30 January 2017

Arabic Particles: Learn Arabic Preposition لِ li

Learn Arabic Preposition لِ li meaning shades and usage.
Learn Arabic Preposition Li

See Arabic Particles Meanings series to learn Arabic particles and related words meanings.
Also see Arabic Particles Quick Study Tool.

Last edited on : 30 January 2017
All the credit and all the praises and all the thanks for whatever is good and beneficial in this post and all the other posts, tools, and projects are just for ALLAH, and whatever shortcoming or mistake there is in any of these is due to me, an ordinary slave of ALLAH! and I seek ALLAH's forgiveness and pardon for any shortcomings and mistakes in any of these. 

1 (n) . The core meaning shade of Arabic preposition لِ li appears to be
to point out or specify the one to whom something is
owned by, belonging to, possessed by,
due to or for, owed to, right of, permitted for,
peculiar or specific to, 
for utilization or benefit or service of, for the advantage of,
possessed by,
related to,
etc.
or to point out the
reason, cause, purpose, outcome, result etc.
or to point out the thing or being in reference to whom
some act is done or something is said
for , to , of / regarding, by etc.
or we may also say
to specify its genitive mentioned after it with the relation to which what is mentioned before it is related to, e.g. to specify the possessor and relate it to the thing possessed by it, or to specify the owner and relate it to what is owned by it etc.

[ for , exclusively for , to , belongs to , of , by ]
Notes: Usage in the shade of by is usually derived from belonging to, an act or saying belonging to someone can also be referred to as by. Similarly, the of is usually the one used in book of Asim etc. 

2 (h,w,n) . The lam ل when used as preposition or genitive particle is written with kasrah i.e. as لِ li except in following cases where it is written with fathah i.e. as لَ la
i. With attached pronouns it is written لَ la except with with 1st person singular ى which it is written لِ li
لِى لَنَا لَكَ لَكِ لَكُمَا لَكُمْ لَكُنَّ لَهُ لَهَا لَهُمَا لَهُمْ لَهُنَّ
ii. With the person or group called to help using يَا and if there is more than 1 person or group called to help using a single يَا then only the 1st is written لَ la and remaining written لِ li.
يَا لَزَيْدٍ وَلِعَاصِمٍ O for Zaid and for Asim!
iii. With the wondered at using يَا e.g
يَا لَلْعَجَبِ O to / for the wonder!
In this post, the lam ل when used as a preposition, is referred to as the Arabic preposition لِ li, since except the above exceptions it is always written as لِ li.

3 (h,w,n) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is used to indicate
one or multiple of the following meaning shades
ownership,
making owner,
quasi-ownership,
making quasi-owner,
right or permission
deserving,
peculiarity / specific to,
utilization / benefit / service,
relation etc.
Usually books separate the shades like the above, as separate points but usually an overlap exists and more than 1 shade is applicable, so I have mentioned these together as 1 point, and explained some of these points separately also.  

[ for , exclusively for , to , belongs to ]

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّٰهِ All the thankful praises are exclusively for ALLAH. (Translation attempt for words from The Qur'an 1:2)
وَلِلّٰهِ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ and belongs to ALLAH what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. And is exclusively for ALLAH what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. (Translation attempt for words from The Qur'an 3:109)
وَهَبْتُ لِزَيْدٍ دِينَارًا I gave to Zaid a Dinar.
فَلَهُ ذٰلِكَ then for / to him is that. (i.e. he has a right or permission to / for that)

4 (w,n) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is used along with its noun or pronoun, to indicate
has, have, had, which literally can be translated as for so and so.

[ for , { has , have, had } (note: this is not the translation of لِ li alone and includes the meaning from the noun or pronoun also) ]

كَانَ لِلْمَلِكِ مِائَتَا عَبْدٍ there were for the king 200 slaves. The king had 200 slaves. 

5 (w,h) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used to indicate
the author of a book, poem, saying, work etc.

[ belongs to , of , by ]

هٰذَا ٱلْكِتَابُ لِعَاصِمٍ this book belongs to / of / by Asim.
كَمَا قِيلَ لِعَاصِمٍ like what was said by Asim. 

6 (w) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used to indicate
right or permission

[ for , to ]

فَلَهُ ذٰلِكَ then for / to him is that.  (i.e. he has a right or permission to / for that)

7 (w) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used to indicate
advantage or benefit etc as opposed to عَلَىٰ indicating harm. 

[ for , to ]

مَا لَهَا وَمَا عَلَيْهَا what is for it and what is upon / against it. 

8 (w) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used to indicate
creditor as opposed to عَلَىٰ indicating the debtor. 

[ for , to ]

لِى عَلَيْكَ أَلْفُ دِرْهَمٍ for / to me upon you are a 1000 dirhams. You owe me a 1000 dirhams.

