Earlier, in Signs of the اسم, we learned that if we see one of the حروف الجرّ (particles of jarr) before a word, we know that word’s an ism. Some people like to translate حروف الجَرّ as “prepositions”, but I don’t because not every preposition is a particle of jarr and not every particle of jarr is a preposition. A particle of jarr is simply a word that:
- adds a meaning to other words (as we learned in Verbs and Particles)
- causes jarr in the word after it
From the Ajurroomiyyah:
وَهِيَ مِنْ وَإلى وَعَنْ وَعَلَى وَ فِيْ وَرُبَّ وَالْباءُ وَالْكَافُ وَالَّلامُ وَحُرُوْفُ الْقَسْمِ, وَهِيَ الْواوُ وَالْباءُ وَالتَّاءُ
And they (the particles of jarr) are مِنْ (min), إلى (ilaa), عَنْ (‘an), عَلى (‘alaa), فِيْ (fee), رُبَّ (rubba), the letter ب, the letter ك, the letter ل, and the particles of taking oath, and they are the letter و, the letter ب, and the letter ت.
Below are particles of jarr, along with some of their meanings. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it should give you a good idea.
- Starting or beginning, such as in سافَرتُ مِنَ القاهِرَةِ (I traveled from Cairo).
- Ending, such as in سافَرتُ إلى الإسكَندَرِيَّةِ (I traveled to Alexandria).
- Going past/beyond something, such as in رَمَيتُ السَهمَ عَنِ القَوسِ (I shot the arrow past the bow).
- Rising or going up, such as in صَعِدتُ عَلى الجَبَلِ (I climbed up the mountain).
- Frame of time or place, such as in الماءُ فِي الكُوزِ (Water is in the jug)
- Reducing or lessening, such as in رُبَّ رَجُلٍ كَريمٍ قابَلَنِي (But few a generous man has met me)
- Used to give an object to a verb that normally doesn’t take an object, such as in مَرَرتُ بِالوادِي (I passed by the river bed)
- Verbs that don’t take an object are called “intransitive” (they don’t transition over to an object), and we have that in English too. Running, thinking, smiling are all intransitive (don’t actually need something to do them to). Hitting and eating are transitive because you need something to do them to.
- The verb مَرَّ (to pass on) is intransitive. By using the particle ب, we can make it transitive.
- Resemblance, such as in لَيلَى كَالبَدرِ (Layla is like the full moon)
- Ownership, as in المالُ لِمُحَمَّدٍ (The wealth belongs to Muhammad)
- Specification, as in البابُ لِلدارِ (The door is for the house) as الحَصِيرُ لِلمَسجِدِ (The mat is specifically for the masjid).
- Deservingness, as in الحَمدُ لِلّهِ (Allah deserves the praise)
In addition to this are 3 particles that are used to make oaths:
- وَ – It only comes with explicit اسم’s and not hidden ones (i.e. pronouns), such as in
- وَاللهِ (By Allah…)
- وَالطُورِ وَكِتابٍ مَسطُورٍ (By the mount and an inscribed book)
- وَالتِينِ وَالزَيتُونِ وَطُورِ سِينِينَ (By the fig, olive and Mount Sinai)
- بِ – Not restricted to one or the other, rather it can precede
- an apparent ism, such as in بِاللهِ لَأجتَهِدَنَّ (By Allah, I will certainly strive)
- a pronoun, such as بِكَ لَأضرِبَنَّ الكُسُولَ (By You, I will certainly hit the lazy one)
- تَ – It only precedes the name الله, such as in تَاللهِ لَأكِيدَنَّ أصنامَكُم
If you look at a page of any Arabic work, you’ll find plenty of حروف الجرّ. They are everywhere in the language, so that’s why it’s important to be familiar with them and their meanings. Here’s how they appear on a page from the Quran (Surah 6:138-142):
We’ve covered indicators that show that a word is an ism. Next come indicators that show that a word is a فعل.
- What meaning do the following particles give?
- What kinds of ism‘s does the و of oaths come with?
- What kinds of ism‘s does the ت of oaths come with?
- Give two different examples oaths using ب.
- Find examples of حُروف الجَرّ in a page from the Quran