السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته,
The third and fourth of the 15 types of nouns in نَصْب, are the ظَرْفُ الزَّمانِ (frame of time) and ظَرْفُ الْمَكانِ (frame of space). The word ظَرْف means “container” or “envelope” and in grammar it’s known as the مَفْعُوْل فِيْهِ (when/where an action was done). There are two kinds of frames, one of time and one of space:
ظَرْفُ الزَّمانِ (The frame of time)
ظَرْفُ الزَّمانِ هُوَ: اسْمُ الزَّمانِ المَنْصُوْبُ بِتَقْدِيْرِ “فِيْ” نَحْوُ الْيَوْمَ، وَالَّليْلَةَ، وَغُدْوَةً، وَبُكْرَةً، وَسَحَراً، وَغَداً، وَعَتَمَةً، وَصَبَاحاً، وَمَسَاءً، وَأبَدًا، وَأَمَداً، وَحِيْناً، وَما أشْبَهَ ذَلِكَ
The frame of time: It is a noun of time that is in nasb with the implied meaning of فِيْ (“in”), like الْيَوْمَ (day), الَّليْلَةَ (tonight/nighttime), غُدْوَةً (early in the morning), بُكْرَةً (early in the day), سَحَراً (late night), غَداً (tomorrow), عَتَمَةً (early night), صَبَاحاً (morning), مَسَاءً (afternoon/evening), أبَدًا (infinite future), أَمَداً (future), حِيْناً (time/anytime) and whatever resembles that.
The “frame of time” is a nasb-ized noun that indicates time using a word that denotes the time period that an event happened in, noting the meaning of فِيْ (“in”) that indicates “in-ness”.
In صُمْتُ يَوْمَ الاثْنَيْنِ (“I fasted Monday”), يَوْمَ الاثْنَيْنِ (“the day of Monday”) is added to note that the action happened on that day or in that time (i.e. your fasting happened on Monday).
On the flip side, if you say يَخافُ الْكَسُوْلُ يَؤمَ الامْتَحانِ (“The lazy one fears the day of examination”), يَومَ الامْتِحانَ (“the day of examination”) is added, to say that the day itself is what is being feared, not when the fear happens.
A time period can be either:
- restricted (specific and bounded) like شَهْر (month), سَنَة (year), يَوْم (day), عام (year) or أُسبُوْع (week)
- vague (non-specific or unbounded), like لَحْظَة (instant), وَقْت (time period), زمان (time) or حِيْن (moment)
Both of these can be nasb-ized to give a frame of time.
Here we’ve mentioned 12 words that can be used for time periods. Below are their meanings:
- الْيَوْمَ (day) – from Fajr (dawn) till Maghrib (sunset)
- الَّليْلَةَ (tonight/nighttime) – from sunset till dawn
- غُدْوَةً (early in the morning) – between dawn and sunrise
- بُكْرَةً (early in the day) – after dawn or sunrise
- سَحَراً (late night) – last part of the night before dawn
- غَداً (tomorrow) – tomorrow
- عَتَمَةً (early night) – first third of the night
- صَبَاحاً (morning) – from midnight to noon
- مَسَاءً (afternoon/evening) – from noon to midnight
- أبَدًا (infinite future) – into the endless future
- أَمَداً (future) – into the endless future
- حِيْناً (time/anytime) – a vague period, neither its beginning or ending is defined
Any other word that indicates a period of time can fall in this group as well, like ضُحى (after sunrise when the ground starts to heat up), ساعَة (moment/hour), and بُرْهَة (a brief moment).
ظَرْف الْمَكانِ (The frame of space)
وَظَرْفُ الْمَكانِ هُوَ: اسْمُ الْمَكانِ المَنْصُوْبُ بِتَقْدِيْرِ “في” نَحْوُ: أمامَ، وَخَلْفَ، وَقُدَّامَ، وَوَرَاءَ، وَفَوْقَ، وَتَحْتَ، وَعِنْدَ، وَإزَاءَ، وَحِذاءَ، وَتِلْقاءَ، وَثَمَّ، وَهُنا، وَما أشْبَهَ ذَلِكَ
The frame of space: It is a noun of time that is in nasb with the implied meaning of فِيْ (“in”), like أمامَ (“in front/before”), خَلْفَ (“behind”), قُدَّامَ (“in front”), وَرَاءَ (“behind”), فَوْقَ (“above/on top of”), تَحْتَ (“below/underneath”), عِنْدَ (“at/with/by”), إزَاءَ (“opposite to”), حِذاءَ (“near/close to”), تِلْقاءَ (“opposite to”), ثَمَّ (“there”), هُنا (“here”) and whatever resembles that
The “frame of space” is like the frame of time, except that it denotes where an event happened in.
