Sarf ~ Etymology

November 20, 2014

Sarf, i.e., etymology, a branch of grammar, which

helps in knowing the root words and conjugations.

The meaning of a word changes with the change in

the root and with a change in its conjugation.

Ibn Faris (Rahmatullah alaih) says, “One who loses the

knowledge of etymology loses a ‘great deal”

‘Allamah Zamakhshari (Rahmatullah alaih) mentions that, when a certain person set to translate the ayat- ‘

 يَوْمَ نَدْعُو كُلَّ أُنَاسٍ بِإِمَامِهِمْ ۖ

 (17:71)

call_with_their_leaders1

“On the day that We shall call each and every people

after their leader,”

he ignorantly rendered it thus: “On the day that We shall call each people after their mothers;” He supposed that the singular Arabic word ‘imam’ (leader) was the plural of the Arabic word ‘umm’ (mother). If he had been conversant with etymology, he would have known that the plural of ‘umm: is not ‘imam’.

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