Kana and Sisters; Verb Types

Posted on 17. Feb, 2012 by in Arabic Language, Grammar, Language, Vocabulary

      The verb Kana كان   and its sisters are special verbs in the Arabic language. They start the Nominal sentence and case the subject to be their noun (Ism اســـْـــم) with a dammah and cause the predicate to be their Predicate (Khabar خـــَــبـــَــر) with a Fat’ha on its end.

      Now the question is what are the different forms (conjugations تــَـصــْـريــفـــَــــات) of the verb Kana and its sisters? Can these verbs change their form like most other normal verbs? In today’s post, we will answer this question.                

      We have learnt before that all Arabic verbs fall into two main categories. They are all either Declinable Verbs أفــْـــعــَـــال مـُـــتــَــصــَـــرِّفـــَــة  or Indeclinable Verbs أفــْـــعـَـــال جــَـــامــِـــدَة . The first category means that the verb can be used in different forms or can be conjugated or used in all tenses whereas the second category means that the verb is solid or can not be conjugated to other forms other than itself, so the verb has only one form.

       The following table shows the verb Kana and its Sisters and their possible conjugations;

  Kana and Sisters كـان و أخــواتــهـــا

الأمر Imperative

المضارع Present

الماضي Past


























ما يــَــزالُ

مـا زال


ما يـــَــبــرح

مـا بـرح


ما يــَـــنـــفــــَــــكُ

مـا انـفـك


ما يــَـــفـــْــــتـــَـــأ

مـا فـتـئ 



مـا دام

        From the table above, we notice that Seven verbs only of kana and sisters can be used in the past, present and imperative and they are called Fully Declinable Verbs أفــْـــعـــَــــال تـــَـــامــَــــة الـــتـــَّـــصــَـــرُّف   

   Ex. – كـــَـــانَ الــجـــَـــوُ مُــمــْــطـــِـــرَاً بــِــالأمـــْــــسِ = It was rainy yesterday. (Past)

        -  يــَــكـــُــونُ الــجــَــوُ جــَـمــِــيـــلاً فــِـي الــرَّبــيــــع = The weather is beautiful in spring.  (Present)

       – كـــُـــنْ لـــَـــطــِــفــَـــاً مــَــعَ الآخــَــريـــن = Be nice to others.  (Imperative)

      From the above table also, we notice that there are Four verbs of Kana’s sisters that are used in the past and present only. These verbs are those of continuation and are called Partially Declinable Verbs أفـــْــعــَــال نــَــاقــِـــصـــَـــة الـــتـــَّـــصــَـــرُّف  .

     Ex.  – مــَــا زالَ مـُــحــَــمَّــدً مــُـــســْــتــَــيــقــِــظــــاً حــتــَّــى الـــصــَّـــبــَـــاح  

             = Muhammad was still awake till morning.  (past)

             -  لا يــَــزَالُ الــنــِّـــيــــلُ يــَــجـــرى .  = The Nile is still running. (Present)

        Finally, the above table has Two verbs of only One form; ليس  /ما دام  . These two verbs are used only in the past tense and they are called; Indeclinable Verbs أفــْـــعــَـــالٌ جــَـــامـــِـــدَة  .

To learn more about the Declinable and Indeclinable verbs, click on the following link; http://blogs.transparent.com/arabic/verb-type-%d9%86%d9%88%d8%b9-%d8%a7%d9%84%d9%81%d8%b9%d9%84/

For meanings of kana and sisters, click the following link; http://blogs.transparent.com/arabic/kana-and-sisters-part-3/


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Peace سلام /salam/

Birth of a Prophet (571 – 632)

Posted on 04. Feb, 2012 by in Arabic Language, art, Culture, History, Language, Vocabulary

Birth of a Prophet (571 – 632) مــِــيـــلادُ نــَــبـــِــىّ 

     Today in the Islamic Calendar is the 12th of رَبـــِـــيــــعُ الأوَّل Rabi’ Al-Aw’wal  1433 A.H. (After  Hijra) which is the birthday of prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him). The day was a Monday and the Islamic Calendar depends on the moon cycle unlike the Gregorian Calendar. In some Muslim countries, the day is a national holiday and in others, it is not. The birthday of Prophet Muhammad is a turning point نــُــقــطـــة تــَــحــَــوُّل in the human and Arab history. Muhammad is widely considered the most influential figure in history. More than one billion people all over the world follow Muhammad’s teachings and consider him as their guide مــُــرْشــِــد , mentor and leader. Whenever his name is mentioned, Muslims often show their respect saying “P.B.U.P.” (Peace and Prayers Be Upon Him عــَــلــَــيــْــهِ الــصــَّـــلاةُ وَ الــســَّــــلام) Muhammad managed to build a nation and a civilization out of nothing and according to the Islamic faith, he is the last messenger and prophet from God.

      The full name of the prophet is Muhammad Ibn Abdillah Ibn Abdil-Muttalib Ibn Hashim from Bani Hashim; one of Quraysh’s prestigous tribes. Muhammad’s ancestry dates back to Ishmael إســْــمــَــاعــِــيــل son of Abraham إبــْــرَاهــِــيــم . His grandfather Abdil-Muttalib عــَــبــْــد الـمـُــطــَّــلــِــب was head of his tribe. Muhammad was an orphan يــَــتــِــيـــم as his father died before he was born and his mother died when he was six years old. Abdil-Muttalib took good care of Muhammad until he was two years old, then his uncle Abo-Talib أبــُــو طــَــالــِــب took him as son and protected him. Muhammad grew up in Makkah مـَــكــَّــة  and worked as a shepherd رَاعــِــى and then as a merchant تــَـاجــِـــر . Muhammad was very different from all his peers in Makkah. He was well known as the Truth-teller and Loyal الـصــَّـــادِق الأمــِــيــن . He never drank wine or alcohol.

