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Tajweed Rules for Correct Recitation of the Holy Quran

Contents 1. The Importance of Tajweed 3 2. Makhraj 5 2

Contents

1. The Importance of Tajweed

3

2. Makhraj

5

3.

Qalqala

8

4. Gunna

8

5. Madd

9

6. Noon Sakin

11

7. Meem Sakin

12

8. Rules for lam

13

9. Rules for ra

13

10.

11.

18

Rules of Stopping

14

References for Further Study

The Importance of Tajweed

Introduction

Every language has its own rules which needs to be observed for correct pronunciation. Arabic is no different in that respect. Every Muslim has to recite from the Holy Quran in prayers, but many of us do not realise that reciting the Holy Quran correctly by observing the rules of recitation is a necessity. Applying the rules of Tajweed is necessary to prevent incurring major mistakes in reciting the Holy Quran.

The scholars have divided the types of mistakes one might fall into when reciting the Holy Quran into clear mistakes and hidden mistakes.

Clear Mistakes:

Clear mistakes are related to incorrect pronunciation of letters in

a way that changes their meaning. Examples of clear mistakes

are:

• Changing one letter into another (specially those sounding

similar, e.g. pronouncing

another (e.g. changing zabar into pesh)

e.g. pronouncing another (e.g. changing zabar into pesh ) as ) or a short vowel (
e.g. pronouncing another (e.g. changing zabar into pesh ) as ) or a short vowel (

as

) or a short vowel (harakah) into

• Not observing the elongations (Madd) at all. Reciting them

quickly as if there is no Madd so that they turn into the length of

a short vowel.

• Making a Madd letter out of a normal harakah.

• Stopping or starting at an incorrect place so that the meaning

is distorted, like stopping at 'Laa ilaaha' without completing the

next word 'illAllaah'.

Hidden Mistakes:

Mistakes which have to do with perfecting pronunciation are however less obvious. These are known only by those who have studied Tajweed rules or are experts in this field. Ordinary Muslims may not be aware of such mistakes or perceive them to be so.

Examples of Hidden Mistakes:

• Not being totally exact with the elongation of letters: (Making the Madd shorter or longer by a 1/2 or even 1/4 degree, etc.)

• Not observing the attributes of each letter perfectly: (Slightly rolling the Raa', or exaggerating the 'N' sound in Noon etc.)

• Not observing the rules with which to pronounce letters when

they are next to each other (like not merging certain letters that

should be merged (i.e. Idghaam) and not clearly pronouncing those which should be clearly pronounced (i.e. Izhar etc.)

• Making light letters sound heavy and heavy letters sound light

(if by doing this, one changes a letter into another, it would be an

clear mistake.)

The majority of scholars agree that applying the Tajweed rules of the Holy Quran such that the clear mistakes are avoided is an individual obligation (Fardh 'Ayn) upon every Muslim who has memorised part or all of the Holy Quran, while applying the rules of Tajweed to avoid the hidden mistakes is a collective obligation (Fardh Kifaayah) upon Muslims, i.e. there must be some people who have knowledge of that.

The Arabic word Tajweed linguistically means 'proficiency' or 'doing something well'. It comes from the same root letters as the word Jayyid, which means 'good'. When applied to the Holy Quran, it means giving every letter of the Holy Quran its rights and dues of characteristics when we recite the Holy Quran, and

observing the rules that apply to those letters in different situations.

Glossary of Terms

Zabar

Zabar

Zer

Zer

Pesh

Pesh

Tashdeed

Tashdeed

Tanween

,
,
Tanween , ,

,

Tanween , ,

Sakin

Sakin or  

or

or
 

Harakah

Any of the above signs that are assigned to letters in assisting pronunciation.

Prolongation by one alif

Prolongation of the pronunciation of a letter so that it takes the time needed to pronounce two similar letters.

2. Makhraj

In Arabic, every letter has a unique sound. There are letters which sound very similar but their articulation points are

different, e.g.

attributes of each letter or is not careful, he may change the meaning of the words in reciting the Holy Quran . The rules relating to point of articulation of Arabic letters is called

makhraj.

point of articulation of Arabic letters is called makhraj . and . So, if a person
point of articulation of Arabic letters is called makhraj . and . So, if a person

and

. So, if a person does not know the

andis called makhraj . and . So, if a person does not know the and 1.

andcalled makhraj . and . So, if a person does not know the and 1. chest.

