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The Mudaaf & Mudaaf Ilayhi (مضاف + مضاف اليه)

30 SECOND OVERVIEW: Possessed & Possessor*

  • The word Mudaaf comes from 'idaafa' (اضافه), Arabic for explaining the relationship between words.
  • A Mudaaf-Mudaaf Ilayhi phrase therefore explains whom or what owns/possesses the thing which belongs to them.
  • Quick overview: Mudaaf means 'owned', Mudaaf Ilayhi means 'possessor over it/of the Mudaaf'.
  • Both of these parts are always nouns. They are never verbs.
  • Coincidentally, 'izafa' is used in the Urdu language, which means to increase or enhance.


In English when we want to say 'a thing belongs to something else' we write out and say the relationship 'Idafa' in the same way:

My Car - Our Country - Benjamin's House - God's Creation

An apostrophe is used to show belonging, Benjamin's House, God's Creation. We also use pronouns, My Car, Our Country. The possessor (ilayhi) always comes first and the thing that belongs to it comes second.

In Arabic there are no apostrophes, the pronouns come at the end and the possessed thing comes first It's completely the opposite!


First things first, before you grasp this concept you need to have understood a few Arabic grammar rules and keywords:
  • Ism/Isma'u: Noun, pl. nouns
  • Fi`l/Af`aal: Verb, pl. verbs
  • Marfu`: Nominative - the last letter's Harakat is 1 or 2 Dammahs.
  • Majroor: Genitive - the last letter's Harakat is 1 or 2 Kasras.
  • Mansoob: Accusative: the last letter's Harakat is 1 or 2 Fat'has.
  • Harakat: The vowel signs used in Arabic. In English we have a-e-i-o-u, in Arabic we have 'a' and 'i' and 'u'.
  • Tanween: having two of these Harakat symbols on letters to represent nunation ("an", "in" and "un")
  • Ma`rifa: A definite article; prefixing an Alif-Laam to a noun (not verbs) makes it definite.
  • ( ` ) : a diacritical mark representing the Arabic 'ayn' letter.

To understand how the Mudaaf and Mudaaf Ilayhi construct work in sentences we simply memorise a few rules related to each part - the Mudaaf first, then the Mudaaf Ilayhi.

Basic Rules for (1) Mudaaf + (2) Mudaaf Ilayhi

NB: (point 4) Although the first Mudaaf does not accept an Alif-Laam in writing, it is considered 'definite' for being the totally owned.

Now that you've got that down, develop your understanding with a few add-on rules.

*One of the only three cases a noun is Majroor; taking one or two Kasras.

Insha-Allah that helps, duas and blessings.

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