كَانُوا فِـي ٱلْـجَاهِلِيَّةِ إِذَا رُزِقَ أَحَدُهُمْ أُنْثَى وَأَدَهَا

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dgwp

Senior Member
English (UK)
I have encountered the following sentence in al-Mostatraf, chapter 59:

وَمِنْ أَوَابِدِهِمْ وَأْدُ ٱلْبَنَاتِ أَيْ دَفْنُهُنَّ أَحْيَاءً كَانُوا فِـي ٱلْـجَاهِلِيَّةِ إِذَا رُزِقَ أَحَدُهُمْ أُنْثَى وَأَدَهَا وَإِذَا ﺑُﺸﱢﺮِ بِـهَا ضَاقَ صَدْرُهُ وَكَظَمَ وَجْهُهُ

It is unclear to be why the third person plural form كَانُوا has been used here - surely it should be كَانَ to agree with the subject of the subordinate clause, أَحَدُهُمْ ("one of them", i.e the Arabs in that period)? I assume that the agreement is actually with هُمْ in this case, but would like to hear others' opinions on this.
 
  • ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    See what is the preceding context. Does it talks about only one person or Arabs (as plural)?I guess the text you have at hand addresses Arabs' customs and habits?
     

    ayed

    Senior Member
    Arabic(Saudi)
    kanu was employed to refer to Arabs (plurals). Try to utilize kan and see if it would make sense ?
     

    dgwp

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    kan would make sense when paired with the subject of the clause starting with idha, since it would put the clause in the past (see Wright's grammar, vol.2, p.10D).
     

    Matat

    Senior Member
    English
    أحدهم is not اسم كان; it is نائب فاعل (رزق)ـ, so you can't make كان singular.

    In regards to its meaning, you are not saying:
    أحدهم كان في الجاهلية إذا رزق أحدهم...ـ
    Rather, you are saying
    هم كانوا في الجاهلية إذا رزق أحدهم...ـ

    If we try to translate this as literally as possible: "They used to, during the Time of Ignorance, if one of them was blessed with a baby girl, he would bury her..."

    This is not a structure we would use in English, but in Arabic this is perfectly fine.
     
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    djara

    Senior Member
    Tunisia Arabic
    كَانُوا فِـي ٱلْـجَاهِلِيَّةِ إِذَا رُزِقَ أَحَدُهُمْ أُنْثَى وَأَدَهَا
    I understand كَانُوا فِـي ٱلْـجَاهِلِيَّةِ as الناس فِـي ٱلْـجَاهِلِيَّةِ or أهل ٱلْـجَاهِلِيَّةِ
    النّاسُ فِـي ٱلْـجَاهِلِيَّةِ، إِذَا رُزِقَ أَحَدُهُمْ أُنْثَى وَأَدَهَا
     

    dgwp

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    I am not 100% sure of the meaning of the Arabic grammatical terms you are using, Matat, but are you saying that أحدهم is the object rather than the subject of the verb رزق ?

    So, if I understand this right, to say "One of them (i.e. the Arabs) had been blessed", we would write:

    كَانُوا رُزِقَ أَحَدُهُمْ
     
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    Mahaodeh

    Senior Member
    Arabic, PA and IA.
    Matat, but are you saying that أحدهم is the object rather than the subject of the verb رزق ?
    I'm not sure (I'm not very good in English grammar), but I believe that in English it would still be called a subject, this is not the case in Arabic because in Arabic the definition of a subject is much stricter. In Arabic it's called نائب فاعل not فاعل because a subject in Arabic is strictly that who/which performed/performs the action described by the verb. In this case أحدهم did not do the 'gifting', it was done for him. In an active voice أحدهم would be the object but because it's acting as a subject in the passive voice it would be called a 'vice-subject' (so to say).

    I think that what Matat is saying is that it's not the subject of كان, it is the subject of رُزق - loosely speaking of course, because in Arabic neither would be called a subject.

    كَانُوا رُزِقَ أَحَدُهُمْ
    This does not sound right to me, the إذا is necessary but I can't explain why.
     

    dgwp

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    Thanks Mahaodeh. With my example of كَانُوا رُزِقَ أَحَدُهُمْ I was really just trying to work out what would be used in a simpler sentence such as "Of the families, one of them had been blessed with a female child", i.e. whether Arabic would use كانوا in this case, when a passive verb is used in a historic past tense, or simply كان. (I don't think إذا needs to be taken into account, as there is no condition in this sentence.)
     

    Matat

    Senior Member
    English
    Matat, but are you saying that أحدهم is the object rather than the subject of the verb رزق ?
    No. I'm saying أحدهم is the subject of رزق, but it's not the subject of كانوا.

    So, if I understand this right, to say "One of them (i.e. the Arabs) had been blessed", we would write:

    كَانُوا رُزِقَ أَحَدُهُمْ
    No. Plus, I'm not familiar with using كان+passive verb. I would just say رُزق أحدُهم. However, even if we change the verb to an active one, I'm not familiar with putting the subject after the second verb. I would say كان أحدهم يريد, not كان يريد أحدهم or كانوا يريد أحدهم and I'm not sure if either of the latter two are correct.
     

    Ghabi

    Senior Member
    Cantonese
    The use of the passive is irrelevant to the question, which I think has already been answered quite clearly:
    هم كانوا في الجاهلية إذا رزق أحدهم...ـ
    النّاسُ فِـي ٱلْـجَاهِلِيَّةِ، إِذَا رُزِقَ أَحَدُهُمْ أُنْثَى وَأَدَهَا
    The sentence has two parts, which is linked by the pronoun hum in a7aduhum, and the two parts have different subjects.
     
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