The Shubuhaat | Part 1: A Tale of Two Sukoons


visiting-canada-clear-lake_422_77462In this last series, we elaborated on the importance of avoiding any innovation inserted into the oral sanad and the ways in which this is done when using logic (a corrupted analogy or قياس فاسد) or by misunderstanding the textual evidences.  This new series is a natural offshoot to that one where we now begin our analysis of different innovations which have entered the recitation in a similar fashion.

Remember that mistakes or misconceptions in the recitation start with one individual and do not represent the opinion of the vast majority of trustworthy and reliable Qurra’.   This one individual passes on this misconception to his students, and he/she may have many of them.  Through these students, the mistake spreads, until finally those who have felt doubt regarding it trace it back and link it to this one individual, unable to trace it to textual evidences or even the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم himself.  The investigation we discuss today took a similar path.

So we start today with a tale… a tale of two Sukoons.

While some parts of this post may be a little technical, we urge our readers to patiently read through it thoroughly, for there are many points of benefit and clarification for both the student and teacher of the Qur’an.

Today we will be referring to two specific situations where two Sukoons appear consecutively:

Situation 1

A stop is made on a letter preceded by a Sukoon, such as stopping on, and not limited to, the following:  الفتح – الأمر – عنه – الخسر.  Since a person stops on such a word with a Sukoon and then this Sukoon is preceded by another one, a Two-Sukoon situation is created and looks like this (using the examples mentioned):

الْ + فَ + تْ + حْ

الْ + أَ + مْ + رْ

عَ + نْ + هْ

الْ + خُ + سْ + رْ

The portion highlighted in red above shows where the two Saakin letters appear together.

Situation 2

An إدغام كبير scenario where the last letter from one word (referred to as the مُدْغَم letter) is inserted into the first letter of the following word while both letters are Mutaharrik (accompanied by a Harakah), such as:

  1. ُنَحْنُ نُسَبِّح
  2. ْيَخْلُ لَكُم
  3. ْأَمْرَ رَبِّكُم

This rule is only applied in the recitation of Abu ‘Amr, so those who have knowledge of the Qiraa’aat will be more familiar with this. Since a letter with Shaddah is essentially two letters (the first letter is Saakin and the second is Mutaharrik), then with إدغام كبير, a Two-Sukoon situation is created in the following way (referring to the example of ُنَحْنُ نُسَبِّح):

Original:  نَ + حْ + نُ    نُ + سَ + بْ + بِ + حُ

Step 1:  نَ + حْ + –    نُ + سَ + بْ + بِ + حُ

Step 2:  نَ + حْ + –    نْ + نُ + سَ + بْ + بِ + حُ

Final:  نَ + حْ + –    نْ + نُ + سَ + بْ + بِ + حُ

The ( – ) shows that the first ن was dropped, and a Shaddah was added to the second ن (which looks like this:  نْ + نُ in Step 2).  As soon as that happened, then in the final scenario, two Saakin letters appear consecutively (blue).

In the situation where the last letter of the first word (مُدْغَم) is preceded by a Saakin letter, there are two, authentic and well-documented ways to recite:

a.  Make a Pure إدغام:  the last letter of the first word is dropped and a Shaddah is added to the first letter of the second word which might look/sound like this:  نح نّسبح – يخ لَّكم – أم رّبكم

b.  Apply إخفاء (also known as “Ikhtilaas” as explained below):  the last letter of the first word (مُدْغَم) is recited with a fraction of its original Harakah, so in the case of نحنُ نسبح, only a fraction of the dhammah of the first ن is articulated.

The Claim

What we describe below is a fairly recent phenomenon popping up in some Tajweed classes, so it is not very common or widespread.  However, there is potential for this innovation explained below to spread if proper care is not taken to understand the error involved and prevent it.  To begin, this claim consists of two parts:

Part A:  Referring to situation #1 above, a certain group claims that when stopping on two Saakin letters, one applies a portion of the Harakah from the letter before to the first Saakin letter.  So for example, in the word الفتح, since the Harakah which precedes the first Saakin letter (ت) is a fat-hah (فَ), a portion of this Harakah gets transferred to the ت, as if to say الفَتَح, the second fat-hah being shorter in length than the first.

