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Question

Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatu Allah wa barakatuh.  Could you kindly explain why  Imaam Al-Jazaree in his poem" The Jazariyya" has emphasized the shape of the mouth rather than the sound itself when he says that if you see a reader who doesn't round his mouth for pronouncing the dhammah that we should know that he is a reader "falling short" in his reading?

2. And also what is meant when he, may Allah have mercy on him, says: "and return each one (i.e. letter) to its original - and the utterance of it's look-alike is like itself - completely without "takalluf" ()..." Could you please explain this last word? (I apologize for the poor attempt at translating the wise words of the scholar...) And perhaps give some example of how we could be making this mistake (takalluf) in our reading?

Jazakumu Allahu khaira.

Answer

Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatu Allahi wa barakatuh. 

1. The lines of poetry concerning completing the vowels by physical movement of the mouth and jaw are not written by Imam Al-Jazaree, may Allah be merciful to him, but are included at the end of some copies of the Jazariyyah as "tatimmaat" or completions to the Jazariyyah.  There are some lines written by other scholars about subjects not in the Jazariyyah that help complete the knowledge of tajweed.  The lines in question are part of a manthoomah called: Al-mufeed fi-t-tawjweed, by the honorable Sheikh Shihaab Ad-Deen Ahmed bin Ahmed At-Tayyibee.  The first few lines of the part you are referring to are:

      

 

These can be translated as:

And every [letter] with a dhammah is never completed         
without with a complete dhammah of the two lips

And the one with lowering (kasrah) with a lowering of the mouth               
it completes, and the one with a fat-h with a fat-h [of the mouth], understand!

The complete dhammah sound cannot occur without a complete circling of the two lips and that is the message Ash-Sheikh At-Tayyibee was trying to convey.  When he stated, may Allah by merciful to him, that the dhammah is never completed without a complete circling of the two lips, he meant, Allah knows best, that the sound of the dhammah is not complete without the physical movement of the two lips into a complete circle.  In effect then, he is saying that the two go together. 

Many students of the Qur'an do not understand this principle and read the dhammah with an English "o" sound instead of the complete Arabic dhammah, a shortened letter wow.  If you look in the mirror and say the English letter "o" then say a long Arabic wow, you will see there is a significant difference in the position of the mouth.  This error is especially prevalent on the vowel before a saakin letter.  The other common mistake in the completion of the vowels is that of the kasrah sounding like the short vowel "i" instead of a shortened version of a ya'.  The correct kasrah sound requires a lowering of the jaw, just as when we pronounce a lengthened ya', but shorter in time.  

 

2.    Imam Al-Jazaree, may Allah be merciful to him, stated:

 Meaning:

And returning each one to its origin  
and the utterance in its parallel [expression] is the same as it

Completed without any artificiality 

The first half of the top line means returning each letter to it articulation point. 

The second half of that same line has been described by some as one half of all knowledge of tajweed.  Each utterance in the Qur'an should sound the same as its parallel.  This means that every medd munfasil should have the same number of vowel counts as a different medd munfasil, every letter  with a fat-h should sound the same as other letters   with a fat-h, etc..  The reciter of the Qur'an should be consistent in his/her recitation and not have different lengths of time for the same lengthening in different aayaat, and not have a different sound for the same letter in the same condition in different areas. 

The second line down: completed without any artificiality, (), is also an important concept in proper recitation.  Some students of the Qur'an are so eager to make the correct sounds that they exaggerate and actually end up making the sound incorrect.  They may lengthen a vowel count more than one count in an attempt to pronounce a word correctly, they may try so hard to say a letter correctly that they tighten up their tongue or throat and the letter sounds different than it should actually sound, and they may make exaggerated head and facial movements (raising the eyebrows with certain sounds, blowing out the cheeks with some letters, contorting the mouth off to one side when saying a difficult letter such as the letter ) that are not necessary for the sound to be correct.  All of these excess mannerisms are  .

Wa iyyaakum wa-l-muslimeen