1.

chest.

2.

and . So, if a person does not know the and and 1. chest. 2. are

are pronounced from the throat nearest to the

and and 1. chest. 2. are pronounced from the throat nearest to the are pronounced from

are pronounced from the middle or centre region of

the throat .

the throat . 3. mouth. and are pronounced from the throat nearest to the is pronounced

3.

mouth.

and

the throat . 3. mouth. and are pronounced from the throat nearest to the is pronounced

are pronounced from the throat nearest to the

3. mouth. and are pronounced from the throat nearest to the is pronounced by raising the
3. mouth. and are pronounced from the throat nearest to the is pronounced by raising the

is pronounced by raising the back end of the tongue and3. mouth. and are pronounced from the throat nearest to the 4. touching the soft palate.

4.

touching the soft palate.

the back end of the tongue and 4. touching the soft palate. 5. compared to the

5.

compared to the place of origin of

is pronounced a little nearer toward the front of the mouth

.
.
, tongue touches the hard palate. 6. and are pronounced when the centre region of
, tongue touches the hard palate. 6. and are pronounced when the centre region of
, tongue touches the hard palate. 6. and are pronounced when the centre region of

, tongue touches the hard palate.

6.

and

are pronounced when the centre region of the

is pronounced when the edge of the either side of thepalate. 6. and are pronounced when the centre region of the 7. tongue touches molars and

7.

tongue touches molars and pre-molars.

either side of the 7. tongue touches molars and pre-molars. 8. upper front teeth including both

8.

upper front teeth including both upper pre-molars.

is pronounced from the tongue (edge) touching the gums all

is pronounced from the tongue (edge) touching the gums all 9. extending both upper canine. is

9.

extending both upper canine.

is pronounced when the tongue (edge) touching the gums

is pronounced when the tongue (edge) touching the gums 10. gums of area covering that includes

10.

gums of area covering that includes central and lateral incisors.

is pronounced when the edge of the tongue touching the

is pronounced when the edge of the tongue touching the , touching the gums of the
is pronounced when the edge of the tongue touching the , touching the gums of the

, touching the gums of the upper two front teeth.

11.

and

are pronounced with the tip of the tongue

teeth. 11. and are pronounced with the tip of the tongue , touching the edge of
teeth. 11. and are pronounced with the tip of the tongue , touching the edge of

, touching the edge of the upper two front teeth.

12.

and

are pronounced with the tip of the tongue

teeth. 12. and are pronounced with the tip of the tongue , touching the edge of
teeth. 12. and are pronounced with the tip of the tongue , touching the edge of

, touching the edge of the lower two front teeth, and lightly touching the upper two front teeth as well. These letters produce a bit of whistling sound when pronouncing them.

13.

and

are pronounced with the tip of the tongue

them. 13. and are pronounced with the tip of the tongue 14. edge of upper two

14.

edge of upper two front teeth.

originates when inner portion of the lower lip meets the

,
,
originates when inner portion of the lower lip meets the , 15. differences among the three.

15.

differences among the three.

of the lips;

originates with partial meeting of the lips.

and

the lips; originates with partial meeting of the lips. and are pronounced from the lips but

are pronounced from the lips but with slightly

the lips. and are pronounced from the lips but with slightly originates from the moist part

originates from the moist part

pronounced from the lips but with slightly originates from the moist part originates from the dry

originates from the dry part of the lips; and

3.

Qalqala

Qlaqala means making echo sound. Where there is a sakin on any of the following five letters:

there is a sakin on any of the following five letters: the recitation of these words

the recitation of these words should produce echo sound. The qalqala would be applicable either because any of these letters are in the middle of a word with a sakin or any of these letters are at the end of a word and you are stopping on that word such that a sakin applies to the last letter of the word because of stopping. The degree of echoing would vary depending on the position of the qalqala letter in a word. If the qalqala letter is in the middle of a word with a sakin, then a soft echoing sound is to be produced. On the other hand, if the Qalqala letter is at the end of the word and a sakin applies to that letter because you are stopping at that word, then a full echoing sound is to be produced.