9 (w) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used
with the pronominal suffix instead of using the noun or pronoun with the pronominal suffix directly. 

[ to , for , of ]

جَاۤءَ لِى أَخٌ a brother to / for me came or a brother of mine came, instead of جَاۤءَ أَخِى my brother came. The 1st method avoids making the noun definite implying a brother, while in 2nd method the noun is made definite, implying a specific brother in context.

10 (h,a) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used with the verb قَالَ and some related verbs to
deliver or communicate what is said to the one to whom something is said.

[ to , for ]

قَالَ لَكَ he said to you. He said for you (i.e. his saying was targeted for your listening).

11 (w) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used with the verb قَالَ to indicate
that in reference to or regarding which something is said.

[ of ] (regarding)

قَالَ لَكَ he said of you (i.e. his saying was regarding/about you).
يُقَالُ لَهُ حَنِيفٌ it is said of him Haneef . He is called Haneef. 

12 (w,n) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used to indicate
desire or wish or inclination or intent, and usually in such cases it is used with أَنْ and another preposition.

[ for , to , have , {overall translation for the statement with لِ and أَنْ and another preposition} ]

فَقُلْ هَل لَّكَ إِلَىٰۤ أَنْ تَزَكَّىٰ then say, is there for / to you inclination that you attain tazkiyah? (form V) (attain growth step by step towards your true potential by purifying yourself from the impurities and hurdles). Then say, do you have inclination that you attain tazkiyah? (attain growth step by step towards your true potential by purifying yourself from the impurities and hurdles) (Translation attempts for The Qur'an 79:18)
هَل لَّكَ فِى أَنْ تَفْعَلُ هٰذَا do you intend to do this? Is there for / to you in case that you do this? Is there for / to you in doing this?

13 (w) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used to indicate
the purpose, reason or cause
to achieve which anything is done or something is.

[ to , for ]

قَامَ لِنُصْرَتِهِ he stood up to aid him. He stood up for aiding him. 

14 (w,n) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used to indicate
the purpose, reason or cause
because of which anything is done or something is.

[ due to ] ( because of )

وَلِهٰذَا قِيلَ and due to this it was said.

15 (w,n) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used to indicate
the reason or cause
and is used together with مَا and the pronoun or noun to indicate
what is the reason for you, what has happened to you etc.

[ to , for , reason for , happened to ]

مَا لَكَ لَا تَفْعَلُ هَٰذَا what has happened to you, you don't do this. What is the reason for you, you don't do this.

16 (p,n) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used
with the imperfect مُضَارِع verb made مَنْصُوب accusative, due to mentioned or (not mentioned) implied أَنْ or mentioned كَيْ to indicate
the purpose, reason or cause
to achieve which the action is done

[ for , to , so (this translation of so is used when it is used with أَنْ or كَيْ and then لِ and one of these can be translated together as so that and sometimes أَنْ is implied but not mentioned ]

Another thing to keep in mind for this point and below mentioned 2 more points, is that, it is possible to translate أَنْ and مُضَارِع verb together in the sense of verbal noun.

وَأُمِرْتُ لِأَنْ أَكُونَ أَوَّلَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ and I was commanded so that I be the 1st of the Muslims. And I was commanded for being the 1st of the Muslims. And I was commanded to be the 1st of the Muslims. (Translation attempts for The Qur'an 39:12) 

17 (p,n) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used
with the imperfect مُضَارِع verb made مَنْصُوب accusative, due to mentioned or implied أَنْ to indicate
the effect of the action (not the intent for the action), or
the eventual outcome, end result, ultimate state or condition

[ for , to , so (this translation of so is used when it is used with أَنْ or كَيْ and then لِ and one of these can be translated together as so that and sometimes أَنْ is implied but not mentioned ]

فَٱلْتَقَطَهُ ۥۤ ءَالُ فِرْعَوْنَ لِيَكُونَ لَهُمْ عَدُوًّا وَحَزَنًا then picked him adherents of fir'aun so that he becomes for them an enemy and a grief. Then picked him adherents of fir'aun for becoming for them an enemy and a grief. Then picked him adherents of fir'aun to become for them an enemy and a grief. (Translation attempts for words from The Qur'an 28:8)

18 (p,a,h,n) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used
with the imperfect مُضَارِع verb made مَنْصُوب accusative, due to mentioned or implied أَنْ in addition to having مَا كَانَ or لَمْ يَكُنْ at the beginning, to indicate
corroboration of negation

[ for , to , such (this translation of such is used when it is used with أَنْ that and having مَا كَانَ or لَمْ يَكُنْ at the beginning then لِ and one of these can be translated together as such that and sometimes أَنْ is implied but not mentioned ]

وَمَا كَانَ ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ لِيَنْفِرُوا كَاۤفَّةً  nor are the believers such that they go out as an all-inclusive whole. Nor is it for the believers that they go out as an all-inclusive whole. Nor are the believers to go out as an all-inclusive whole. (Translation attempts for words from The Qur'an 9:122)

19 (n,a) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used with ءَامَنَ also written as اۤمَنَ and related verbs to indicate
believing someone.