Like the frame of time, the frame of space can also be restricted (defined and bounded), like الْمَسْجِد (“the mosque”) or الدّار (“the home”), or it can be vague (undefined or unbounded area), like وَراء (“behind”) or أمامَ (“in front”). For the frame of space, only the vague can be nasb-ized.
The restricted frame of time will be in jarr and will have one of the حُرُوْفُ الجَرّ (The particles of jarr) before it that gives the desired meaning, like اعْتَكَفْتُ فِيْ المَسْجِدِ (“I stayed in the mosque”) and زُرْتُ عَلِيًّا فِي دارِهِ (“I visited Ali at his home”). As in the previous paragraph, the vague frame of time can come in nasb, but it can also come with a particle of jarr before it, like مِنْ خَلْفِهِمْ (“from behind them”) or مِنْ فَوْقِهِمْ (“from above them”) and so on.
Here are 13 words that can be used to denote space, with examples:
- أمامَ (“in front/before”) – جَلَسْتُ أمامَ الأُسْتَاذِ مُؤَدَّبًا (“I sat in front of the teacher politely”)
- خَلْفَ (“behind”) – سارَ الْمُشاةُ خَلْفَ الرُّكبانِ (“The infantry traveled behind the cavalry”)
- قُدَّامَ (“in front”) – مَشى الشُّرْطِيُّ قُدّامَ الأمِيْرِ (“The cop walked in front of the prince”)
- وَرَاءَ (“behind”) – وَقَفَ الْمُصَلُّوْنَ بَعْضُهُمْ وَراءَ بَعْضٍ (“The worshippers stood, some behind others”)
- فَوْقَ (“above/on top of”) – جَلَسْتُ فَوْقَ الْكُرْسِّ (“I sat on the chair”)
- تَحْتَ (“below/underneath”) – وَقَفَ الْقِطُّ تَحْتَ الْمائدَةِ (“The cat stood under the table”)
- عِنْدَ (“at/with/by”) – لِمُحَمَّدٍ مَنْزِلَةٌ عِنْدَ الْأُسْتاذِ (“Muhammad has a position with the teacher”)
- مَعَ (“with”) – سارَ سُلِيْمانُ مَعَ أخِيْهِ (“Sulayman traveled with his brother”)
- إزَاءَ (“opposite to”) – لَنا دارٌ إزاءَ النِّيْلِ (“We have a home opposite the Nile”)
- حِذاءَ (“near/close to”) – جَلَسَ أخِيْ حِذاءَ أخِيْكَ (“My brother sat close to your brother”)
- تِلْقاءَ (“opposite to”) – جَلَسَ أخِيْ تِلْقاءَ دارِ أخِيْكَ (“My brother sat opposite your brother’s home”)
- ثَمَّ (“there”) – وَأزْلَفْنا ثَمَّ الآخَرِيْنَ (“And we drew forward the others there”) [Quran 26:64]
- هُنا (“here”) – جَلَسَ مُحَمَّدٌ هُنا لَحْظَةً (“Muhammad sat here for a moment”)
Note: A frame of time or space does not necessarily have to be associated with a verb for it to be in nasb. Basically any kind of word that represents time or space with the meaning of “in” will be in nasb, and if you want an example, look at what we gave for إزاء. There’s no verb in there, but simply mentioning where someone’s home is. The example we gave for عِندَ also does not have a verb in it.
From the Quran
- لَبِثْتُ يَوْمًا أَوْ بَعْضَ يَوْمٍ (“I stayed for a day, or part of a day”) – 2:259
- دَعَوْتُ قَوْمِي لَيْلًا وَنَهَارًا (“I invited my people night and day“) – 71:5
- إِنِّي تُبْتُ الْآنَ (“Indeed I repent now“) – 4:18
- وَكَانَ وَرَاءَهُم مَّلِكٌ يَأْخُذُ كُلَّ سَفِينَةٍ غَصْبًا (“And there was after them a king who seized every boat by force”) – 18:79
- فَبَدَأَ بِأَوْعِيَتِهِمْ قَبْلَ وِعَاءِ أَخِيهِ (“So he began with their bags before the bag of his brother”) – 12:76
- يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ (“He knows that which is before them (literally “between their hands”) and and that which is behind them“) – 2:255
- What is meant by the word ظَرْف, and how many kinds are there?
- What is the “frame of time”, and how many kinds are there?
- Can the frame of time always be in nasb?
- What is the “frame of space”, and how many kinds are there?
- Can the frame of space always be in nasb?
Until next time, السلام عليكم
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Umar Saeed says
Hello, thank you so much for this.
I am looking for some details on arabic rule that makes a verbal noun into place. For example sharab means drinking and mashrabu means drinking place in Quran ayat 2:60. The addition of meem with fathah does this.
Can you please help ?
Thank you for your help. God bless you.