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Tajwīd (Arabic: تجويد tajwīd: IPA: [tædʒˈwiːd]) is an Arabic word for elocution and refers to the rules governing pronunciation during recitation of the Qur'an. It is derived from the triliteral root j-w-d, meaning 'to make well, make better, improve'. It is required by fard. There are ten schools (qira'at) of recitation, the most prevalent of which is the recitation of Imam ʻĀṣim as transmitted by Imam Ḥafṣ.
- 1 Arabic alphabet and grammar
- 2 Emission points
- 3 Prolongation
- 4 Sākinah (vowelless) letters
- 5 Qalqalah
- 6 Stop signs
- 7 Manners
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Arabic alphabet and grammar
The Arabic alphabet has 29 basic letters.
The Arabic word for "the" is al- (the letters alif and lām). The lām in al- is pronounced if the letter after it is "qamarīyah" (lunar), but if the letter after it is "shamsīyah" (solar), the lām after it is assimilated to the following letter. These names were given simply because the words for 'the moon' and 'the sun' (al-qamar and ash-shams, respectively) are examples of this rule.
There are 17 emission points (makhārij al-ḥurūf) of the letters, located in various regions of the throat, tongue, lips, nose, and the mouth as a whole for the prolonged (mudd) letters.
The manner of articulation (ṣifat al-ḥurūf) refers to the different attributes of the letters. Some of the characteristics have opposites, while some are individual. An example of a characteristic would be the fricative consonant sound called ṣafīr, which is an attribute of air escaping from a tube.
Thickness and thinness
The mufakhkham letters (خ ص ض ط ظ غ ق), or emphatic consonants, are pronounced with a “heavy accent” (tafkhīm). The heavy accent is often pharyngealization, where the consonants are pronounced with a constricted voicebox, or velarization. The rest of the letters, called muraqqaq, have a “light accent” (tarqīq) because they are pronounced normally, without pharyngealization (except ع which is often considered a pharyngeal sound).
ر rāʼ is heavy when it has a fatḥah or ḍammah and light when it has a kasrah. If its vowel sound is cancelled, such as by a sukūn or the end of a sentence, then it is light when the first preceding voweled letter (without a sukun) has a kasrah. It is heavy if the first preceding voweled letter has a fatḥah or ḍammah. For example, the ر at the end of the first word of Sūrat al-ʻAṣr is heavy because the ع ʻayn has a fatḥah.
Prolongation refers to the number of morae that are pronounced when a voweled letter (fatḥah, ḍammah, kasrah) is followed by alif, yāʼ, and wāw, which are called mudd letters. The number of morae then becomes two. Additionally, if there is a maddah sign over the mudd letter, then it is held for four or five morae when followed by a hamzah (ء) and six morae when followed by a shaddah. For example, the end of the last verse in al-Fatiha has a six-mora maddah because of the shaddah on the ل lām.
- The following has the same diacritic marks as in most printed copies of the Qurʼān. It slightly differs from the full diacriticized system used in Modern Standard Arabic:
صِرَٰطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ ٱلمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ ٱلضَّآلِّين
- The following sentence is with the Modern Standard Arabic full diacriticized system:
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ المَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلاَ الضَّالِّين
Sākinah (vowelless) letters
Nūn sākinah and tanwīn
One is called iẓhār ('clarity') where this nun sound is pronounced very crisply and clearly when followed by ء ه ع ح غ خ, called "letters of the throat."
Another is called idghām ('merging') where this nūn sound is assimilated to the following sound when followed by a ل or ر. It is assimilated and also produces a ghunnah if it is followed by و م ن ي. Idghām only applies between two words and not in the middle of a word.
The last way is called ikhfāʼ ('concealment') where the nūn sound is suppressed (the tongue does not make full contact with the roof of the mouth) and has a ghunnah if it is followed by the remaining letters not discussed.
One is called idghām shafawī ('labial merging') when followed by another mīm, usually indicated by a shaddah; it is merged with the following mīm and has a ghunnah.
Another is called ikhfāʼ shafawī ('labial concealment') where the mīm is suppressed (lips are not fully closed) and has a ghunnah when followed by a ب.
The last way is called iẓhār shafawī ('labial clarity') where the mīm is pronounced clearly with no special rules if it is followed by the remaining letters not discussed.
The five qalqalah letters are the consonants ق ط ب ج and د. Qalqalah is the addition of a slight "bounce" or reduced vowel sound (ə) to the consonant whose vowel sound is otherwise cancelled, such as by a sukūn, shaddah, or the end of sentence. The lesser bounce occurs when the letter is in the middle of a word or at the end of the word but the reader joins it to the next word. A medium bounce is when the letter is at the end of the word but does not have a shaddah, such as the end of the first verse of Sūrat al-Falaq.
قُلۡ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ ٱلۡفَلَقِ
تَبَّتۡ يدَاۤ اَبِیۡ لَهَبٍ وَّ تَبَّ
Stop signs, or rumūz al-awqāf, are
مـ — must stop
قلي — better to stop
ج — allowed to stop
صلي — better not to stop
لا — should not stop
Manners of the heart
- Understanding the origin of the word.
- One should understand that the Qurʼan is not the word of man.
- The reader should throw away all other thoughts.
- One should understand the meaning.
- One should be humble.
- One should feel that every message in the Qurʼan is meant personally for himself or herself.
- One should be vigilant of the purity of body, clothes, and place.
- One is encouraged to face the Qiblah.
- One should stop at a verse of warning and seek protection with Allah.
- One should stop at a verse of mercy and ask Allah for mercy.
- One should use pure Literary Arabic pronunciation, in addition to pronouncing the letter ج jīm as [d͡ʒ], not as [ɡ].
- One should have wuḍūʼ (state of being pure) and read only for the sake of God.
- Qāriʾ Abdul Basit 'Abd us-Samad
- Qāriʾ Ahmad bin Ali Al-Ajmi
- Qāriʾah Maria Ulfah
- Qāriʾ Muhammad Farooq
- Qāriʾ Shakir Qasmi
- Quran reading
- Elocution, the analogous modern Western study
- Pronuntiatio, the analogous classical Western study
- Shiksha, Hindu Vedic recital study
Books and journals
- The Art of Reciting the Qur'an by Kristina Nelson, American University in Cairo Press (Cairo, NY), 2001.
- Tajwid: The Art of Recitation of the Holy Qur'an by Dr. Abdul Majid Khan, Tughra Books 2013. http://www.tughrabooks.com/books/detail/tajwid-the-art-of-the-recitation-of-the-quran
- “Theory and Practice of Tajwid,” Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, IV, Leiden, Brill, 2007 (or still in press)