We found the following excerpt from a set of class notes from a Tajweed course teaching and propagating this rule:



Another set of class notes from another Tajweed class stated the following:

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As can be seen clearly, students were taught that the Harakah was “partitioned” and assigned to the first Saakin letter with the premiss that since pronouncing two Saakin letters consecutively was “difficult,” scholars of Tajweed had allowed this other way to be recited.  The students were also given a name for this; they were told it was called Ikhtilaas (explained below).

Part B:  Referring to the إدغام كبير as mentioned in situation #2 above, this (same) group adds one more opinion where they state that the إخفاء can also be applied to the Saakin letter preceding the last letter of the first word (in the case of نحن نسبح, they are referring to the Saakin letter حْ). In both cases, the first evidence they use as proof is the following line from Imam al-Shatibi’s poem حرز الأماني (explained in detail below):

وإدغام حرف قبله صح ساكن     عسير وبالإخفاء طبق مفصلا

The second evidence they use is that they wrongfully attribute this opinion to Sh. Khalid Ahmad Barakaat حفظه الله  and by doing so, they are “claiming” to have an oral Sanad for it (as will be made clear below).

And finally, that last bit of evidence proponents of this opinion will use is logic: they claim that because saying two Saakin letters together is difficult, a portion of a Harakah is “naturally” needed.  They explain this by saying that when we say a letter with Sukoon, we are “closing in” on the Makhraj.  If we are to say another letter with Sukoon after it, this would require us to first “open” and then “close” in on the next Makhraj.

So let’s examine these evidences and see whether or not there’s any support, even a little bit, for these two claims.

Is the Logic used here really Logical?

First, let’s start with the way this group tries to “logically” justify this opinion.  We’ve mentioned repeatedly that the recitation is one of the kinds of علم نقلي, knowledge that can only be learned from a teacher.  Therefore, we cannot “logically” justify anything until and unless it has been backed up by the oral transmission and textual evidence in light of that oral transmission.

But let’s say we were to accept this opinion from a logical perspective.  In this case then, it’s not about “closing” on a Makhraj and “opening” in order to “close in” on another Makhraj.  It’s about sliding from one Makhraj to the next, as we mention at the end of this article regarding correct technique.  This requires the training and practice under a qualified teacher.

Understanding Ikhtilaas

Let’s begin our analysis of this opinion from the textual and oral perspective by first understanding what exactly Ikhtilaas is. Ikhtilaas is a rule commonly found in specific places within different Qiraa’aat and refers to saying a Harakah quickly while lowering the voice whereby 1/3 of the Harakah is omitted and only 2/3s of it remains.  It has the following characteristics:

  1. It occurs with all three Harakaat:  fat-hah, dhammah and kasrah
  2. The letter must have a Harakah, not Sukoon, for the Ikhtilaas to be applied.
  3. It is also referred to as إخفاء or رَوم in many books of Qiraa’aat.
  4. It is a very specific rule only applied to specific words and situations (mentioned below).
  5. It is applied in the middle of a word, and in the case of إدغام كبير, it is applied between the two words, and never when stopping.

Sh. Zakariyya al-Ansari رحمه الله mentions in his book, الدقائق المحكمة في شرح المقدمة الجزرية, page 155:

والروم يشارك الاختلاس في تبعيض الحركة ويخالفه في أنه لا يكون في فتح ولا نصب ويكون في الوقف دون الوصل والثابت من الحركة فيه أقل من الذاهب والاختلاس يكون في الحركات كلها ولا يختص بالوقف والثابت من الحركة فيه أكثر من الذاهب كأن يأتي بثلثيها فيكون الذاهب أقل 

… Rawm (also a fraction of a Harakah) and Ikhtilaas both involve partitioning of the Harakah, but differ in that [Rawm]:

  1. is not applied to the fat-hah and accusative case (in Arabic grammar)
  2. is applied only when stopping, not continuing
  3. what remains of Harakah is less than what was omitted.

And Ikhtilaas:

  1. is applied to all the Harakaat
  2. is not specified for stopping only
  3. is when what remains of the Harakah is more than what was omitted, as if 2/3 remains, and what was omitted was very little.

