Describing an Idafa (Sifa Idafa)

Describing an idafa with an adjective (صفة) or “sifa” can be done with a kasra or a damma. What is the difference?

Let’s use an example: هذا كِتابُ البَيْتِ المبارك – “This is the book of the house…”

If we put a damma on the sifa, making it المباركُ, then it is describing the book. “This is the blessed book of the house.”

If we put a kasra on the sifa, making it المباركِ, then it is describing the house. “This is the book of the blessed house.”

Qur’anic Example

An example from the Qur’an 85:15:

ذُو ٱلۡعَرۡشِ ٱلۡمَجِیدُ – Glorious Owner of the Throne.

However, this ayah has other recitations, such as in the qira’at of Khalaf ‘an Hamza, that put a kasra on the sifa, making it المجيدِ.

We can check the القراءات العشر من الشاطبية والدرة mushaf for the differences in recitation:

On the left you have the answer:

It says that Hamza and Ali and Khalaf recites the word المجيد with a kasra and the remaining [reciters] with a damma. Great! We know they are of the ten recitations therefore it is sahih and not shaadh (شاذ).

Tafsir (Exegesis)

Note: Some mufassirun (exegites) will not mention all three of the reciters who recited with a kasra.

Zamakhshari says about the other recitations:

وقرئ: ذى العرش، صفة لربك.
وقرئ: المجيد، بالجر صفة للعرش.
ومجد الله: عظمته
ومجد العرش: علوه وعظمته

“It has [also] been recited: Dhil Arshi, a sifa describing ‘your Lord’ (from verse 12).
And it has [also] been recited: al-majidi, with jarr, a sifa describing the Throne.
And the glory of Allah: His greatness. And the glory of the Throne: it’s exaltedness and greatness.”

And Baydawi said:

المَجِيدُ: العَظِيمُ في ذاتِهِ وصِفاتِهِ، فَإنَّهُ واجِبُ الوُجُودِ تامُّ القُدْرَةِ والحِكْمَةِ،
وجَرَّهُ حَمْزَةُ والكِسائِيُّ صِفَةً لِ رَبِّكَ، أوْ لِ العَرْشِ ومَجْدُهُ عُلُوُّهُ وعَظَمَتُهُ.

“Al-Majidu: Greatness in His Essence and His qualities. For indeed He is the Necessary Being, Complete Power and Wisdom.
And Hamza and al-Kisa’i recites it jarr, describing “your Lord,” or for the Throne and its glory is exaltedness and greatness.”

Ar-Razi said:

ورابِعُها: المَجِيدُ، وفِيهِ قِراءَتانِ.
إحْداهُما: الرَّفْعُ فَيَكُونُ ذَلِكَ صِفَةً لِلَّهِ سُبْحانَهُ، وهو اخْتِيارُ أكْثَرِ القُرّاءِ والمُفَسِّرِينَ لِأنَّ المَجْدَ مِن صِفاتِ التَّعالِي والجَلالِ، وذَلِكَ لا يَلِيقُ إلّا بِاللَّهِ سُبْحانَهُ، والفَصْلُ والِاعْتِراضُ بَيْنَ الصِّفَةِ والمَوْصُوفِ في هَذا النَّحْوِ غَيْرُ مُمْتَنِعٍ.
والقِراءَةُ الثّانِيَةُ: بِالخَفْضِ وهي قِراءَةُ حَمْزَةَ والكِسائِيِّ، فَيَكُونُ ذَلِكَ صِفَةَ العَرْشِ، وهَؤُلاءِ قالُوا: القُرْآنُ دَلَّ عَلى أنَّهُ يَجُوزُ وصْفُ غَيْرِ اللَّهِ بِالمَجِيدِ حَيْثُ قالَ: ﴿بَلْ هو قُرْآنٌ مَجِيدٌ﴾ ورَأيْنا أنَّ اللَّهَ تَعالى وصَفَ العَرْشَ بِأنَّهُ كَرِيمٌ فَلا يَبْعُدُ أيْضًا أنْ يَصِفَهُ بِأنَّهُ مَجِيدٌ، ثُمَّ قالُوا: إنَّ مَجْدَ اللَّهِ عَظَمَتُهُ بِحَسَبِ الوُجُوبِ الذّاتِيِّ وكَمالِ القُدْرَةِ والحِكْمَةِ والعِلْمِ، وعَظَمَةَ العَرْشِ عُلُوُّهُ في الجِهَةِ وعَظَمَةُ مِقْدارِهِ وحُسْنُ صُورَتِهِ وتَرْكِيبِهِ، فَإنَّهُ قِيلَ: العَرْشُ أحْسَنُ الأجْسامِ تَرْكِيبًا وصُورَةً.

There are two recitations of al-Majid.

One of them: Raf’ and that will be a sifa (description) for Allah, glory to Him. And it is the chosen [recitation] of the majority of reciters and exegetes because the glory is from the qualities of The Most High and Majestic. And that is not proper/suitable except for Allah, glory to Him. And the detaching and the insertion between the sifa and mawsuf (the adjective and the described) in this manner is not impossible.

And the second recitation: with khafd (kasra) and it is the recitation of Hamza and Kisa’i. And that will be a description (sifa) of the throne. And these say: The Qur’an indicates that describing other than Allah with “al-majid” is permissible, given that He said: (بَلْ هو قُرْآنٌ مَجِيدٌ) “rather it is a glorious Qur’an.” And our opinion is that Allah Most High described the throne because it is kareem (noble) and so it is also not unlikely that He describe it because it is majeed (glorious), then they said: indeed the glory of Allah is His greatness with accordance to the Necessary Essence and perfect Power and Wisdom and Knowledge. And the greatness of the Throne is its exaltedness in its direction and greatness of its extent and beautiful image/form and structure, for indeed it was said: the Throne is the most beautiful of forms in structure and image.

You can hear sheikh al-Afasy recite it here as well:

والله أعلم

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