The meanings of al?

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The meanings of al?

Post  khalillaher on Sun Aug 29, 2010 11:02 pm

We all know that a word being preceded by the article "ال" is rendered definite. For example:


"The man"


"The book"

However, the definite article "ال" also gives us the benefit of different meanings, some of which we'll clarify below. These meanings are:

1. Encompassing

This refers to encompassing every single particular indicated by the word the definite article enters upon. For example:

الحَمْدُ الله

"All praise belongs to Allah."

(4:28) خُلِقَ ٱلْإِنسَٰنُ ضَعِيفًۭا

"All humans were created weak."

In both these sentences, the definite article "ال" signifies a complete encompassing of every single instance of the noun it enters upon. So, what we mean by "All praise" is every single praise, and by "All humans" every single human being.

The way we tell whether "ال" is coming in such a meaning is by simply noting whether we can add the word "all" in the sentence. If we can add it correctly, then the "ال" can be understood to be in the meaning of complete encompassment

2. Something Previously Known

The definite article "ال" can also refer to something previously known. This can be divided into a number of types, but we'll take two of them namely [a] something previously mentioned or [b] something understood in the mind.

As for the first type, something previously mentioned, then an example is the statement:

جاء ضَيفٌ فأكْرَمْتُ الضَيفُ

"A guest came and I honored the guest."

Here, the "ال" is being used to refer to something previously mentioned. "The guest" is referring to the one who I mentioned previously came. So, the way to determine whether the definite article is coming in this meaning is to simply take note of whether the word was mentioned previously.

As for the second type, something understood in the mind, then an example is the statement:

جاء المَلِكُ

"The king came."

Suppose this was being stated by one person to another and both were in Saudi Arabia. It can be understood that by "king" the person meant is King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, and so the definite article here refers to something that both the speaker and listener have understood.

There are a few other meanings that the definite article can signify. However, we'll suffice with the above for now.

Khalil Ibn Ilyas Laher


Posts : 132
Join date : 2010-08-29
Age : 31
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