[ of , by , his (for لِ and pronoun together ) , to , for , (in English usage and style, believe alone usually conveys this sense) ]

اۤمَنَ لَهُ he believed his (saying/promise etc.) or he believed (saying/promise etc.) of / by him or he believed to / for him or he believed him. (i.e. believed something of his e.g. his saying, his promise etc.)
vs
اۤمَنَ بِهِ he believed in him. (i.e. believed in connection with his being or existence)

20 (n) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used
in cases like falling to, going down to or in cases like of or by some part of body, e.g. side of forehead, side etc.
In English, there are 2 ways of saying the following statement: to your knees vs on your knees, and like in English, you won't say when someone mentions to your knees that he actually meant on your knees. Similarly, in English fell on the ground and fell to the ground are not the same and we can't say when someone says fell to the ground, that no, you meant fell on the ground. Similarly in Arabic, we can't say for someone who says لِ that no, he actually meant to say عَلَىٰ here.

[ to , for , by ]

وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ and he laid him down to / by the forehead's side. (Translation attempt for words from The Qur'an 37:103)
يَخِرُّونَ لِلْأَذْقَانِ سُجَّدًا they fall down to the chins in prostration. (Translation attempt for words from The Qur'an 17:107)
وَإِذَا مَسَّ ٱلْإِِنْسَانَ ٱلْضُّرُّ دَعَانَا لِجَنۢبِهِ أَوْ قَاعِدًا أَوْ قَائِمًا and when touches the human the harm, he calls Us to / by his side or sitting or standing (Translation attempt for words from The Qur'an 10:12)

21 (n,w,f) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used to indicate
time or time period or range/duration of time.

[ for , to , by ] (when , at (i.e in specifying or pointing to time or duration, at or when may also be used))

لِأَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى for a specified duration. (Focus on the duration from the start till the end).
vs
إِلَىٰ أَجَلٍ مُّسَمًّى till a specified duration. (Focus on the ending of the duration)
Both these may be referring to the same duration, but the way of saying it highlights 2 different angles of looking at this duration.

أَقِمِ ٱلصَّلَاةَ لِدُلُوكِ ٱلشَّمْسِ إِلَىٰ غَسَقِ ٱللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ ٱلْفَجْرِ ۖ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ ٱلْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا
establish the Salaat for / by / at the declining of the sun till the darkening of the night and the recitation of the dawn, indeed the recitation of the dawn is witnessed. (Translation attempt for The Qur'an 17:78) (The لِ appears to be pointing out the duration indicated in "the declining of the sun till the darkening of the night" i.e. during this time 4 obligatory Salaat are established. The Salaat of Dawn is referred to separately as recitation of the dawn i.e. recitation of The Qur'an in The Fajr Salaat.)

لِلَيْلَةٍ مَضَتْ مِنَ ٱلشَّهْرِ when a night passed from the month.

لِوَقْتِهِ at its time.

22 (w) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used
with the person or group called to help using يَا and if there is more than 1 person or group called to help using a single يَا then only the 1st is written لَ la and remaining written لِ li. Similarly لِ li is also used with the person or group against whom the help is called for.

[ to , for ]

يَا لَزَيْدٍ وَلِعَاصِمٍ O for Zaid and for Asim! (i.e. call for help Zaid and Asim)
يَا لَزَيْدٍ لِعَاصِمٍ O for Zaid to Asim! (i.e. call for help, Zaid to defend against Asim)

23 (w) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used
for calling someone using يَا to something, with both of which ل is used, in a similar way as in above point.

[ for , to ]

يَا لَلرِّجَالِ لِلْمَاۤءِ O for the men to the water! (i.e. call for the men, to access the water)

24 (w) . The Arabic preposition لِ li is also used
with the wondered at or surprised at using يَا e.g.

[ to , for ]

يَا لَلْعَجَبِ O to / for the wonder!

In cases like above 3, the لِ seems to point out the person or thing, in reference to which the exclamation is said, as being the origin or cause of it. 

25 (n) . Lets recap some uses of لِ again using a simple example 
لَهُ exclusively for him / for him / to him / belonging to him / his / of him / by him . 

26 . 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
l = Lane's Lexicon
n = New indication by me
a = Arabic Almanac and Mawrid Reader books
p = Arabic Particles Tool books
m = Sharh of Miatu Amil .
f =  Fischer Arabic Grammar (its PDF can be downloaded from the link).

Arabic has been typed using the free and detailed Arabic keyboard, latest live version of which is available at:
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