What is the difference between ضُعف and ضَعف (weakness)

There are many words in the Arabic language where one vowel (حَرَكَة) can change the meaning of the word completely such as with قَدُمَ, which means to be old, and قَدِمَ, which means to arrive. Other times the difference is nuanced.

One example of a nuanced difference is between the words ضُعف and ضَعف, the first with a dhamma and the second with a fatha.

They both mean weak but are used differently

  • ضُعف: used only in regard to body
  • ضَعف: can be attributed to body, mind, or sight.

This is why in the Quran it says:
اللَّـهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن ضَعْفٍ ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِن بَعْدِ ضَعْفٍ قُوَّةً ثُمَّ جَعَلَ مِن بَعْدِ قُوَّةٍ ضَعْفًا وَشَيْبَةً
Allah is the one who created you from weakness, then made after weakness strength, then made after strength weakness and white hair.

The weakness here is referring to the body, mind and sight of humans.


***There is also the word ضِعف. Some may think it means weakness but it actually means a multiple of something, more specifically double of something.

Found this helpful? Get started with one of our courses for free!


Leave a Reply