The nasalization – ghunna is an obligatory characteristic – Sifat for the letter Noon ن and Meen م. Regardless of their state (whether they are vocalized, wearing a sukoon, during idhar, idgham or even during ikhfa tajweed rules). Its exit point is the nose – خَيْشُوم.
The degrees of the ghunna
There are degrees in the nasalization- ghunna scale :
- The strongest and longest degree for the application of ghunna is that of idgham or shadda.
وَمَا أَنزَلَ اللَّـهُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مِن مَّاءٍ فَأَحْيَا بِهِ الْأَرْضَ
and what Allah has sent down from the heavens of rain (2:164)
قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ النَّاسِ
Say, “I seek refuge in the Lord of mankind, (114:1)
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِن قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ
Muhammad is not but a messenger. [Other] messengers have passed on before him. (3:144)
- During the ikhfa:
إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ فِي لَيْلَةِ الْقَدْرِ
Indeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree. (97:1)
- With a sukoon:
كَيْفَ تَكْفُرُونَ بِاللَّـهِ وَكُنتُمْ أَمْوَاتًا فَأَحْيَاكُمْ
How can you disbelieve in Allah when you were lifeless, and He brought you to life; (2:28)
بَلْ تُؤْثِرُونَ الْحَيَاةَ الدُّنْيَا
But you prefer the worldly life (87:16)
صِرَاطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ الْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا الضَّالِّينَ
The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray. (1:7)
كُلٌّ آمَنَ بِاللَّـهِ وَمَلَائِكَتِهِ وَكُتُبِهِ وَرُسُلِهِ
All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, (2:285)
- The weakest degree being the ghunna of meem and noon vocalized (mutaharika):
وَنَادَىٰ أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ أَصْحَابَ الْجَنَّةِ أَنْ أَفِيضُوا عَلَيْنَا مِنَ الْمَاءِ أَوْ مِمَّا رَزَقَكُمُ اللَّـهُ
And the companions of the Fire will call to the companions of Paradise, “Pour upon us some water or from whatever Allah has provided you.” (7:50)
The times of the ghunna
We hear many people say that the ghunna of noon and meem with shadda lasts “harakatayn” (the time to spell two vowels).
However, we can easily remove the ambiguity and demonstrate that the ghunna of noon and meem with shadda is well beyond 2 times. This is the opinion of Dr Aymen Sued regarding the chapter on the times of the ghunna.
Technically, for the ghunna naqis (partial nasalization): you have to put the lips leaving a small distance (like letting a leaf pass, for example).
The ghunna Kamil (complete nasalization) must stick the lips without pressing to pronounce the next letter correctly.
Note: Many of us incorporate the ghunna systematically in our recitation, and this for all letters. Care must be taken to close the nasal septum for the letters’ pronunciation, except for meem and noon.