10 Principles of Sarf

10 Principles of Ṣarf

Al-Mabādīy’at al-ʽAšharah are the ten fundamentals which every student should know before delving into a particular subject. This helps in knowing what it is about and what can be achieved from the subject.

Indeed the fundamentals of every science are ten:

The definition, the subject, and the fruits,

Its merit, relationship and founder,

The name, basis, and ruling of the lawgiver,

And the legal cases. Though some is sufficient

The one who obtains it all gains nobility.

  1. Definition
    Linguistic: To Turn
    Technical: The changing of specific words into various states to attain a specific meaning by the implementation of principles based on Arabic
  2. Subject
    Protect from making mistakes in Arabic reading, speaking and writing. Enable the person to know all the ways a word can be manipulated.
  3. Fruit
    It’s fruits lie in knowing the roots and many classifications of words from Sahih to weak, the baabs, and number of root letters.
  4. Merit
    The ability to understanding roots and use the knowledge of turnings, to change the meanings of words.
  5. Relation to other disciplines
    It is a primary subject in being able to read Arabic, alongside Naḥū. Without it, one is not able to fully understand the meanings of primary Arabic Sources.
  6. Founder
    Some attribute to Haḏhrat Ali رضي الله عنه where he ordered Arabic grammar principles to be written down. Muadh al-Harra رضي الله عنه divided Ṣarf from Nahu, therefore known as the Father of Ṣarf .
  7. Name
    It is called Ilm us-tasrīf – The knowledge of morphology.
  8. Sources
    Ṣarf is based on the Arabic in the Quran and Sunnah as well as the understanding of the first community.
  9. Ruling
    Wajib al-Kifayah, necessary for at least a few people in the community to study and know this science.
  10. Purpose
    Ṣarf allows one to make words in Arabic and derive various meanings from a single root.

Foundational works in Ṣarf:

  • Ilmus Tasreef
  • Ilmus Seegah
  • Treasures of Arabic Morphology

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