       At the age of twenty-five, Muhammad married Khadeejah خــَــدِيــجــَــة who was older than him. Muhammad used to go out of the city and spend a lot of time in the desert الـصــَّــحــَــــرَاء thinking and meditating. When he was forty and during his meditations in a cave in the desert, he was visited by the angel Gabriel جــِـبــْــريــِــل for the first time. It was the first revelation وَحــْــى to him. Muhammad was ordered to pass the message of Allah to all people. His mission was to restore the worship of the One True God إلـــهٌ وَاحــِــد , the Creator and Sustainer of the whole universe and to teach people the laws of moral, ethical, legal and social conduct. Islam means peace and calls for peace through submission to the will  and commandments of God. The revelations continued for twenty three years.

       Muhammad continued to pass God’s message to people around him in Makkah for  thirteen years. He found severe opposition and harm. He refused all kinds of bribes to abstain from what he was doing. When he and his weak and poor companions found no freedom in Makkah, He ordered them to immigrate to Al-Madinah الــمــَـــدِيــــِــنـــَــة and he followed them later in the company of his best friend Abu-Bakr أبــُــو بــَـــكـــْـــر . The people of Madinah welcomed Muhammad and his companions and provided them with food, shelter and protection.


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Peace  سلام  /salam/

O, my Birthday; You have come back !

Posted on 03. Feb, 2012 by in Arabic Language, art, Culture, History, Language, Literature, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

       Most of us have had some sad experience in this life as sadness is a universal feeling. Lots of poets have expressed that feeling and many singers have sung these poems. Today, I am going to present a sad song from the Egyptian movie “A Day without Tomorrow يـَــومٌ بــِـــلا غــَـــدٍ “. The movie was produced in 1962, directed by and story of Henry Barakaat, scenario by Youssif Eissa and staring Fareed Al-Atrash, Mariam Fakhr Al-Deen and Zaki Rustom. This sad song by Fareed Al-Atrash فــَــريــِــد الأطــْــرَش   was written by the poet Kamil Al-Shennawy كــَــامــِــل الـشــِــنــَّــاوي  . I did the English translation of this song.

YouTube Preview Image

عــُــدتَ يــَــا يــَـوْمَ مــَـــولــِــدي 

O, my Birthday; You have come back !

عــــُــــدتَ يــــَــَــا يـــــَــــْومَ مــــَـــــولــــِــدي

O, my Birthday; You have come back !

عـــُــــدتَ يــَــــا أيـــُّـــهـــَــــا الــــشــَّــــقـــِــي

You have come back, O, naughty one

الــــصـــِّــــبـــَــــا ضــــَــــاعَ مـــِـــن يـــــَـــــدِي

Young age has gone out of my hand

و غـــــَــــــزَا الـــشـــَّـــــيْـــبُ مـــَــــفـــْـــــرِقـِـي

And white hair has invaded my head

لـــَـــــــــــيــْــتَ يـــَـــــا يــــَـــــْومَ مــــَــــولـــِــــدي 

O, my birthday, if only

كــــُــــــنــْــتَ يــــَــــومــــــــاً بــــِــــلا غـــــَــــــدٍ 

You were a day without tomorrow

لــــــــَــــــــيــْــتَ أنــِّــــــــي مـــــــــِــــــــنَ الأزل

If only I

لــــَــــمْ أعِــــِـــــــش هـــَــــذِه الــْـــحـــَــــيــَــــاة

Have never lived this life.

عـــِـــــــــشــْــــتُ فـــِـــيـــــــهــــَـــا و لـــَــــمْ أزَل

I have lived it and still

  جـــَـــــاهـــِـــــلاً أنـــَّــــهـــَـــــا حـــَـــــيـــــــــَــــاة

Unaware it is a life

  لـــَـــــــــــــــيــْـــتَ أنـــِّـــــــي مــــــــِـــــــنَ الأزل

If only I

   كــــُــــــــنـــْــــتُ رَوحـــــَـــــــاً و لـــــــَـــــــمْ أزَل

Were just a spirit and still.

  أنـــــَــــا عــــُـــمــــْــــــرٌ بــــِـــــــلا شــَـــبــَــــاب

I am an age without youth; 

 و حـــَـــــيـــَـــــاةٌ بـــــِـــــــلا رَبــــِــــيـــــــــــــــع

A life without spring.

  أشـــــْـــــتـــَـــرِى الــحـــُّـــــبَّ بـــِـــالــعــَـــــذاب  

I do buy love for torture,

 أشــْـــتـــَــــرِى , فـــَـــمـــَــــن يـــَــــبـــِــــيـــــع ؟

I do buy but who sells ?

  أنـــَــــــا وَهــــْــــــــمٌ …. أنـــَــــا ســـــَـــــــرَاب 

I am an illusion … I am a mirage !!


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Peace سلام /salam/