In this blog post we will examine a pretty tricky expression: لَبَّيْكَ
“Labbaika” is said during the pilgrimage before the pilgrims enter Mecca: لَبَّيْكَ اللَّهُمَّ لَبَّيْكَ . It means: Here I am! At your service! But what kind of word is that?
Let us check it step by step:
1. The root:
It is ل – ب – ى . This root is only used as a II-verb and means to follow, to obey (a call, an invitation), to say “labbaika”.
2. The مَصْدَر:
The مَصْدَر of لَبَّي – a form-II-verb (فَعَّلَ) – would be تَلْبِية . But we don’t use this word for our expression. Instead, we use لَبٌّ which is the so called اِسْم الْمَصْدَر of the verb لَبَّى.
3. Form the dual:
The word لَبٌّ is put into the dual form for the sake of corroboration (emphasis). It has somehow the meaning of: “answer after answer“, “saying after saying“, etc. Check the table below for examples. The dual is لَبَّانِ in مَرْفُوع (nominative) or لَبَّيْنِ in مَجْرُور or مَنْصُوب (genitive, accusative).
4. Put the word into in مَنْصُوب:
Why is that? Let us explain this by the Arabic expression سُبْحانَ اللَّهِ (Praise Allah! Or: God be praised!). This expression (similar to “labbaika”) is used as an exclamation of surprise – a special form of the أُسْلُوب التَّعَجُّب . Grammatically speaking, سُبْحانَ is a so called اِسْم مَصْدَر and is used as a مَفْعُول مُطْلَق (which always has to be مَنْصُوب !). Actually there is no other application – this word is only used as a مَفْعُول مُطْلَق. So we need لَبَّيْنِ for our example.
5. Add the personal pronoun:
As we connect the personal pronoun you (you here refers to Allah) and since we use the word as a مَفْعُول مُطْلَق the ن is elided – because it is connected to a personal pronoun.
6. Result: Finally, we get: لَبَّيْكَ
There are a bunch of expressions that are constructed in a similar way using a مَفْعُول مُطْلَق (sometimes in connection with the dual form, for example: سَعْدَيْكَ)
Here are some common expressions:
أُسَبِّحُ اللَّه تَسْبِيحًا
God forbid! God save (protect) me (us) from that!
أَعْوُذُ بِاللَّهِ مَعاذًا
Here I am! At your service!
أُلَبِّيكَ تَلْبِية بَعْدَ تَلْبِية أي أُلَبِّيكَ كَثِيرًا
And all good is in your hands.
أسْعَدْتُكَ إسعادًا بَعْدَ إسعادٍ