In this section we have provided an introduction to the Fundamentals of Arabic. We have achieved this with the aid of flow diagrams and where possible explanation of the commonly used grammatical terms. In addition we have also provided some basic Arabic Grammar documentation, which may be viewed in pdf format.



Arabic Alphabet
Arabic and its Sciences
Mapping the Arabic Language

Arabic Alphabet

The Arabic alphabet is the principal script used for writing the Arabic language. It is the alphabet of the language of the Quran, composed of 28 basic letters and is written from right to left.

The alphabet's influence spread with that of Islam and it has been, and still is, used to write other languages without any linguistic roots in Arabic, such as Persian and Urdu.

back to top

Arabic and its Sciences

» Introduction
» Nahw (Syntax)
» Sarf (Morphology)
» Balagah (Arabic Rhetoric)

The sciences of Arabic are in access of ten in number. However the sciences that are the most important for the understanding of the Quran and Sunnah are three:

» Nahw (Syntax)
The study of Arabic has two main branches; 'Nahw' and 'Sarf'. Nahw, is generally translated as syntax. This branch deals with sentence structure and case endings. The science encompasses the rules of correct pronunciation or, to be more exact, the pronunciation of segments which could bring unacceptable changes in the meaning.


The example below translates as; Smith wrote the book.

( kataba Smithu al-Kitaabaكتبَ سميثُ الكتاب

The second example below translates as; The book wrote Smith.

( kataba Smitha al-Kitaabu)     كتبَ سميثَ الكتابُ

The difference in meaning between the two examples above, has been brought about by the change in the case ending of the words سميث and الكتاب, from nominative (u) to accusative (a).

» Sarf (Morphology)
Sarf is translated as morphology—the study of the structure and formation of words. Most Arabic words are formed from three base letters. These three letters join together to establish a meaning. The manipulation of the three letter root, gives rise to new words and meanings that could not otherwise be achieved.


Three letter root 'to write' is composed of : ك ت ب  (read from left to right)
The verb 'He wrote' (to write) is: كتب

By placing the three base letters on designated patterns, we can achieve the following:

1. Gender and person specific verb conjugation:

You (male, single) wrote (katabta); كتبْتَ
They (female, plural) wrote (katabna); كتبْنَ

In total 13 different verb conjugations can be derived for the perfective form, which represents a completed action ماضي (often in the past), and an imperfective form مضارع , which represents an unfinished, on-going or habitual action.

2. Nouns

The writer (kaatib); كاتب
Book (kitaab); كتاب
Desk (maktab); مكتب

» Balaghah (Arabic Rhetoric)
It is a science dealing with the eloquence of the Arabic language and how to convey proper meanings according to the situation. Balaghah also deals with the meanings of words and they take shape in their different usage.

Balaghah is essential in fully understanding the quran.

back to top


Mapping the Arabic Language


The word لفظ denotes the pronunciation of all words from the mouth. These words can either be meaningful مَوْضُوع. having established meanings such as Quran, Mohammed, Ka'bah. or meaningless مُهْمَل, with no established meaning in the Language.

If an articulation is composed of a single meaningful word, it is referred to as مُفْرَد. An example would be an office مكتب or a bed سرير. Compound letters are referred to as مَركب. These are phrases composed of two or more words, e.g. رسُولُ الله

The diagram above shows a further breakdown of the Compound articulation. Two or more words that may be grouped together to form a meaningful and complete sentence are described as مُفِيد, while those combinations that do not provide a complete and beneficial sentence, are called غَيْرُ مُفِيد

All single words in the Arabic Language can be classified into one of the categories above. The attached pdf Parts of Speech  اقسام الكلام provides further explanation on:

• Parts of Speech; Noun, Verb and Particle
• Sentence Structure; Nominal Sentence and Verbal Sentence
• Vowelled letters (at-Tashkeel)

back to top


2005 studyArabic. All rights reserved.           about us    disclaimer    contact us