بسم الله الرحمان الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين
In the previous lesson, we studied that a noun can be rendered in to the جر case if it is preceded by a genitive particle, otherwise known as a حَرْف جَرّ; and a noun in the جر case will express itself with a kasrah or a kasratayn on its last letter. In this lesson, we will explore another way a noun can be rendered into the جر case. But first we will look at إعراب (declension) of the word رب.
Here the word رب is also in the جر case. But this is not because it is being governed by another word, preposition or element. Rather, رب is in the جر case because it is a تَابِع (a follower) which will emulate it’s مَتْبُوع (the followed); and here the word before it, الله is the متبوع. This particular type of emulation is known as بَدَل. The بدل construct is where one word emulates another word completely, in gender, number (plurality), grammatical case, and in being definite or indefinite. But most importantly, in the بدل construct the تَابِع is such that it can replace the مَتْبُوع completely, or vice versa without distorting the meaning. Thus here, we understand that الله is رب and that رب is Allah. Another way of understanding this, is in the usage of semitic names, for example if I were to say Joseph bar Jacob; يوسف ابن يعقوب, we understand that the son of Jacob is Joseph, and Joseph is the son of Jacob, thus I could completely replace one with the other and it will not distort the meaning whatsoever. Thus, the word رب is in the genitive case because it is emulating the word before it, الله, which is in the جر case because of the prefixed حرف جر, the لِـ.
However, a logical question that arises in the mind, is if رب is the بدل of الله then it should completely emulate it, but the Exalted word Allah is definite as it is a proper name, then what is making رب definite?
We previously learnt that nouns could be definite either, because they are prefixed with the definite article ال or if a noun itself is a proper noun. However now we learn a third reason for a noun being definite. If a noun is the first component of a genitive construct, it will become definite. A genitive construct, unlike a complete sentence, is an incomplete compound or a phrase. It consists of two components: the first is the مُضاف (the possessed) and the second is the مُضاف إليه (possessor). The genitive construct, otherwise known as the اَلْمُرَكَّبُ الْإِضَافِي, indicates to a relationship of possession and gives the meaning of either ‘s (apostrophe s) or ‘of’, both of which signify some kind of possession. For example, if I wanted to say “Khalid’s pen” or “the pen of Khalid” (both meaning the same), the pen is being possessed by Khalid or Khalid has some kind of ownership over the pen. In Arabic, we will express it as follows: قَلَمُ خَالِدٍ; here the word قلم (pen) will be the مضاف and the word خالد (Khalid) will be the مضاف إليه.
There are some basic rules regarding the اَلْمُرَكَّبُ الْإِضَافِي that we need to understand: Firstly, the مضاف will never accept the definite article ال nor a tanween (doubling of harakah/diacritics), but still it will be definite.
I know what you’re thinking, it’s a bit difficult to grasp right?
Let’s take it from the top:
Remember, nouns in the Arabic language will either have a tanween or an ال, this is a very rare situation where the noun will have neither, but it will still be deemed to be definite. Now we understand that رب being the بدل of الله must emulate it completely even in being definite or indefinite. The word الله is definite because it is a proper noun and the word رب is definite because it is مضاف. There, you see, the word رب does indeed completely emulate the Exalted word الله.
Now back to the اَلْمُرَكَّبُ الْإِضَافِي. We said that the مضاف will neither take ال nor tanween but will still be definite, also the مضاف can be rendered into any particular grammatical case, depending on what position you place it in, in the sentence. It can end with a fathah, a kasrah or a dammah (we will explore this further in future lessons). Here the مضاف has been rendered into the جر case and takes a kasrah because of what we said above, it is a تابع (follower( and is emulating the grammatical case of it’s متبوع (the followed) in a بدل construct.
The مضاف إليه on the other hand will usually be definite either because of being prefixed with the definite article ال or by being a proper noun, and the مضاف إليه will always be in the جرّ case. In our example, قَلَمُ خَالِدٍ (the pen of Khalid), the word Khalid is the مضاف إليه and therefore it is definite by being a proper noun and has been rendered into the جرّ case which is why it expresses itself with a kasratayn.
Now in the verse, رب is the مضاف which is why it does not take ال nor a tanween but is still definite, and the word العَالَمِيْنَ is the مضاف إليه which is why it is definite with an ال and is rendered into the جر case. Now, the confusing part is, if the word العالمين is in the جر case then why doesn’t it take a kasrah?
Don’t fret, it is indeed in the جر case but the expression of this word will be explained in the next lesson.
So, what have we learnt in this lesson:
1. The بدل construct consists of two components:
i. The بدل (which is the تابع i.e. the follower)
ii. The مُبْدَل مِنْهُ (which is the متبوع i.e. the followed)
The بدل will always emulate the مبدل منه in four things: gender, number (being single, dual or plural), grammatical case, and being definite or indefinite. Also, the بدل can completely replace the مبدل منه without distorting the meaning whatsoever.
2. The اَلْمُرَكَّبُ الْإِضَافِي (genitive construct) is an incomplete compound, or a phrase which consists of two components:
i. The مضاف which will never take an ال or a tanween, yet it will be definite. And it can be rendered into any grammatical case depending on which position it is placed within a sentence.
ii. The مضاف إليه which is usually definite either with an ال or by being a proper noun, and it will always be in the grammatical case of جر.
Hope that was beneficial.
May Allah the Exalted reward you and I both.