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I have a question about the letters that appear by themselves in the Qur'an. They seem to be at the beginning of the surahs mostly.  There are no vowel marks on them. How do we read them?  What do they mean?  May Allah reward you for your answers and explanations.


There are 29 surahs that start with the separate letters, written as one word.  There are 14 different letters or combination of letters among these 29 different surahs.  These separate individual letters occur only at the beginning of some surahs, never in the middle or end of a surah.  The most common occurrence is that of ,  and  each of which begin six different surahs.  There are some surahs that start with one of these separate letters, such as .  The greatest amount of these separate letters as one word are at the beginning of surah Maryam, which begins with five separate letters, .  Surah Ash-Shuraa starts with six separate letters, but they are divided into two separate words, in two separate aayaat. 


These letters are read as if each letter is written out, each written letter ending in a sukoon.  In other words, is read as .  These separate letters follow the rules of tajweed; so in this example there is an idghaam of the  saakinah of the letter , with the  that has a kasrah of the written out letter, . 

The individual letters in the group  get 6 vowel counts each, the letter  gets 4 or 6 vowel counts, both are acceptable, the individual letters in the group  get two vowel counts each, and the alif has no lengthening to it.


The true meaning of these letters is known only to Allah, the Exalted.  Most tafseers state that although the true meaning of these separate letters is not known to man, they point out to the miracle of the Qur’an.  From these letters, all available to the Arabs, this wonderful Qur’an was revealed in the clear Arabic language, and no human, Arab or non-Arab, can write anything similar in content, meaning, beauty, wisdom, nor guidance.