Examples:

[59:23] Light qalqala on È [113:2] Full qalqala on Þ
[59:23] Light qalqala on È [113:2] Full qalqala on Þ

[59:23] Light qalqala on È

[113:2] Full qalqala on Þ

The Qlaqala letters can easily be remembered by remembering

the word

letters can easily be remembered by remembering the word 4. Gunna [i.e. Qutubjad]. Gunna means pronouncing

4. Gunna

[i.e. Qutubjad].

Gunna means pronouncing with nasal sound while prolonging at

least equivalent to one Alif. Where there is a tasdeed (

least equivalent to one Alif . Where there is a tasdeed ( ) on or ,
least equivalent to one Alif . Where there is a tasdeed ( ) on or ,

) on

or

to one Alif . Where there is a tasdeed ( ) on or , they should

, they should be recited with gunna. If the previous letter is a

noon sakin or tanween, then there would be an assimilation

called Idgham bagunna (more on Idgham bagunna latter).

Examples of gunna:

[108:3]

[108:3]

[93:11]

[93:11]

5. Madd

In general, letters with harakah should be recited quickly. However, recitation of madd letters should be prolonged by one alif. However, the prolongation of madd letters would be extended to three alif or four alif in certain cases (discussed below).

,
,
alif or four alif in certain cases (discussed below). , Three letters are madd letters: harakah

Three letters are madd letters:

harakah with alif and the preceding letter has a zabar,

sakin on it and the preceding letter has a pesh, and

sakin on it and the preceding letter has a zer. Examples:

and

provided there is no

letter has a zer . Examples: and provided there is no has a has a [1:6]
letter has a zer . Examples: and provided there is no has a has a [1:6]

has a

has a

[1:6]

[1:6]

[1:7]

[1:7]

If you are stopping at a letter which is immediately after a madd letter, the prolongation of madd letter should be three alif. However, if there is tasdeed on the letter immediately after a madd letter, then as a general rule, the letter with sakin would be

skipped and the rules of madd would be inapplicable. Similarly, when alif is madd letter and the letter immediately after alif has a sakin on it, the rule of madd does not apply in that case, e.g.

[94:8]
[94:8]

When a

zabar and you stop at the letter that is immediately after the

sakin or a or a

stop at the letter that is immediately after the sakin or a sakin is preceded by

sakin is preceded by any letter with

sakin or

sakin or a sakin is preceded by any letter with sakin or sakin , then the

sakin, then the

is preceded by any letter with sakin or sakin , then the sakin or sakin should

sakin or

by any letter with sakin or sakin , then the sakin or sakin should be prolonged

sakin should be

with sakin or sakin , then the sakin or sakin should be prolonged by one alif

prolonged by one alif. However, prolongation upto three alif is also permissible. This is known as madde lin. Example:

[106:3]
[106:3]

There are madd letters in numerous places in the Holy Quran. Except for the rules just described above, other rules of madd that require prolongation by different measures of Alif can

generally be recognised from the signs, i.e. verticle zabar (

verticle zer (

from the signs, i.e. verticle zabar ( verticle zer ( ), ) and upturned pesh (

),

from the signs, i.e. verticle zabar ( verticle zer ( ), ) and upturned pesh (
from the signs, i.e. verticle zabar ( verticle zer ( ), ) and upturned pesh (

) and upturned pesh (

) for one alif,

zer ( ), ) and upturned pesh ( ) for one alif , for three Alif

for three

Alif and

below.

for four Alif . Some of these rules are described Alif. Some of these rules are described

When a madd letter is immediately followed by a

prolongation of the madd letter should be three alif or four alif

depending upon whether the

letter or the first letter in the next word. If a word ends with a

, then the

prolongation of madd letter would be three alif. Remember that

when a harakah is applied to alif, alif becomes an

letter as the last letter of a word followed by an alif with a harakah would be prolonged to three alif, e.g.

