Step Two Courses

Ajrumiyya: The Structure of Arabic Sentences and How They’re Formed (Nahw)


The science of Arabic grammar (nahw) is the oldest and one of the most important of all the Islamic sciences. It began in the time of the Companions, when the mistakes of non-Arabian converts to Islam began adulterating the linguistic purity of the ancient Arabic language. The early grammarians preserved this ancient language through formal rules, thereby preserving our ability to understand the Qur’an and Sunna. Take this course to understand what Arabic grammar is, how it developed, its technical vocabulary, its most important questions, and how to use it to analyze the ancient Arabic language, which is the key to understanding the Qur’an, the Sunna, and all of the Islamic sciences. This course is taught in English but it is not a first-level course in Arabic grammar. Proficiency in the Arabic language and in its most important rules are a prerequisite for this course.

Curricular Context

  • This course is cross-listed in Step Two and Learn Arabic
  • This is an advanced course in the
  • Learning Arabic
  • curriculum
  • Students who register for this course must be able to: (a) conjugate verbs in each of their ten morphological forms; (b) identify the ism fāʿil, ism mafʿūl, ism tafḍīl, al-ṣifa al-mushabbaha, the ism ẓarf, ism āla, and the maṣdar; (c) know all important rules related to masculine, feminine, singular, dual, and plural nouns; (d) comfortably work with nominal sentences (jumla ismiyya), verbal sentences (jumla fiʿliyya), and conditional sentences (shart and jawab al-shart); and (e) use the Hans Wehr dictionary. Some Arabic vocabulary is also required.
  • This course is a key prerequisite for all courses in Steps Three and Four

Course Outline

LESSON 1 — Introduction and Categories of Speech

1. Introduction to the Ajurrūmiyya
2. Introduction to the Science of Arabic Grammar
3. The Categories of Speech

LESSON 2 — Signs of Iʿrab (1)

1. The ism, fiʿl, ḥarf, and their signs
2. Iʿrāb
3. The Types of Iʿrab
4. Signs of Rafʿ – the Ḍamma 5. Signs of Rafʿ – the Wāw
6. Signs of Rafʿ – the Alif 7. Signs of Rafʿ – the Nūn

LESSON 3 — Signs of Iʿrab (2)

1. Signs of Naṣb – the Fatḥa

2. Signs of Naṣb – the Alif

3. Signs of Naṣb – the Kasra

4. Signs of Naṣb – Yāʾ

5. Signs of Naṣb – the Omitting of the Nūn

6. Signs of khafḍ – the kasra

7. Signs of khafḍ – the yā

ʾ 8. Signs of khafḍ – the fatḥa

9. Signs of jazm – the sukūn

10. Signs of jazm – ḥadhf

LESSON 4 — Iʿrab of Verbs (1)

1. Iʿrab with vowels and letters

2. Verbs – The Command

4. Verbs – The Past-Tense Verb

5. Verbs – The Present Tense Verb

LESSON 5 — Iʿrab of Verbs (2)

1. Verbs – Agents of Naṣb

2. Verbs – Agents of Jazm

LESSON 6 — The Marfūʿāt (1)

1. The Marfūʿ Nouns

2. The Fāʿil

3. The Fāʿil al-Ẓāhir

4. The Fāʿil al-Muḍmar

LESSON 7 — The Marfūʿāt (2)

1. The Nāʾib Fāʿil

2. The Mubtadaʾ and the Khabar

3. The Types of Mubatadaʾ and Khabar

4. The Agents Which Affect the Mubtadaʾ and Khabar

5. Kāna and Its Counterparts 6. Inna and Its Counterparts

7. Ẓanna and Its Counterparts

LESSON 8 — The Tawābiʿ

1. The Naʿt

2. The Definite and the Indefinite

3. The ʿAtf

4. The Tawkīd

5. The Badal

LESSON 9 — The Manṣūbāt (1) (Maf’ul Bihi, Maf’ul Mutlaq, Dharf)

1. The Manṣūbāt

2. The Mafʿūl buhī

3. The Mafʿūl Mutlaq

4. The Ẓarf of Ẓamān and Makān

LESSON 10 — The Manṣūbāt (2)

1. The Ḥāl 2. The Tamyīz

LESSON 11 — The Manṣūbāt (3)

1. The Istithnāʿ – Terms

2. The Istithnāʾ – Rules

3. The Lā Which Negates A Genus

LESSON 12 — The Manṣūbāt (4)

1. The Munāḍā

2. al-Mafʿūl Li Ajlihī

3. al-Mafʿūl Maʿahū

What You Will Learn:

  • Describe what the science of Arabic grammar is and how it developed
  • Organize the rules of the Arabic language into structured map (this is how the Ajrumiyya is written)
  • Explain the key terms and questions of the science of Arabic grammar
  • Recognize the rules of Arabic grammar at work in authentic uses of the ancient Arabic language
  • Use the rules of Arabic grammar to analyze the ancient Arabic language

About the Course Text

This course is a detailed explaination of the Ajrumiyya (or, alternatively, the “Ajurrumiyya”). The Ajrumiyya is the most popular traditional primer in the science of Arabic grammar. Written seven hundred years ago by the Berber scholar and saint, Muhammad b. Muhammad al-Sinhaji (d. 723 AH / 1323 CE), it has been the foundation for studies in Arabic grammar for students of sacred knowledge all over the world. It has dozens of important commentaries and glosses and is popularly memorized, sometimes in its original prose-form and sometimes in one of its versified versions. The secret of its popularity is frequently ascribed to the sincerity of its author, who wrote it while sitting before the Ka‘ba. He tested his sincerity by casting it into the sea. Only when he saw it washed ashore with its writing intact did he begin teaching it to others. A translation of the Ajrumiyya is provided along with the course materials.