It’s obvious from the above that Ikhtilaas (as well as Rawm) refers to the Harakah that already accompanies a letter; it is not “borrowed” from the letter before it, nor is it applicable to a Saakin letter.

As for the specific words where Ikhtilaas is applied, al-Imam al-Teebi, in his famous poem entitled: المفيد في التجويد mentions the following lines regarding Ikhtilaas:

والاختلاس فى نعما أرنا     ونحو باريكم ولا تأمنا
ولا تعدوا لا يهدى إلا     وهم يخصمون فادر لكلا

Here, Imam al-Teebi lists some specific words where Ikhtilaas is used.  In every case, remember only a fraction of the Harakah is recited and the letter was originally Mutaharrik (not Saakin!):

  1. نعِما (a fraction of the kasrah of ع)
  2. أرِنا (a fraction of the kasrah of ر)
  3. بارءِكم (a fraction of the kasrah of the همزة)
  4. تأمنُنا (a fraction of the dhammah of ن)
  5. تعَدوا (a fraction of the fat-hah of ع)
  6. يهِدي (a fraction of the kasrah of هـ)
  7. يخِصمون (a fraction of the kasrah of خ)

Since Ikhtilaas is originally applied to a letter that already has a Harakah, applying Ikhtilaas to an already Saakin letter actually changes the meaning of the word or makes even meaningless.  For example, when stopping on the word أَمْر, if one does Ikhtilaas of the م by assigning a portion of the fat-hah before it, you’ve essentially changed the word from أمْر (“a matter”) to أمَر (“he commanded”).  This is a major mistake (لحن جلي) and absolutely Haraam.   This shows that the nature of Arabic language is such that any sort of minute change can completely affect the meaning or make it meaningless.  That’s why it is absolutely essential to make sure every Harakah and letter is pronounced accurately and as they should be.

Because this sort of change affects the meaning, only Allah can authorize such a change as He has done in other Qiraa’aat.  That’s why there are only specific words that have Ikhtilaas applied to it, with very specific conditions.

Therefore, Ikhtilaas is not something that is applied in just any situation, and is most certainly not applicable to a letter which is originally Saakin to begin with.  This is a type of Qiyas (analogy) which is absolutely forbidden because it’s not for any person to apply something that leads to a change in meaning (this is the Book of Allah, not a book by Man).  This exactly what the People of the Book were reprimanded for in the Qur’an, when Allah said:

And indeed, there is among them a party who alter the Scripture with their tongues so you may think it is from the Scripture, but it is not from the Scripture. And they say, “This is from Allah ,” but it is not from Allah . And they speak untruth about Allah while they know.
[Surat Ali ‘Imran, verse 78]

The reciter of the Qur’an should beware of such a travesty in the recitation.  Ikhtilaas should not be applied when stopping on two Saakin letters, and therefore, there is neither evidence for it, nor justification.

As for the case when it is permissible to apply Ikhtilaas, then it is the إدغام كبير situation, as mentioned by Imam al-Shatibi in the following:

وإدغام حرف قبله صح ساكن     عسير وبالإخفاء طبق مفصلا
And the Idgham of a letter preceded by a permanent sukoon…
…is difficult; and with Ikhfaa’ he strikes the joint (separating the two).

A few things should be noted here:

  1. Imam al-Shatibi, when mentioning this line, was only (and originally) referring to the Idgham Kabeer of Abu ‘Amr, nothing else (i.e. he wasn’t referring to stopping on two Saakin letters).
  2. Imam al-Shatibi is referring to Ikhtilaas as إخفاء and mentions a very important condition:  the مُدْغَم letter must be preceded by a Saakin letter.  Because this creates a situation where two Saakin letters appear consecutively, the understanding is that while pronouncing the إدغام كبير with a pure إدغام is possible, it can be difficult, and therefore a second way is allowed:  Ikhtilaas is applied to the مُدْغَم letter
  3. “…and with Ikhfaa’ he strikes the joint (separating the two)” refers to the idea that applying Ikhfaa’ essentially “breaks” the Idgham between two letters.  It’s crystal clear from this that Ikhfaa’ (or Ikhtilaas) is applied at the end of the first word (i.e. between both words).

Without the need of any explanation of this line, it is unequivocally clear that the Ikhfaa’ takes place on the Mudgham letter only (the place of the “joint”).

