Arabic 1A

2013 Summer Session (August 11 to October 13)

Class taught by Shaikh Jamaal Zarabozo

General information about the class

When: Sundays August 11 - October 13, 2:00 - 3:30 PM PT

Long-term goals of the class

Be able to read and directly understand the Qur’an and hadith of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم)

Be able to translate texts from Arabic into English

Be able to understand the proper Arabic speech of khutbahs

The goal is to reach a modest advanced level in approximately 3-4 years, depending on the success of the students and the demand for the course each successive semester

Overview of the course

This is not a course on conversational Arabic or any colloquial dialects. This is a course on grammar—in particular, Modern Standard Arabic but while noting the differences between Modern Standard Arabic and Classical Arabic

Required textbooks

1. Elementary Modern Standard Arabic 1 - available from and other places

Footnote: According to this book is out of copyright and the entire text is available for download. However please respect copyrights and use this PDF only if you have already purchased the book

2. The Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Arabic – Easily available as well.

This book has a plethora of information within it but one needs to know how to use and understand it. Hence, we will teach how to use this book and will eventually use it in class as well. However, most likely, we will not need this until the next session.

Note: There are numerous excellent works on Arabic grammar available in English as well as other, newer textbooks. However, I have taught the above on many occasions now and still find it the best for the ultimate goal of mastering understanding Arabic (in particular reading Arabic) in a systematic and consistent fashion.

Grading criteria

Homework 10% (I will not grade them but will just look them over…)

Quiz 5% (one, very short pop quiz sometime during the semester)

Midterm 25% (One short midterm)

Final Exam 60% (One final, October 6, one week before last week of class)


Vocabulary List 1 (Lesson 1 through Lesson 5 of the textbook)

Gender of Arabic Nouns

2013-08-11 Class Notes

There is a big difference between colloquial arabic and formal or modern standard arabic. The only time most Arabs hear formal Arabic is during Friday khutbah.

You will be able to get a good understanding of the Quran and Hadith. But we are not restricting ourselves to the vocabulary of the Quran itself. Our goal is to be able to access all of the knowledge available in Arabic, we should be able to read any book published in Arabic.

The required textbook has been published in 1967 and it needs a refresh. Students start out hating the book but by the end of the class they love the book and be able to appreciate the book. The last update to the book was in 1983.

Since we are meeting once a week for just 1 1/2 hours, this course would take at least two years to finish volume one. After you finish volume one, you will have built a good foundation, you will also need to spend time on your own every day of the week. You have to review the vocabulary list, the lesson notes, the rules etc. You have to start the course from the beginning in order to benefit from it, that is the reason why Sh Jamaal does not allow students to join the class later mid stream.

In order to understand the Quran you have to first build the vocabulary, the grammar, and then dive into learning the language of the Quran. There are stylistic issues (balagah) that you have to understand Quran.

Students are expected to turn in the homework on time. Exams are your friends. There will be a quiz in the fifth week and exam in the ninth week.

The handouts will contain words without vowels but there are occasionally some words that are difficult to decipher without the vowel hints, for example the first word in the Vocabulary List 1 has the fatha for the first alphabet.

American converts are at a disadvantage when learning the vocabulary because the English language does not share a common vocabulary with the Arabic language, whereas many immigrants know a language that has shared vocabulary with Arabic. But be careful, since the shared words might have different meanings.

During the earlier quarters, please try to stick with the classes, to get the most out of the course.

Starting with page 101 of the textbook which is Lesson One of the textbook. Nass means text

You and I - Ana wa anti

Ana Salim. Man Ant

Man means who

Man Ant versus Man Anti

Ant is you for a male. Anti is you for a female. And you know which way to read it depending upon the context. You have to read ahead in order to find out if it anta or anti.

There is no neuter gender in Arabic. Every noun in Arabic is either masculine or feminine. Spanish and french have the same approach to nouns.

Ana is the same for both male or female speakers.

I’m Jalal - Ana Jalal is missing a verb. This is not complete sentence in English, but we can have sentences without verbs in Arabic.

Man hadha - Who is this?

Hadha Jalal - This is Jalal

Man hadhihi

Hadhihi Maryam - This is Maryam

Hal signifies a yes or no question.

Hal anta Farid?  Are you Farid?

La. No

Hal anti Maryam?

Hal hadha Muhammad? Is this Muhammad?

Hal hadhihi Maryam? Is this Maryam?

Hal anti Maryam? Are you Maryam?

Two types of sentences in Arabic language

Sentences with verbs are called verbal sentences. Sentences without verbs are called equational sentences.

Ana Salim - this sentence has two parts, a subject and a predicate. Subject is the main focus of the sentence. Arabic is very much different from English, the word order in much more flexible in Arabic.

The word table is feminine in Arabic, the word book is masculine. So when I ask you to move hadha when referring to the table, this is a common mistake made by non Arabic speakers, you should have said, move hadhihi.

He and She - Hua and Hiya

He is Jalal - Hua Jalal


We studied three different types of interrogatives, man, hal and

Man means who

Man hadhihi  who is this?

Man hiya  who is she?

Hal implies yes or no question

In Arabic, it is proper or polite to start a sentence with the first person, Ana wa Jalaal went to the market. But in English we say, Jalal and I went to the market.

Same with dua in the Quran, you start by asking for yourself and then ask for others.

When you call out somebody’s name in Arabic, you say Yaa Jalal, translated as Oh Jalal, and this usage is basically non existent in English.

If you want to ask the professor a question, you would say, Yaa Ustad, Oh professor.

