Grammatical pick ‘n’ mix

al-Salāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāh

There is a phenomenon in Arabic known as al-naht النحت. It is when two words are merged to make one word that refers to them both.

Such words are often found in books of fiqh, and this is where I first came across the most common ones, some examples of which are:

  • The hay'alah الحيعلة referring to the saying of Hayya 'alā... ('Come to…')

  • The hawqalah الحوقلة referring to the saying of Lā hawla wa lā quwwata illā billāh. ('There is no might and no power except with Allāh').

  • The mash'alah المشألة referring to the saying of Mā shā'a Alllāh.
  • The sam'alah السمعلة referring to the saying of Sallāmu Alllāhi 'alayk.

Some less known ones referring to commonly used phrases are:

  • The taylaqah الطيقلة referring to the saying Atāla Allāhu baqā'ak ('May Allāh lengthen your life').

  • The dam'azah الدمعزة referring to the saying Adāma Allāhu'izzak ('May Allāh preserve your honour').

And Ibn al-Farrakhān mentions a couple more commonly required contractions in his book al-Mustawfā :

  • The Shafa'nafīs شفعنفي in fiqh refer to Imām al-Shāfi'ī along with Imām Abū Hanīfah
  • The Hanaflatīs حنفلتي refer to Imām Abū Hanīfah along with the Mu'tazilah

A word of warning though: It is not permitted to go around making these up ourselves; rather they have been passed on through one of the sources of grammar (there are usūl in nahw just as there are usūl in fiqh), this being samā' – hearing it from the predecessors.

6 responses to “Grammatical pick ‘n’ mix

  1. Pingback: Purity in corruption. « Arabic Gems ~ جواهر العربية

  2. Pingback: The correct combination. « Arabic Gems ~ جواهر العربية

  3. Asalaam alaikum wa rahmatullah,
    Barak Allahu feeki wa fee ahliki, I had come across some of the words like hay’alah and hawqalah when listening to some lectures on the fiqh of salaah, I must admit they did sound a little strange but it did not click that they were amalgamations of two words. Jazaakumullahu khairan for that, very interesting.

  4. I came across an amusing anecdote in Lisan al-’Arab recently illustrating the dangers of engaging in naht haphazardly.

  5. Pingback: x!x *Arabic Gems* x!x - Page 2 - LI Islamic Forum

  6. Pingback: Grammatical pick ‘n’ mix (via Arabic Gems ~ جواهر العربية) | quran reciter blog

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