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Sarf – Categories of Irregular Verbs – هفتِ أقسام

June 19, 2007

We have already seen how variations in verb patterns in the Arabic Language can take place due to 6 reasons, 3 of which deal with a difference in the number of base letters and the vowelling pattern of the verb. In this post I will give a listing of the other 3 reasons with an example of each, Insha Allah.

These 3 are related to irregularities i.e the presence of certain letters within the verb. Following is a list of these irregularities :

  • The presence of a همزة
  • The presence of a weak letter i.e. a واو or a ياء
  • The last two base-letters being the same letter i.e. a doubled letter (حرف مشدد)

Based on the presence or absence of one of these reasons the scholars of Sarf have divided the Arabic verbs in 7 categories, or to give the Persian term for it, in هفتِ أقسام

Type name Characteristic Example
ﺻﺤﻴﺢ No weak letters;no duplication of letters ﻧﹷﺼﹷﺮﹶ , ﻛﹷﺮﹸﻡﹶ
ﻣﻬﻤﹹﻮﺯ anywhere in the base verb ﻗﺮﺃ , ﺳﺄﻝﹶ , ﺃﻛﹷﻞﹶ
ﻣﹻﺜﺎﻝ واو or ياء at the front ﻭﹶﻋﹷﺪﹶ , ﻳﹷﺴﹹﺮﹶ
ﺃﺟﻮﹶﻑ واو or ياء at theposition ﻗﹷﻮﹶﻝﹶ , ﺑﹷﻴﹷﻊﹶ
ﻧﺎﻗﹻﺺ واو or ياء at theposition ﺭﹶﻣﻰٰ , ﺩﹶﻋﹷﻮﹶ
ﻟﹷﻔﻴﻒ Two weak letters in the verbs ﻭﹶﻗﻰٰ , ﻃﹷﻮﻰٰ
ﻣﹹﻀﺎﻋﹷﻒ Second and third letter same ﻣﹷﺮﱠ , ﻓﹷﺮﱠ

Category 3, 4, 5, and 6 all involve a واو or a ياء and verbs falling under these categories are collectively called معتل .

This brief introduction is a prelude to the vast part of Sarf which deals with irregularities in Arabic verbs. I will, Insha Allah, post more detail about each of these categories in the near future.

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12 Comments
  1. mujahid7ia permalink

    Was there class on the 23rd and 24th?
    Jazak Allahu khayr

  2. Yes there was

  3. Have you posted anything on active and passive participles? (Couldn’t find it)

  4. Nothing yet….lots of things to do, I guess 🙂 but hardly any time.
    Pray that I can keep up with the pace, Insha Allah

  5. assalamu alaykum,

    thought you’d like this.

    Nahw (Grammar) – Arabic Tutor Vol 3. by Maulana Ebrahim Muhamed.

    Refer to page 26

    This is the first book I came across that mentions hafte aqsam.

  6. Hafsa,
    This is the book called “Arabi ka Muallim, an Urdu title meaning “Arabic Tutor”. This is one of the very few books which Mufti Yusuf actually recommends. I have had a cursory look at it and it has most of the stuff in it which we are learning in the class. Looks like a really good book to me.

    Jazak Allah!

  7. Gregg permalink

    Nice blog.
    Slight correction: what you’ve labeled الصحيح should be السالم; the category الصحيحincludes السالم والمضعف والمهموز. The rest are معتل الآخر. You can also add that اللفيف is subdivided into المفروق , which is معتل العين, and المقرون يعني ما اعتلت عينه ولامه

  8. Gregg permalink

    Sorry, that should read “the rest are معتل”, not معتل الآخر

  9. Gregg,
    Thanks a lot for the correction! I had actually tried to make is rather simple 🙂 since I had not intended to write anything about the المضعف (Al-muza’af) that is why I did not go into too much detail.

    Jazak Allah!

  10. youssef permalink

    when there is life there is hope and when there is hop there is love

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Sarf - The Irregular Verb - اَجوَف « Internals
  2. Sarf - The Irregular Verb - ناقِص - Part 1 « Internals

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