We’ve just finished learning the Mazeed feeh family, and Ustaadh Adam showed us some examples from the Quran with the different families.
Family IV (أَسْلَمَ يُسْلِمُ إسْلامًا) and Family III (جاهد يُجاهِدُ جِهاداً و مُجاهجةً)
The last ayah of Surah Aali Imraan:
O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful. (3:200)
In translation this is what we see, but if we look into the qualities of these two families, we can see the power of the meaning. The backdrop of this ayah is after the battle of Uhud where the Muslims suffered a huge hit where a lot of them were martyred and the Prophet saw himself was badly injured. Allah here tells them,
اصْبِرُوا – translated as persevere
صَابِرُوا – translated as endure
These two words come from the same root (ص ب ر), but they are on different patterns, so the meaning will also slightly differ.
اصْبِرُوا is basically the root letters plugged into family IV (أَسْلَمَ يُسْلِمُ إسْلامًا). This family generally gives the meaning of transitive (something done on something/someone), immediate and complete. So in this case, this means, ‘adopt patience’.
صَابِرُوا is the root letters plugged into Family 3 (جاهد يُجاهِدُ جِهاداً و مُجاهجةً). This family generally gives the meaning of opposition between two parties. So in this case here, this means, ‘oppose them with more patience’ or be even more patient that they are.
The Muslims had just suffered a big blow in the Battle of Uhud. They returned to Madinah with injuries and with news of those martyred, among them was Hamzah Ibn Abdul Mutallib, the Prophet’s (saw) beloved uncle. So Allah told the Muslims to adopt patience, but that is not enough. In fact, they should be even more patient, that it’s as if they’re continuing to oppose the Quraysh, but with patience. With this huge loss, they could be demoralized, and they were demoralized, especially upon hearing the rumor that the Prophet saw had died. So this is the time for adopting patience and even more patience. They also needed to be prepared for another return of the Quraysh who might come back to finish them off.
Even though the English translation somewhat carry that meaning, it’s always amazing to see how the Arabic language functions. The slight differences in meaning between all these families are magnified when two or more words with the same root come together, but in different patterns.