The Meanings of the Arabic Preposition Min

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

The Meanings of the Preposition مِنْ

There are nineteen الحروف الجارة i.e. prepositions. The first which the author of Hidāyatun Nalisted is: ْمِن.

It gives jarr to an اسم الظاهر; e.g. (مِن المسجدِ) and it gives jarr to a amīr (personal pronoun); e.g. (مِنه).

The preposition من comes for four meanings:

The first of them is: ابتداء الغاية ‘beginning of a limit’. Limit means ending, i.e. من comes for the beginning of a limit which has an ending. Therefore, it is not used for beginning limits which do not have endings, like infinite matters. A sign that one can use من in the meaning of ‘beginning of a limit’ is when in its opposite there is an end upon which one can use the preposition إِلى (until).

This beginning is sometimes from a place like: سرت مِن البصرةِ إِلي الكوفة, I travelled from Basra to Kufa. Another example is Allāh’s statement:

سُبْحَانَ الَّذِي أَسْرَىٰ بِعَبْدِهِ لَيْلًا مِّنَ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ الْأَقْصَى

“Pure is that being who transported his slave by night from Masjidul Harām to Masjidul Aqṣā.”[i]

(In this example also, it shows that من starts the limit while إِلى ends it.)

Sometimes the beginning is regards to time, like Allāh mentions:

لَمَسْجِدٌ أُسِّسَ عَلَى التَّقْوَىٰ مِنْ أَوَّلِ يَوْمٍ أَحَقُّ أَن تَقُومَ فِيهِ

“Surely the mosque that was founded on piety from the first day is worthier for you to stand in.”[ii]

Sometimes من comes simply to begin, without intending a specific ending.

The second, of the four meanings is: ‘explaining’ التبيين i.e. for clarifying the objective. The sign that one can use من in this meaning, is when it is correct place words like (الذي) and its sisters in the place of من, like the following āyah:

فَاجْتَنِبُوا الرِّجْسَ مِنَ الْأَوْثَانِ

“Refrain from the filth i.e. the idols.”[iii]

One can say: الرجس الذي هو الاوثان “Filth which are the idols.” (In the example من was clarifying that الرجس [filth] means الْأَوْثَانِ [idols].)

Thirdly: coming in the meaning of بعض (some). The sign that one can use من in this meaning is when it is sound to place the word بعض in its place, like in أخذتُ من الدراهمِ, I took some dirhams. Indeed, it is correct to say: أخذت بعض الدراهم and like how Allāh says in the Quran:

وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ آمَنَّا بِاللَّـهِ أى بعض الناس

Here مِنَ النَّاسِ came in the meaning of بعض الناس. So the translation would be: “And of the people are some who say, ‘We believe in Allāh.’”[iv]

Fourthly: من is used as زائدة (an extra). The sign that من is in this meaning is that there will be no deficiency in the meaning by dropping off من, rather the original meaning remains, like in: ما جاءني مِن أحدٍ ‘No one came to me’, so if it was said, ما جاءني أحدٌ with the من being dropped off, there would not be any deficiency in the meaning.

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Sometimes من comes in the meaning of في (in) like the following verse of the Quran:

إِذَا نُودِيَ لِلصَّلَاةِ مِن يَوْمِ الْجُمُعَةِ. أي : في يوم الجمعة

Here من comes in the meaning of في, so the translation for the above āyah would be: “When the adhān is called out for salāh on the day of Jumuʿah.”[v]

And sometimes من comes in the meaning of الباء)) like in the statement of Allāh:

يَنظُرُونَ مِن طَرْفٍ خَفِيٍّ أي بطرف خفي

“Looking on with secretive glances.”[vi]

Sometimes من comes in the meaning of البدل (exchange/instead of), like in the statement of Allāh:

أَرَضِيتُم بِالْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا مِنَ الْآخِرَةِ أي بدل الآخرة

“Are you satisfied with the life of this world instead of the Hereafter?”[vii]

Sometimes من comes in the meaning of علي (on/against) like in the statement of Allāh:

وَنَصَرْنَاهُ مِنَ الْقَوْمِ أي علي القوم

“We assisted him against the nation.”[viii]

[Siʿāyatun Naḥw Pg.208-9 H.1]

[i] Al-Isrā: 1

[ii] Al-Tawbah: 108

[iii] Al-Ḥajj: 30

[iv] Al-Baqarah: 8

[v] Al-Jumuʿah: 9

[vi] Al-Shūrā: 45

[vii] Al-Tawbah: 38

[viii] Al-Anbiyā: 77

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