I came across an amusing anecdote in Lisan al-’Arab recently illustrating the dangers of engaging in naht haphazardly.
It is related from Ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him) that his wife one day asked him to provide a jilbab (protective outer garment worn outside the house) for her. He replied, “I fear that you will then set aside the jilbab in which Allah has contained you.” She asked him, “What is that?” He said, “Your house.”
To which she replied,
أَجَنَّك من أَصحابِ محمدٍ تقول هذا؟
“Ajannaka from the Companions of Muhammad (peace be upon him), that you say this?”
The word of interest here is the first one in the sentence: ajannaka. At first glance it could render the sentence as ‘You have been made mad by one of the Companions of Muhammad (peace be upon him)’, based on it being from the root ج – ن – ن.
However, the wife of Ibn Mas’ood actually came up with her own form of naht here: what she intended to say was,
أَمِنْ أَجلِ أَنّك
Is it due to that fact that you are…
But she ommitted from this phrase:
- the word مِن
- the أ and ل from the word أجل
- the أ from the word أنّك
…resulting in the final combination: .أَجَنَّك