13 September 2016

Arabic Particles : Arabic Preposition مِنْ Min

Meaning shades and usage of the Arabic Particles : The Arabic Preposition مِنْ min
See Arabic Particles Meanings series for other particles and related words.
Also see Arabic Particles Quick Study Tool.

Last edited on : 5 December 2016
1 (w,h) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is used to indicate
the beginning of extent or commencement of the limit in space or time or simply the commencement of the limit.  

[ from, since]

مِنَ ٱلْمَسْجِدِ from the masjid.
مِنَ ٱلْيَوْمِ since/from the day.

2 (w) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is used to indicate
the local point of departure, departure from a place. The point or place at which an act or state has commenced.  

[ from , out of ]

سَقَطَ مِن يَّدِهَا it fell from her hand.

3 (n,h) .  The point of departure can also be physical or logical and other than a place literally e.g. person, mind etc.

[from]
 
إِنَّهُ مِنْ سُلَيْمَانَ indeed it is from Sulayman.

4 (w) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used to signify 
through or by something.  

[ through ]( by )

دَخَلَ مِنَ ٱلْبَابِ he came in through the door.

5 (w) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is used to indicate
temporal point of departure. The point or moment in time at which an act or state has commenced.

[ from, since ]
 
مِنَ ٱلْمَهْدِ إِلَى ٱللَّحْدِ from the cradle to the grave. (i.e. from the time of being in the cradle to the time of being in the grave, for the entire worldly life)

6 (w) . Hence, min مِنْ is connected with verbs which convey the idea of separation, departure, holding oneself or another aloof from any person or thing, liberating, preserving, fleeing, frightening away,  forbidding etc.

[from]

اَلدُّنْيَا تَمْنَعُ مِنَ ٱلْخَيْرِ the world holds (us) back from the good. 

7 (w,h) .  The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used to indicate  
exchange, replacement, substitute and is usually translated in this case as in exchange for, instead of, in place of. The sign for this meaning shade is that it is possible to replace it by بَدَل substitute/replacement.

[ in exchange for, instead of, in place of ]

أَرَضِيتُمْ بِٱلْحَيَاةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا مِنَ ٱلْآخِرَةِ are you contented with the life of this world in exchange for the Hereafter?

8 (w) .  The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used to indicate   
the causal point of departure, the origin and source of a thing. The usage of مِنْ in this case is to assign the cause/reason.

[ because of, in consequence of, from, proceeding from ]( out of  )

ذَٰلِكَ مِن نَّبَأَ جَآأَنِي that is in consequence of / because of / proceeding from / out of information that reached me.

9 (w) . In speaking of persons مِنْ أَجْلِ is mostly used instead of مِنْ and often in other cases also. 

[ on account of, because of ] ( for the sake of  )

اَلَّتِي تَبْكِي مِنْ أَجْلِهَا she on account of whom you weep.

10 (h,w) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used to indicate
the noun mentioned before مِنْ surpassing or exceeding the noun mentioned after مِنْ usually with a comparative adjective mentioned immediately before the  مِنْ .

[ than, from ]

زَيْدٌ أَفْضَلُ مِنْ سُفْيَانٍ Zaid is more excellent than Sufyan. (Zaid has surpassed Sufyan in excellence)

11 (w) . Min مِنْ with its complement is occasionally placed in poetry before the comparative adjective. In prose this inversion takes place only with an interrogative pronoun or a word in the construct state before an interrogative pronoun.

[ than , from ]

لَا شَيْءَ مِنْهُنَّ أَكْسَلُ nothing is lazier than them.
مِمَّنْ أَنْتَ خَيْرٌ from/than whom are you better? (With an interrogative pronoun)
مِنْ أَبِي أَيِّهِمْ أَنْتَ أَفْضَلُ from/than the father of which of them are you better? 

12 (w,h) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used to indicate
the difference or distinction between 2 persons or things which are compared or contrasted with one another e.g. this from that. In this case مِنْ is prefixed to the 2nd of the 2 compared entities. 