Allah swt says man khalaqa ardus samawati, who created the earth and the heavens.

I am Yusuf and this is my brother

Ana Yusuf wa hadha akhi

Lesson Two (page 108) - Conversation between professor and student


Ma - What

Man aina ant? Where are you from?

Many verses begin with wa. Wa has more than one meaning. It is a conjunction.

Classical arabic does not have capital letters or periods. The wa is used to indicate the beginning of a new sentence, it does not mean “and”, sometimes it indicates the beginning of a new sentence.

2013-08-18 Class Notes

Started with review of Lesson Two page 108 of the textbook.

Ask female, where are you from?

Min ayna anti

Ask male, where are you from?

Min ayna anta

A male student  Talib would end with damma talibun

A female student Talibatun

Vowels are doubled known as tanveen. Sometimes the vowels are doubled and sometimes they are not. In general the damma or tanveen is a sign of general noun or indefinite noun.

Aliph Lam is the sign of definiteness of the noun and the damma is the sign of indefiniteness.

The female student has al at the beginning of the word talibat and it does not have damma or tanveen at the end.

Similarly, the male student al talib also does not have the damma at the end of the word.

This student (male) is from Damascus

at talibu min damask

She is a student from Damascus

Hiya talibatun min damask

In the above noun for student, you have to pronounce the vowel at the end of the word.

In most dialect of Arabic, they drop the case marker of the talibatun if it is in the middle of the sentence. However if you

Maa hadhihi? What is this? (pointing to a table)

Hadhihi tawila (This is a table)

The table is from Makkah

At tawilatu min Makkah

Maa hadhahah

Hadhah bab (with damma but not pronounced)

The door is from Madinah

Al babu min al Madinah

How many vowels are there in the Arabic language, considering tanween and non tanween as the same?




Is this English sentence grammatically correct?

He saw the movie.


How about this sentence?

I saw he.

No, the correct usage is

I saw him.

Why did we use different words for the noun?

Because in one case, it is subject in one case and in the second case it was the object. However most nouns do not have the case, it does not have word order.

Arabic is very powerful and flexible. It distinguishes the word based on the vowel on the word. The vowel is going to tell us how the word is

A book


Kitaabun (damma tanween at the end) Nominative

Kitaabaah (fatha tanween at the end) Accusative

Kitaabeen (kasra tanween at the end) Genitive

The book

Al Kitaab

Al Kitaabu (single damma at the end) Nominative

Al Kitaaba (single fatha at the end) Accusative

Al Kitaabi (single kasra at the end) Genitive

These vowel endings are telling us what role is the noun playing in the sentence. The three cases are Nominative, Accusative and Genitive.

The accusative tells us that the noun is object of the verb.

The genitive tells us that the noun is the object of the preposition.

The mouse is above the barn. Here the barn is the preposition and the mouse could above the barn, below the barn, in the barn etc

Verbs do not have case endings or case markings.

These case markings are tellings us whether it is the object or the subject of the sentence.

Nominative Case

Damma either single damma for indefinite nouns or two damma - damma tanveen for definitive nouns at the end of the noun

1. This is the default case.  If you are telling students a new word, you will tell it in the nominative case, hence it is known as the default case.

2. Nominative case is also used in titles. The title of Quran will say Quranu which is the nominative case. The beginning of each lesson is also in the nominative case, al darsu.

3. We have been studying equational sentences which are sentences that are missing verbs. They are made up of two parts, the subject and the predicate. An equational sentence is general, the subject and the predicate will be nominative.

For example: Mohamed is a student. Mohamadun Talibun.

How would say, Mohamad is a messenger. Mohamadun Rasulun. Both of the nouns are in nominative case.

Fatima is a student

Fatimatu Talibatun

Is Fatimatu nominative?

If it has damma at the end, it is nominative, irrespective of it being single damma or tanween damma.

Rule: Female proper names never take tanween. The vowel has to be singular at the end of the proper name of a female.

Some male names also never take tanween. To master the Arabic language, you have to master the exceptions of the Arabic language.

4. In general, the subject of a verbal sentence.

We are not studying verbal sentences yet, however if you see damma at the end of the noun, then it is in the nominative case.

5. In general, the nouns after the evocative (yaa) will always be in the nominative case

Yaa Shaikhu

Yaa Ustaadu

It will always be nominative without the tanween, even if it a proper name of a person.

Yaa Mohamadu

Yaa Fatimatu

Yaa Maryamu

The indefinite noun after the Evocative (Yaa) will always be without Al. And irrespective of indefinite or definite noun, either male or female, the noun will always end in a single damma.


I am a student and I am from Morocco

Ana talibu wa Ana min al Maghribi

The ayna is only used for interrogative, when you say I am from Morocco, you just say, Ana min al Maghrib.

Kitaab is masculne and there is no case markings that can change it from masculine to feminine. Similarly table, etc

Every city name will be feminine. It does not matter the origin of the original name of the city, for example Washington DC will be feminine. The reason is that the word city is madinah which is feminine, and in Arabic language, you say the city of Washington DC, Madinah Washington DC which makes it feminine.

Every country name will be feminine.

Any word brought from foreign language would be feminine. And other words

Ta marbutah is the sign that the word is feminine, but not always.

The word khalifa ends with ta marbutah, but it is masculine. Usama ends with ta marbutah but it is masculine.

Waraqah (paper) is feminine.

This is a piece of paper and it is from Morocco

Hadhihi waraqatu wa hiya min al Maghribi

The word Muslim if you want to make is feminine then add ta marbutah at the end - Muslimah is a female Muslim.

