Verbs of praise and blame / أَفْعال المَدْح والذَمّ

Arabic dialects map

Verbs of praise and blame in Arabic are frozen verbs (أَفْعال جامِدة) in the masculine singular form, which means they are usually not conjugated and used to express praise or blame. Those verbs are no longer widely used today.

They are always followed by: 

  1. First, a subject (فاعِل). It can be:
    • a definite noun (اِسْم مَعْرِفة)
    • 1st term of a definite annexation (مُضاف)
    • a hidden subject ( ضَمِير مُسْتَتَر) with an indefinite noun linked to the subject to clarify its role (مُمَيِّز بِنَكِرة)
    • relative pronouns ما and مَنْ
  2. Second, a specified noun (المَخْصوص) which in reality is an adjective showing the attribute or characteristic of the subject being praised or blamed. This specified noun is in the nominative case (مَرْفُوع).

Verbs of praise / أفْعال المَدْح

We denote two verbs of praise which are:

how good is!
  • The verb حبَّذا is actually a construction of the verb حَبَّ combined with the demonstrative ذا (as in هذا). In this structure, ذا is already considered to be the subject or the doer (الفاعِل). As a matter of consequence, حَبََّذا will only be followed by a ‘specified noun’ (المَخْصوص) as the doer is already mentioned in the verb.
  • The verb نِعْمَ is by far the most used essentially due to its heavy presence in the Qurʾān.
{And if they do not comply, then know that Allah is your Protector. What an excellent Protector, and what an excellent Helper!} 
Qurʾān [al-Anfāl : 40]
وإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ مَوْلاكُمْ نِعْمَ الْمَوْلَىٰ}
{وَنِعْمَ النَّصِيرُ
 القُرْآن [الأنفال: 40]
How good is the righteous man!حَبَّذا الرَجُلُ الصِدّيقُ

Verbs of blame / أفْعال الذَمّ

We denote three verbs of praise which are:

لا حَبَّذاساءَبِئْسَ
how bad is!

Note: the verb لا حَبَّذا is less known than the two other ones which are used several times in the Qurʾān.

{When it is said to them, “Fear Allah,” pride carries them off to sin. Hell will be their proper place. What an evil place to rest!}
Qurʾān [al-Baqara : 206]
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ أَخَذَتْهُ الْعِزَّةُ بِالإِثْمِ}
{فَحَسْبُهُ جَهَنَّمُ وَلَبِئْسَ الْمِهَادُ 
القُرْآن [البقرة: 206]
{What an evil example of those
who denied Our signs!
They ˹only˺ wronged their own souls.} 
Qurʾān [al-Aʿrāf : 177]
سَاءَ مَثَلاً الْقَوْمُ الَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِنَا}
{وَأَنفُسَهُمْ كَانُوا يَظْلِمُونَ
القُرْآن [الأعراف: 177]
How bad it is to defraud people of their money!لا حَبَّذا احْتِيالُ الناسِ بأَموالِهِم

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