The definitive article Alif-lam”ال” of definition (lam ta’reef) in Arabic is pronounced in 2 different ways depending on the first letter of the word it precedes. The article can either be pronounced as such or assimilated.
The lunar letters – الحُرُوفُ القَمَرِيَّة
When the definite article is found in front of a word starting with a lunar letter, it will be pronounced “ال” al. These 14 lunar letters are:
ه – م – ي – ق – ع – ف – خ – و – ك -ج – ح – غ – ب – ء
الْبَابُ – it is pronounced al-baab
الْحَجُ – it is pronounced al-hajj
The solar letters – الحُوُوفُ الشَّمْسِيَّة
The solar letters form the rest of the alphabet and are also 14 in number:
ش – س – ز – ر – ذ – -د -ت – ث – ن – ل – ظ – ط – ض – ص
There are 2 cases:
- When the article lam alif is not preceded by a word
- When the article lam alif is preceded by a word
When the article lam alif is not preceded by a word, it will then be assimilated before the word begins with a solar letter.
With these letters, the article will therefore undergo assimilation, i.e. the article will be pronounced “ا“, and the letter starting the word will be doubled.
We will insist on the pronunciation of the letter, and in writing, it bears a shadda.
الرَّحْمَنُ it is pronounced ar-Rahman
الرَّحِيْمُ it is pronounced ar-Raheem
الشَّجَرُ it is pronounced ash-shajaru
When the article lam alif is preceded by a word, it is no longer pronounced at all.
We make a direct connection between the word that precedes it and the word it defines, and this makes reading much easier.
Without pronouncing the article, you make a direct connection between the first word and the second word’s solar letter by doubling this one, that is to say, by insisting on this letter.
مِنَ الرَّحمَنِ is pronounced mina r Rahmani
Application in Surah Al Fatiha
- In red colour are the solar letters.
- In blue colours are the lunar letters.
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ
مَالِكِ يَوْمِ الدِّينِ
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
اهْدِنَا الصِّرَاطَ الْمُسْتَقِيمَ
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ
Book your free trial lesson
Recitation of 2 words when the 1st ends with a prolongation letter and the 2nd is a defined word with Alif Lam.
Prolongation letters are vowels that are extended by 2 beats in the pronunciation of a word. The extension letters are:
ا – و – ي – ى
With a lunar letter
when a word ending with a letter of prolongation and which is followed by a defined word by Alif Lam, the reading of these two words is done by pronouncing the last letter of the 1st word as a simple letter carrying a vowel (therefore, no prolongation of the vowel ) and ال will not be fully pronounced, we go directly from the last letter of the 1st word to the lâm ل of the 2nd word
فَلْيَعْبُدُوا رَبَّ هَـٰذَا الْبَيْتِ
Let them worship the Lord of this House, (106:3)
With a solar letter
A word ending with a letter of prolongation and which is followed by a defined word, the reading of these 2 words is done by pronouncing the last letter of the 1st word as a simple letter carrying a vowel (therefore no prolongation of the vowel ), and ال will not be pronounced, we go directly from the last letter of the 1st word to the solar letter of the 2nd word.
وَحُصِّلَ مَا فِي الصُّدُورِ
Indeed, their Lord with them, that Day, is [fully] Acquainted. (100:11)