Makhaarij Al-Huroof: Al-Khayshoom

Taking in big fresh breaths of air isn’t the only thing your nose can do… Don’t hold your breath for too long, I’ll confess: it’s capable of adding a beautiful humming-like tone to your recitation, by producing a ghunnah. Read all about it below…

Al-Khayshoom [1]: means the nasal passage. The nasal passage is the 17th and last makhraj to be studied. It contains only one point of articulation. The nasal passage is similar to the jawf in that is an “open area”, but within the nose. From this area, a ghunnah is produced, noting that the tongue has no part in producing the ghunnah.. It’s important to understand that a ghunnah is not a letter, rather, it is a fundamental characteristic, or quality, for the letters noon and meem as it is part of their original makeup.

It is sounded whether these letters have a fat-ha, dammah, kasrah, shaddah, or sukoon. Likewise, it is also sounded when doing idghaam, ikhfaa’ or ith-haar.

To understand how ghunnah works (and its significance), block your nose completely by pinching it with two fingers, then try to say a word with the letter noon or meem, or simply sound the letter ( أنْ ) or ( أمْ ). You’ll notice that you are unable to sound these letters properly without the nasal passage being open (and producing ghunnah)!

So, this wraps up the 17 makhaarij al-huroof, with just a couple of very important points to make.

First, to figure out the makhraj of a letter, pronounce it with a sukoon, preceded by a fat-ha. Examples,

أدْ         أعْ          أتْ          أشْ          أضْ

Second, note there are 28 letters in the Arabic alphabet, however, there are 31 huroof al-tajweed (tajweed letters). The extra letters are hamzah, consonant yaa’, and consonant waaw.

Keep an eye out for the upcoming topic, sifaatul-huroof: the characteristics/qualities of the letters.

– Makhaarij Al-Huroof document

Note, this document is found on the resources page.

[1] الخيشوم

Makhaarij Al-Huroof: Al-Shafataan

The keepers of secrets, the seal of the mouth, the produces of baa’, meem, waaw and faa’ … you’ve only one option: stash away that lipstick, ladies, and beautify your lips with the letters of the Qur’aan!

Al-Shafataan: the lips are the makhraj (point of articulation) for four letters. There are two main areas within this makhraj; they are as follows.

Between The Two Lips

Maa baynal-shafataan [1] from between the two lips emerge the following letters,

Baa’ ( ب ), pronounced “bb”

Meem ( م ), pronounced “mm”

Consonant waaw ( و ), pronounced “wa” or “wi” or “wu” or “w”

It is important to note that the waaw being referred to is not the waaw maddeeyyah; which means it is the waaw with a fat-ha such as in the word

waylun

or the waaw with a dammah, such as in the word

yarawul-‘athaaba

or the waaw with a kasrah, such as in the word

wifaaqan

or the waaw with a sukoon, such as in the word

awliyaa’

The letters baa’ and meem emerge from pressing the lips together. However, the consonant waaw emerges by opening the lips slightly and bringing in the sides to form an “o” shape.

The Bottom Lip and Upper Incisors

The bottom lip, alongside the lower tips of the two front teeth produce the letter

Faa’ ( ف ), pronounced “ff”

These four letters ( ب  و  م  ف ) are all named Al-Ahruf Al-Shafaweeyah [2] because they emerge from the shafataan, i.e. the lips.

These makhaarij are nearly over. So far we’ve covered four of the five main makhaarij “areas”, and a total of 16 of the 17 specific points of articulation. 🙂

– Makhaarij Al-Huroof document

Note, this document is found on the resources page.

[1] ما بين الشفتان
[2] الأحرف الشفوية

Makhaarij Al-Huroof: Al-Lisaan Pt 2

Certainly, you’ve all been hard at work, stretching, pulling, warming up and cooling down with the previously mentioned Tongue Buffing Exercises: “Makhaarij Al-Huroof: Al-Lisaan”. Now it’s time to step it up and look at what you can do with the tip of your tongue.