Adjectives can also have ta marbutah at the end to make it feminine.

Jadeed means new

Jadeedah with ta marbutah makes it feminine

It is new (Pointing to a table that is new)

Hiya Jadeedatun

If you stop then pronounce it as Hiya Jadeeda

Homework is on pages 116-117

Drills 6 through 8

Make sure you submit it to Sh Jamaal

Drill #9 Variable Substitution

1 Anti talibatuun min Lubnaana (You is indefinite case)

2 Huwa talibun min Lubnaan

3 Nancy talibatu min Lubnaan




Answers sent by Br Jalal

Ana talibun min Lubnan

I am a student from Lebanon

1. anti talibatun min lubnan

You (f) are a student from Lebanon

2. huwa talibun min lubnan

He is a student from Lebanon

3. nancy talibatun min lubnan

Nancy is a student from Lebanon

4. nancy ustadatun min lubnan

Nancy is a professor from Lebanon

5. anta ustadun min lubnan

He is a professor from Lebanon

6. hadhihi ustadatun min lubnan

This is a professor from Lebanon

7. hadhihi taawilatun min lubnan

That is a table (f) from Lenanon

2013-08-25 Class Notes

Handout: Gender of Arabic Nouns

Gender of Arabic Nouns

We have already seen the importance of knowing the gender of Arabic Nouns. For example, when referring to a noun by a pronoun or demonstrative pronoun, one has to use the correct gender of that pronoun. When modifying a noun by an adjective or when an adjective is the predicate of a nominal sentence, one has to use the correct gender of the adjective.

There are only two genders in the Arabic language, male and female. All nouns and adjectives are either masculine or feminine. When the noun refers to an animate being (that is, a human being), its gender will agree with the natural gender of the referent.

Masculine Gender

Nouns referring to male animate beings will be male.

Most but definitely not all nouns that do not end in with the feminine suffix ta marbootah ة  are masculine.

Feminine Gender

Nouns referring to animate beings who are female, such as humans or “higher animals” whose sex or gender is usually distinguished. This would include female proper names as well as the following examples:

All city names are feminine. One can remember this by thinking of city names as being short for “the city of ...” and the word for city ( مدينة ) is feminine.

Therefore most country names are feminine, but there are a number of exceptions to this category.

Ta Marbootah

In general, nouns with the feminine suffix ة  known as ta marbootah will be feminine.

This includes words like ورقة “a sheet of paper” and طاولة  “table”.

This suffix is also what is used to derive a feminine noun from a masculine noun., as in the examples above such as طالبة “female student”.

It is also what is added to make an adjective feminine, as in جديدة  “new”.

Is is similar to the feminine ending “a” in Spanish and Italian.

One of the exceptions of the ta marbootah ending rule is the word خليفة “caliph”.

There are other patterns that would signify that the word is feminine but for now this is sufficient.

Some words are always used as feminine:

Body parts that exists in pairs are feminine, such as:

The plural of inanimate objects is treated like a feminine singular. Thus “books” for example, will be referred to as feminine singular pronoun “she”. Thus one says while referring to books on a table

Note: Some words have been traditionally treated and accepted as either masculine or feminine.

Review of Drill 6, Drill 7 and Drill 8

City names such as Michigan and Washington do not have any case markings or damma since they are modern borrowed words. Basically they are foreign words or borrowed words that are a recent occurring and they do not add case markings to them.

The word and ( wa ) is typically joint with the word that comes after it.

Sentences are written in the order of first person, second person, third person and so on.

In Arabic you have to read ahead to determine how to read the sentence properly, so you have to be intelligent in order to read properly.

Quiz #1 - Arabic 1A

1. What are the three cases of the nouns

Nominative, Accusative, Genitive

Nominative is used for the subject

2. What are the signs or vowel markings for each of those cases?

Nominative is damma or damma tanveen at the end of the word - it indicates the subject of the sentence

Accusative is fatha or fatha tanveen at the end of the word - it is the object of the verb of the sentence

Genitive is kasra or kasra tanveen at the end of the word - it is the object of a preposition.

3. How to distinguish a definite noun from an indefinite noun

A definite noun will have “Al” in front of it

An indefinite noun will have tanveen (two vowel markings at the end of the word)

4. What is an equational or nominative sentence?

A sentence that does not have a verb, or a sentence that contains only a subject and a predicate.

5. Write all of the interrogatives we have studied so far and which one signifies a yes or no question.

Hal signifies a yes or no question

Man is who

Ma is what

Ayna is where

Min Ayna is from where

Man is used for human beings and Ma is used for inanimate objects. In stylistic speech such as the Quran, there are exceptions to these rules. We have to get the basic rules before we can get into the Quran.

Example of stylistic speech from Quran: Wa ma khalaqah

Here ma means man. Translated into “Who created the heavens and the earth?”

Notes Lesson #3 - Page 118

أَلدَّرْسُ آلثّالِتُ

The word “Lesson Three” uses the nominative case since it is the title. There is only one damma for the word lesson since it has an al in front of it which indicates a definite noun.

Case marking on the sentence “in the office” or “fi al maktabi”

Fi al maktabi - Maktab is in the genitive case since it is the object of the preposition fi.

Anta should have hamzah on top of aliph

Similarly al Ustad should have hamzah on top of the aliph

Ana mudarissun - I am a teacher

This is nominative since it is an equational sentence, here both the subject and object of an equational sentence is in nominative case. It has two dammas since it is an indefinite noun.