However, the group claimed that Ikhtilaas is applied to the Saakin letter before the مُدْغَم.  This opinion is an innovation, mentioned in none of the texts on this subject, especially on the explanation of the line above from al-Shatibi’s poem.  There is an agreement amongst the Qurra’ that there are only two confirmed ways this إدغام كبير is pronounced:  a pure إدغام or إخفاء (ikhtilaas) of the Mudgham letter only; there is no third way.

But don’t take our word for it.  Let’s examine the textual evidences to see if this is the case:

Sh. ‘Abdul-Fattah al-Qadhi رحمه الله mentions in his book الوافي on the explanation of this line from Imam al-Shatibi, page 55:

المعنى : إذا كان قبل الحرف الذي يدغم في غيره حرف صحيح ساكن ففيه مذهبان لأهل الأداء : مذهب المتقدمين وهو : أن هذا الحرف يدغم في غيره إدغاما محضا . ومذهب المتأخرين وهو : أن إدغامه محضا عسير يعسر النطق به لما فيه من الجمع بين الساكنين إذ الحرف المدغم لا بد من تسكينه ، وحينئذ يكون المراد من إدغامه على مذهب المتأخرين إخفاءه واختلاس حركته المعبر عنه بالروم في قوله : واشمم ورم . . إلخ . وقد جرى الناظم على مذهب المتأخرين فقال : وبالإخفاء طبق مفصلا . والضمير في طبق للقارئ يعني : إذا أخفى القارئ هذا الحرف فقد أصاب الصواب

The meaning [is that] when there precedes before this letter which is inserted into other than it, a letter which has a permanent Sukoon, then there are two ways amongst the reciters:  the old school way and it is that the Mudgham letter is inserted into the other one a complete and pure Idgham.  And the new school way is that this pure Idgham is difficult to pronounce because it involves the coming together of two Saakin letters, since the Mudgham letter must have a Sukoon added to it.  In this case, the way of applying Idgham according to this way is to do Ikhfaa’ and Ikhtilaas of its Harakah, which was referred to as Rawm in his (al-Shatibi’s) statement, “And apply Ishmam and Rawm (line 24).”  The author (al-Shatibi) follows this opinion of the new school and said, “and with Ikhfaa’ he strikes the joint (separating the two).”  The command is directed to the reciter, for when he applies Ikhfaa’ to this letter, then he has achieved that which is correct.

He رحمه الله also mentioned in his famous book, البدور الزاهرة on the 10 Qiraa’aat, page 83:

مذهب كثير من متأخري أهل الأداء ، وهو اختلاس حركته وعدم إغامه محضا

…and the way of most of the later scholars of the recitation: and that is Ikhtilaas of its Harakah and not a pure Idgham.

The above is clear that Ikhtilaas is only applied to a letter with a Harakah, and no Sukoon is mentioned.

Shs. Sayyid Lasheen Abul-Farah and Khalid bin Muhammad al-‘Ilmi mention in their book, تقريب المعاني, on the explanation of the same line on page 93:

إنه إذا كان قبل الحرف المدغم صحيح ساكن ففيه مذهبان لأهل الأداء عن السوسي:

الأول:  مذهب المتقدمين من أهل الأداء:  وهو الإدغام المحض

الثاي:  مذهب المتأخرين: وهو اختلاس حركة الحرف المدغم حتى لا يجتمع ساكنان ؛ لأنه لا بد من تسكين الحرف المدغم قبل إدغامه فإذا كان قبله حرف صحيح ساكن فيجتمع ساكنان

فلذلك اختار المتأخرون من أهل الأداء عن السوسي الاختلاس، والمذهبان صحيحان مقروء بهما.  وأما كيفية النطق بالاختلاس فلا تضبط إلا بالمشافهة والتلقي عن الماشيخ.

If a permanent Sukoon precedes the Mudgham letter, then there are two ways narrated upon the authority of al-Soosi (one of the students who narrated from Abu ‘Amr):

First:  the old school way from the reciters which is a pure Idgham.

Second:  the new school way and it is to apply Ikhtilaas of the Harakah of the Mudgham letter so that two Saakin letters don’t meet.  This is because the Mudgham letter must be Saakin before Idgham can take place; so when it is preceded by a Saakin letter, then two Sukoons appear consecutively.

