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Yuḫriğu vs. Muḫriğ in Q 6:95: Does the Active Participle Have the Same Syntactic, Rhetorical and Aspectual Value as the Verb in Imperfect?

Pages 337 - 349


This article demonstrates that examination of the content, context and the exegesis of each verse of the Qurʾān containing an active participle connected to a finite verb should be examined before determining any rules concerning this syntactic structure. The article focuses on the case of Q 6:95, in which a verb in imperfect is followed by active participle and both are derived from the root ḫrğ. The approach that was chosen is to search in the exegetical literature for explanations of this structure. As will be shown, this literature provides syntactic, semantic, aspectual and rhetorical explanations for the difference between the active participle and the finite verb. This approach stands in contrast to the one presented in modern research literature and argues that yuḫriğu and muḫriğ have the same aspectual and syntactic value and thus are interchangeable.


1 A. J. Arberry: The Qurʾān Interpreted. London 1964, p. 132.

2 N. Kinberg: “Semi-Imperfectives and Imperfectives: A Case Study of Aspect and Tense in Arabic Participal Clauses.” In: Lingua 86 (1992), p. 322.

3 W. Reuschel: Aspekt und Tempus in der Sprache des Korans. Frankfurt am Main 1996, p. 273.

4 See: Kinberg, pp. 322–323.

5 Arberry, p. 48.

6 Ibid., p.18.

7 A-the verb kāna, B-the predicate šuhadā' and šahīd c-the preposition 'alā and D-the noun in genitive nās or the pronoun kum.

8 Mehreen mentions Q 3:27 and Q 60:10 as examples of the stylistic device called 'l-ʿaks “inversion”. In this case, a sentence is composed of two parts, and the second part is a revised version of the first. Thus, Q 60:10 might be translated as follows: They are not permitted to the unbelievers and vice versa.” See: A. F. M. Mehreen: Die Rhetorik der Araber. Hildesheim / New York 1979, p. 104.

9 Arberry, p. 578.

10 Bayḍāwī, ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿUmar: Anwār at-Tanzīl wa-Asrār at-Taʾwīl. Beirut 1996, p. 176.

11 Ibn Kaṯīr, Ismāʿīl b. ʿAmr: Tafsīr al-Qurʾān al-ʿAẓīm. Cairo [s.n], vol. 2, p. 158.

12 Riḍā, Muḥammad Rašīd: Tafsīr al-Manār. Cairo 1947, vol. 7, p. 631.

13 It should be mentioned that in the exegesis of Abū as-Suʿūd (ad 1490–1574), the active participle muḫriğ maʿṭūf ʿalā fāliq, while the clause which starts with the verb yuḫriğu is considered as ḫabar ṯānin, i.e., a second predicate. See: Ibn as-Suʿūd, Muḥammad b. Muḥammad: Tafsīr Iršād al-ʿAql as-Salīm ilā Mazāyā al-Qurʾān al-Karīm. Beirut 1999, vol. 2, p. 418.

14 Abū Ḥayyān, Muḥammad b. Yūsuf: al-Baḥr al-Muḥīṭ fī at-Tafsīr. Beirut 1992, vol. 4, pp. 591–592.

15 Ṭanṭāwī, Muḥammad Sayyid: at-Tafsīr al-Wasīṭ li-l-Qurʾān al-Karīm. Cairo 1992, vol. 5, p. 136. Cf. Riḍā, vol. 7, p. 631, who explains that the semantic closeness between the reversed sentences is stronger than the closeness between the first sentence which includes the active participle fāliq and the second sentence including the active participle muḫriğ.

16 Nīsābūrī, al-Ḥasan b. Muḥammad: Ġarāʾib al-Qurʾān wa-ʿAğāʾib al-Furqān. Cairo 1970, vol. 2, p. 101. Cf. Rāzī, Muḥammad Faḫr ad-Dīn: Mafātīḥ al-Ġayb. Cairo 2000, vol. 13–14, p. 76.

