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Monday, February 18, 2013

Commonly mispronounced letters of the Quran

After observing the level of recitation in Indo-Pak communities we have come to know the mispronounced words in Quranic recitation. 

As we all know the majority of madrasa’s teach what I call urdu-bic which is a hybrid of Urdu and Arabic. That’s to put things gently but if I was to be blunt then I would say that Quran is taught in Urdu not Arabic. Is this problem? Yes it is a major problem when words are not recited properly they can change the meaning. For example the word then ثم becomes  سمsumma which means poison. The meaning is changed from then to poison  Whenever meaning is changed it can never be good. It generally renders the ayah pronounced as unrecognizable from its Arabic counterpart.
So here we wish to list the words that are commonly mispronounced in the hope that people correct their recitation or seek a teacher to assist them to do this. It is an individual obligation to recite the Quran correctly and if you cannot do this then you are sinful. Although if you are trying your upmost and still making mistakes then you have an excuse but others who have the opportunity and choose not to learn do not have an excuse.

So here we can see that despite all these madrasa’s that are open only a few are actually doing their job correctly.
Here is the list:
ت      ta is said far too strongly is very lightly pronounced as ta – the tongue should be above the front two teeth

ث   it should be pronounced tha not sa which is the common mistake – try put your tongue   between  your teeth and articulate the letter.
ح    Ha must be said by blowing air out of the middle of the throat similar to how you blow on a mirror – this one is difficult and needs practice.
خ    Kha is a throaty sound which is almost the same sound you hear when old people draw phlegm into their mouths and spit.
ذ    this is common mistake and pronounced as zha which is not Arabic it should be pronounced as dha – your tongue should come out of your mouth. It is very similar to da;   only difference is the place that the sound is made.
ص this is another mistake it is pronounced as sawad which is not correct at all. It should be pronounced as Saad. The tongue should move upwards in an almost whistling manner.
  ضthis is said as dawad which is another mistake – it should be pronounced as Daad
  ط tawwii which is its common pronouncement but the correct one is Taaw – the tongue should move upward towards the roof of the mouth.
  ظ  zawwai is mispronounced it should be pronounced as Zaa – and the tongue should be similar to the ط
   عayn is how it should be pronounced – it should come from the middle of the throat     
and if you are doing it correctly it should hurt to begin with.
  غ ghayn is how it should be pronounced another throat letter and it is very similar to         the 

ق   this one is more about emphasis that misreading the letter qaaf – the sound should come from the back of the throat

ه    this is not said deep enough as it should come from the bottom of the throat. A throaty ha

ء    this is similar to the ه this is deeper. Aa.  

ل  Laam is said too deeply in all words. It should be said thinly or lightly and only be heavy when pronouncing the majestic name.

I do realise that this list is effectively half the alphabet but these are the mistakes that we have found. 
Please try to find someone qualified to teach you and correct these errors. Its not easy because it’s like uprooting a tree and putting a sapling in its place. You have to re-programme yourself but the rewards are there for you and you will feel a difference in your prayer. Start slowly one letter at a time, master it move on then so forth. Its not easy but it is possible as Imam Al-Jazzari said in his commentary on Tajweed all it needs is practice of the mouth.

Other problems

This is a recent problem that I have noticed. When these verses come together what is pronouced is something that resembles the name of Allah added to this. So its a major error. Instead of being pronounced as Kharulu is said as Kharullla which changes the meaning. See example

  خَيْرٌ للَّهُ    is changed   خَيْرٌ لَّهُ   
So you can see what a big mistake it is so the below is how to correctly pronounce it. So if you cannot say them correctly then separate them for the time being until you can correctly say them.

خَيْرٌ لَّهُ   رُلْ + لَ

وَايَةٌ لَّهُم    ةُ لْ + لَ

مَتَاعًا لَّكُم  عَا لْ + لَ

Confusion between the Alif and Hamza

In many books that alif and the Hamza are said to be pronounced the same but they are different. The alif is pronounced in the mouth and the Hamza is pronounced at the bottom of the throat. They are two different letters and cannot be read the same.

Is it too late for me?

You might find a lot of difficulty trying to correct your pronunciation but that should not stop you. If you cannot do this for yourself then try to get a teacher who knows Quranic Arabic for your kids. At least then they do not grow up with the correct pronunciation.

The Hanafi madhab states that if two words are pronounced correctly then the prayer is valid. The Shafi madhab is stricter, if Sura Fatihah is not pronounced correctly then the prayer is not valid. Please check your schools opinion on this issue. The Shia prayer that I witnessed has no Sura Fatihah or any sura, as far as I could tell, if this is correct the whole prayer is invalid.

Find an Arab

Finding a teacher might prove difficult and it might prove impossible for some. But you have to try. There are some online courses so bear that in mind. Not being able to pronounce the words correctly means a barrier to learning Arabic, if you choose to do so.

Why is Tajweed important? 

Please see the following link and it will explain what why tajweed needs to be correct.

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