For this reason, those who follow the new way from the reciters on the authority of al-Soosi apply Ikhtilaas, and both ways are confirmed and recited.  As for how to apply Ikhtilaas, then it is not perfected except through verbal training under the qualified teachers.

Sh. Ihab Fikri mentions in his book, تقريب الشاطبية, commenting on the same line on page 55:

إذا كان قبل الحرف الذي يدغم في غيره حرف صحيح ساكن فإن إدغامه المحض (عسير) أي: يعسر النطق به … لما يؤدي إليه من الجمع بين الساكنين…

فرجح الناظم  رحمه الله الإخفاء فقال: (وبالإخفاء طبق مفصلا)، والضمير في (طبق) للقارئ؛ إذا أخفاه القارئ أصاب وهو من قوله: طبق السيف المفصل إذا أصاب المفصل، ثم فصل بها قبله حرف صحيح ساكن، فذكر رحمه الله خمسة أمثلة، في كل مثال منها حرف صحيح ساكن قبل الحرف المدغم …

If a permanent Sukoon precedes the letter which is inserted (Idgham) into other than it (referring to the Mudgham letter), then its Idgham is difficult, meaning it is difficult to pronounce it because of the presence of two Saakin letters found together.

Therefore, the author (al-Shatibi) preferred to apply Ikhfaa’ by saying, “And with Ikhfaa’ he strikes the joint.”  The pronoun (he) refers to the reciter when he applies Ikhfaa’, he will be correct, and it (this statement) is derived from the saying, “The sword struck and separated the joint (between two bones),” and mentioned that it (the Mudgham letter in this scenario) is preceded by a permanent Sukoon.

Sh. Ahmad bin al-Banna رحمه الله mentions in his book, إتحاف فضلاء البشر, page 126:

وإن كان الساكن صحيحا عسر الإدغام معه، لكونه جمعا بين ساكنين ، ليس أولهما حرف علة ، وذلك نحو (شهر رمضان ) (العفو وأمر) (زادته هذه) (المهد صبيا).  وفيه طريقان ثابتان صحيحان مأخوذ بهما: طريق المتقدمين ، إدغامه إدغاما صحيحا ،  قال الحافظ البارع المتقن الشمس ابن الجزري :  والإدغام الصحيح هو الثابت عند قدماء الأئمة من أهل الأداء ، والنصوص مجتمعة عليه.

الطريق الثاني: لأكثر المتأخرين ، أنه مخفي ، بمعنى مختلس الحركة ، وهو المسمى بالروم ، المتقدم آنفا وهو في الحقيقة مرتبة ثالة ، لا إدغام ، ولا إظهار ، وليس المراد : الاخفاء المذكور في باب النون الساكنة والتنوين ، وفرارهم من الإدغام الصحيح ، لما يلزم عليه من التقاء الساكنين …

… And if it (what precedes the Mudgham letter) is an established Saakin, it is difficult to pronounce the Idgham with it because of the joining of two Saakin letters, the first of which is not a weak letter (referring to ا – و – ي), such as the examples of:

  1. شهر رمضان (referring to ر + ر)
  2. العفو وأمر (referring to و + و)
  3. زادته هذه (referring to هـ + هـ)
  4. المهد صبيا (referring to د + ص)

And regarding this there are two established, authentic, recited ways:

  1. The way of the early scholars: Idgham with a pure Idgham (dropping the first letter and adding a shaddah to the second).  The great scholar Ibn al-Jazari said, “And the authentic Idgham is established amongst the earlier Imams of the reciters and the texts convene upon this.
  2. The second way is for most of the later scholars, that it (the Mudgham letter) is “hidden”, meaning the Harakah has Ikhtilaas applied to it and it is [also] called Rawm, which will come shortly, and it is in reality a third category, not Idgham, not Idh-haar, and it is not referring to al-Ikhfaa’ as mentioned with regarding to the chapter on the Noon Saakin and Tanween.  And their escaping from the pure Idgham is due to the [difficulty of pronouncing] two Saakin letters when they meet.

