The Arabic root or مصدر refers to a three or four consonant base-word which represents a core meaning or concept. Most roots in Arabic are made up of three consonants. A large number of words can be derived from each root.
For example, the root k-t-b كَتَبَ carries the meaning ‘writing’.
Various words are derived from this root, all associated with the idea ‘writing’ literally or abstractly.
Words are formed from these roots by addition of vowels (short and double) and consonants (like hamza, t, s, y, m, n, w).
The root system is a unique and amazing concept in the Arabic language which allows you to rapidly expand your vocabulary. Once you start recognising these patterns, it will be very easy for you to remember the meanings of new words.
Let’s try to identify the roots of some frequent words in the Qur’ān.
The Root R-S-L
|مُرْسَل||mursal||That which was sent|
The Root Kh-L-Q
|خ – ل – ق||kh-l-q||creation|
|خَلَّاق||khallāq||One who creates repeatedly|
|اِخْتِلَاق||ikhtilāq||Fabrication (lies that are made up)|
|خُلُق||khuluq||Character (what a person is made of)|