The 9th of the 15 types of nouns in نَصْب, is the مُنادى (vocative). In the language, a مُنادى (munaada) is someone you want to approach you in the general sense. In grammar, it’s when you want someone to come nearer and you use يا or one of its siblings to call them. Other members of the يا family are
- the letter أَ in أزَيْدُ أقْبِلْ (“O Zayd, come closer”)
- أَيْ as in أَيْ إبْراهِيْمُ تَفَهَّمْ (“O Ibrahim, try to understand!”)
- أيا as in أيا عَبْدَ اللهِ تَعَالَ (“O Abdallah, come!”)
- هَيا as in هَيا مُحَمَّدُ تَعالَ (“O Muhammad, come!”)
- Sometimes you’ll see يَاأيُّهَا (for a masculine) or يَاأَيَّتُهَا (for feminine) followed by a word that starts with ال, which you’ll see in the Quranic examples
The 5 Kinds of مُنَادى
المُنادى خَمْسَةُ أنْوَاعٍ: المُفْرَدُ العَلَمُ، وَالنَّكِرَةُ الْمَقصُوْدَةُ، وَالنَّكِرَةُ غَيْرُ الْمَقْصُوْدَةِ، وَالْمُضافُ، وَالشَّبِيْهُ بِالْمُضافِ
The vocative is 5 kinds, the مُفْرَدُ عَلَم (single word that is a proper name), the intended indefinite noun, the unintended indefinite noun, the mudhaaf, and الشَبِيْهُ بِالْمُضاف (what resembles a mudhaaf).
So, the vocative can be one of 5 things ( We already talked about what the مُفْرَد and the شَبِيْه بِالْمُضاف are when we did the noun negated by لا, so they should be familiar):
- The مُفْرَد عَلَم – The single word that is a proper name. This single word can be male/female and singular/dual/plural. Some examples:
- يا مُحَمَّدُ (Calling a male named Muhammad)
- يَا فاطِمَةُ (Calling a female named Fatimah)
- يا مُحَمَّدانِ (Calling two Muhammads)
- يا فاطِمَتانِ (Calling two Fatimahs)
- يا مُحَمَّدُوْنَ (Calling a group of Muhammads)
- يا فاطِماتُ (Calling a group of Fatimahs)
- النَّكِرَةُ المَقْصُوْدَةُ (the intended indefinite noun) – The caller is intending a specific entity from the species/group that the label can apply to, as in يا ظالِمُ (“O oppressor!”) and you’re intending a specific oppressor. This can also be dual or plural, as in يا مُسْلِمانِ (“O two Muslims!) and يا مُسْلِمُوْنَ (“O Muslims!”)
- النَّكِرَةُ غَيْرُ الْمَقْصُوْدَةِ (the unintended indefinite noun) – The caller is intending some of the called group, but not any specific one. A warner might say يا غافِلاً تَنّبَّهْ (“O any heedless person, take notice!”). He doesn’t intend any specific heedless person(s), but wants any heedless person to pay attention. This can also be dual or plural, as in يا مُسْلِمَيْنِ (“O [any] two Muslims!) and يا مُسْلِمِيْنَ (“O [any] Muslims!”). The difference between this and the previous is that you’re not intending any specific person
- The mudhaaf, as in يا طَالِبَ الْعِلْمِ اجْتَهِدْ (“O student of knowledge, strive hard!”)
- الشَّبِيْهُ بِالْمُضافِ (Something that resembles a mudhaaf) – Something (which could be in raf’, nasb or jarr) connects after it to complete its meaning as in:
- يا حَمِيْداً فِعْلُهُ (“O one whose action is praiseworthy!”) – فِعْلُهُ is in raf’ because it’s the doer of حَمِيْد
- يا حافِظاً دَرْسَهُ (“O memorizer of his lesson!”) – دَرْسَه is in nasb because it’s the object of memorization
- يا مُحِبّاً لِلْخَيْرِ (“O lover of the good!”) – الخَيْرِ is in jarr because of the particle of jarr لِ before it
فَأمّا المُفْرَدُ الْعُلَمُ وَالنَّكِرَةُ الْمَقْصُوْدَةُ فَيُبْنَيانِ عَلى الضَّمِّ مِنْ غَيْرِ تَنْوِيْنٍ، نَحْوُ “يا زَيْدُ” وَيا رَجُلُ وَالثَّلاثَةُ الباقِيَةُ مَنْصُوْبَةٌ لا غَيْرُ
As for the single word that is a proper name and the intended indefinite noun, then they are built on dhammah without a tanwin, like يا زَيْدُ (“O Zayd”) and يا رَجُلُ (“O man”). The remaining three are in nasb and nothing else.
