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I have a little but not much knowledge of Arabic.

Although God is called Al-Karim, I hear the invocation Ya Karim, but I never heard the invocation Ya Al-Karim or Ya-l-Karim. Same for other names of God: the definite article disappears from the vocative. Just as it would in English: May the Lord have mercy on us vs. O Lord, have mercy on us

One big exception: Ya Allah, which I've heard lots. (With definite separation between the end of Ya and the start of Allah, there are three different "a" sounds. I'm not talking about yalla as in let's go.)

Now I see that when my English translation of the Quran has O God, the original is Allahuma. I don't know anything like this construction, where someone is addressed by tacking "-uma" at the end or something similar.

Though as I say, I'm not at all knowledgeable in Arabic and might easily have missed something. So is there a difference? Is Ya Allah in the Quran and I missed it? Is Allahuma preferred? Is Allahuma a unique construction?

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2 Answers 2

When I call someone in English, I would just say, for example:

Mohammad! dinner is ready.

محمد! العشاء جاهز

In Arabic, we have what's called calling prefixes. These prefixes are used before the name of what is being called (Huroof AnNada'), the callee (Al Munada).

There are a number of these calling prefixes, but ya يا is the most used one. So, when I want to call someone in Arabic I would say:

Ya Mohammad! dinner is ready.

يامحمد! العشاء جاهز

By the way, it's not correct to say:

Ya Al-Karim. ياالكريم

Ya Al-Muslim. ياالمسلم

Ya يا and ال Al (witch is the same as the in English) don't fit together. The correct usage is:

Ya Karim. ياكريم

Ya Muslim. يامسلم

By dropping Al, but the Al in Allah is part of the word so you don't drop it.

As far as Allahumma اللهمّ, Allahumma is a rare grammar. It has exactly the same meaning as Ya Allah ياالله, , the same two words but in one form.

What happened, I don't know how, is that, the calling prefix ya يا was dropped and an additional suffix that sounds umma ـمّ was added to Allah Allah-umma الله-ـمّ:

Ya Allah, guide me to the right path.

The same as:

Allahumma, guide me to the right path.

This is a rare usage. As far as I know, umma suffix only fits with Allah. It's not correct to say Mohammadumma محمدمّ or any other name, but Allahumma اللهمّ is correct.

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+1 for the simplicity of the answer, I just add that I think the umma suffix is used with Allah when making a Dua'a –  Hicham LEMGHARI Jan 24 '13 at 23:54
    
So does this mean Ya Allah is also a unique usage (because Al- is kept)? Or is there other examples of where Ya Al- goes together? –  abd al Ahad Jan 25 '13 at 17:01
    
@abdalAhad Al in Allah is part of the word, so we don't remove Al since that will change the word. –  BSH Jan 26 '13 at 0:24
    
@Sp. Is Allah the only name where Al- is part of the name? Or are there other examples? –  abd al Ahad Jan 29 '13 at 16:23
    
+1 and jazakallahu khairan for an excellent answer. I hope there are more questions that you will answer related to the Arabic language. –  Najeeb Jul 13 at 5:52

Watch answer on Facebook video:

www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=763112737073042

Or watch on youtube starting at 6:10 in the following video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_iJwSVSuYU?t=6m10s

Basic answer:

The 'Meem Mushaddad' is used for emphasise. So 'Allahumma' is saying "Allah" with greater emphasise which calls all the attributes of Allah.

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