Jadeed is masculine, to make it feminine, you add a ta marbootah to the end.

Jadeed is an adjective. Mudarris is a noun.

The parts of a sentence includes “Ism”, Harf” and Verbs

Ism includes both nouns and adjectives. A lot of rules will be the same for nouns and adjectives.

Harf or particles

Verbs will not be seen for a long time.

One of the main uses of the genitive case is for the object of the preposition.

In the house: In is a preposition and house is the object of the preposition.

Prepositions always have an object and the object is always a noun. You are in, over, above etc with respect to a noun.

In the office

Fi al Maktabi

Where is the book?

A. Ayna fi al Kitab? The kitab has one damma on it.

The book is in an office

B. Al Kitabu fi maktabin (two kasras at the end of maktab)

Sentences A and B both have fi in it. However in sentence A you say fil instead of fi al. You can see it in some copies of the Quran.

We have short vowels and long vowels in Arabic.

Kasra is short vowel - Pronounced e

Kasra followed by ya is long vowel - Pronounced ee

Uu is short vowel - Pronounced u

Uu followed by waw is the long vowel - Pronounced uu

Fatha is short vowel - Pronounced a

Stretched fatha is the long vowel - Here the pronunciation pattern changes it becomes ah instead of aa

Huwa fi bayrut

Huwa fi al-Qahira

In the above two sentences, the city names are feminine proper names. They do not take tanveen for the case markings.

However some city names have al in front of it. Since it is noun and it is never going to take tanveen and since it is genitive case, it is ends in kasra.

Under normal circumstances, the noun in a preposition would have two kasras as case marking. Since female proper names do not take tanveens, and the genitive case marking requires two kasras, those two kasras are replaced by one fatha

Rule: Female proper name in genitive case will take one fatha as its case marking

Speaking about a table, how would you say, “this is from Fatima”

Hadhihi min Fatimatah - one fatha at the end

How about, “this (table) is from Muhammad”

Hadhihi min Muhammadin - two kasras at the end

It is hadhihi since the table is feminine and hadhihi is referring to the table.

Min al jannati

Jannah is in the genitive case

Min al jannati wan nassi

Preposition: Ala على  

Ala is another preposition.

The book is on the table

Al kitab ala al Tawilati

The ala and al are combined into alal and because ta is a shamshi letter, it becomes alat tawilati

Al kitab alat Tawilati

Helping Vowel

Did anyone notice, we were adding vowels that were not there, such as in line #5 of Lesson #3

We added kasra at the end of nuun.

Man al Mudeer?

The aliph in Al has a sukkun, the only time you pronounce the aliph is when it is at the beginning of the sentence.

Rule: In Arabic language you cannot pronounce three consonants in a row without a vowel.

For example, in english we can pronounce words such as gangster, here ngst are four consonants in a row.

However in Arabic, we add helping vowels. In the Quran script, these helping vowels are given to us. And the helping vowel is not always kasra

Correct pronunciation of line #5

Man il Mudeer?

Another example of helping vowel is in line #8, but it is fatha instead of kasra. You have to know the rules for the helping vowels.

In general, there is only case when the helping vowel is a fatha. The only time the helping vowel is fatha, it is after the word min

Correct pronunciation of line #8

Huwa mina al Qahira

There are few cases when the helping vowel is a damma, but we will tackle it later when we come across that vocabulary.

Rule: In general, the Helping vowel is always a kasra, except after the word “min” the helping vowel is fatha.

Drill: Writing sentences on the board

Oh Salim, is Maryam a student from Beirut?

Ya salimu hal maryamu taalibatun min bayruta

يا سليم هل مريم طالباتن من بيروت

No homework, expect a pop quiz for the next class.

2013-09-01 Class Notes

Pop quiz

Demonstrative Pronoun - Hadha or Hadhihi

This is a table versus This table

Hadhihi tawilatun versus hadhi al tawila tu

This table is not a complete sentence, it is a phrase.

This table refers to a specific table, it is definite. And the same rules apply in Arabic and as a consequence we have to add “al” in front tawilatun and change the case marking from tanween to single damma.

This is a table

This table

هذه طاولةٌ

هذه الطاولةُ

Reminder: Exam in two weeks

Examples of demonstrative pronouns

Read the basic text of Lesson Three.

Reminder the vocabulary for counting numbers:

There are many rules for numbers and we will discuss them later

Copy from page 129 above

Lesson Four

There should be hamzah is Al Ustada

Homework is Drill #3 on pages 134 - 135

2013-09-08 Class Notes

This is a door.

Which one is the correct answer?

A. Hadhihi babu

B. Hadha Al Babu

C. Hadha Baabun

Al Baab is masculine.

An indefinite noun will have tanveen.

So the correct answer is C.

This door.

Hadha Al Baabu.?????? I am confused?????

When I am referring to book, how do I say “this is new”


This book is new

Hadha Al Kitabu jadidun

She is new.

Hiya jadeedatun

Adjective predicate will take tanveen

She is not new.

Laysat hiya jadeedatan

In order to say No, we have to introduce the verb laysa and conjugate it properly.

Since we have a verb, we have an object of the verb, the case of the object will be accusative. If it is definite, it will not take tanveen, regardless of the case.

In Arabic verbs, the pronoun is captured in the verb, it maps directly to a pronoun.

The correct answer is

Laysat jadidatan

لَيْسَت جديدةً

Laysat hiya jadidatan is gramatically correct, but you are putting emphasis on “she” twice.

