The Arabic language sub-science known as صرف – referring roughly to what we know as Morphology as well as Etymology – is a subject through which one learns the internal assembly of a word by way of patterns of vowelization and introduction of extra letters—or what we call a template.
Morphology differs from Lexicology in the sense that the latter gives the root meaning associated with a set of base letters, whereas the former gives all other meanings and connotations achieved by the template.
We have the basics covered here for you. Arabic verb morphology has rules that it abides by and if recognised, everything will fall into place.
Let’s first define Arabic morphology which is referred to as صرف /sarf/ or تصريف /tasreef/ (the verb version of it). In Arabic morphology, some internal changes of a word take place and this is due to many reasons. Whatever led to that, there is a certain pattern that is followed by the Arabic language. For example, the morphological process of voweling Arabic words. Sometimes it is simply the addition of other Arabic letters to the “original” word. With /sarf/, we can recognize not only denotative meanings but connotative ones as well.
Having said that, this book looks into three main sub-topics that deal with verb morphology: conjugation processes, verb paradigms and related connotations, and rules of irregularity.
There are four sections for simple conjugation and that includes the perfect tense, imperfect tense, command and prohibition, and derived nouns.
Primer on Arabic Etymology by Mufti Sa'id Ahmad Palanpuri (Lecturer Darul Uloom Deoband) Primer on Arabic Etymology by Mufti Sa'id Ahmad Palanpuri (Lecturer Darul Uloom Deoband)
Shaykh al-Ḥadīth Mufti Saʿīd Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf ibn ʿAlī Pālanpūrī was born in the Palanpur region, situated in North Gujarat, India in approximately 1359/1940. It was here that he acquired his primary (Maktab) education.
Subsequently, he enrolled at Darul Uloom Chhapi where he studied Persian by his maternal uncle Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Raḥmān Shīrā and other teachers. After six months, his uncle left the institute, so he also left with him and continued his Persian studies with him in his uncle’s village.
Thereafter, Mufti Ṣāḥib enrolled at a seminary in Palanpur city which was being managed by the great reformer Mawlānā Nadhīr Miyā Ṣāḥib. Here, Mufti Ṣāḥib studied the first four years of the ʿAlim programme until Sharḥ Jāmī. His teachers included Mufti Muḥammad Akbar Miyā Pālanpūrī and Mawlānā Hāshim Bukhārī, who was a graduate of Darul Uloom Deoband originally from Bukhārā, who is buried in the Baqīʿ cemetery in the blessed city of Madīnah.
In 1377 (1958), Mufti Ṣāḥib travelled to Mazahirul Uloom, Saharanpur in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and studied various disciplines here for the next three years. His teachers here included: Mufti Yaḥyā Ṣāḥib (d. 1417/1996), Mawlānā ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Rāipūrī and the master of inheritance, Mawlānā Waqār Ṣāḥib.
Thereafter, in 1380 (1961), Mufti Ṣāḥib enrolled in Darul Uloom Deoband to complete his studies and successfully graduated in 1382 (1963). Mufti Ṣāḥib was extremely intelligent and hardworking, and as a result attained 1st position in his class. Some of his notable teachers during these two years and the books he studied with them are as follows:
In 1382 (1963), Mufti Ṣāḥib enrolled on the Iftāʾ programme under the tutelage of Mufti Sayyid Mahdī Ḥasan Ṣāḥib. Given his abilities, his study period was extended for another year, and he was appointed in the final six months of the second year as Assistant Mufti, which was something unique at the time.
During this period, he also began to memorise the Quran. Mufti Ṣāḥib mentions that Mawlānā Fakhr al-Dīn Murādābādī Ṣāḥib would spend a lot of time on teaching the book of Tafsīr of Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and it was then he realised that memorising the Quran is essential to fully understand the Quran.
After successfully graduating as a Mufti with invaluable practice, Mufti Ṣāḥib was appointed as a teacher in the famous seminary of Gujarat, Darul Uloom Ashrafia, Rander. Mufti Ṣāḥib taught here for nine years between 1384 (1965) and 1393 (1973) and his appointment from the outset was to teach the upper classes. Thus, during his time here, he taught the translation of the Quran, the four Sunan ḥadīth books, Jalālayn, Mishkāt al-Maṣābīḥ, the final half of Hidāyah and many other books. During this time, he also began to author some works including his famous book ‘Ḥurmat Muṣāharat’.
In 1393 (1973), Mufti Ṣāḥib was appointed to teach in Darul Uloom Deoband, which he successfully did for 48 years until his demise. Thousands of students from across the world benefited from him. I met some of his students in Uzbekistan. His students attest that from the very beginning, Mufti Ṣāḥib’s lessons were very popular. Along with his profound knowledge, wit and method of deduction, his ability to simplify difficult concepts and instil them within the minds of the students was second to none. This is also evident from his publications.
As mentioned above, Mufti Ṣāḥib was tasked from very early on to teach the upper classes. Throughout his 48 years at Deoband, Mufti Ṣāḥib taught many books. They include: the 6 famous ḥadīth collections, Muwaṭṭāʾ Mālik, Muwaṭṭāʾ Muḥammad, Mishkāt, Sharḥ Maʿānī al-Āthār, Hidāyah, Sullam al-ʿUlūm, Hadyah Saʿīdiyyah, Mullā Ḥasan, Jalālayn, al-Fawz al-Kabīr, Musallam al-Thubūt, Sharḥ al-Āqāid, Dīwān Mutanabbī, Meybdhī, Tafsīr Bayḍāwī, Nukhbat al-Fikr, Ḥusāmī, Mullā Ḥasan, al-Sabʿ al-Muʿallaqāt, Sirājī, Tafsīr Maẓharī, Muqaddimah Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ and Ḥujjat Allah al-Bāligah.
In 1429 (2008), Mufti Ṣāḥib was appointed as the Shaykh al-Ḥadīth, a role Mufti Ṣāḥib continued to fulfil until his demise. Although the Darul Iftāʾ would consult him on important matters, Mufti Ṣāḥib generally stayed away from Iftāʾ matters and focused on his teaching and publications. There were some brief periods when he was tasked to supervise and manage the Darul Iftāʾ based on need.
Mufti Ṣāḥib has thousands of students across the world. Some of his notable students include:
Along with the thousands of students who studied under him, Mufti Ṣāḥib’s legacy lies in his publications. Mufti Ṣāḥib was a prolific writer in the Urdu language. He authored more than 40 books of various sizes. They include:
The wide range of books authored by Mufti Ṣāḥib demonstrate his profound knowledge, intellectual acumen and grasp of the Islamic sciences as well as related sciences such as Grammar and Manṭiq (logic). The first four books mentioned above are probably the most famous books authored by Mufti Ṣāḥib. Today, in India, his commentaries on Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī and Sunan al-Tirmidhī are the most commonly used form all the Urdu commentaries. All his books share a similar feature in that they are easy to read and difficult concepts are simplified for the reader. May Allah Almighty make all these works Ṣadaqah Jāriyah for him and accept all his efforts.
Al Bushra Welfare & Educational Trust is a non-profitable, multilingual Islamic Publishing House. Their publications include the Holy Quran and its translations, books related to Dars-e-Nizami, and myriad Islamic works. Their publications are not merely confined to English and Urdu, in fact, they have published books written in Arabic, Spanish, German, French etc. All these works highlight different aspects of sacred learning and have been penned by genuine and enlightened Muslim scholars.
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