madd letter and the first letter of the next word is a

alif , e.g. madd letter and the first letter of the next word is a ,

, the

alif , e.g. madd letter and the first letter of the next word is a ,

is in the same word as the madd

alif , e.g. madd letter and the first letter of the next word is a ,
alif , e.g. madd letter and the first letter of the next word is a ,

. So a madd

[2:255]
[2:255]

On the other hand, if a madd letter is followed by a

word, then the prolongation of the madd letter should be four alif, e.g.

of the madd letter should be four alif , e.g. in the same [2:5] 6. Noon

in the same

[2:5]
[2:5]

6. Noon Sakin

The word

mentioned earlier, a

gunna which is wajib . Secondly, when there is a sakin on a noon, then the way it is to be recited depends on the letter that immediately follows it. Except for alif, 28 other Arabic alphabets are divided into 4 groups regarding the way the noon sakin is to be recited. At this point, one needs to remember that a tanween is a short-hand way of writing a noon sakin. Therefore all rules of noon sakin are to be observed for tanween as well.

of noon sakin are to be observed for tanween as well. has a special place in

has a special place in tajweed. As already

as well. has a special place in tajweed . As already with a tashdeed should be

with a tashdeed should be recited with

(i) Ikhfa: Where a noon sakin (or tanween) is immediately followed by any of the following 15 letters, the noon sakin (or tanween) should be recited with a light nasal sound as if hiding the sound in the nose (i.e. a mild gunna). This is known as Ikhfa.

light nasal sound as if hiding the sound in the nose (i.e. a mild gunna ).

Example:

light nasal sound as if hiding the sound in the nose (i.e. a mild gunna ).
[113:2]

[113:2]

(ii) Idgham: Where a noon sakin (or tanween) is immediately followed by any of the following 6 words, the noon sakin (or tanween) should be assimilated with the next word. This is known as Idgham.

assimilated with the next word. This is known as Idgham . These letters can be more
assimilated with the next word. This is known as Idgham . These letters can be more

These letters can be more easily remembered by remembering

the word

can be more easily remembered by remembering the word (i.e. ‘yarmalun’). Except for with gunna and

(i.e. ‘yarmalun’).

Except for

with gunna and therefore is known as Idgham bagunna. Example:

gunna and therefore is known as Idgham bagunna . Example: and , the assimilated words should

and

, the assimilated words should be recitedand therefore is known as Idgham bagunna . Example: and [111:1] In case of and ,

[111:1]
[111:1]

In case of

, the assimilated words should be recited [111:1] In case of and , there should only

and

, there should only be assimilation but noassimilated words should be recited [111:1] In case of and gunna and is therefore known as

gunna and is therefore known as Idgham belagunna, e.g.

[2:285]
[2:285]

(iii) Izhar: Where a noon sakin (or tanween) is immediately followed by any of the following 6 words, the noon sakin (or tanween) should be recited clearly without gunna or ikhfah. This is known as Izhar.

sakin (or tanween ) should be recited clearly without gunna or ikhfah . This is known

Example:

[1:6]
[1:6]

(iv) Iqlab: Where a noon sakin (or tanween) is immediately

followed by

sakin and recited with gunna., e.g.

followed by sakin and recited with gunna ., e.g. , the noon sakin is to be

, the noon sakin is to be recited as if it is a meem

e.g. , the noon sakin is to be recited as if it is a meem Tips

Tips: It appears difficult to remember the 15 letters of noon sakin ikhfah without getting mixed with the remaining letters, specially when you are reciting. The easier way is to remember that if the

you are reciting. The easier way is to remember that if the letter after a noon

letter after a noon sakin is not any of the letters in the word

, or any of the 6 letters of noon sakin izhar, or the letter

then the noon sakin (or tanween) is to be recited with ikhfa.

or ,
or
,

7. Meem Sakin

There are 3 rules regarding the way that the meem sakin is to be recited.

(i) Ikhfa: Where a meem sakin is immediately followed by the

letter

: Where a meem sakin is immediately followed by the letter , the meem sakin is

, the meem sakin is to be recited with gunna, e.g.