Muhammad is a student

Muhammadun Talibun (damma tanveen)

Muhammad is not a student

Laysa Muhammadun Taliban (fatha tanveen)

He is not Muhammad

Laysa Muhammadan (fatha tanveen)

She is not Fatima

Laysat Fatimata (Fatima cannot take tanveen)

Proper names are definite. So the fatha tanveen on Muhammad is counter intuitive. Farid and male names take tanveen, however there are some exceptions. Male proper names taken tanveen. You have to learn the exceptions. For now take it for granted.

You (f) are from Khartoum.

Anti min al khartoumi (single kasra at the end and helping vowel fatha on nun of min)

You (f) are not from Khartoum.

Lasti min al khartoumi

Anti is captured in lasti. We don't have an object of the verb, rather we have a prepositional phrase min. The object of the preposition is in the genetive case and is marked by one kasra or kasra tanveen,

You should not add the helping vowel in the examination answers unless asked for specifically.

You are new here.

Anta jadidun huna.

You are not now here.

Lasta jadidan huna.

Huna is an adverb, it is not the object or subject of the verb, or the object of the preposition, it is invariate.

I am a new student

New student is a noun adjective phrase. In English you add the adjective before the noun.

Ana (hamza on aliph) talibun (damma tanveen) jadidun (damma tanveen)

Adjective comes after the noun. This is called a noun-adjective phrase.

She is not a new student.

The subject is “She” and the object is “a new student”.

Subject is in accusative case.

You have to conjugate laysa properly.

Laysat talibatan (fatha tanveen) jadidatan (fatha tanveen)

Fatima is not a new student

Laysat Fatimatu (damma) talibatan jadidatan

I am not a new student

Lastu (damma) taliban (fatha tanveen) jadidan (fatha tanveen)

All nouns and adjectives have case markings. Verbs don’t have case markings. The preposition itself does not have any case markings.






Perfect tense verbs are made of stems and subject markers.

The above markers on laysa have captured all of the subject markers.

There are two stems - las and lays which is a unique quality of laysa. Most verbs only have one stem.

The verb endings tu, ta, ti, a, at are the endings for all perfect tense verbs to capture first person, second person and third person masculine and feminine subject markers.

I maps to tu. Lastu

You (m) maps to ta. Lasta

You (f) maps to ti. Lasti

He maps to a (added fatha only). Laysa

She maps to at Laysat

Stem + Subject marker

How to tell which stem to use?

Look a the subject marker, either you have a vowel or consonant of the subject marker. If the first thing to be added from the subject marker is the consonant (t) then use the shorter stem. If the first thing added from the subject marker is the vowel (a) then use the longer stem.

Shorter stem is las

Longer stem is lays

Las goes with tu, ta, ti

Lays goes with a and at

Interrogative questions

A (hamza with a fatha  ): This interrogative introduces a yes or no question just like hal.

Hal hiya min al Bakistan

Is she from Pakistan?

Instead of saying hal hiya, you can say a (hamza fatha) hiya

a hiya min al Bakistan

So both of them have the same meaning.

If you wanted to use a negative, such as laysa kadhilaka, you will never use hal in front of it, you will use hamza-fatha instead.

Muhammadun Talibun

Muhammad is a student

Laysa muhammadun taliban (changes from damma to fatha tanveen)

Muhammad is not a student

Preposition or harf

Bi connects with the word after it

Laysa muhammadun bi talibin (kasra tanveen)

Bi is introduced because of laysa and it converts the talib into genitive case.

A lastu bi rabbikum

The A at the beginning is the interrogative, Am I not. The bi is the preposition used for emphasis.

Surah Teen: A lays Allahu bi ahkaam al haqeemin

Isn’t Allah .... and then the bi is the preposition or harf that we are discussing now.

Muhammad is not a new student

Laysa muhammadun taliban jadidan

Laysa muhammadun bi talibin jadidin

Both of the laysa statements are correct, one is with bi for emphasis and the first one is without the bi. Once we added bi the new student becomes a noun-adjective phrase and it is in the genitive case marking (kasra tanveen).

Al Maktab means library

Baidah means distant

Karibah means close

Jiddan means very

What will be the case markings on: Al Maktabah baidah jiddan

Al Maktabatu baidatun jiddan

Jiddan will always remain the same, it does not change. Notice it comes after what it is modifying.

The library is not far.

Laysat al maktabatu baidatan (changes from damma to fatha tanveen) jiddan (it does not change).

We need helping vowels, since the aliph in the middle are never pronounce.

Laysatil maktabatu baidatan jiddan

Read text of lesson #4 (page 130)

Fil jamiati


Marhaba Kayfal hal

Bikhairin (kasra tanveen) al hamdullillahi (damma)

Hal anti secritiriyahtu (damma single)

La lastu (first person - damma single) secritiriyahtan (fatha tanveen)

Ana ustadatun (damma tanveen)

A laysa al ustadu faridun mawjudun huna

Huwa fi al maktabati (kasra because of the fi preposition)

Hal al maktabatu baidatun ?????

La laysat baidatan jiddan

Shukran ya ustadatu (after evocative of ya, the case marking is nominative and since it is definite, it is single damma)



Drill 9 page 127

Drill 7 page 136 - 137

p-127, drill -9 and P-136-137, Dril

Exam next week

2013-09-15 Class Notes

Review of Homework #2

Arabiyan (fatha tanveen) should have aliph after the Yaa and fatha tanveen is on the aliph.

