One of the words I’ve always wondered about is the word نِعْمَة. The word and other words that come from the same root (ن-ع-م) occur in the Quran more than 100 times. It’s frequently translated as “favor”, “bounty”, or “grace”. I’ve even heard it as “blessing”. That gives the jist of it but I’d like to go more into the meanings using what’s found in the older dictionaries.
نِعْمَة and نَعْمَة
The word نِعْمَةٌ is a “situation in which someone is in a good state”. It’s built using the same pattern that is used for single situations. For example, جِلْسَةٌ is used for a single situation of جَلَسَ (“he sat”) when someone sat or رِكْبَةٌ (a single situation when someone was riding). So now you know that words that rhyme with فِعْلَة (with a kasrah on the first letter) can be used to mark a single time that someone was in a certain condition.
The word نَعْمَةٌ (with a fathah on the ن) is used for a single occasion that somebody enjoyed what’s nice and had comfort in life. It refers to the actual enjoyment itself. Words that rhyme with فَعْلَة (with a fathah on the first letter) give the meaning that somebody did something once or a single time. For example, ضَرْبَةٌ means a single strike that somebody did (from ضَرَبَ – “he struck”). شَتْمَةٌ means when somebody gloated once (from شَتَمَ – “he gloated”)
نِعْمَةُ can be used for all kinds of good states, whether few or large in number. Some places in the Quran:
- وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا (“And if you should count the نِعمة of Allah , you could not enumerate it.”) [16:18]
- اذْكُرُوا نِعْمَتِيَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ (“Remember My نِعْمَة that I made you get”) [2:40]
- وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي (“and I completed My نِعْمَة upon you”) [5:3]
- فَانقَلَبُوا بِنِعْمَةٍ مِّنَ اللَّهِ (“So they returned with a نِعْمة from Allah”) [3:174]
Notice that when the word نِعْمَة is attributed to Allah, it refers to something that only He can give (faith, life, hearing, sight, etc.).
The verbs أَنْعَمَ and نَعَّمَ
ًWhen used with the word عَلَى, the verb أنْعَمَ means to make something good happen for someone, to do a favor for them. You only use it if you’re making it happen for an intelligent, talking being (i.e. humans, jinns, angels).
أَنْعَمَ فُلانٌ عَلَى فَرسِهِ (“Someone did a favor for his horse”) makes no sense because a horse is not a talking being.
- أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ (“You did good for them”) [1:7]
- وَإِذْ تَقُولُ لِلَّذِي أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَأَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِ (“And when you said to the one that Allah did a favor for and that you did a favor for”) [33:37] – Allah’s favor on Zayd رضي الله عنه was Islam and the Prophet صلى عليه و سلم did a favor for him by setting him free.
Now, if you use َأَنْعَم without عَلَى [Read more…] about A closer look at نِعْمَة