[ from ]

هَلْ تَعْرِفُ ٱلْجَيِّدَ مِنَ ٱلرَّدِيِّ do you know the good from the bad?

13 (w) . If an object is compared with itself in a different respect, the appropriate pronominal suffix has to be attached to مِنْ .

[ than ]

هُمْ لِلْكُفْرِ يَوْمَئِذٍ أَقْرَبُ مِنْهُمْ لِلْإِيمَانِ They to covering up / denying / being ungrateful that day were closer than they to belief / faith.

14 (w) . Sometimes, the preposition مِنْ is annexed to the latter of the 2 objects, instead of the person or thing which is compared with himself or itself in respect of these 2 objects.

[ than ]

صَارَ يُقَاتِلُهُمْ بِٱلْعَصَا أَقْوَىٰ مِنَ ٱسِّلَاحِ he began striving to kill them with the staff more sturdily than (with) the weapons. He began striving to kill them more sturdily with the staff than the weapons.

15 (h) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used to indicate  
partition. The sign for this meaning shade is that it is possible to replace it by بَعْض some (of) /part (of) / portion (of). 

[ from, of, part of, some of, portion of ]

حَتَّىٰ تُنْفِقُوا مِمَّا تُحِبُّونَ until you spend from / of / some of / part of / portion of  what you love.

16 (w) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used to indicate
The relation which subsists between the part & the whole, the species & the genus. Hence it also serves to indicate the relation between the article and the material made of it

[ of, part of, portion of, one of ]

لِبَاسُهُ مِنَ ٱلْحَرِيرِ his garment is of silk.
لَيْسَ مِنَ ٱلْعِلْمِ فِى شَيْءٍ he is in no part of knowledge (i.e. he has nothing to do with knowledge) .
When مِنْ indicates a part of a whole, it is said to be used لِلتَّبْعِيضِ to indicate division into parts; when it indicates the parts of which a whole is composed, it is used لِلتَّرْكِيبِ to indicate composition.

17 (w) . When مِنْ precedes (comes before) a definite noun, especially in the plural, it often indicates an indefinite quantity or number.

[ from, of, some of, a number of ]

شَرِبْتُ مِنَ ٱلْمَآءِ I drank from / of / some of the water.

18 (w) . Often مِنْ preceded by an indefinite noun, is followed by the definite plural of the same noun in order to signify that a person or thing is wholly undefined.

[ from ]

مَلِكٌ مِنَ ٱلْمُلُوكِ a king from the kings. A certain king.

19 (w) . When an indefinite noun denoting a state or condition is followed by مِنْ with the same noun defined in the singular, it signifies a high degree of that state or condition.

[ of ]

عَجَبٌ مِنَ ٱلْعَجَبِ a wonder of wonders. 

20 (h,m) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ can also be used for
explanation of genus, being replaceable by اَلَّذِي and coming after مَا what or مَهْمَا whatever or something else.

[ of , i.e. , that is , namely ]

فَاجْتَنِبُوا ٱلرِّجْسَ مِنَ ٱلْأَوْثَانِ so avoid the uncleanliness of / that is / namely the idols. Here the uncleanliness of what? is explained or specified after مِنْ i.e. the idols. Replacing by اَلَّذِي will be
فَاجْتَنِبُوا ٱلرِّجْسَ ٱلَّذِي هُوَ ٱلْأَوْثَانُ so avoid the uncleanliness that is the idols

21 (w) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ can also be used to indicate
the definition or explanation of a general or universal by a special or particular term, the latter being one of the several objects that make up the former.

[ of , i.e. , that is , namely ]

لَا يَحْصُلُ مَقْصُودُهُمْ مِنَ ٱلْعِلْمِ their object of aim and pursuit i.e. / that is / namely the knowledge was not achieved.

22 (w) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is constantly used after the indefinite pronoun مَا what, and مَهْمَا whatever, which cannot be construed with a genitive. So after  مَا and مَهْمَا a verb is used, and after the verb مِنْ is used along with the genitive (i.e. the word in the genitive case). In some cases this مِنْ after مَا may be considered as the partitive min.