In general you should not have aliph hamza followed by aliph, this last aliph is dropped, however when you read, you read it as if the aliph is there.

Jadidatan - missed what he said about it.

Convert the following into a yes or no question

Al Jamiatun baidatun huna

Hal il Jamiatun baidatun huna

il is the helping vowel

Hal is the yes or no question prefix

This teacher is Sami, convert it into a question.

Noun Adjective Phrase

Hadha fil quranil karimi

This is in the noble Quran

Noun adjective phrase have to agree in gender, case, definiteness, and number.

How would you say, This is in a new book.

Hadha fi kitabin jadidin

Both kitab and jadid are indefinite and are marked with the genitive case marking of kasra tanveen.

This is in his book

Hadha fi kitabihi al jadidi

His book makes the book definitive.

There is no al in front of the book, but it is still definitive since it is marked with the case marking of single kasra. This single kasra tells us that the book is definitive.

Museum  - Mathaq

Famous - Mashoor

The famous museum is in Beirut

Al mathaqu al mashuru fi bayruta (the kasra becomes fatha because of ????)

This famous museum is in Beirut

Hadhal mathaqu al mashuru fi bayruta

This is a famous museum

Hadha mathaqun mashurun

Famous museum is a noun adjective phrase

2013-09-22 Class Notes

Most common mistake was to distinguish between demonstrative noun.

Hadha kitab and Hadhal kitab

This is a book versus This book

The female proper name will look different but it is still in the genitive case when it is the object of the preposition.

All city names are feminine and feminine proper names in the genitive case take a fatha instead of a kasra.

Al masjidu binaun baidun jiddan

bina is building

baid means distant

Noun adjective phrase have to agree in gender, number, case, and definiteness

Adverb comes after the noun, jiddan is the adverb which means far

The masjid is far away.

Al masjidu bina-un kabirun qadimun

Kabir means big

Qadim means old

The masjid is a big old building

In this example there were more than one adjective, you could have a list of adjectives.

Can you add jiddan to the above sentence?

This masjid is a very old and big building

The jiddan modifies the last adjective in the list.

Adverbs are invariate and as a rule they will be in the nominative case.

Demonstrative pronoun - Huwa or Hiya

Hadha and Hadhihi - This

Hadha mudarris -  This is a teacher

Hadhal mudarris -  This teacher...  (This is a phrase and it is a demonstrative phrase)

How can we say, this is the teacher?

We need to separate the demonstrative pronoun from the noun. This is known as pronoun of separation which signifies it is not demonstrative

Hadha huwa al mudarrisu - This is the teacher

Huwa is the pronoun of the separation. It has to agree with the demonstrative pronoun in gender and number.

Hadhihi hiya al mudarrisatu

Huwa al mudarrisu - He is the teacher

Al Ustad means the professor

All of the above examples below the title “Demonstrative pronoun are complete sentences, except “This teacher...” which is a phrase.

Al Ustadu Salimu

Al Ustadu Salimun min bayruta

Ustad and Salim are referring to the same noun, we are using two things to identify the same noun. In English, this is known as “apposition”. In Arabic, this is known as badal.

We are using two names for the same thing. They are two words for the same thing.

If we want to separate these two names, then we need the noun of separation.

The professor is Salim  - Al ustadu huwa Salimu

Since the nouns in apposition are referring to the same noun, you can move them around and they mean the same thing. However in noun adjective phrase you cannot move them around.

Salimun al ustadu min bayruta - Salim the professor is from Beirut

Salim is the professor from Beirut - Salimun huwa al ustadu min bayruta

This is the museum - Hadha huwa al mathab

Relative adjectives - Nisbah

A person from America is known as American, and so on for other countries. However in English we don't have consistent patterns to describe the adjectives.

In Arabic it is nice and easy adjective to create.

American professor, British writer are all adjectives. In Arabic these adjectives are known as nisbah.

Male : Lubnan plus kasra on the last letter plus shaddah on the yaa : Lubnaniya

Female : Lubnan plus kasra on the last letter plus yaa with shaddah and fatha plus ta marbootah : Lubnaniyatah

This is the Egyptian professor

Hadha huwa al ustadu al mariyatu

Noun and adjective have to agree in gender (both are masclune), case (both are damma), number (both are singular), definiteness (both have al in front of it).

This egyptian professor is from Cairo

Hadhihi al ustadatu al misriyatu min al qahirati

He is an American student

Huwa talibun amrikiyun

Usool means principle, you can make it an adjective by following the above rules of nisbah, to make it a nisbah adjective.

How to make nisbah adjectives from names of the country

Al Iraq

You drop al

iraqi plus ya with shaddah

Al Qahira has ta marbootah at the end

Drop al and drop the ta marbootah

Qahiri plus ya with shaddah

Makkah has ta marbootah at the end

Makki plus ya with shaddah

Hajj - Hajji

Al Jamiyya Al Islamiyaa

If the base word ends in a (aliph) or ya, you have to drop it to. IN the case of Amrica, you drop the last a and it becomes amriki


You have to drop the ya

Suri plus ya with shaddah (pronounced suri)

Suriya - Suri

Libya - Libi

A university textbook (In english university is both a noun and adjective)

kitabun jamiyyin

The university textbook

Al kitabu al jamiyyi

The university professor (f)

Al ustadatu al jamiyiyya

Makkah is a Saudi city

Makatu madinatun saudiyatun

Makkah is the Saudi city

Makatu hiya al madinatu al saudiyatu (we need the hiya to separate the pronouns)

Balad is not a city, it means land, as in this is my land.

