِىْ (ru-baa-yee) and Five خُمَاسِىْ (kum-maa-si) Alphabet Root Words: There are very few of these and even fewer yet used in Al-Qur’an and will be handled as needed. An example for Four alphabet root word would be وَسْوَسَ (was-wasa) meaning whisper which is used in al-Qur’an in Surah an-Naas.

 

1)     Inflections/forms تَصْرِيْفٌ (tas-ree-fun):

 

Next, as we studied in Noun, there are 14 different inflections or tas-reef of these alphabets with some additions to describe number (single, dual/plural) gender (masculine/ feminine and person doing the action (3rd person or absent /2ndperson or present/1st person or speaker).

 

2)     Actor/Subject فَاعِلٌ (faa-ilun):

 

Fundamental understanding is that for every action, somebody is performing an action and is called an Actor/Subject (فَاعِلٌ faa-ilun). This is generally a universal truth that nothing happens unless without somebody/something is causing it. This is also is the basis of Islamic understanding that since the universe exists, there must be a Creator.

 

3)     Target/Object مَفْعُوْلٌ (maf’ool-un):

 

Some sentences beg the question that if an Actor/Subject (فَاعِلٌ faa-ilun) is doing something (an action فِعلٌ fei-lun). then who is the recipient/target of the action مَفْعُوْلٌ maf’ool-un If the Verb does not require a (مَفْعُوْلٌ maf’ool-un), then it is called an intransitive Verb فِعلُ الَّازِمِ (feil-ul laa-zimi). If a (مَفْعُوْلٌ maf’ool-un) is required, then the Verb is called a transitive Verb فِعلُ الْمُتَعَدِّىْ (feil-ul mu-ta-ad-di).

 

4)     Multiple Objects مَفْعُوْلٌ maf’ool-un:

 

A Verb can have multiple objects (مَفْعُوْلٌ maf’ool-un) and some Verbs generally may require more than one.

 

5)     Active and Passive Voice Verbs:

 

Active Voice Verb الْفِعلُ الْمَعْروْفُ (al-feil-ul ma-a-roofu): an active voice is a type of a clause or sentence in which a subject performs an action and expresses it through its representative Verb. To simply put it, when a subject performs an action directly, it is in active voice. An example would be Hamid hit Mahmoud  ضَرَبَ حَامِدٌ زَيْدًا(daraba hami-dun Zai-dan).

Passive Voice Verb الْفِعلُ الْمَجْهُوْلُ (al-feil-ul maj-hoolu): A passive voice is a type of a clause or sentence in which an action (through Verb) or an object of a sentence, is emphasized rather than its subject. Simply, the subject receives the action of the Verb. The emphasis or focus is on the action, while the subject is not known or is less important. An example would be Mahmoud was hit ضُرِبَ مَحْمُوْدٌ (du-riba mah-mud-un).

 

8) Universal Truths: For those situations where the act is universal and beyond the bounds of time, every language uses one tense to describe all three past, present, and future tenses. The English language uses the present tense to describe such situations such as the sentence God is merciful implies God was, is, and will be merciful. In the Arabic language, the past tense is used to describe universal truths. For example, in Arabic, the sentence كَانَ اللّٰهُ غَفُّوْرًا (kaan-al-lahu ghaf-foo-ran) would literally mean Allah was forgiving, but universal truth rule applies and this sentence means Allah was, is and will be forgiving.

 

 

Section 7.3 – Active Voice Past Tense الْفِعْلُ الْمَاضِىُ الْمَعْرُوْفُ

 

Three alphabet Root word ثُلَاثِي مُجَرَّدٌ (thula-thi mujar-ra-dun)

 

As we mentioned before, 99% of Arabic words are based on three alphabet root words. These are called ثُلَاثِىْ مُجَرَّدٌ (thulati mu-jar-radun) meaning three and mujar-rad meaning bare. Remaining 1% are 4 alphabet root words (رُبَاعِىْ rubaa-yee) and five alphabet root words (خُمَاسِىْ khu-maa-si). We will be concentrating on the three-alphabet root word.

 

The three alphabets that are used as standard are (ف faa) (عayn) and (ل laam). An example of a three-alphabet root word is فَعَلَ (fa-a-la).  There are two other forms that are also very common and these are فَعِلَ (fa-eela) and فَعُلَ (fa-oola).  

 

Next, let us study these forms and how they are used. This is probably the most important part of the book and the entire Ilm-us-Sarf (word morphology) is based on this.

 

In Arabic, each Verb is different depending upon whether the act is performed by male or female, single/dual or plural actors, and if the Actor/Subject is absent, present, or speaker. Technically, we should be getting 2x3x3 = 18 combinations. In Arabic, for speaker, dual/plural are the same, so the actual number of combinations is 14. Also, the dual Verb for in cases of absent/present and male/female are the same but are counted and written in the tas-reef. When these are used in a sentence, the context is what decides which ones these are.

 

Inflections of past tense with standard/ generic (ف) (ع) and (ل).

