To give your recitation a quick boost, try ‘Itmaam-ul-Harakaat’. No, it’s not a medicine from Yemen. ‘Itmaam’ simply means completion & ‘harakaat’ could be loosely translated to mean vowels. It means fine-tuning the vowels. Unlike English, unitary vowels in Arabic are not letters – thus not written out explicitly. Instead, they are shown with either of the following 3 marks above or below a letter. Fathah: straight stroke on top of a letter, pronounced like the ‘a’ as in “bat”.
- Madd (pronounced like “mud”), literally means “extension”. In recitation of the Qur’an (tajweed), madd is when you extend and stretch a vowel sound (aah, ooh, etc.). There are two types of madd: fard (obligatory: you have to recite it) and mustahab (recommended: you should recite it). The general rule is that a madd inside a word is fard, while a madd that connects two words is mustahab. For example, in Surah Baqarah, Allah says:
- In Arabic, there is the letter Ya: ي. It is pronounced similar to the letter Y in English. However, there’s also another type of ya–the ya without dots, which looks like this: ى. As for that ya, sometimes pronounced as a ya, and sometimes, as an alif (ا). For example, the word على (ayn-lam-ya) can be read as ‘ala (on top: عَلَى) or as ‘Ali (as in the name: عَلِي). So how do you know when to pronounce it as a ya, and when to pronounce it as an alif?
- Mnemonic: Something used to help you remember. Qalqala is best described as an “echo noise” or “bouncing noise”. There are five qalqala letters. If any of them appears with a sukoon on top, you perform qalqala. (Prime example, if you have no idea what qalqala is: the end of the last word of every verse in Surah Ikhlass.) Qalqala letters: qaff (ق), ba (ب), taw (ط), jeem (ج), and dal (د).
- Surah Fatiha contains almost all the Arabic letters that the English language lacks: ‘Ayn (ع), Saad (ص), Daad (ض), Taw (ط), Qaf (ق), and 7a (ح). Once you learn to pronounce these letters correctly, you practice them 17 times a day, every day, in every state of mind. Bi ithnillah, once you learn them, practice, and you will master them quickly.
- If you know your tajweed (Qur’anic rules of beautifying recitation) but feel a bit rusty or need to review them, this website explains it very well. The website helps more if you already know tajweed but need a refresher. It’s very difficult to learn tajweed without a real, human teacher. May Allah accept our reading of the Qur’an as ‘ibadah. Ameen.