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Hamzah Al-Wasl

Lesson 2

 We stated last lesson, which is now in the tidbit archives, that the hamzah al-wasl is an extra hamzah at the beginning of a word, used to connect us to the first letter of the word, which has a sukoon.  The Arabs, as stated in the introduction, only start a word or phrase with a voweled letter.  The symbol for a hamzah wasl is: , which is an alif with a small letter  over it. 

 The hamzah wasl is not to be confused with a regular letter hamzah, called hamzah qata’, 
  , which can be at the beginning, middle, or end of a word.  The regular letter hamzah or   looks like the head of the letter , and can be written on an alif as in :  , or a  as in:    , or on a  :  .  It can also be written on a “tooth” or stick in the middle of a word:  , or just in the air with no letter or stick to “lean” on:  .  These are all hamzah qata’, and are pronounced as a hamzah with the accompanying vowel  written over or under the hamzah.  

The hamzah wasl on the other hand has no vowel written over it, is only at the beginning of a word, and is only written over an alif, with the small  over it ( ). 


For those using the copy of the mus-haf prevalent in Pakistan and India, there is a different way to determine hamzah wasl, from hamzah qata’, and from an alif.  These copies of the mus-haf do not write in the symbol for the hamzah on an alif, nor do they write in the symbol for the hamzah wasl.  The way to determine then whether the symbol at the beginning of a word is a regular hamzah qata’, or hamzah wasl is that if there is a vowel written over or under it, it is a hamzah qata’ : as in .
If there is no vowel on it, it is then a hamzah wasl, as in the first letter of: .  The real true alif ( which is an alif preceded by a fat-h) can never start a word, since it is a saakin letter. 


 in verbs

The hamzah wasl can be found beginning some past tense and command verbs.  When the past tense or command form of a verb has a sukoon for the first letter, whether it is a simple sukoon or a shaddah, a hamzah wasl is needed to start out the verb.  The hamzah wasl is never found at the beginning of a present tense verb. 

There are four categories of verbs, each category depends on the number of letters that make up the essence of the verb.  There are three letter  basic verbs, four letter , five letter , and six letter  verbs.  A brief introduction to grammar terms can be found in the archived tidbit lessons. 

 can start past tense verbs with five and six letter verbs. 

Some examples of five letter base past tense verbs that start with hamzah wasl are all three underlined verbs in:


Another example is:


Examples of hamzah al-wasl in a past tense verb with a six letter base are the underlined words in: 



Hamzah al-wasl can enter the command form of verbs in the three letter, five letter, and six letter base verbs. 


The following aayaat have examples  of hamzah al-wasl in the command form of the three letter root verb:

 Hamzah Wasl examples in the command form of the five letter verb:


Hamzah wasl examples in the command form of the six letter verbs



It is clear from the preceding that the hamzah al-wasl does NOT enter into the following verbs:

                 1.  The present tense verb at all.

                 2.  The four letter root verb at all.

                 3.  The past tense three letter root.

The following table explains which type of regular verbs the  can enter:    

 Next lesson, insha’ Allah, we will describe the most important part of the hamzah wasl lessons: how to determine which vowel to start the hamzah al-wasl with in a verb.