Maryam is a Pakistani student

Maryamun talibatun bakistaniyyatun

Madinah is the city

al madinatu madinatun

She is the new Arab employee

Hiya al muwadatu al arabiyatu al jadidatu

Wa is used to introduce a sentence. Many times it is added in front of huwa and hiya. There is sometimes a sukun on top of ha and you pronounce it as wahwa or wahya instead of wa huwa or wa hiya. Both are correct.

Homework drills 2 and 3 on page 142 and 143, plus drills 6 and 7 on page 146

2013-09-29 Class Notes

The final exam will be now in the last lecture for the quarter which is October 13 2013.

Pronoun Suffixes with Nouns

The pronouns are different whether they are subjects, objects or possessive pronouns. My book, his book etc

In Arabic you add a prefix to a word in order to indicate to whom it belongs.

Kitab - a book

His book - implies the book is definitive.  We never say, His the book to make the book definitive. Similarly in Arabic.

So kitab will never take tanveen, neither will it take “al” in front of it.

Homework: There is one verse in the Quran which says Alayhu instead of Alayhi. Find out that verse.

His big book is here

Here is huna

Big book is nominative

Noun comes first

Kitabuhu al kabiru huna

The adjective kabir needs al in front of it, since it has to match the four attributes of a noun. Case, gender, number and definiteness

Homework: Drill #10 and #11 on pages 149 and 150

Page 138 - The Fifth Lesson

We read the lesson on page 138 and made the following observations:

Al nas al asisi - Al asisi is a nisbah - adjective

Amam should begin with hamzah

Amam is a preposition and it means “ in front of”

Al mathaf

Al wataniy - nation - nisbah adjective which means national. Again there is shaddah missing on ya. In the exam you have to put a ya.

The al in front of wataniy tells you that it is not my country. We needed the shaddah on it to signify it correctly. But the book is missing it.

Ahadha huwa al mathafi al wataniyyu al qadimu am al hadith????

The huwa is the noun of separation.

Hadha huwa al mathafu al hadith.

Al mathafu al qadimu bina un baidun min huna.

Hal anta muwadhafa huna (muwadhafa does not have ta marbuta, so that tells us it is anta and not anti)


Man al mudiru

Al Doktary brown  huwa rajulun ajanabiyyun mashur (ajanabiyyun should have hamzah on aliph)

Min ayna huwa

Huwa min amrika (should have hamzah)

Hal anta amrikiyyi

La ana franshi

Hal al mudhiru


Huwa fi maktabihi

Ayna maktabuhu

Maktabuhu huwa al maktabu al kabiru al qaribu min al babi

wa ayna (hamzah missing) maktabuka (if you are stopping maktab)

Maktabi amama maktabihi (if you are stopping maktabi)

Amam will have hamzah in the front and fatha at the end.

Lesson Six - The definite article: Generic use on Page 153

Many times in English we don't use the definite article “the”, but in Arabic we use the definite article “al”.

Which of the following definite nouns would have al in front of it

Poetry holds a central place in Arabic culture and this importance is reflected in the high esteem accorded to poets.

Poetry, Arabic culture, this importance, high esteem, poets

In ancient times the poet was among the most important members of his tribe

ancient times, poet, members

tribe will not have al in front of it, since it will be captured by the pronoun.

Lesson Six - Verbs: Perfect tense, 3 m.s. and 3 f.s. on Page 154

Perfect tense means the action has been done, completed, finished.

He read the book yesterday.

You don’t need yesterday, just “He read the book”.

Imperfect tense

He is working hard

He is going to respond

Book discusses perfect tense for a while until you master it.

Perfect tense Verbs have a stem and pronoun suffix. It does not have a prefix. Imperfect tense verbs have prefixes and suffixes.

Perfect tense verbs are stated in third person masculine singular form.

darasa - means he studied - but this is how the perfect tense verbs are stated

When you conjugate the verbs you change the suffix.  We studied laysa which was an exception since it had two forms.

The stem of this verb (he studied) is daras (no fatha on s)

When you add fatha on s (seen), you get the 3rd person masculine singular form of the verb.


When you at, fatha on seen and ta with sukun, you get the 3rd person feminine singular form of the verb.


Second person masculine singular

Add sukun to seen and ta with fatha


Second person feminine singular

Add sukun to seen and ta with kasra


First person (gender does not matter)

Add tu


These are similar to the subject markings we added to laysa

We add a, at, ta, ti, tu

All we have to do is learn more verbs.

Raja means returned

I have returned to Makkah

rajatu fi al makkahta

Darrasa means to teach (shaddah on ra)

She taught in Beirut


I taught


He taught


I entered the mosque

Hadaratu ila al masjid????

I moved from Morocco to Syria

intakaltu min al maghribi ila suria

Suria ends with ya and aliph, because of that ending it remain invariant to case markings.

2013-10-06 Class Notes

We conjugated verbs last time and now we will learn how to form verbal sentences.

He studied.


Darasa by itself is a complete sentence, the subject is captured in the verb, and if you stopped at the end of the sentence, then you drop the last vowel???

She returned.


Kataba means wrote

Katabta means I wrote, but if you stop you say katabt

I wrote

You wrote

He wrote

When you have verbal sentences, there is usually more than one noun.

Raja3t at-talibatu

The female student returned.

The subject of the verbal sentence will be in the nominative case.

Do you need a helping vowel? Yes, the helping vowel is kasra

Raja3ti talibatu

Make sure we put the verbs first

The male student returned.

