High Frequency Word of The Quran #99: مَا

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BismillahirRahmanirRahim. Assalamu’alaikum Wr. Wb.

Dear student of the Noble Quran,

Assalamu’alaikum wr wb.

Yesterday you’ve learned the word (أصحاب) which means “companions”, this word is repeated 78 times in the Quran. The HFW you will learn today is repeated for 79 times in the Quran. As of today you’ve learned 2 words from the Quran which together they are being repeated for 157 times! In the next 10 days we will be learning 10 words which will amount to 810 words from the Quran. MasyaAllah! Let’s continue reading!

Today we learn about the word Ma (ما) which means “That/Which/What/Like/As”.

Below is your 2nd High Frequency Word of the Quran:

Aspire list of HFW Number: #99



Transliteration: maa

Meaning: That/Which/What/Like/As

Frequency in the Quran: 79 times

First Mention in Quran: Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 13 (2:13)

Last Mention in Quran: Surah Al-Muzammil, Verse 15 (73:15)

In Surah Al-Maidah, Verse 117 (5:117), Allah s.w.t. says (in the context of Nabi Isa a.s. replying to Allah s.w.t.):

I said not to them except what You commanded me – to worship Allah , my Lord and your Lord. And I was a witness over them as long as I was among them; but when You took me up, You were the Observer over them, and You are, over all things, Witness.


If you read the above verse in it’s original Arabic text, you will find that the word (مَا) is repeated four times. Although ma has only one phonetic value, as in it is only one syllable, only make one sound, depending on it’s usage in a sentence or a verse its meaning is diverse.

During my first time of broadcasting HFWs or High Frequency Words in 2014, I didn’t include HFW #99. It wasn’t included because it was complex and I felt it may be too challenging for me to explain in a single whatsapp broadcast message and too much for my subscribers to read. But I choose to include it this time round because hundreds of people were asking during the previous round. I just hope that my explanation will not confuse you.

The verse above is an excellent example to illustrate the multiple meanings of the word (مَا). In this article the main meaning we want to learn is 1. “WHAT” but this what is not a word we use in the context of asking a question, it is rather a word that is in place of a noun, a pronoun replacing a noun. But in Arabic grammar we don’t call this dhamir (ضَمِيْر) which is a direct translation of what is a pronoun, rather we call it isim mawsul (اسم موصول). If you wish to understand this further, it is better to do so in the context of a classroom. Please ask your Arabic language teacher to explain, insyaAllah it will not be difficult for you to understand.

Another meaning for the word ma in the verse above which we do not include its frequency value to this ma, is 2.”NOT“.  In the words of Nabi Isa a.s. “I said NOT“. The third meaning of the word ma in this verse is used in combination with another word dumtu (ُدُمْت) in ma dumtu (ُمَا دُمْت) when combined it means 3.”as long as I am“.  The fourth ma in this verse is not a word on its own but part of a word lamma (لَمَّا) which means “WHEN“.

Alhamdulillah I hope this makes it easier for your to understand the HFW for today. Please leave a comment, if you think it’s beneficial say a few words, I would appreciate it. If you don’t think it’s good enough please let me know what else I can improve perhaps it will help the next batch of students.

This verse also serve as evidence that Nabi Isa a.s. is a prophet and messenger of Allah. And not a god or son of god as claimed by some. We believe in all prophets mentioned in the Quran and we respect other religion as well. What we hope for is guidance from Allah and consistency to apply the knowledge that we have. All messengers were sent to unite us, unite us in our journey to Allah s.w.t. if can respect others’ religion insyaAllah that will be the beginning, perhaps one day Allah will give them hidayah and we will walk this journey together with them to attain Allah’s pleasure.

Please search for this verse, Surah Al-Maidah, Verse 117 (5:117) and read it today.


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Yazid Bin Muhamad SallehTill Next Time, remember
Al-Quran is Our Life Coach!

– Yazid