 

Table 33 – Meaning of فَعَلَ (fa-ala) Inflections

 

Inflection number

Verb

Meaning

pronoun hidden in the Verb

1

فَعَلَ

 

Fa-a-la

He did

هُوَ

 

hua

He

2

فَعَلَ

 

Fa-a-la

They both (males) did

هُمَا

 

hu-ma

They both (males)

3

فَعَلَ

 

Fa-a-la

They all 

(males) did

هُم

 

hum

They all (males)

 

 

 

 

 

4

فَعَلَتْ

 

Fa-a-lat

She did

هِيَ

 

Hee-ya

She

5

فَعَلَتْ

 

Fa-a-lat

They both 

(females) did

هُمَا

 

Hu-maa

They both

 (females)

6

فَعَلَتْ

 

Fa-a-lat

They all (females) did

هُمْ

 

hum

They all (females)

 

 

 

 

 

7

فَعَلْتَ

 

Fa-al-ta

You (male)

 did

اَنْتَ

 

un-ta

You (male)

8

فَعَلْتَ

 

Fa-al-ta

You both 

(males) did

اَنْتُمَا

 

An-tu-

maa

You both 

(males)

9

فَعَلْتَ

 

Fa-al-ta

You all 

(males) 

 did

اَنْتُمْ

 

un-tum

You all

 (males)

 

 

 

 

 

10

فَعَلْتِ

 

Fa-al-ti

You (female)

 did

اَنْتِ

 

un-tee

You (female)

11

فَعَلْتِ

 

Fa-al-ti

You both 

(females) did

اَنْتُمَا

 

un-tu-

maa

You both 

(females)

12

فَعَلْتِ

 

Fa-al-ti

You all (

females) did

اَنْتُنَّ

 

un-tun-

naa

You all 

(females)

 

 

 

 

 

13

فَعَلْتُ

 

Fa-al-tu

I (male and 

 female) did

اَنَا

 

anaa

I (male and 

 female)

14

فَعَلْنَ

 

Fa-al-

naa ا

We (male/

female /dual/plural) 

did

نَحْنُ

 

Nah-nu

We (male/

female /dual/plural)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The above Verb was based on the root word فَعَلَ. Similarly, we can do two more tables with root words فَعِلَ and فَعُلَ as shown below.

 

 

Table 34 فَعِلَ (Fa-ee-la) Inflections

 

 

 

 

single

 

dual

 

plural

Absent

3rd person

Male

1

فَعِلَ

 

Fa-i-la

2

فَعِلَا

 

Fa-i-

laa

3

فَعِلُوْا

 

Fa-i-

loo

Female

4

فَعِلَتْ

 

Fa-i-lat

5

فَعِلَتَا

 

Fa-ila-

taa

6

فَعِلْنَ

 

Fa-il-

na

Present

2nd person

Male

7

فَعِلْتَ

 

Fa-il-ta

8

فَعِلْتُمَا

 

Fa-il-

tu-maa

9

فَعِلْتُمْ

 

Fa-il-

tum

female

10

فَعِلْتِ

 

Fa-il-ti

11

فَعِلْتُمَا

 

Fa-il-

tu-maa

12

فَعِلْتُنَّ

 

fa-il-

tun-na

Speaker

1st person

Male/female

13

فَعِلْتُ

 

Fa-il-tu

14

فَعِلْنَا

 

Fa-il-naa


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  





Table 35 فَعُلَ (Fa-oo-la) Inflections

 

 

 

 

single

 

dual

 

plural

Absent

3rd person

Male

1

فَعُلَ

 

Fa-u-la

2

فَعُلَا

 

Fa-u-

laa

3

فَعُلُوْا

 

Fa-ul-

loo

 

Female

4

فَعُلَتْ

 

Fa-u-lat

5

فَعُلَتَا

 

Fa-ula-

taa

6

فَعُلْنَ

 

Fa-ul-

na

Present

2nd person

Male

7

فَعُلْتَ

 

Fa-ul-ta

8

فَعُلْتُمَا

 

Fa-ul-

tu-maa

9

فَعُلْتُمْ

 

Fa-ul-

tum

female

10

فَعُلْتِ

 

Fa-ul-ti

11

فَعُلْتُمَا

 

Fa-ul-

tu-maa

12

فَعُلْتُنَّ

 

fa-ul-

tun-na

Speaker

1st person

Male/female

13

فَعُلْتُ

 

Fa-ul-

tu

14

فَعُلْنَا

 

Fa-ul-naa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




Table 36 - Examples of Verbs that use فَعَلَ die

 

ضَرَبَ

 

Da-ra-ba

He hit

خَلَقَ

 

Kha-la-qa

He created

جَعَلَ

 

Ja-ala

He made

غَفَرَ

 

Gh-fa-ra

He forgave

حَشَرَ

 

Ha-sha-ra

He gathered

عَبَدَ

 

Aba-da

He prayed

رَفَعَ

 

Ra-fa-aa

He raised

جَلَسَ

 

Ja-la-sa

He sat

 

Table 37 - Examples of Verbs that use فَعِلَ die

 

سَمِعَ

 

Sa-mi-aa

He listened

فَرِحَ

 

Fa-ri-ha

He became happy

قَبِلَ

 

Qa-bi-la

He accepted

حَمِدَ

 

Ha-mi-da

He praised

رَحِمَ

 

Ra-hi-ma

He showed mercy

حَسِبَ

 

Ha-si-ba

He assumed

حفِظَ

 

Ha-fi-za

He remembered

شَرِبَ

 

Sha-ri-ba

He drank

شَهِدَ

 

Sha-hi-da

He witnessed

 

Table 38 - Examples of Verbs that use فَعُلَ die

 

ثَقُلَ

 

Tha-qu-la

He became heavy

كَثُرَ

 

Ka-thu-ra

He became abundant

شَرُفَ

 

Sha-ru-fa

He became exalted

عَظُمَ

 

Azu-ma

He became great

صَعُبَ

 

Sa-u-ba

He became difficult

ثَقُلَ

 

Tha-qu-la

He became heavy

قَرُبَ

 

Qa-ru-ba

He became near

كَرُمَ

 

Ka-ru-ma

He was generous

ضَعُفَ

 

Da-u-fa

He became weak

بَعُدَ

 

Ba-u-da

He became distant

 

 

 

***


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