Aside from the fact that al-Shatibi’s line is clear in and of itself, that the إخفاء takes place at the point of separation between the two words, meaning at the end of the first word where Idgham originally joins both words together, it’s clear from all the authors’ clarification that Imam al-Shatibi was not referring to the Saakin letter itself, but the Mudgham letter.  There is no mention of this so called third opinion (Ikhtilaas of the Saakin letter preceding the Mudgham) and therefore, there is no difference of opinion on this issue, and Allah knows best.

We should mention here that the same evidence from Imam al-Shatibi was used for both the situation involving a stop on two Saakin letters and the إدغام كبير situation based on the idea that since saying two Saakin letters consecutively is “difficult”, Ikhtilaas should be applied to the first Saakin letter. This is a perfect example of Qiyas used inappropriately.  Because Ikhtilaas was allowed in a specific scenario in the إدغام كبير situation due to the difficulty of pronouncing two Saakin letters consecutively, it doesn’t mean that this same ruling can be applied to other similar situations, such as stopping on two Saakin letters.  In that regard, Imam al-Shatibi famously states in his poem:

وَمَا لِقِيَاسٍ فِي الْقِرَاءة مَدْخَلٌ      فَدُونَكَ مَا فِيهِ الرِّضاَ مُتَكَفِّلاَ
And there is no insertion of Qiyas in the Recitation…
…so take that which is approved responsibly.

Now that we’ve established the lack of textual evidence for both of the claims made above, let’s move on to examining the oral references.

Enter Sh. Khalid Ahmad Barakaat and Other Qurra’

This misconception of Ikhtilaas was wrongfully attributed to Sh. Khalid Ahmad Barakaat حفظه الله, a famous Lebanese scholar and Qari’ of the Qur’an and Qiraa’aat.  By the immense blessing of Allah سبحانه وتعالى we were able to contact him and confirm whether or not he actually taught this.  Sh. Khalid حفظه الله had the following to say:

. ماأكثر المدعين اليوم وماأكثر آفة النقل…. سأبسط الجواب وإن كان يحتاج إلى الشرح والتلقي مشافهة وخاصة ما يتعلق بالاختلاس والروم .

فالروم هوخفض الصوت عند الوقف على الضمة أو الكسرة بحيث يذهب معظم صوتهما والباقي بمقدار الثلث والذاهب بمقدار الثلثين. خلافاللاختلاس.فكلمة الفتح يوقف فيها بسكون الحاء والروم سواء كانت مضمومة أومكسورة أما التاء قبلها فهي ساكنة مهموسة وشديدة فلما تختلس؟والاختلاس هوإذهاب ثلث الحركة فهل التاء متحركة أم ساكنة؟ فالاختلاس يكون وسط الكلمة نحو(فنعما.يهدي.خذ العغو وامر)ولكن في الروايات الأخرى وليس في كلمة الفتح شيئ لأحد من القراء. وأماقول الإمام الشاطبي:وإدغام حرف ……أي إذا كان قبل الحرف الذي يدغم في غيره حرف صحيح ساكن فإن إدغامه المحض عسير ﻷن المدغم لا بد من تسكينه فحقيقته ترجع إلى اﻹخفاء .وتسميته باﻹدغام مجاز .فرجح اﻹمام اﻹخفاء فقال :إذا أخفاه القارئ أصاب . فلايقاس هذا على ذاك ولايستدل به عليه.والله أعلم.

وللسوسي في الحروف المدغمة الإدغام المحض والإدغام المحض مع الإشمام اوالإدغام الغير محض والمراد به الروم وهو الاتيان ببعض الحركة وقد يعبر عنه بالإخفاء. وأماإذاكان قبل الحرف الذي يدغم في غيره حرف صحيح ساكن ففيه مذهبان الإدغام المحض وهو مذهب المتقدمين.ومذهب المتأخرين إدغامه محضا عسير لما فيه من الجمع بين الساكنين إذالحرف المدغم لا بد من تسكينه فيكون المراد من إدغامه على مذهب المتأخرين إخفاءه واختلاس حركته المعبر عنه بالروم(واشمم ورم ..

How numerous are those who make claims these days and how numerous are the harms made to the transmission (of knowledge/Qur’an)…

I will expand my answer (to this question) even though it needs some further explanation and oral demonstration, especially when it has to do with Ikhtilaas and Rawm.

