Quranic Grammar Headache!
April 9, 2010 11:41 AM Subscribe
What's going on grammatically in the opening verse of the Quran, which uses a sound masculine plural for the word "worlds"?
posted by Biru to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
In the opening verse of the Quran (Al-Fatiha), the line which translates into English as "Lord of the worlds" or "Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds" uses the sound masculine plural form of "world" (see Arabic text (second half of second line)). In all of my experience of the language, admittedly only MSA and Levantine/Jordanian colloquial, plural nouns have nearly always been feminine with alif ta added at the end. There are of course exceptions, but then they go to broken plural, not sound masculine.
Full text in Arabic:
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله رب العالمين
مالك يوم الدين
إياك نعبد و إياك نستعين
اهدنا الصرط المستقيم
صرط الذين أنعمت عليهم غير المغضوب عليهم و لا الضالين
Bismillāhi r-rahmāni r-rahīm
Al-hamdu li-llāhi rabbi l-ʿālamīn
Māliki yawmi d-dīn
Iyyāka naʿbudu wa iyyāka nastaʿīn
Ihdinās ṣirāṭ al-mustaqīm
Ṣirāṭ al-laḏīna anʿamta ʿalayhim ġayril maġdūbi ʿalayhim walā ḍ-ḍāllīn.
I appreciate this is a bit of an esoteric question to be asking, but hope you chaps are able to help. The matter has been causing me no end of frustration trying to understand.