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The Mechanism of the formation of letters (Part 2)

      2.  Voweled letters

Voweled letters occur by the parting () of two components of the articulating parts.  The sound of all letters occurs like this when voweled.  Accompanying the parting of the articulation bodies is the appropriate mouth and jaw movements for the written vowel.

      a)  Opening of the mouth.  This occurs with a fat-h

      b)  Circling of the lips.  This happens with a dhammah.

      c)  Lowering of the jaw.  This happens with a kasrah.

An example is in the following:

 occurs by the separation of the two lips and the opening of the mouth.
 occurs by the separation of the two lips and the circling of the lips.
 occurs by the separation of the two lips and the lowering of the bottom jaw.

All vowels must sound like a shortened version of its origin.  The alif is the origin of the fat-h, the long  is the origin of the dhammah, and the long  is the origin of the kasrah.  The reader must be careful not to pronounce these vowels incorrectly, such as when the kasrah is pronounced in between a kasrah and a
fat-hah.  Some readers mistakenly open the sides of the mouth for a fat-hah instead of opening the mouth vertically; the result of this mistake is called imaalah, which means tilting.  Other readers do not make a complete circle of their lips for a dhammah and the resulting sound is like that of the English “O”.  Another mistake readers may make is not lowering the jaw completely for the kasrah, and the resulting sound is that of a short i. We should not let our mouths be lazy; the correct way of pronouncing vowels need more mouth and jaw action than the incorrect way.  The vowel and letter formation is one of the most important items of research in the knowledge of tajweed because it is linked to all 29 letters of Arabic.  We must be careful to pronounce these vowel sounds correctly and at the same time be careful not to put a vowel on a saakinah letter.  For example the word: The  has a dhammah, the  a sukoon, the second a dhammah, and the  a sukoon.  We have to be sure to say the dhammah on the , then return our mouths to a neutral position for the , then make a dhammah for the second , then back to a neutral position for the .  This takes practice in the mirror to accomplish the mouth movement in the proper sequence.  The most common mistake in a word like this is leaving the mouth in a dhammah for the letters that have a sukoon on them.  The resultant sound is like half a dhammah instead of the pure sukoon sound required.  This is even more pertinent with the letter is a qalqalah letter, such as is the case of the  when it has a sukoon on it.  The qalqalah should have no vowel sound accompanying it.  The mechanism of the qalqalah will be covered in future tidbit lessons, insha’ Allah.