Matn al-‘Izzi: The Structures of Arabic Words and How They Change (Sarf)

Introduction

Language is a systematic combination of individual words. These words have meanings that express what is happening, by whom, when, and how. Knowing how to recognize and form these words is the scope of the science of Morphology.

In Arabic, a single root word is taken and altered in many ways to imbue it with particular meanings. This alteration is called ‘Sarf’ in Arabic, which can be understood to mean ‘changing’ or ‘morphing.’ 

A strong grasp of this science is important for anyone wishing to successfully study Arabic, or any science which is taught through Arabic. It is also a crucial ingredient in gaining a deep appreciation of the beauty of the Qur’an.

Course Outline

Lesson One
01 lesson 01a – The author and the text.
02 lesson 01b – Introduction to the science of Sarf.
03 lesson 01c – The division of verbs.

Lesson Two

04 lesson 02a – The six categories of al-thulatha al mujarrad.
05 lesson 02b – categories one to five
06 lesson 02c – al ruba’i al mujarrad

Lesson Three

07 lesson 03a – al thulathi al mazid fihi.
08 lesson 03b – al ruba’i al mazid fihi.
09 lesson 03c – al fi’l al lazim.

Lesson Four
10 lesson 04a – conjugation of the past tense verb.
11 lesson 04b – the present tense verb.

Lesson Five
12 lesson 05a – the present tense mabni lil fa’il.
13 lesson 05b – the present tense mabni lil maf’ul and la and ma.

Lesson Six
14 lesson 06a – the present tense mabni with hazm and nasb.
15 lesson 06b – the command.

Lesson Seven
16 lesson 07a – alterations to the mudari’.
17 lesson 07b – the ‘nun’s of emphasis.

Lesson Eight
18 lesson 08a – the ism fa’il and the ism maf’ul.
19 lesson 08b – the muda’af.
20 lesson 08c – the mithal.

Lesson Nine
21 lesson 09 – the ajwaf.

Lesson Ten
22 lesson 10 – the naqis.

Lesson Eleven
23 lesson 11a – the lafif maqrun.
24 lesson 11b – the remaining three.

Lesson Twelve
25 lesson 12a – the mahmuz.
26 lesson 12b – the nouns of time, place, instrument, number, and manner.

What You Will Learn:

  • About the text and its author.
  • What Morphology is.
  • The standard form (al Mujarrad) and its variants for words which have a three, and a four-letter root.
  • How to conjugate the past, present, and future verbs for all of them.
  • What verbs with sound letters are, and what verbs with weak letters are.
  • How verbs with weak letters are categorized and conjugated.
  • What the various forms of nouns are, and how to alter them to suit the context.

About the Course Text

This text, known as ‘Matan al ‘Izzi, authored by ‘Izz al Din, ‘Abd al Wahhab b. Ibrahim al Zanjani, has been taught as the foundational text in this science for hundreds of years. With its clear and gradually progessive layout, it is an excellent place to start to learn the foundation principles of the science.