Raja3 at-talib (ends with damma but if you stop but then we don't pronounce it)

Verbal sentences can also have prepositional phrases

The student returned to Saudi Arabia.

Verb - prepositional phrase - Noun adjective phrase (NAP)

Hadhara ila al-jamiati zairatun ajnabiyatun

A female foreign visitor came to the university

Hadhara ila -- means he came to

Al jamia - the university - in this sentence it is a preposition, it’s case marking is genetive which is kasra

Ajnabiya - foreigner - is the nisbah adjective

Zairatun ajnabiyatun - Noun adjective phrase - damma tells us that this is the subject of the sentence

The word order in Arabic is much more powerful and much more flexible. And the reason is because of the case markings. We can tell from the case markings whether it is a subject or object etc.

In this sentence, the verb is for a male and not female, but the NAP tells us that it is female.

If the subject is feminine singular noun and it is separated from the verb (by the prepositional phrase), you can use either a third person masculine or third person feminine conjugation of the verb. If the subject is not separated from the verb, then you have to use the proper gender conjugation for the verb.

Hadharat zairatun ajnabiyatun ila al-jamiyati

Here we have the correct conjugation of the verb hadhara which is hadharat for the female subject. The NAP is no longer separated from the verb.

Verb begins the sentence

Subject is nominative

Subject does not have to necessarily follow the verb

Karima and Muhammad returned.

How can we make the verb properly conjugated with the subject since we have pair of masculine and feminine noun.

We use the word order to conjugate the verb properly.

Raja3t karimatu wa muhammadun

Raja muhammadun wa karimatu

Female proper names cannot take tanveen (two vowels)

Hadhara - present at

Hadhara min - came from????

Hadhara ila - came to

Verbal Sentences (Page 157)

Some verbs are transitive and some are intransitive. Verbs that take an object are transitive.

I returned. This is a complete sentence, you don't need an object for the verb. This is an intransitive verb.

I read. What did you read? It is impossible to say I read without meaning that you read something. Read is a transitive verb.

Object of the verb is in the accusative case which means fatha (single or double). Double fatha for the indefinite noun and single fatha for the definite noun.

VSO - VO Word Order

One common word order in Arabic is VSO, verb followed by subject followed by object. But as we know the verb can conjugate the subject, you can have verb followed by the object.

I studied the lesson

Darastu ad-dars

Verb - Object only in the arabic, no subject since the verb captures it.

We can also have a Verb-Object-Subject word ordering in a verbal sentence.

Page 158

Darasat widadu al-lughata al 3rabiyata

Widad studied the arabic language.

al-lughatal 3rabiya is a NAP

She studied a foreign language

Darasat lughatan ajnabiyatan

In this sentence we changed the NAP from definite to indefinite and the case markings changed from fatha to fatha tanveen.

He studied Arabic in Riyadh.

Darasa al-lughata al 3rabiyata fi ar-riyadh

Kasra for Riyadh since there is al in front of Riyadh, otherwise since city names cannot take tanveen kasra, they end with a single fatha, such as bayruta, lubnana, baghdada etc.

Darasa huwa  - incase you want to emphasize the subject of the sentence.

“In Riyadh” is an adverbial clause.

After a year

B3da sanatin

Adverbials of time will be in accusative case.

After a year, he studied Arabic in Riyadh.

Homework Page 159 Drill 3 in order to prepare for your exam.

The Idhafah Constructions Page 159

Rasul Allah

Both are nouns, next to each other. This is an idhafah. We translate the sentence as “The Messenger of Allah” or “Allah’s Messenger”.

This relation between two nouns is that of possession.

Idhafah is made of two nouns. Much later we will study idafa constructions with adjectives.

The first term is called Al Mudhaf and the second term is called Al Mudhafilay

In this text book, they refer to the two terms as possessor (second term) and the possessed (first term).

Maktab al-Mudhir

The director’s office

The office of the director

This piece of paper is from the director’s office

Hadhihi waraqatu min maktab al mudhir

The case marking is always on the mudhaf which is the first term, the mudhafilay is always in the genitive case marking.

The mudhaf can never take tanveen.

The mudhafilay could take tanveen.

The mudhaf will never take al, which is the definitive prefix.

The idhafah can be definite or indefinite. If the mudhafilay is definitive, then the mudhaf is definite and if the mudhafilay is indefinite then the mudhaf is indefinite.

A student’s pen

A pen of the student

Are two examples of indefinite constructs. So we can have indefinite idhafah constructs.

A director’s office

Maktab mudhir

If the first term has an “al” in front of it, then it is a NAP.

If the first term does not have “al” in front of it, then it is an idhafah construct.

Have you (f) studied the book of the professor?

Hal darasti kitaba al ustadhi

Hal makes it interrogative

You is the subject in this case a female

Studied should be conjugated for a second person feminine - Darasti

Kitaba is the object of the verbal sentence, there is no al in front of it and the case marking is accusative which is fatha singular

Ustad is the mudhafilay and it’s case marking is genetive.

Have you (f) taught the book of the professor?

Hal darrasti kitaba al ustadhi

Darrasti - means taught. The ra has a shaddah on it.

The museum of the university is famous.

Mathatu al jamiyati mashoorun

The Museum - Al Matha

The University - Al Jami3

Famous - Mashoor

Matha will not take al because of idhafa

Jamiatun will have al and it will take damma tanveen.

Mashoor will also be in the nominative case marking which is damma tanveen since it is indefinite

Exam will be all of the topics until the end of Lesson Six (page 164)