Noun for pre-eminence | Arabic free course

It is a noun that is used to compare another noun. The comparison can be between two persons, things, groups or with one person to a group of people, etc. the noun of pre-eminence – اِسْمُ التَّفْضِيلِ is of two types:


  • comparative – اِسْمُ المُقَارِنِ
  • superlative – اِسْمُ التَّفْضِيلِ



1. The comparative – اِسْمُ المُقَارِنِ 



  1. When two nouns are compared, the first noun is called المُقَضَّلُ is greater in quality, quantity or relation to the second noun, which is المُفَضَّلُ عَلَيْهِ. The particle used to compare is مِنْ.
  2. The sentence structure is as below:



الْمُفَضَّلُ عَلَيْهِ + مِنْ + اِسْمُ التَّفْضِيل + المُفَضَّلُ



وَالْفِتْنَةُ أَكْبَرُ مِنَ الْقَتْلِ



And fitnah is greater than killing. (2:217)



3. In a comparative sentence of Arabic مِنْ is used as against “than” in English.


  The pattern of the noun of pre-eminence – اِسْمُ التَّفْضِيلِ is as follows:


  • Singular masculine: أَفْعَلُ
  • Singular feminine: فُعْلَى
  • Dual masculine: اَفْعَلانِ
  • Dual feminine: فَعْلَيَانِ
  • Plural masculine: فُعْلٌ
  • Plural feminine:  فُعْلٌ



4. These are formed from three radicals and their pattern is the same as that of colours and defects. The following are some examples:


  • حَبِيْبٌ – ‘beloved’  = أَحَبُّ – more ‘beloved, dearer’ is formed.
  • كَبِيرٌ – ‘great’ = أَكْبَرُ – ‘greater’ is formed.



5. The feminine of أَفْعَلُ is فُعْلَى, but the form أَفْعَلُ is used for feminine comparative adjectives.




إِنَّ نَاشِئَةَ اللَّيْلِ هِيَ أَشَدُّ وَطْئًا وَأَقْوَمُ قِيلً



Indeed, the hours of the night are more effective for concurrence [of heart and tongue] and more suitable for words. (73:6)



6. If المُفَضَّلُ or المُفَضَّلُ عَلَيهِ are singular, dual or plural in a sentence, the comparative – اِسْمُ المُقَارِن used will be singular on the pattern of أَفْعَلُ such as:



وَنَحْنُ أَقْرَبُ إِلَيْهِ مِنْ حَبْلِ الْوَرِيدِ



and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein (50:16)



Examples of the comparative used in the Holy Quran



لَيْلَةُ الْقَدْرِ خَيْرٌ مِّنْ أَلْفِ شَهْرٍ



The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months. (97:3)



وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّـهِ صِبْغَةً



And who is better than Allah in [ordaining] religion? (2:138)



يَدْعُو لَمَن ضَرُّهُ أَقْرَبُ مِن نَّفْعِهِ



He invokes one whose harm is closer than his benefit (22:13)



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2. The superlative – اِسْمُ التَّفْضِيلِ



It means the highest degree of comparison between humans, animals and objects through which the superiority of one shown against others. there are two methods used to form the superlative.



  1. Noun for pre-eminence – اِسْمُ التَّفْضِيلِ is made definite by prefixing the article ال. During its formation, we have to keep gender and number in mind.


Examples:   حَامِدٌ الأكْبَرُ – Hamid is the greatest. خَدِجَةُ الكُبْرَى  – Khadijah is the greatest. الشُّهَدَاءُ الأَكَابِرُ – the greatest martyrs.  


2. Noun for pre-eminence – اِسْمُ التَّفْضِيلِ can be formed by using a possessive phrase. This type of formation takes place when the المُفَضَّلُ is the best in quality among a group of people possessing the same or different quality.




 وَأَنتَ أَحْكَمُ الْحَاكِمِينَ



 and You are the most just of judges! (11:45)



وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ



and He is the most merciful of the merciful.” (12:64)



 وَهُوَ أَسْرَعُ الْحَاسِبِينَ and He is the swiftest of accountants. (6:62)




The comparative and superlative patterns are derived from three radicals, as mentioned. Therefore we observe the change as:

  • كَبِيرٌ – أَكْبَرُ – bigger
  • صَغِيرٌ – أَصْغَرُ – smaller


In case of particles of the derived forms, words with more than three consonants, and words of the pattern أَفْعَل, the comparative is formed either by أَكْثَرُ or أَشَدُّ followed by a noun in the accusative.





