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Letters and Vowels

Introduction

The Arabic Alphabet

The table shows the letters of the alphabet in their possible states, depending on whether they are isolated or together with other letters in a word. If it is in a word, its form is affected by its position within the word, whether initial, middle or final. This causes a letter to have 4 possible forms, 1 when alone, and 3 when in a word: initial, middle and final.

 

MERGED

ISOLATED

Final Middle Initial
ـأ  ـأ أ أ
ـبـ بـ ب
ـتـ تـ ت
ـث ـثـ ث
ـج ـجـ جـ ج
ـح ـحـ حـ ح
ـخ ـخـ خـ خ
ـد ـد د د 
ـذ ـذ ذ ذ
ـر ـر ر ر 
ـز ـز ز ز  
ـس ـسـ سـ س
ـش ـشـ شـ ش 
ـص ـصـ صـ ص 
ـض ـضـ ضـ ض 
ـط طـ ط
ـظ ـظـ ظـ ظ
ـع ـعـ عـ ع
ـغ ـغـ غـ غ
ـف ـفـ فـ ف  
ـق ـقـ قـ ق  
ـك ـكـ كـ ك 
ـل ـلـ لـ ل  
ـم ـمـ مـ  م
ـن ـنـ نـ ن 
ـه ـهـ هـ  ہ 
ـو ـو و  و 
ي  ـيـ  يـ ي

 

NOTE :

There are 6 letters that do not allow any letter to join with them from the left. These letters are :

 و ز ر ذ د أ

Click here to view a printable chart about these letters.

 

Letters

The correct recitation of the Qur'an that is achieved by giving each letter its due (using the organs of speech) through:

  • The vowel movements - Harakaat
  • Prescribed point of exit (where the sound of each letter should come from) - Makhraj
  • The manner of articulation (the characteristics of the letters and recitation) - Sifa

 

There are 16 letters of the Arabic alphabet which can be likened to various letters of the English alphabet :

 
Arabic Letter Closest English Equivalent Arabic Word Example Surah : Verse English word example Audio
ب B 78:12 Bravo
ت T 79:6 Tango
ج J 78:9 Juliet
د D 79:30 Delta
ز Z 79:13 Zulu
س S 78:4 Sierra
ش Sh 78:39 Shoe
ف F 78:3 Foxtrot
ك K 78:4 Kilo
ل L 78:10 Leema
م M 78:3 Mike
ن N 78:9 November
ه H 78:3 Hotel
و W 78:16 Water
ء A 78:14 Alpha
ي Y 78:18 Yankee

The following letters do not have an English equivalent. These are :

  ‌‌  ‌  ‌ ‌
ث خ ذ ر ص ض
ط ظ ع ‌غ ق    

 

Vowels (Harakaat)

In the English language we use letters for vowels, whereas in the Arabic language we use symbols, or a combination of symbols and letters. Also, the Arabic language has short and long vowels, whereas the English language has just the one type.

SHORT VOWELS (1 count)

 
Symbol Name Also Known As Sound Example of Sound Example of Arabic letter  
fathah Zabar a cat
Kasrah Zay i / e me
Dammah Paysh u who

LONG VOWELS (2 counts)

 
Symbol/ Letter Other Sound Extract from Verse Surah :Verse  
ٰ

ىٰ

aa

aa

aa

(114:2)

 

(114:3)

 

(93:1)
  ea/ee (114:5)
  oo (112:3)

MISCELLANEOUS

 
Symbol/ Letter Name Description Extract from Verse Surah :Verse  
/ Sukoon / Saakin Indicates the absence of a vowel. Joins 2 letters together (112:4)
Shaddah Indicates a doubled letter (joins 2 letters and also tightens the pronunciation to illustrate 2 of the same letter), to the point that you pause on it for a fraction of a second

E.g

(113:5)

SHADDAH ()

The letter on which the symbol appears is read by doubling it. (e.g R would become RR) So the first letter (R) is read as if there would be a sukoon (stop) on the it and the second (R) with a harakat (vowel)

E.g

'Tabba' ( ) should be read as 'tab-ba' (2 ب 's),

not as 'tab' ( )

(1 ب )

In its original form it can be dissected as

Caution - when there are a couple or a few tashdeeds together in one, two or three words, then utmost care should be taken to ensure that all the tashdeeds are recited correctly. It is a common mistake to be neglectful of these collective tashdeeds

Example

Extract from Verse Surah :Verse  
(113:4)
(7:157)

 

Click 'here' to view practice exercises for a few Shaddah together

 

 

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