Al-lisaan: contains makhaarij for 18 letters. These are divided across 10 points of articulation, which are categorised as 4 main areas. These are: Aqsal-lisaan; Wasat Al-lisaan; Haafat Al-lisaan; and Ra’sul-lisaan, or Tarful-lisaan. I’ve covered the first three areas in a previous post; below are the letters which emerge from Ra’sul-lisaan [1] (the tip of the tongue).

First, it is important to note that ra’sul-lisaan is the very tip of the tongue, and tarful-lisaan [2] is that small portion of the tongue just behind the tip. This is illustrated in the diagram below. This post covers both these regions as they are generally considered to be one main area.

Within this region, there are five points of articulation, producing 11 letters. These are:

6 – The Tip & Hard Palate

The very tip of the tongue, with that which coincides with it from the hard palate, behind the two front teeth produces the letter

Noon ( ن ), pronounced “nn”

with note that a ghunnah passes through the nasal passage to complete the sound for noon.

7 – The Tip, Upper Tip & Hard Palate

When the tip of the tongue, alongside a small area from the upper tip (tarful-lisaan), are pushed off the hard palate, the letter

Raa’ ( ر ), pronounced “rr”

is produced. The area referred to in the hard palate is slightly off that area which produces noon, as comparable in the diagrams above. The letters noon ( ن ), raa ( ر ), and laam ( ل ) are called Al-Ahruf Al-thalqeeyah [3]. Note: laam was covered in a previous post. The reason for this name is because they are produced from thalq al-lisaan [4], i.e. it’s tip.

Here’s food for thought: did you know that thalq also means “slip”. When your tongue “slips” and you let out a secret, it happens so fast. Thalq is just another characteristic of the tongue. It “slips”quickly after producing the consonant letter in a direction respective to a fat-ha, dammah, or kasrah.

8 – The Upper Tip & Hard Palate

Between the upper tip and hard palate, directly behind the two front incisors, the following letters are produced,

Taa’ ( ط ), pronounced “tt

Taa’ ( ت ), pronounced “tt”

Daal ( د ), pronounced “dd”

With note that the letter taa’ ( ط ) leans against the front teeth slightly more than taa’ and daal because of the strength needed in producing its sound. These three letters are called Al-Ahruf Al-Nateeah [5] because they emerge from the “skin” i.e. nat’ or “gum” which covers the upper back of the front teeth.

9 – Between The Tip And Top & Bottom Teeth

Between the top and bottom teeth is an open area which is generally known to make a hissing sound. With the tip of the tongue, this area is also the makhraj for

Saad ( ص ), pronounced “ss

Seen ( س ), pronounced “ss”

Zay ( ز ), pronounced “zz”

with note that when pronouncing these letters, the front sides of the tongue may touch some of the upper teeth. These three letters are named Al-Ahruf Al-Asleeyah [6], because they are produced from the very tip of the tongue

10 – The Tip & Front Incisors

Between the very tip of the tongue and the bottom edge of the two front teeth the following letters are produced

Thaa’ ( ث ), pronounced “thh”

Thaal ( ذ ), pronounced “th”

Thaa’ ( ظ ), pronounced “th

These three letters are called Al-Ahruf Al-Lathaweeyah [7] because their point of articulation is very close to the gums of the two front teeth.

– Makhaarij Al-Huroof document

Note, this document is found on the resources page.

[1] رأس اللسان
[2] طرف اللسان
[3] الأحرف الذلقية
[4] ذلق اللسان
[5] الأحرف النطيعة
[6] الأحرف الأسلية
[7] الأحرف اللثوية

Makhaarij Al-Huroof: Al-Lisaan

Buffing up is one of those things you see teen boys doing a lot. But what they fail to do is some Tongue Buffing Exercises. Check out all the cool moves you can do below… (and this is just part one)!

Al-lisaan: contains makhaarij for 18 letters. These are divided across 10 points of articulation, which are categorised as 4 main areas. These are: Aqsal-lisaan; Wasat Al-lisaan; Haafat Al-lisaan; and Ra’s Al-lisaan. Let’s look at some of these in detail.

1 & 2 – Deepest Area of the Tongue – Aqsal-lisaan [1]

This area is divided into two points of articulation.

