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The Makhaarij of the Letters

Definition :

The correct position of the organs of speech in order to produce a letter so that it can be differentiated from others. This is equally so whether the letter is a consonant or a vowel.

Being able to recite the letters correctly is the foundation of tajweed, and this is achieved by knowing where the sound originates. This can then help in practising the pronunciation of the letters correctly.

The diagram below gives a snapshot of where each letter originates :

However, Makhaarij must be used hand in hand with sifa (characteristics of the letter) in order to pronounce the letter completely and correctly, as the Makhraj provides the origin and the Sifa provides extra information required to pronounce the letter properly.

To achieve the correct makhraj of a letter, practise via placing a sukoon () on it, and precede it with an alif / hamzah with a kasrah ()




There are 5 main categories of Makhaarij :

1. The oral cavity Al Jawf اﻟﺠَﻮف
2. The throat Al Halq اﻟﺤَﻠﻖ
3. The tongue Al Lissaan اﻟﻠِّﺴَﺎن
4. The lips Ash-shafatain اﻟﺸَّﻔَﺘﺎن
5. The nasal cavity Al Khayshoom اﻟﺨَﻴﺸُﻮم

Al Jawf

This is all the empty space that occurs from the chest, up the throat and out through the mouth.

It is the makhraj of the long vowels sounds (also known as the elongated letters) and is elongated for 2 counts:

Letter Description Extract from Verse (Surah : Verse)
Alif upon which there is a (sukoon)and is preceded by a (fathah)



Waw upon which there is a (sukoon)and is preceded by a (dammah)



Yaa upon which there is a (sukoon)and is preceded by a (kasrah)



These letters are also found in the Qur'an :






NB in the Qur'an, the sukoon may not always be shown on the letter, but as a general rule, whenever a letter does not carry a vowel, it means that it has a sukoon, even if it is not actually present.


Al Halq

In the throat there are 3 makhaarij and each one has 2 letters:















Remember to practise pronouncing letters by placing a sukoon in front of the letter as shown.

Al Lisaan


Many letters come from the mouth: that is the tongue and its connection with the different areas of the teeth and mouth

There are 4 main makhaarij that can be divided into 10 sub-categories:

  1. The furthest back part of the tongue - this has 2 sub categories:
    1. is pronounced by the extreme back of the tongue touching the upper palate to create a thick sound in the tonsils vicinity, with a round sound ()

    2. The makhraj is slightly in front of the . This time the tongue should not meet the upper palate other than what is necessary to pronounce the letter. So the sound still comes from the back of the tongue, except this time the tongue is not elevated.()


  2. The middle of the tongue - this single makhraj covers 3 letters:

    , and

    These are all pronounced when the middle part of the tongue comes in contact with what lies opposite to it from the roof of the mouth


  3. The side of the tongue - this has 2 specific points of articulation:
    1. The rear side of the tongue touches the upper back teeth (upper molars) in either one of 3 ways : from the right side, from the left side OR from both sides. The left side of the tongue is most commonly used as it is easier than the right, and usage of both sides of the tongue is rare               ()
    2. Located behind the makhraj of the   ()


  4. The tip of the tongue
    1. These letters pretty much come from the same place - the difference between them is slight but important. The tip of the tongue meets the base of the top front teeth (place where the gums and teeth meet):
      • Is most forward and exact at the poin t where the gums and teeth meet  ()
      • Is a little further back   ()
      • Is behind the a little. The back of the tongu e should also meet the upper palate as it is a thick letter   ()
      • The tip the tongue should meet the place where the gums and lower teeth meet. You should allow the flow of air in the mouth to pass from the back to the front and exit from between the teeth   ()
      • The back of the tongue elevates to meet the  the upper palate as it is a thick letter  ()
      • For this letter, the teeth should be pressed together  that the air passage sounds like a buzzing sound   ()
    2. the tip of the tongue meets the edge of the front upper teeth:
      • is articulated by putting pressure o n the edge of the 2 upper incisor teeth  ()
      • is articulated by putting pressure o n the mid-section of the 2 upper incisor teeth   ()
      • is articulated by putting pressure on the edge of the roots of the upper incisor teeth. The back of the tongue elevates to meet the upper palate as it is a thick letter  ()

Ash Shafatain

This is simply the lips, and has 2 sub-categories:

  1. When one lip is used
    • The edge of the upper front teeth meet the in side lower lip (the wet part)   ()


  2. When two lips are used
    • This is not the of elongation from the jawf. This letter wi ll carry a harakaat. It is pronounced by the incomplete joining of both lips   ()
    • Pronounced by the meeting of the dry outer parts of the lips, and pushing air through the nasal passage  ()
    • Pronounced by pressing the lips together firmly and quickly. Similar to the letter but there is more of a bounce as you press the lips then quickly release them again. ()

Al Khayshoom

The nasal cavity is located at the furthest point of the nose (the bridge of the nose). It is the opening that connects the mouth w ith the nose. This connection is where the ghunnah exits. The ghunnah is a sound that is resonated and the tongue is not used to produce it . The duration of the ghunnah sound is for 2 counts.

The ghunnah is produced in the following cases:


Letter Extract from Verse Surah :Verse     Extract from Verse Surah:Verse  
(78:1)   (78:5)
(78:16)   (78:17)


Quick Tip..

Ensure that the following letters are differentiated and pronounced correctly.



Click 'here' to view practice exercises for the rules of نّ and مّ


Click on the 'Summary Chart ' link on the right hand sidebar to view a summarised chart for the sub-divisions of Makhaarij



Click to view a pdf chart of the sub-divisions of Makhaarij Click to download the latest version of Adobe Reader. You will need it to view the Summary Chart

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