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Al-Meem Al-Saakinah: rule two December 16, 2010

NOTE: if you are new to the website, please click here for a brief guide.

The first rule for Al-Meem Al-Saakinah looked at the succession of a meem after a meem saakinah (مْ).

The second rule looks at meem saakinah followed by a baa (ب).

Rule two: Ikhfaa Shafawee (Hiding the sound by the use of the lips)

The second rule is enacted only when the latter baa follows a silent meem (meem saakinah). The condition here is that the baa must be mutaharik, i.e. have a diacritic (fat-ha, dammah, kasra).

The sound of the meem is hidden and the lips are shaped, ready to pronounce the baa. You may ask how can the meem be hidden? The answer is simple: do not press your two lips together completely [as you would if you were to pronounce a full meem]. Leave a very little gap and let the sound of the meem come from the deeper part of your mouth while you prepare to say the baa. By letting the meem come from the inner mouth, it’s sound stays encapsulated behind the teeth, and so the meem is hidden. Remember that this rule is carried out for two counts, i.e. the time it takes to say the words, “one – two”.

On a different, yet very important, note…

The rules for Al-Noon Al-Saakinah used a shaddah for notice purposes, i.e. to remind the reader to carry out the Al-Noon Al-Saakinah rule. Here, instead, the meem remains completely free of any diacritic. This is a notice for the reader to do ikhfaa shafawee.

And one last thing to recall…

At the end of the meem rules, I keep using the word “shafawee“. This is very important to distinguish the normal noon saakinah/tanween idghaam/ith-haar/ikhfaa from the ones done by the lips for the meem saakinah.

Examples of Ikhfaa Shafawee:

hum bil-aakhirati

tarmeehem bi-hijaaraten

ayyuhum bithaalika

Resources Link:

Sukoon [Gatway To Arabic: page 48]

-Tajweed Rule [Tajweed Basics: Foundations and More: second half page 10]

-Makhaarij Al-Huroof [dot point 15]

Related Pages: Al-Meem Al-Saakinah: ith-haar shafaweeAl-Meem Al-Saakinah: idghaam shafawee

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Al-Noon Al-Saakinah: rule two December 4, 2010

NOTE: if you are new to the website, please click here for a brief guide.

The following is rule two of four for the Noon Al-Saakinah/Tanween.

We all know the children’s game, hide and seek. Here, the Noon Al-Saakinah must be hidden [i.e. not pronounced clearly]. Read on.

Hide And Seek

Rule Two: Ikhfaa — Al-sitr (where the Noon/Tanween is not pronounced clearly, i.e. is hidden).

The first rule listed six letters that follow the noon al-saakinah. In that case, it must be pronounced clearly. Of the remaining letters in the Arabic alphabet, the second rule, ikhfaa applies.

The letters which are covered in rules three and four, are the exception to this rule.

These letters are:

ب    و    م    ن    ي    ر    ل

laam    raa    yaa   noon    meem    waa    baa

When one of the remaining letters follows a noon saakinah or tanween, ikhfaa must be done. This is when the noon saakinah or tanween is hidden in the nose. Here, the mouth is to be shaped in a manner such that it is “prepared” for the next letter. For example, if the next letter is a taa with a dhammah then the mouth is prepared to say this by changing it into a small “o” shape, and the tongue positions itself in the right place within the mouth[2]. This can occur across two words or be contained in one.

Ikhfaa must be sounded for two counts, i.e. the time it takes to say the words, “one – two”.

Examples of the second rule are as follow:

example one: min qabl –   منْ قبلِ

example two: kitaabun kareem –   كِتابٌ كريم

example three: antum –   أنْتم

It is not necessary that you learn all these letters. It is however advised that you learn the 6 ith-haar, and 7 exception, letters and so when reading, just do a quick check to see if the letter is not one of the 6 ith-haar letters, or the exception letters above, then do ikhfaa. This takes a while to get used to, and soon you’ll forget you even have to do a check because you internalise it.

Besides, it’d be almost the impossible to try and bring out an “nn” sound from your nasal passage when needing to shape your mouth for a “h” sound for haa, or an “a” sound for alif.

Resources Link:

Sukoon [Gateway to Arabic, page 48]

– Makhaarij Al-Huroof

Related Pages: Al-Noon Al-Saakinah: ith-haarAl-Noon Al-Saakinah: idghaam –  Al-Noon Al-Saakinah: iqlaab


[1] – More about the Arabic letters can be found here: http://www.meem.freeuk.com/ scroll down to the “ABJAD TABLE” and select a letter.
[2] – Refer to the document Makhaarij Al-Huroof under the resources page.