[ from, of ]

مَا ذَهَبَ مِنَ ٱلْمَالِ what has gone from the wealth. (The wealth that has been spent)

23 (w) .  The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used to indicate
 The specification of the general term .

[ of , from ]

لِزَيْدٍ مِتْرَانِ مِنْ قُطْنٍ for Zaid are 2 meters of cotton.
without مِنْ it will be
لِزَيْدٍ مِتْرَانِ قُطْنًا for Zaid are 2 meters cotton.

24 (w)(h)(n) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also sometimes used to designate
the person or thing in which a certain quality or a certain thing's quality or qualities are prominent.

[ from ]

لَقِيْتُ مِنْهُ أَسَدًا I met from (meeting) him a lion.

25 (w) .  After negative particles & after interrogatives put in a negative sense مِنْ prefixed to an indefinite noun means none at all, not one, no one. In such cases مِنْ alone can usually be translated using any.

[ any ]

مَا جَآءَنِي مِنْ أَحَدٍ there didn't come to me any one. No one came to be.
هَلْ مِن مَّزِيدٍ is there any addition/increase?

26 (h) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used for
 Designation of generality

[ any ]

مَا جَآءَنِي مِن رَّجُلٍ there didn't come to me any man
Without مِنْ it will be
مَا جَآءَنِي رَجُلٌ there didn't come to me a man (negation of unity, i.e.  an unspecified man didn't come) . There didn't come to me man (negation of genus, i.e. the species of man didn't come) . 

27 (h) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used for
 Corroboration of generality

[ any ]

مَا جَآءَنِي مِنْ أَحَدٍ there didn't come to me any one.
مَا جَآءَنِي مِنْ دَيَّارٍ there didn't come to me any inhabitant.
After negation أَحَدٌ and دَيَّارٌ are forms of generality and the مِنْ has corroborated or strengthened this generality. Without مِنْ it will be
مَا جَآءَنِي أَحَدٌ / دَيَّارٌ there didn't come to me a one / an inhabitant.

28 (h)(n) . In above 2 points مِنْ is said to be redundant by some, though clearly, it is adding a definite meaning shade which can be conveyed in English to some extent using any . Usual conditions for this usage  in above 2 sorts are :

(i). Precedence of negation, prohibition or interrogation. (ii). Indterminateness of its genitive. (iii). Its genitive being an agent, object or inchoative/subject/ مُبْتَدَأ .
وَمَا تَسْقُطُ مِن وَّرَقَةٍ إِلَّا يَعْلَمُهَا ...and does not fall any leaf except that HE (i.e. ALLAH) knows it....
لَا يَقُمْ مِنْ أَحَدٍ Don't stand any one.
هَلْ تَرَىٰ مِنْ فُطُورٍ Do you see any flaw?

29 (m,h,a,p) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is sometimes used in a peculiar sense to indicate
Extreme, extremity, extent, limit, bound, utmost e.g. extreme for sight, i.e. a place of beginning and ending of sight, e.g. a place of beginning of sight from someone and ending of sight to the same. On a closer examination, it will be found that in this case also the meaning shade of from appears more valid as compared to till or to, but depending on context and intent of speaker, in some rare cases 2nd opinion may be valid.

[from]

رَأَيْتُهُ مِنْ ذَالِكَ ٱلْمَوْضِعِ I saw him from that place (my sighting of him starting from that place) (opinion 1) . I saw him to/till that place (to the very extent of vision) (opinion 2)  . 

30 (w) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used to indicate  
the distance from a place, person, thing, particularly after words which signify proximity.

[ to, from ]

مَا هٰذَا ٱلْغُلَامُ مِنْكَ what (relation) is this lad to you?
مَا أَنَا مِنْ دَدٍ ولَا ٱلدَّدُ مِنِّي I have no concern with diversion, nor has diversion any concern with me. (Literally: ) I am not from diversion, nor is diversion from me. 

