Dagger alif

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Alif maqṣūra with alif khanjariya above it

The dagger alif or superscript alif (Arabic: ألف خنجريةalif khanjarīyah) is written as a short vertical stroke on top of an Arabic letter. It indicates a long /aː/ sound where alif is normally not written, e.g. هَٰذَا hādhā or رَحْمَٰن raḥmān. The dagger alif occurs in only a few modern words, but these include some common ones; it is seldom written, however, even in fully vocalised texts, excepting the Qur'an.[1][2] As Wright notes "[alif] was at first more rarely marked than the other long vowels, and hence it happens that, at a later period, after the invention of the vowel-points, it was indicated in some very common words merely by a fètḥa [i.e. the dagger alif.]"[3] Most keyboards do not have dagger alif. The word (Allāh) is usually produced automatically by entering "alif lām lām hāʾ". The word consists of alif + ligature of doubled lām with a shadda and a dagger alif above lām.

With fatḥah[edit]

There are two possible ways of representing the dagger alif in modern editions of Quran. In the editions printed in the Middle East the dagger alif is written with fatḥah: الرَّحْمَٰنِ (a)r-raḥmān. In the editions printed in South Asia (Pakistan, India and Bangladesh) the dagger alif is written without fatḥah: الرَّحْمٰنِ (a)r-raḥmāni.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alhawary, Mohammad T. (2011). Modern standard Arabic grammar: a learner's guide. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-1-4051-5501-4.
  2. ^ Ryding, Karin C. (2005). A Reference Grammar of Modern Standard Arabic. Cambridge University Press. p. 28.
  3. ^ Caspari, Carl Paul (1896). Wright, William; Smith, William Robertson; de Goeje, Michael Jan (eds.). A Grammar of the Arabic Language. 1 (3rd ed.). pp. 9–10.