1. The innermost part of the tongue with what corresponds to it from the upper (soft) palate produces

Qaaf ( ق ), pronounced “qq”

This area is the closest to the throat, and qaaf is produced with istilaa’ [2] (heaviness or pressure); more correctly, however, istilaa’ is the elevation of the tongue towards the roof of the mouth (to that which is opposite to it) after the sound is produced.

2. The innermost part of the tongue, towards the mouth, with what corresponds to it from the upper palate produces

Kaaf ( ك ), pronounced “kk”

This area is slightly closer to the mouth than throat. Kaaf is produced with istifaalah [3] (lightness) or lowering of the tongue towards the ‘floor’ of the the mouth after the sound is produced. These two letters are referred to as Al-Lahawiyyayn [4] because their makhraj involves the uvula (called lahah or lahaatul halq in Arabic).

3 – Mid-tongue Area – Wasat Al-lisaan [5]

The mid-tongue with that which corresponds to it from the hard palate produces 3 letters.

Jeem ( ج ), pronounced “jj”

Sheen ( ش ), pronounced “shh”

Consonant yaa ( ي ), pronounced “ya” or “yi” or “yu” or “y”

It is important to note that the yaa being referred to is not the yaa maddeeyyah; which means it is the yaa with a fat-ha such as in the word

yafqahoon

or the yaa with a dammah, such as in the word

yuqinoon

or the yaa with a kasrah, such as in the word

or the yaa with a sukoon, such as in the word

‘alayhi

Finally, it is also important to note that by mid-tongue we’re referring strictly to the upper side, called thahrul-lisaan [6]. These three letters are called Al-Ahruf Al-Shajareeyah [7] because they emerge from what is called “Shajar Al-Lisaan“. This, simply put, means these letters originate from the ‘core of the tongue’.

4 – Edge/s of the Tongue – Haafat Al-lisaan [8]

The edge of the tongue, alongside the inner faces of the top left and/or right molars, produce the letter

Daad ( ض ), pronounced “dd

More often, the left molars only are involved in producing the daad as this is easier. Knowing the point of articulation and mastering it is important. Commonly, this letter is transliterated into dh which I find may be confusing, especially in words where the letter haa or haa follow. Example: the word ( أضحى ), as I’d spell Adhaa or even Ad-haa would then need to be written as Adhhaa but is often written as Adha. Complications can occur, but only stringent Arabic teachers (and alike) should take note of these and avoid them when teaching.

5 – Between The Edge of the Tongue [and Gums] – Ma Bayna Haafatayil-lisaan [9]

The (front) edge (i.e. tip and fronter edges) of the tongue with that which coincides with it from the upper gum/palate is the makhraj for the letter

Laam ( ل ), pronounced “ll”

The “gum” being referred to here is that which is behind the front molars, incisors and canines, i.e. the hard palate. Usually the righter side of the edge produces laam. Nevertheless, it is important to ensure the edges are producing the laam, and not just the tip of the tongue.

Well! The second part of this tongue-buffing-course is soon to come. Until then, enjoy the 9/17 makhaarij you’ve learnt so far. Begin by revising today’s makhaarij post with this chart:

– Makhaarij Al-Huroof document

Note, this document is found on the resources page.

[1] أقصى اللسان
[2] إستعلاء
[3] إستفالة
[4] اللهويين
[5] وسط اللسان

[6] ظهر اللسان
[7] الأحرف الشجريّة
[8] حافة اللسان
[9] ما بين حافتي اللسان

Makhaarij Al-Huroof: Al-Halq

Let’s look deep into ourselves and evaluate our current state. Along the way, do stop and take a look at your throat. Three makhaarij, six letters: your throat’s doing a lot more than you probably thought…

Al-Halq: emerging from the throat are six letters. Within the throat, there are three points of articulation. Two letters emerge from each makhraj. Let’s take a look at these with detail.

The Upper Throat – Adnal-halq [1]

From the upper throat emerge two letters. These are

Khaa’ ( خ ), pronounced “kh”

Gyan ( غ ), pronounced “gh”

It is erroneous to pronounce these two letters from the mouth, and every effort should be made to distinguish the upper throat from the inner mouth area. Note that ghayn is articulated from the same makhraj, but just below the khaa.

