The Definite Article Alif Lam | Tajweed Rules
The Definitive Article ‘Alif-Lam’ (ال) in Arabic: Pronunciation Variations Based on the Following Letter
lunar letters - الحُرُوفُ القَمَرِيَّة
When the definite article precedes a word starting with a lunar letter, it is pronounced as ‘ال‘ (al). Lunar letters are a specific group of Arabic letters that undergo assimilation (Idgham) when preceded by the definite article. These 14 lunar letters are:
ه – م – ي – ق – ع – ف – خ – و – ك -ج – ح – غ – ب – ء
الْبَابُ – it is pronounced al-baab
الْحَجُ – it is pronounced al-hajj
Solar Letters - الحُوُوفُ الشَّمْسِيَّة
The remaining portion of the Arabic alphabet comprises the solar letters, which, like their lunar counterparts, also number 14. These solar letters are distinct from lunar letters in that they do not undergo assimilation (Idgham) when the definite article ‘ال‘ (al) precedes them. This differentiation between lunar and solar letters is a crucial aspect of Arabic phonetics and pronunciation. Here are the 14 solar letters:
ش – س – ز – ر – ذ – -د -ت – ث – ن – ل – ظ – ط – ض – ص
There are two distinct cases to consider:
When the Definite Article “Lam Alif” is Not Preceded by a Word: In this scenario, the definite article “lam alif” will undergo assimilation if the following word begins with a solar letter. This assimilation results in the pronunciation of the article as “ا” (alif), and the initial letter of the subsequent word is doubled in pronunciation.
We emphasize the significance of this pronunciation, and in written form, it is denoted with a shadda (ـّ) to indicate the doubling of the letter’s sound. This rule is vital for accurate Arabic pronunciation and is particularly relevant in Tajweed when reciting the Quran.
الرَّحْمَنُ it is pronounced ar-Rahman
الرَّحِيْمُ it is pronounced ar-Raheem
الشَّجَرُ it is pronounced ash-shajaru
When the definite article "lam alif" is preceded by a word, it ceases to be pronounced altogether:
Omitting the pronunciation of the definite article “lam alif” establishes a seamless connection between the preceding word and the word it defines, significantly enhancing the reading flow.
In the absence of articulating the article, you create a direct link between the first word and the solar letter of the second word by doubling the pronunciation of that specific letter. This emphasis on the letter aids in the smooth transition between the two words.
مِنَ الرَّحمَنِ is pronounced mina r Rahmani
Application in Surah Al-Fatiha
- In red colour are the solar letters.
- In blue colours are the lunar letters.
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ
Recitation of Two Words: When the First Ends with a Prolongation Letter and the Second is a Defined Word with "Alif Lam:
Prolongation letters are specific vowels that receive an extended duration of two beats in the pronunciation of a word. These extended vowels are known as:
ا – و – ي – ى
With a Lunar Letter
When a word concludes with a prolongation letter and is immediately followed by a defined word with “Alif Lam,” the recitation involves pronouncing the final letter of the first word as a simple letter carrying a vowel (without elongating the vowel). Simultaneously, “ال” (Alif Lam) will not be fully pronounced; instead, we seamlessly transition from the last letter of the first word to the “lâm ل” of the second word.
فَلْيَعْبُدُوا رَبَّ هَـٰذَا الْبَيْتِ
Let them worship the Lord of this House, (106:3)
With a Solar Letter
When a word concludes with a prolongation letter and is immediately followed by a defined word, the recitation of these two words involves pronouncing the last letter of the first word as a simple letter carrying a vowel (without elongating the vowel). Additionally, “ال” (Alif Lam) will not be pronounced; instead, we smoothly transition from the last letter of the first word to the solar letter of the second word.
وَحُصِّلَ مَا فِي الصُّدُورِ
Indeed, their Lord with them, that Day, is [fully] Acquainted. (100:11)
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