Last updated: June 13, 2021
Some people say that فَأَسْقَيْنَاكُمُوهُ – which is found in Sura 15:22 – is the longest word mentioned in the Quran. This is true if we only look at the number of letters. However, it is also quite some nonsense because although فأسقيناكموه may look like a word, what we actually have here is a sentence.
Since we deal with a sentence, this also means that we need to do a complete analysis: a full إعراب (‘Irab).
Analysis of Sura 15:22
Step by step analysis: I’rab
First part: ف
ف – and, so
|Letter of attraction (conjunction). It connects words or clauses. The فاء usually connects two clauses and indicates that the information before the فاء happened first (that is the difference to و where actions usually happen simultaneously.)||حَرْفُ عَطْفٍ|
Good to know Some scholars suggested that the ف here is a letter of introduction and renewal (حَرفُ اسْتِئْنافٍ). Such a device also does not have a place in the analysis and does not induce any grammatical issues. It is used to indicate the start of a sentence which has been cut off from what preceded it. It is not suitable to The و can also be used in this function and is often translated as while/when then.
All in all, it wouldn’t change our analysis, but you may translate the sentence differently with some emphasis on a new thought.
Second part: أَسْقَى
أَسْقَى – to give to drink
This is a IV-verb of the pattern أَفْعَلَ. It has some peculiarities: it takes TWO OBJECTS!
|Past tense verb; active voice; it guards two objects into the accusative case.||فعل ماض للمعلوم ينصب مفعولين مبني على السكون لاتّصاله بالضّمير|
Third part: نا
نا – we
|Subject (فاعِل) of the verbal sentence. The subject needs the nominative case. However, since the pronoun نا has a fixed shape, we can only say that it is located in the position of a nominative case.||في محل رفع فاعل|
Fourth part: كُمْ
كُم – you
|FIRST (direct) object; thus, it needs the accusative case. But since it has a cemented shape, we say that it is located in the position of an accusative case.||ضمير في محل نصب مفعول به أول|
Fifth part: و
و – just a helping device; it does not have any meaning
|Particle/letter of saturation||حرف إشباع|
That is the trickiest part! So, what happened here?
- We lengthened the ضمة (“u”) and got a full و.
- Such extra و is added to تُم or كُم when they are followed by another pronoun. So eventually, we get: كُمُو
Good to know This is only applied to كم and تم.
It is actually quite rare that you have two object pronouns attached to the same verb. However, you occasionally find that in the Qur’an. Some examples – notice the و before the very last pronoun.
|Sura Hud 11:28||… should we compel you (to accept) it…||أَنُلْزِمُكُمُوهَا|
|Sura al Hujurat 49:12||Nay, you would hate it…||فَكَرِهْتُمُوهُ|
|Sura Muhammad 47:37||…he were to ask you for it…||يَسْأَلْكُمُوهَا|
Fifth part: ه
ه – it
|Second (direct) object; its also takes the accusative case. The pronoun has a fixed shape and is indeclinable; we can only say that it is located in the position of an accusative case.||ضمير مبني في محل نصب مفعول به ثانٍ|
Translation of fa’asqaynakumuh
Once you understand the construction, the sentence فَأَسْقَيْنَاكُمُوهُ is actually easy to understand and translate:
English: …and we gave it to you to drink…
|and||we||gave||it||to you||to drink|
|و||نا||expressed by IV-verb-pattern||ه||كم||أَسْقَى|
The entire verse 15:22 goes as follows:
وَأَرْسَلْنَا الرِّيَاحَ لَوَاقِحَ فَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَسْقَيْنَاكُمُوهُ وَمَا أَنتُمْ لَهُ بِخَازِنِينَ
- We send the winds to fertilize, and We bring down water from the sky for you to drink – you do not control its sources. (Abdul Haleem)
- And We send the winds fertilizing (to fill heavily the clouds with water), then caused the water (rain) to descend from the sky, and We gave it to you to drink, and it is not you who are the owners of its stores [i.e. to give water to whom you like or to withhold it from whom you like]. (Muhsin Khan)
- Und Wir senden die Winde zur Befruchtung. Und Wir lassen dann vom Himmel Wasser hinabkommen und geben es euch zu trinken, doch ihr könnt es nicht (alles davon) als Vorrat lagern. (Bubenheim & Elyas)
Why is Sura 15 called al Hijr?
Sura 15 is from the Meccan period.
According to al-Suyuti (a 15th century scholar and historian from Egypt), this Sura was revealed very shortly after Surah 12 (Yusuf) during the last year before the Prophet’s exodus to Medina. As in most Suras of this period, the main theme of al-Hijr is the evidence of Allah’s creative activity and of Allah’s guidance through revelation.
Although some translate Sura al-Hijr as rocky tract or forbidden tract, many Qur’an specialists say that al-Hijr is a place-name and not a description. There are traces that an ancient township of that name existed long back in history. It was already mentioned by Ptolemy (a Greek genius) as Hegra and by Pliny (a Roman natural philosopher) as Egra.
The meaning of the name al-Hijr
The Sura takes its title from the reference to the people of al-Hijr. The Qur’an relates that his region was inhabited by a godless people, the Thamud (ثمود), who carved their houses out of rock. Therefore, Allah sent the prophet Salih (صالِح) to fix this.
However, the people of Thamud not only persisted in their idolatry, but also hamstrung the camel which the prophet Salih had miraculously conjured out of a cleft in the rock to give evidence of his divine mission.
Allah then sent an earthquake that destroyed the town and its people.
Did the earthquake in al Hijr really happen?
This story of destruction was the origin of the name مدائن صالح – Mada’in Salih (Salihs towns) – now given to the area. Geologists see no evidence of an earthquake in Mada’in Salih.
However, since the Arabic term for earthquake may also be rendered as a “calamity from Allah“, some experts on Tafsir have suggested that the town and its people may have been destroyed by another sort of disaster, such as a plague.
After having flourished during the Nabatean period, the site of al-Hijr seems to have declined rapidly. Much of the remains date from the Nabatean kingdom (1st century AD). The site constitutes the kingdom’s southernmost and largest settlement after Petra (modern-day Jordan)
Did Prophet Muhammad know the region?
Most probably yes. One story relates that when the Prophet Muhammad was going through the region with his army (the raid on Tabuk (631/9 AH), he would not permit his soldiers to refresh themselves at the wells because this was an accursed spot.
There are other references to al-Hijr in Arab legends: one mentions that this is the place where God ordered Abraham to abandon Hagar.
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