Arabic the Agent or Deputy of the Doer

نَائِب الْفَاعِلِ

الثَّانِيْ: كُلُّ تَرْكِيْبٍ مِثْل “حُفِظَ الْكِتَابُ”وَ”يُطْلَبُ الْعِلْمُ”، وَيُسَمَّى الاسْمُ حِيْنَئِذٍ “نَائِبَ فَاعِلٍ”     The second (place of الرَّفْع ) is every construction like: “حُفِظَ الْكِتَابُ” (The book was memorised) and “يُطْلَبُ الْعِلْمُ” (Knowledge is sought or acquired), and the الاسْم is, then, called “نَائِب فَاعِلٍ” (Agent/Deputy of the doer).  


If someone steals your watch and you know his identity and you want to inform him about that, you say: “سَرَقَ فُلاَنٌ السَّاعَةَ” [So-and-so (like Zaid, for example) has stolen the watch]. However, if you do not know his identity or you know his identity but you do not want to mention his name, you say: “سُرِقَتِ السَّاعَةُ” (The watch has been stolen). Thus, you drop the الْفَاعِل and you put in its place the word denoting that onto which the action occurred which is the word “السَّاعَة” and it is for this reason (i.e. “السَّاعَة” occupying the place of the الْفَاعِل ) that it (i.e. “السَّاعَة” ) becomes مَرْفُوْع and is called the “نَائِب الْفَاعِلِ” (agent/deputy of the doer).

The form and structure of the الْفِعْل is subsequently changed when used with it (i.e. with the نَائِب الْفَاعِلِ ). Thus:

  • if it is مَاضٍ (past tense verb), its initial letter is vowelled with a ضَمَّة and the second last letter is vowelled with a كَسْرَة and
  • if it is مُضَارِع (present or future tense verb), its initial letter is also vowelled with a ضَمَّة and the second last letter is vowelled with a فَتْحَة .

Furthermore, similar to the word “السَّاعَة” in this example are:

  • the word “الْكِتَاب” (the book) in “حُفِظَ الْكِتَابُ (The book was memorised),
  • “الْعِلْم” (knowledge) in “يُطْلَبُ الْعِلْمُ (Knowledge is sought or acquired),
  • “الإِنْسَان” (humankind) in “خُلِقَ الإِنْسَانُ (Humankind was created),
  • “الْغَنَم” (the sheep) in “تُؤْكَلُ الْغَنَمُ (The sheep is being eaten),
  • “النَّاس” (the people) in “أُرْشِدَ النَّاسُ (The people were guided) and
  • “الْخَائِن” (the traitor) in “يُبْغَضُ الْخَائِنُ (The traitor is hated).

Likewise is the case with every word that is preceded by a فِعْل after having changed its form and structure and denotes that onto which the action occurs.

It becomes clear to us from the previous examples that the constructions of the first place (i.e. the الْفَاعِل ) are transformed into the constructions of the second place (i.e. the نَائِب الْفَاعِلِ ) by dropping the الْفَاعِل and vowelling the first letter of the الْفِعْل with a ضَمَّة and the second last letter with a كَسْرَة or a ضَمَّة based on what you know already.