Tajweed (Arabic: تجويد tajwīd, IPA: [tædʒˈwiːd], meaning "elocution"), sometimes rendered as tajwid, refers to the rules governing pronunciation during recitation of the Qur'an. The term is derived from the triliteral root j-w-d meaning "to make well, make better, improve". Tajweed is a fard (religious duty) when reciting the Qur'an to the best of one's ability.
- 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- (i.e. the letter alif followed by 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 becomes part of the following letter (is assimilated). "Solar" and "lunar" became descriptions for these instances as 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 emphatic consonants خ ص ض ط ظ غ ق, known as mufakhkham letters, are pronounced with a “heavy accent” (tafkhīm). This is done by either pharyngealization, i.e. pronounced while squeezing one's voicebox, or by velarization. The remaining letters – the muraqqaq – have a “light accent” (tarqīq) as they are pronounced normally, without pharyngealization (except ع, which is often considered a pharyngeal sound).
ر (rāʼ ) is heavy when accompanied by a fatḥah or ḍammah and light when accompanied by 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 is accompanied by a fatḥah or ḍammah. For example, the ر at the end of the first word of the Sūrat "al-ʻAṣr" is heavy because the ع (ʻayn) has a fatḥah:
Prolongation refers to the number of morae (beats of time) that are pronounced when a voweled letter (fatḥah, ḍammah, kasrah) is followed by a 'mudd letter (alif, yāʼ or wāw). The number of morae then becomes two. If these are at the end of the sentence, such as in all the verses in "al-Fatiha", then the number of morae can be more than two, but must be consistent from verse to verse. Additionally, if there is a maddah sign over the mudd letter, 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 due to 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
- iẓhār ("clarity"): the nūn sound is pronounced clearly without additional modifications when followed by "letters of the throat" (ء ه ع ح غ خ). Consider the nūn with a sukun pronounced regularly in the beginning of the last verse in "al-Fatiha": صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمتَ
- iqlāb ("conversion"): the nūn sound is converted to a /m/ sound if it is followed by a ب. Additionally, it is pronounced in a ghunnah (a nasalization held for two morae). Consider the nūn sound on the tanwīn on the letter dāl that is pronounced as a mīm instead in the chapter Al-Kafirun: وَلَا أَنَا عَابِدٌ مَا عَبَدْتُمْ
- idghām ("merging"): the nūn sound is not pronounced when followed by a ل or ر. There is also a ghunnah if it is followed by و م ي or another ن . Idghām only applies between two words and not in the middle of a word. Consider for example the nūn that is not pronounced in the fifth line (the Shahada) in the Call to Prayer: أشهد أن لا اله إلا الله
- ikhfāʼ ("concealment"): the nūn sound is not fully pronounced (i.e. the tongue does not make full contact with the roof of the mouth as in a regular [n] sound) if it is followed by any letters other than those already listed, includes a ghunnah. Consider the nūn that is suppressed in the second verse of the chapter Al-Falaq: مِنْ شَرِّ مَا خَلَقَ
- idgham mutamatsilain ("labial merging") when followed by another mīm (usually indicated by a shaddah): the mīm is then merged with the following mīm and includes a ghunnah;
- ikhfāʼ shafawī ("labial concealment"): the mīm is suppressed (i.e. lips not fully closed) and, when followed by a ب, includes a ghunnah;
- iẓhār shafawī ("labial clarity"): the mīm is pronounced clearly with no amendment when followed by any letters other than those already listed.
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 given when the letter is at the end of the word but is not accompanied by a shaddah, such as the end of the first verse of the Sūrat "al-Falaq":
قُلۡ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ ٱلۡفَلَقِ
تَبَّتۡ يدَاۤ اَبِیۡ لَهَبٍ وَّ تَبَّ
Stop signs (rumūz al-awqāf), i.e. indications to pause, are:
|ج||stop permitted if desired.|
|صلي||stopping not advised.|
|لا||do 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 ("purity") and read only for the sake of God.
- 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)