[96:1]
[96:1]

(ii) Idhgam: Where a meem sakin is immediately followed by

the meem sakin is to be assimilated with gunna., e.g.

by the meem sakin is to be assimilated with gunna ., e.g. and recited with ,

and recited with

,
,
[106:4]

[106:4]

(iii) Izhar: Where a meem sakin is followed by any letter other

than

: Where a meem sakin is followed by any letter other than , the meem sakin
: Where a meem sakin is followed by any letter other than , the meem sakin

, the meem sakin is to be recited clearly without

or

ikhfa or gunna.

8. Rules for the Letter Lam ( ) In general, the letter However, the letter

8. Rules for the Letter Lam ( )

In general, the letter

However, the letter

to be pronounced with a heavy voice (or full mouth) when the harakah of the previous letter is a zabar or a pesh. This is both whilst reading the Holy Qur’an and speaking in general. It is a

way of respect for the name of Allah. The letter

called Lam al-Jalala (i.e.

when the harakah of the previous letter before the letter

has a tasdeed on it) in the word

letter before the letter has a tasdeed on it) in the word is to be recited

is to be recited in a relatively thin voice.

in the word

is to be recited in a relatively thin voice. in the word (that has a tasdeed

(that has a tasdeed on it) is

thin voice. in the word (that has a tasdeed on it) is is therefore in reference

is therefore

in the word (that has a tasdeed on it) is is therefore in reference to the

in reference to the Glorious). However,

it) is is therefore in reference to the Glorious). However, is zer , the letter (that

is zer, the letter

in reference to the Glorious). However, is zer , the letter (that in the word is
in reference to the Glorious). However, is zer , the letter (that in the word is

(that

in the word

Glorious). However, is zer , the letter (that in the word is to be pronounced with

is to be pronounced with a relatively thin voice.

9. Rules for the Letter Ra (

)
)

1. A Raa (

heavy voice (or with a full mouth).

) with a zabar or a pesh should be pronounced with a zabar or a pesh should be pronounced with a

2.

with an empty mouth).

pesh should be pronounced with a 2. with an empty mouth). A Raa ( ) with

A Raa ( ) with a zer should be pronounced in a thin voice (or

3. When the letter before a Raa Sakin has a zabar or pesh, the

Raa Sakin will be pronounced with a heavy voice (or with a full mouth).

4. When the letter before a Raa Sakin has a zer, the Raa Sakin

will be pronounced in a thin voice (or with an empty mouth).

10. Rules for Stopping (Waqf)

The rules of stopping has two components:

A. signs of waqf, i.e. where to stop and where not to stop; and

B. how to recite when stopping.

A. Signs of Waqf or Stopping

:
:

This letter on a round circle means that the statement stands

completed at this point. Therefore, it is better to stop here.

This letter on a round circle means that it is permissible to stop here.at this point. Therefore, it is better to stop here. : This letter on a round

:
:

This letter on a round circle means that stopping here is all right, but the better choice is not to stop here.

:
:

This letter on a round circle means that the statement has

not yet been completed at this point but, because the sentence has become long, here is the place to breathe and stop rather than do it elsewhere.

:
:

This letter is an abbreviation of al-waqf al-lazim. It means that

not stopping here could lead to an outrageous distortion in the meaning of the verse. So, it is better to stop here. Some phoneticians of the Qur'an have also called this al-waqf al-wajib or the obligatory stop. However, others do not consider this as 'wajib' which brings sin if abandoned.

this as 'wajib' which brings sin if abandoned. : This letter, specially if it is within

: This letter, specially if it is within a sentence (i.e. not on a round sign), means “do not stop here“. However, it does not imply that stopping here is impermissible, because there are certain places bearing this sign where stopping causes no distortion. The more comprehensive meaning of this sign is: if you stop at this sign and if this sign is within a sentence, it is better to go back and read over again. Stopping at this sign within a sentence and then initiation from the next word is not approved.

:
:

This symbol is inserted at a place where a single verse has

two possible explanations. According to one explanation, the stop should be made at one given place, while according to another explanation, the stop should be at the other place. So, a stop can be made at either one of the two places, but once a stop has been made at one place, it is not correct to stop at the other as well.

: This symbol means one should stop here breaking the sound but not the breath.

