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I am unable to understand how I can apply all the characteristics of a letter at one time. Suppose if I am..

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Assalamalaikum!

I found this website really helpful. May Allah bless you all (Aameen). I am a non Arab student of tajweed.  I have some questions regarding characteristics of letters.

I studied in characteristics' chapter that every letter at least five characteristics. I am unable to understand how I can apply all the characteristics of a letter at one time. Suppose if I am reciting the word Ahad in this word letter daal has 6 characteristics----1    Al Jahr    2 Ash shiddah   3 Al Istifaal  4 Al Infitah   5 Al Ismaat 6 Al Qalqalah  

How all the 6 characteristics can come at one time during recitation

In another word Mushrekeen letter sheen has 6 characteristics--- 1  Al Hams

2 Al riqwah 3 Al Istefaal 4 Al Infetah

 5 Al Ismaat  6 Al tafashi

 How I will recite the word Mushrekeen that cover all the 6 characteristics together. I am unable to do that is there any certain rule for that?

 My second question is all the characteristics are found in a letter only when they are sakin or mutharrik or both?

 I am having hard time to understand characteristics of letters. I found this chapter toughest in all tajweed rules. I am trying my best. Is it really tough part of tajweed syllabus or only I am feeling like this? 

Please guide me May Allah reward you here and here after (Aameen).

Shukran

Wassalam

Answer

Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Barak Allah feekum. 

The articulation points and characteristics of the letters are that which makes a letter different from other letters.  Indeed these are probably the two most important chapters in tajweed because with understanding and most importantly application of these lessons, the recitation will be correct in that it does not change a letter into another.  There are many letters that share articulation points, and the distinguishing feature of one letter over another then comes from the characteristics, meaning if you apply the characteristics incorrectly, the letter will sound like another one from the same articulation point, and of course this is a major mistake in the reading.

The characteristics were laid down in writing by scholars as the Arab tongue starting becoming corrupt and the purity of the Arab language was being lost.  The Arabs of the first generations of Muslims did not need to study the characteristics or articulation points.  The letters came out perfectly well without any lessons in the characteristics.

Characteristics are simultaneously applied to all letters, except in the case of the  on the  and  saakinah, which is applied after the characteristic of on these two letters. 

The same thing holds true for letters in the English language, the characteristics of the letters of the English language are applied at the same time to all letters. For example, if you were going to ask someone to lower their voice, you could just hold your finger up to your mouth and say “Shhhhhhh”.  While saying that “shhhhh” there is running of the breath (), running of the sound (),  (for most people), etc.  These are emitted simultaneously without having to think about it. If you tried to make this sound applying one of these characteristics without another, the sound is going to change and it no longer would sound like the usual sound for “shhhh”.    In linguistic studies they assign characteristics to letters of all languages, to help explain the letter.  These characteristics are for the vast majority of cases simultaneous for the pronunciation of each letter. 

The characteristic of asmaat and thalaqa are not characteristics that can be physically applied in tajweed, and for that reason we eliminated them in our site explanation of the characteristics. 

It may be you are being too hard on yourself, or thinking too much about the application of the characteristics.  Usually if you have heard the letter correctly from your teacher and from known masters of tajweed, you will be able to imitate it correctly.  If you recite a letter and the teacher never corrects you,  that means it is correct.  Your teacher will best be able to explain to you if any characteristic is missing or weak in a letter. 

The characteristics are more evident when the letter is saakin, but the characteristics are always there even when the letter has a vowel.  The exception to this is the qalqalah.  Some scholars say the qalqalah is only apparent when saakin, others say it is present but hidden when the letter is voweled.

We suggest you listen to the recordings of Sheikh Al-Husary and Sheikh Abdullah Basfar and try and listen to the saakin letters and listen for the characteristics (because they are more evident with the letter is saakin).  You will, insha' Allah in short time understand how they are applied simultaneously and with ease.   

May Allah make the recitation of the Qur’an easy for you and make you of the masters of tajweed. Ameen.

Wa assalaam alaikum wa rahmatullah.

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