If who/what you’re calling is a single word that is a proper name or an intended indefinite noun, then you’ll build it on whatever’s used to give it raf’. This could be dhammah or some other indicator of raf’, as in:
- Dhammah (used for singular nouns and sound feminine plural), and it will not have tanwin
- يا مُحَمَّدُ (“O Muhammad!”)
- يا فاطِمَةُ (“O Fatimah!”)
- يا رَجُلُ (“O man!”) -> intended indefinite noun
- يا فاطِاتُ (O Fatimahs!”) -> sound feminine plural
- The letter ا is used for dual nouns, as in يا مُحَمَّدانِ (“O two Muhammads!”) and يا فاطِمَتانِ (“O two Fatimahs!”)
- The letter و is used for sound masculine plurals, as in يا مُحَمَّدُوْنَ (“O Muhammads!”)
If you’re calling one of the other three (an unintended indefinite noun, a mudhaaf or something that resembles a mudhaaf), then it’s in nasb using fathah or one of its substitutes, as in:
- يا جاهِلاً تَعَلَّمْ (“O [any] ignorant one, learn!”) – addressed to any ignorant one who hears it
- يا راغِبَ الْمَجْدِ اعْمَلْ لَهُ (“O desirer of glory, work for it!”) – راغِب is mudhaaf to المَجْدِ
- يا حَرِيْصاً عَلى الخَيْرِ اسْتَقِمْ (“O one bent on goodness, be firm!”) – حَرِيْصاً resembles a mudhaaf
From the Quran
- يَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ أَعْرِضْ عَنْ هَذَا (“O Ibrahim, give this up”) [11:76] – A proper name in raf’
- يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ لِمَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ (“O People of the Book, Why do you disbelieve in the signs of Allah?”) [3:70] – A mudhaaf in nasb
- يا أَبَتِ افْعَلْ مَا تُؤْمَرُ (“O my father, do what you are ordered”) [37:102] – The pronoun ي (for “me”) in أباتِيْ was dropped. You’ll see this sometimes if the مُنادى has this ي at the end
- Sometimes you don’t see يا as in
- يُوسُفُ أَعْرِضْ عَنْ هَٰذَا (“Yusuf, ignore this”) [12:29]
- Prayers that start with رَبَّنا like رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً (“Our lord, give us good in this world”) [2:201] – The word رَبَّ is mudhaaf, so that’s why it’s in nasb when we call it
- Sometimes you’ll see neither the يا or the ي as in: رَبِّ إِنِّي دَعَوْتُ قَوْمِي لَيْلًا وَنَهَارًا (“My Lord, indeed I invited my people night and day”) [71:5]
- يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اعْبُدُوا رَبَّكُمُ (“O mankind, worship your Lord”) [2:21] – Example of ياأيُّها
- يا أيُّها الكافِرُوْنَ (“O disbelievers”) [109:1]
- يَا أَيَّتُهَا النَّفْسُ الْمُطْمَئِنَّةُ (“O peaceful soul”) [89:27] – the word نَفْس is a feminine word as passed down by the Arabs, so that’s why we see the feminine version أيَّتُها before it instead of أيُّها
- What does مُنادَى (vocative) mean in the Arabic language and in grammar?
- What tools can we use to call someone?
- How many kinds of vocatives are there?
- How many kinds of الشَبِيهُ بِالْمُضافِ (what resembles a mudhaaf) are there?
- What’s the rule for when a مُنادى is a mudhaaf?
Until next time, السلام عليكم
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