17 Ğurğānī, ʿAbd al-Qāhir: Dalāʾil al-Iʿğāz fī ʿIlm al-Maʿānī. Cairo 1912, p. 134. Cf. H. Reckendorf: “Zum Gebrauch des Partizips im Altarabischen.” In: C. Bezold (ed.): Orientalische Studien: Theodor Nöldeke zum siebzigsten Geburtstag. Gießen 1906, p. 257. The same functions of the participles exist in Biblical Hebrew, see: B. K. Waltke/ M. O'connor: An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. Winona Lake, Indiana 1990, p. 624.

18 Ṭanṭāwī, vol. 5, p. 136. Cf. Riḍā, p. 632, vol. 7. Riḍā gives Q 22:63 as an example of using a verb in imperfect for istiḥḍār “occurrence at the present time”: a-lam tara anna llāha anzala mina 's-samāʾi māʾan fa-tuṣbiḥu 'l-arḍu muḫḍarratan. The verb tuṣbiḥu is in imperfect form and not in perfect to indicate that this action or event happens in the present time, and thus one can imagine or visualize this action as if it is happening in the moment of the speech.

19 Riḍā, vol. 7, p. 632.

20 Reuschel, p. 272. Cf. H. Fleischer: Kleinere Schriften: gesammelt, durchgesehen und vermehrt. Osnabrück 1968, vol. 1, p. 96.

21 Arberry, p. 444.

22 Arberry, p. 290.

23 The idea of dynamic and static actions indicated by a verb in imperfect and active participle is common in the early and modern Qurʾān exegeses. Thus, for example, these terms are mentioned by Zamaḫšarī and Bayḍāwī in their reference to Q 67:19. See Y. Dror: “The Use of the Imperfect in the Qurʾān: Examination of the Habitual Present.” In: Journal for Semitic 21, 1 (2012), pp. 82–88.

24 B. Comrie: Aspect. Cambridge 1985, pp. 48–49.

25 See Kinberg, p. 308. He indicates that in some cases, as in Q 9:107, the participial structure may refer to a repeated pattern of behavior. Cf. Sāmarrā'ī, Fāḍil Ṣāliḥ: Maʾānī an-Naḥw. Oman 2000, p. 174. He mentions Q 6:95 as an example of an active participle that indicates istimrār “continuity”, because God every time splits the grain and the date-stone, i.e., he brings forth the dead from the living.

26 Sāmarrā'ī, Fāḍil Ṣāliḥ: at-Taʿbīr al-Qurʾānī. Oman 2007, p. 23.

27 R. Baalbaki: “The Relation between Naḥw and Balāġa: A Comparative Study of the Methods of Sībawayhi and Ğurğānī.” In: R. Baalbaki (ed.): Grammarians and Grammatical Theory in the Medieval Arabic Tradition. Cornwall 2004, p. 13.

28 Mubarrad, Muḥammad b. Yazīd: al-Muqtaḍab. Beirut 1963, vol. 4, pp. 148–149. Cf. Ibn Ya'īš b. ʿAlī: Šarḥ al-Mafaṣṣal. Cairo [s. n.], p. 68, vol. 6; Ibn as-Sarrāğ, Muḥammad as-Sirī: Kitāb al-Uṣūl fī an-Naḥw. Nağaf 1973, vol. 1, p. 124.

29 Ibn Yaʿīš, vol. 6, p. 68, says that the active participle huwa 'l-ğārī mağrā 'l-fiʿl fi 'l-lafẓ wal-maʿnā. By lafẓ he means that the active participle has the same vowels and consonants of a verb in imperfect form, e.g. yukrimu vs. mukrim.

30 For example, Q 5:95 hadyan bāliġa 'l-kaʿbati “an offering to reach the Kaaba”.

31 Sībawayhi, Abū Bišr ʿAmr b. ʿUṯmān: al-Kitāb. Beirut 1980, vol. 2, pp. 168–169.


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