: This symbol means one should stop here breaking the sound but not the breath. This is generally inserted at a place where continuous reading is likely to cause an erroneous meaning.

: At this sign of waqfah, one must stop a little longer than saktah . However like saktah , breath should not break here. saktah. However like saktah, breath should not break here.

. However like saktah , breath should not break here. : Some phoneticians of the Qur'an

: Some phoneticians of the Qur'an recommend a stop at this sign while others do not.

recommend a stop at this sign while others do not. : This sign means stop, and

: This sign means stop, and it is inserted where the reader may possibly think that a stop is not correct here.

reader may possibly think that a stop is not correct here. : This sign means it

: This sign means it is better to continue without pausing.

: This sign means it is better to continue without pausing. : This sign appears at

: This sign appears at places because according to some Hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stopped here while reciting.

(A) How to recite when stopping

(i) When stopping, if the last letter of the verse has a zabar, zer, pesh or a tanween of zer or pesh, then the last letter should be recited as if it has a sakin. If the last letter of a verse has a sakin, it should be recited as a sakin for the purpose of stopping.

(ii) If the last letter of a verse is an alif with no harakah and the preceeding letter has a tanween of zabar, the tanween of zabar would be changed to a zabar (if stopping at that word), and stopping there is to be prolonged by one alif, e.g.

[110: 2]
[110:
2]

If the last letter of a verse is an alif with no harakah and the preceeding letter has a zabar, then stopping there is to be prolonged by one alif, e.g.

[99:5]
[99:5]

Thus the rules of stopping is same in both of these two cases.

Also note that a tanween of zabar at the end of a verse always comes with an alif with no harakah, except where the last letter

is a round ta (

followed by an alif (without harakah) and

a round ta ( followed by an alif (without harakah ) and ). In this case,

). In this case, the round ta would not be

harakah ) and ). In this case, the round ta would not be would be recited

would be recited as

.
.

ha sakin

(iii) If stopping at a madd letter, the madd letter is to be recited

by prolonging by one alif. Similarly, if a letter becomes a madd letter because it becomes a sakin letter due to stopping, then it should be recited by prolonging by one alif.

Examples:

[99:5] Example showing stopping at a madd letter.

[99:5]

Example showing stopping at a madd letter.

  The zabar on
 

The zabar on

  The zabar on

[59:22]

changes to a sakin because of stopping and becomes a madd letter.

changes to a sakin because of stopping and becomes a madd letter.

(iv) If the last letter of a verse is a round ta (

(iv) If the last letter of a verse is a round ta ( ), it should

), it should be

the last letter of a verse is a round ta ( ), it should be recited

recited as ha sakin (

the long ta (

(v) If the last letter of a verse is a

harakah of the previous letter would remain applicable, i.e. the harakah of the previous letter would not be deemed as sakin for the purpose of stopping, e.g.

). However, this rule is not applicable for

stopping, e.g. ). However, this rule is not applicable for without a harakah , then the

without a harakah, then the

rule is not applicable for without a harakah , then the ). [93:1] (vi) If a

).

[93:1]

[93:1]

(vi) If a pause is made over a tashdid letter at the end of a word, its harakah will be dropped, but the letter must be pronounced with extra force in order to distinguish between a sakin and a

tashdid.

11. References for Further Study

i. Easy Tajwid by Dr Syed Kaleemulla Husaini

ii. A Brief Introduction to Tajweed by Umm Muhammad

iii. Key To Tajweed by Majlisul Ulama of South Africa

iv. Tajweed For Beginners by Qari Ismail Ishaq

v. Tajwid: The Art Of Recitation Of The Holy Qur'an by Abdul Majid Khan

vi. The Proper Pronunciation of the Language Of the Qur'an by Assad Nimer Busool

vii. Qur'an Made Easy (Qaida Yassarnal Qur'an) by Shabbir A. Behlim

viii. Qur'ani Qaidah by Qari M. Ilyas/Idara Qur'ania

ix. Qur'an Learning The Easy Way, 3 Parts by Rubab R. Master

x. A Guide To Reading The Qur'an by Qari Mohammed Taher

xi. Arabic Qaidah (Qaida Yassarnal Qur'an) by Dr Muhammad Shamsul Haque