31 (h)(n) . The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used to indicate
connection

[ of , from ] ( connected with )

بَعْضُهُم مِنْۢ بَعْضٍ They are from / of one another. They are connected with one another. Some of them are connected with some. 

32 (h)(n) .  The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also used to indicate  
agreement 

[ of , from ] ( agrees with )

فُلَانٌ مِّنَّا Such a one is of us (in agreeing with us) .

33 (w)(n) .  The Arabic preposition min مِنْ is also
used after verbs meaning to sell, to give in marriage etc.

[ to , through , from ]

بَاعَ مِنْهُ فَرَسًا he sold to him a horse. More literally:
He sold through him a horse, i.e. he accomplished the selling of a horse through him (by selling it to him). He sold from him a horse, i.e. he accomplished the selling of a horse from him (by selling it to him). 

34 (w)(n) . In the adverbial expressions as in below examples مِنْ signifies in a part of, in a time from , of , from etc. but in English may also be translated using in, during , at , on etc.

[ from , of , in a part of , in a time from ] ( in , during , on , at )

مِنَ ٱلْغَدِ in a part of / in a time from / in / during tomorrow.
مِنَ ٱلَّيْلِ in a part of / in a time from / in / during / at the night.
خَرَجَ مِن يَّوْمِهِ he went out in a part of / in a time from / on the same day.

35 (h)(w) . Min مِنْ prefixed to قَبْلَ before, and بَعْدَ after, denotes beginning of extent according to the majority, but is redundant according to Ibn Malik. In this context مِنْ usually specifies in a portion of the space of time or simply in a portion of time .

[ in a portion of , from ]

مِنْ قَبْلِ in a portion of time before. From before. Before.
مِنْۢ بَعْدِ in a portion of time after. From after. After. 

36 (h) . Preposition مِنْ is exclusively distinguished by governing the following in the genitive 
قَبْلَ بَعْدَ عِنْدَ لَدَى لَدُنْ مَعَ بَلْهَ
and also عَنْ عَلَىٰ when used as nouns.

37 (n) .  According to some مِنْ is sometimes used in a similar meaning shade to عَنْ or to فِى or to بِ or to عَلَىٰ or to some other preposition, but a closer examination shows that still there is a difference in meaning shades, and due to context, one may assume the meaning shade is of some other particle which is more often used in such contexts, but on a closer examination, a meaning shade closer the the core meaning shades of مِنْ seems more accurate. e.g.
مِنْ vs عَنْ can be understood better after reading both prepositions in detail, since meaning shades are close. Many times from is used to translate both prepositions. But once one has the core meanings in mind, he can understand the subtle differences of using one over the other in a context.

 مِنْ vs عَلَىٰ can be better understood in a similar context with following example:
Help some one from some one else (more focus on defense) vs help some one over some one else (more focus on attack) .

 مِنْ vs فِى can be better understood in a similar context with following example:
In a part of or in a time from tomorrow vs in or during tomorrow.

 مِنْ vs بِ can be better understood in a similar context with following example:
Looking from a furtive glance vs looking with a furtive glance.
(furtive glance: in this a person contracts the eyelids over the main portion of the eyes and then we can say (depending on which preposition is used) he looks from the remaining part of the eyes or looks with the remaining part of the eyes. On 1st the focus is on "from where" and on the 2nd the focus is on "with what" )  

38 (w) . For compound prepositions see this section on Wright Arabic Grammar specially see the مِنْ compounds. 

39 . To study this particle further in many other books read the pages for this particle in
Arabic Particles Tool . Also to see other posts in Arabic Particles Meanings series.

References: When multiple references mentioned for a point, it means material selected from all quoted references more from some and less from others and all quoted references do not necessarily agree on everything. Material is not exactly copied but based on the reference quoted and I have made additions, editions & changes where required :
w = Wright Arabic Grammar English
h = Howell Arabic Grammar English
n = New indication by me
a = Arabic Almanac books
p = Arabic Particles Tool books .

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