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Hamza's Shape?[edit]

Wow... good comments up to this point. My question is on the sole citation of William Wright up to this point, in the beginning where the origin of hamza is implicitly or briefly discussed. Due to essentially an overflow from a debate on the discussion page of Middle Bronze Age alphabets, this has kind of become relevant. I am not suggesting that a templated 'origins' page be added to each letter, as this would create significant controversy in determining single creation myths for each letter.

I am wondering two things (if people strongly disagree please revert this) a) is William Wright the best source - particularly since better sources are available - his work is more than a hundred years old and there has been some scholarship in the meantime (which is at the bottom of the article, granted); b) the reference is misleading. On page 15, in the orthography of hamza, Wright ([1]) describes in Rem B that sometimes the hamza in conjunction with alif produces a sound like an 3yin, particularly in African dialects. Frankly I cannot follow a lot of his archaic abbreviations in English (or I'm stupid). But my take is that one particular case sounds like an 3yin and was written as an 3yin in some dialects. That has no bearing on the actual evolution of hamza - only on the interaction of pronunciation and writing in certain dialects (mind you not in Classical Arabic it would seem according to Wright).

According to Islamic Awareness (, which I have found to have very good historical Arabic information available, including very good collections of photo of Arabic inscriptions, these three men (Abū-l-Aswad al-Du'alī (d. 69 / 688), Nasr Ibn `Asim (d. 89 / 707) and Yahyā Ibn Ya`mur (d.129 /746)) introduced yellow dots for hamza and red dots for diacritic marks. The implication is that the hamza may not have existed as a distinct character in Arabic, but rather only as part of a split pronunciation of alif (as either modern hamza or modern alif). This idea is echoed in a few other sources of Arabic linguistics. For the time being, I am going to remove this claim, particularly since it is not relevant to Classical Arabic even in Wright's book. Michael Sheflin (talk) 06:02, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Hamza vs wavy hamza[edit]

Unicode has separate glyphs for plain hamza and "wavy" hamza, eg. U+0625 ARABIC LETTER ALEF WITH HAMZA BELOW and U+0673 ARABIC LETTER ALEF WITH WAVY HAMZA BELOW. Could somebody explain the difference and add it to the article? Jpatokal (talk) 04:43, 28 June 2012 (UTC)

The wavy hamza is used in Kashmiri for long /ɨː~əː/.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 07:42, 24 November 2015 (UTC)


The yaa harf should not have two dots under, when it is in the beginning or in the middle? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:30, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

When the hamza bearer is a yaa, it should always be written without any dots regardless of its position in the word. When a yaa does not bear a hamza it MUST have two dots under it in its initial and medial shapes; whether the dots are also to be written under the isolated and final shapes varies according to style: AFAIK in that case the dots are usually written in the Maghreb and not written in the Mashreq, hence the Unicode name of "Farsi yaa" for a yaa which has dots in initial and medial shapes but not in isolated and final shapes. — Tonymec (talk) 13:03, 15 September 2015 (UTC)


I suggest you to look through the book Mu'ajjam tasreef al-af'aal al'arabiyya by as-Safeer Antoine al-Dahdaah, there are examples of every type of hamzated verbs including hamzated and doubled, hamzated and middle-weak (with madda) etc. When I used to study the hamza-rules it helped me very much. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mezei nelli (talkcontribs) 12:02, 18 March 2014 (UTC)

Detailed description[edit]

I've heard still another description; I think it was in "Teach yourself Arabic":

In the Prophet's time and place of birth, the hamza had ceased to be pronounced, so the first Qur`ān texts came to be written with no hamzahs, except as word-initial alephs. Later, grammarians reestablished the hamzah but they wouldn't alter the holy text. So: first write the text as you would if no hamzahs were to be pronounced, then add the hamzahs while removing any dots under hamza-bearing yaa letters. — Tonymec (talk) 13:14, 15 September 2015 (UTC)

It is thus. Hamza has been elided in the dialects of the tribes of Quraysh and Tamim and in Hijaz generally at a very early stage (pre-Islamic). Under the influence of the nearest i or u hamza became y and w respectively, hence its current orthography with ya and waw. Later it was reintroduced from (supposedly) Bedouin dialects. When it was lost altogether (usualy word-fanally or after consonants or long vowels) the independent on the line hamza was required and hence was invented. To sum up, if one knows this little pre-history the spelling rules for hamza become not so difficult.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 08:25, 24 November 2015 (UTC)
Some sources which explain: [2] [3]. I suppose it might be added somewhere.--Lüboslóv Yęzýkin (talk) 08:34, 24 November 2015 (UTC)


Can we stick with one spelling, either hamza or hamzah, throughout this article? - dcljr (talk) 05:32, 16 October 2015 (UTC)

Done ("hamza", in accordance with the Unicode name of the character). -- Karl432 (talk) 12:44, 16 October 2015 (UTC)