My question is about the letter (vowel) alif. I have read in many places that alif is used as a long vowel as well as a weak..

Assalamu 'Alaykum,

I like your website a lot because it helps me to learn. My question is about the letter (vowel) alif. I have read in many places that alif is used as a long vowel as well as a weak consonant. The most common examples of how it is used as a long vowel is when it's preceded by a fathah. But I can't seem to find an example where it is used as a weak consonant. Can you please provide me with an example?

Answer

Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

The problem arises from English grammar terms and similar sounds being applied to the Arabic language, when often it isn’t possible to do.

The true alif is always saakinah preceded by a , any other case is not a real alif.  The alif in Arabic is considered a weak letter, just as the saakinah  and   saakinah are.  The term “long vowel” is an English term and not used in Arabic; it is however called a lengthened letter (medd letter) because it is lengthened two vowel counts at least if not followed by a sukoon.  The true alif is always both of these, so it is always a weak letter and at the same time is always a medd letter. In other words, the alif in the word: is both a weak letter and a medd letter at the same time.

May Allah increase you in beneficial knowledge.