The Mid-Throat – Wasat Al-halq [2]

The mid-throat is the point of articulation for the following two:

Haa’ ( ح ), pronounced “hh

‘Ayn ( ع ), pronounced ” ‘a

It is important to understand that haa ( ح ) and haa ( هـ ) are not the same, and that haa exhibits a much sharper sound and is articulated slightly above the ‘ayn.

The Deep Throat – Aqsal-halq [3]

The deepest part of the throat produces two letters,

Haa’ ( هـ ), pronounced “hh”

Hamzah ( ء ), pronounced as a glottal stop

A glottal stop is defined as “a speech sound produced by a momentary complete closure of the glottis, followed by an explosive release”. The haa emerges from the same area but just above the hamzah‘s point of articulation.

To sum up, the six letters that emerge from the throat are: khaa’ ( خ ), ghayn ( غ ), haa’ ( ح ), ayn ( ع ), haa ( هـ ), and hamzah ( ء ). These six letters are called Al-Ahruf Al-Halqiyyah [4] (the throat letters).

So far, this covers a total of 4 of 17 makhaarij. Hope you’re ready to explore some more 🙂 in the meantime, have fun by practicing these articulation points and enjoying the wondrous sounds they produce!

– Makhaarij Al-Huroof document

Note, this document is found on the resources page.

[1] أدنى الحلق
[2] وسط الحلق
[3] أقصى الحلق
[4] الأحرف الحلقية

Makhaarij Al-Huroof

Just as X marks the spot for any treasure, X also marks the makhraj (point of articulation) for the Arabic letters!

Makhaarij Al-Huroof [1] translates to “the points of articulation for [the Arabic] letters”. It is imperative that one learns and correctly pronounces the Arabic letters in order to read tajweed with precision. Colloquial dialects differ greatly, so as an Arabic speaking person, I can only stress the importance of learning the makhaarij. They are the very nectar of tajweed, and I can only hope that in my humble attempt to put forward the rules, you can achieve a great understanding.

The area of speech has been divided into five parts, and subdivided into 17. The first five divisions are as follows:

 Al-Jawf The Interior/Chest Area Al-Halq The Throat Al-Lisaan The Tongue Al-Shafataan The Lips Al-Khayshoom The Nasal Passage

This post will look into the first of these categories: Al-Jawf.

Al-Jawf [2] (The Interior/Chest Area)

The interior comprises of the inner, open area of the mouth, behind the meeting point of the lower jaw and top teeth. This area is an “estimated” makhraj (point of articulation), all other makhaarij are “actual” as they apply to constant sounds and have been pinpointed with accuracy. From the jawf three letters emerge. These are the:

alif ( ا ) preceded by a fat-ha, pronounced “aaa”

yaa ( ي ) preceded by a kasra, pronounced “eee”

waaw ( و ) preceded by a dammah,  pronounced “ooo”

These three letters are usually called Huroof Al-Maddeeyah[3] (or as I call them, madd letters). They may also be called Huroof Al-Jawfeeyah[4], as they emerge from the jawf.

To better understand the makhraj of these letters, it is essential that we see the shape of the tongue and lips. This is illustrated in the following diagram:

Here we can compare the difference of the three positions of the tongue. The alif corresponds to the pale pink tongue, waaw to the hot pink tongue, and yaa to the red tongue:

As with any language, it’s is best to listen and repeat after a teacher or sheikh to ensure you are sounding the letters in the correct manner; after all, no written or drawn aid can give the required accuracy for tajweed.

As a final note, there are two important things to mention in regards to makhaarij al-huroof.

First, to figure out the makhraj of a letter, pronounce it with a sukoon, preceded by a fat-ha. Examples,

أدْ         أعْ          أتْ          أشْ          أضْ

Second, note there are 28 letters in the Arabic alphabet, however, there are 31 huroof al-tajweed (tajweed letters). The extra letters are hamzah, consonant yaa’, and consonant waaw. These will be looked at in greater detail throughout the upcoming posts.