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I was recently introduced to the term I'rab (الإعراب) al-Qur'an, and told it was one of the sciences of the Qur'an.

Now me, I love sciences of the Qur'an as much as anybody else (hey, who doesn't), but this was a new one for me. Google searching was inconclusive; the closest thing to a clear definition I could find was on this site, where it is described thus:

I’raab is to state the type of the word (naw’ul kalimah), its hukm (ruling) and its ‘alaamah (its sign).

Concise, but I still can't quite wrap my head around exactly what it is. Is it just a catch-all for any form of lexical and/or grammatical analysis as applied to the Qur'an, or does it have a more particular meaning?

So the question lies, from the perspective of a layman, what exactly is I'rabul Qur'an?

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I'raab al-Quran means to grammatically dissect verses and understand them.

For example, in Surah Fatiha, Allah says "Ar-Rahmani, Ar-Rahimi." Why do these two names end in kasra (majroor, or "genitive case")? Scholars differed. Some say it is na'at and man'oot (noun + adjective), and some say it is idaafah (possessive case).

This is obviously an important part of studying the Qur'an -- understanding exactly what verses say, and what the meaning implications are.

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Irab also sometimes known as grammar. With Irab one can know the conditions of the Arabic words in terms of Al Bana' البناء and Al Irab الإعراب (Al Mabni المبني is where the end of a word stays on one condition in any composition, and Al Murab المعرب is when the end of a word can change.), و من حيث ما يعرض لها في حال تركيبها .

Ahmed bin Faris bin Zakariyah

Without Irab we could not tell the difference between Fa'il and Maf'ool (فاعل و مفعول), nor Mudhaf from man'oot (مضاف من منعوت), nor would one marvel from a exclamation (استفهام), nor a Sadr from a Masdar, nor a Na't from a Ta'keed.

It is a must to know Irab if one wants to interpret the Qur'an, for it is a need. It is also a need for those who look into the Quran, uncovering it's secrets looking at a word it's wording and place.

The sciences of the Quran is made of a number of researches like Maki and Madani, and Tafseer, Annasikh and Al Mansookh. One of these researches are Irabul Qur'an.

Source: Attabiyan Fi Irabul Qur'an by AbilBaba' Abdulah bin Al Husayn Al Akbari

and

WikiPedia

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Honestly this doesn't much to answer the question! – Sassir Jul 8 at 9:46

This is just an addition to the given answers, which have only pointed at one single subject of this science -> grammatical issues in the Quran and the implied linguistic meanings.

A major reason or goal of the science of I'rab al-Quran is or maybe show a couple of things:

The grammatical and linguistic correctness of a reading as you may find

  • one reading using passive form while an other is using an active form.
  • One reading using a plural where one is using singular.
  • Some readings are using some kind of linguistic specification for example: any word that ends with هم no matter what the logical grammatical rule should be has a dama over the ha' "هُم" or a kasra over it "هِم" and similar specific rulings (There's a similar case for singular too). In books on the matter the rule behind it would be explained and the linguistic sources would be analyzed.
  • There are -at first sight- some grammatical Issues with some readings, so this science solves them and gives an explanation.

Note that I'rab includes the root "Arab" or "Arabic" and could be understood as make it Arabic or check it's Arabic background ...

An other point which is shown is the root of some Quranic words in the original Arabic language for example the word "صراط" was originally pronounced "سراط" and some tribes used to pronounce it more likely with a "zayn" so that it might sound like "زراط" the three of them are all correct and approved readings of the Quran, while the most prevalent is what we may call a deviation of the original fasih language!

On the other hand even if Imam a-Shafi'i said that the Quran is Arabic, we know a more accurate "expression" would be it is Arabic or adapted by Arabs, as there are many words in the Quran which Arabs of the time knew, but former Arabs didn't as they came from Persian, Hebrew etc.

So to conclude is not only a grammatical backup for the correctness of the Quran, as in reality the Arabic grammar -in form of grammatical rules- is younger than the Quran. As it needed a canonical or unified language to create a concept of a more or less unified grammar (there are different language schools of grammar the most prominent are those of Basra and Kufa) and this only came by the inauguration of the Mushaf al-Imam by 'Othamn ibn 'Affan (May Allah be pleased with him). But it is also checking the origins of the languages of the Arabic tribes, established non-Arabic words and expressions and roots of some Arabic words.

One of the most prominent Books on the matter is at-Tibyan fi 'Irab al-Quran by Abulbaqa' al-'Okbary أبو البقاء العُكبَرِي. The autor also wrote a book about I'rab al-Hadith.

And Allah knows best!

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