  • أَبْيَضُ – white
  • أَشَدُّ بَيْضَاء – whiter



وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَشَدُّ حُبًّا لِّلَّـهِ



But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah.  (2:165)



أَنَا أَكْثَرُ مِنكَ مَالًا



I am greater than you in wealth (18:34)



3. The elative – اِسْمُ المُبَالَغَةِ


In noun for pre-eminence – اِسْمُ التَّفْضِيلِ, there is a comparison between nouns whereas, in noun for pre-eminence – اِسْمُ المُبَالَغَةِ, the quality is not compared with others but is possessed within self and has great intensity.




وَأَنَّ اللَّـهَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ



and that Allah is the Knower of the unseen? (9:78)



The elative patterns are the same for masculine and feminine, and sometimes “ة” (Ta marboota) is added. Some patterns are stated below:


1. Pattern فَعْلانُ


Example: رَحْمَانُ – Most merciful


2. Pattern فَعِيلٌ


Example: طَاغُوْتٌ – tyrant


3. Pattern فُعْلانُ


Example: فُرْقَانُ – distinguisher


4. Pattern فِعِّيْلٌ


Example: صِدِّيْقٌ – most truthful


5. Pattern فَعُوْلٌ


Example: غَفُورٌ – most forgiving


6. Pattern فُعْلَةٌ


Example: هُمَزَةٌ – defamer


7. Pattern فَعَّالَةٌ


Example: عَلَّامَةٌ – most learned


8. Pattern فَاعِلَةٌ


Example: دَاعِيَّةٌ  – caller (best), the summoner


9. Pattern فَعِلٌ


Example: فَرِحٌ – rejoicing one


10. Pattern مِفْعَالٌ


Example: مِحْرَابٌ – fighter


11. Pattern مِفْعِيلٌ


Example: مِنْطِيقٌ – most talkative


12. Pattern فُعَّالٌ


Example: كُبَّارٌ – most mighty


13. Pattern فَعُّوْلٌ


Example: قَيُّوْمٌ – best sustainer


14. Pattern فَعُّولٌ


Example: قَدُّوْسٌ – most holy  


Examples of the elative used in the Holy Quran



 وَمَكَرُوا مَكْرًا كُبَّارًا



And they conspired an immense conspiracy. (71:22)



إِنَّكَ أَنتَ عَلَّامُ الْغُيُوبِ



Indeed, it is You who is Knower of the unseen” (5:109)



إِنَّ هَـٰذَا لَشَيْءٌ عُجَابٌ



Indeed, this is a curious thing. (38:5)



 إِنَّ اللَّـهَ هُوَ الرَّزَّاقُ ذُو الْقُوَّةِ الْمَتِينُ



Indeed, it is Allah who is the [continual] Provider, the firm possessor of strength. (51:58)



وَكَانَ الْإِنسَانُ عَجُولًا



and man is ever hasty. (17:11)



وَيْلٌ لِّكُلِّ هُمَزَةٍ لُّمَزَةٍ 



Woe to every scorner and mocker (104:1)



وَكَانَ الشَّيْطَانُ لِلْإِنسَانِ خَذُولًا



And ever is Satan, to man, a deserter.” (25:29)



وَإِنِّي لَغَفَّارٌ لِّمَن تَابَ وَآمَنَ وَعَمِلَ صَالِحًا ثُمَّ اهْتَدَىٰ



But indeed, I am the Perpetual Forgiver of whoever repents and believes and does righteousness and then continues in guidance. (20:82)



اللَّـهُ لَا إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ



Allah – there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. (2:255)



إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُورٍ



Indeed in that are signs for everyone patient and grateful (14:5)



إِنَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ



Indeed, He is Hearing and Knowing. (7:200)



You have now completed this Arabic lesson. The next one will be insha’Allah about the number and its usage in Arabic.


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