Rawm is the lowering of the voice when stopping on a dhammah or kasrah whereby most of the sound drops, and what remains is 1/3 and what dropped was 2/3s.  As opposed to Ikhtilaas.  Therefore, the word الفتح, it is stopped on with Sukoon on the ح and with rawm regardless if it has a dhammah or a kasrah.  As for the ت (before it) then it is Saakinah, articulated with Hams and Shiddah, so why would we apply Ikhtilaas here?  Because Ikhtilaas is to say 1/3 of the Harakah.  Does the ت come with a Harakah or is it Saakinah?

Therefore, Ikhtilaas is applied (for letters which are) in the middle of a word, such as:  فنعما يهدي خذ العفو وأمر, however this is only in other specific Riwaayaat, and there is nothing applied to the word الفتح for any of the Qurra’.

As for the saying of Imam al-Shatibi:  وإدغام حرف…., meaning, if there is a saakin letter before the mudgham letter, then the Idgham of this Mudgham letter is difficult; this is because the Mudgham letter must be saakinah.  This is why the reality of it is then to recite it with Ikhfaa’.  It is called Idgham figuratively here.  This is why the Imam (al-Shatibi) preferred Ikhfaa’, that if the reciter did Ikhfaa’ (of the Mudgham letter), then he is correct.  Therefore, this (line from the Imam) cannot have Qiyas applied to it (examples like الفتح or stopping on two Saakin letters), and it cannot be used as evidence for it, and Allah knows best.

And for al-Soosi in the letters of Idgham, there is the pure Idgham along with Ishmam, as well as the Idgham which is not pure, and this refers to Rawm, which is articulating a portion of the Harakah and it is referred to as Ikhfaa’.  As for the situation where this Mudgham letter is preceded by a Saakin letter, then there are two madhabs:  the pure Idgham and this is the Madhhab of the early scholars, and the Madhhab of the later scholars is that the pure Idgham is difficult because of there being two sukoons, and the mudgham letter must be Saakin.  So the intended meaning here, according to the Madhhab of the later scholars, is to do Ikhfaa’ and Ikhtilaas of the Harakah, what is referred to as Rawm (واشمم ورم).

In addition to his clear statement, we even sought out recorded recitations of our teacher, Sh. Khalid, and found his pronunciation of these two consecutive Saakin letters when stopping were executed flawlessly.  Our readers can check it here (note verse 8 of Surat al-Bayyinah, stopping on the word عنه), here (verse 1 of Surat al-Fath, stopping on the word الفتح), and here for the complete recitation of Surat al-‘Asr (note that the stop on the word الصبر involves the Qalqalah of the letter ب; this is not Ikhtilaas).

We also consulted Sh. Waleed Edrees al-Meneesey حفظه الله about this matter and he said the following:

… اختلاس تاء الفتح وحاء نحن خطأ فاحش وكلام باطل لا يصح أبدا ولا تجوز القراءة به

…Ikhtilaas of the ت in [the word] الفتح and the ح of [the word] نحن (referring to نحن نسبح) is a detestable mistake and a baseless claim.  It can never be correct and the recitation is not valid with it.

We asked Sha. Shereen Ramadan (holder of Ijazah in the 10 Qiraa’aat and books of Hadeeth) as well and she replied, “Where did they get this (misconception) from??  We’ve never heard of this, nor do we recite this way.”

Several students of Sh. Ayman Swayd were also consulted, and they replied in the same fashion:  they had never heard of such a thing in their years of studying the recitation of the Qur’an.

Several of our own students who had been taught this innovation reported the same old story:  they would recite to other Shuyookh of the Qur’an who would correct them and tell them that this way of recitation was completely baseless without any evidence whatsoever.  These students would then defend themselves saying that they were told this was taught by Sh. Khalid Barakaat himself.  The reply these Shuyookh gave was the same, “We don’t believe that Sh. Khalid Barakaat would say something like this.”

Now that we’ve established that the claims regarding the two Sukoons are unfounded, lacking support from oral transmission, it’s clear that the whole misunderstanding surrounding Ikhtilaas was the result of just that:  a complete misunderstanding.  For this reason, we advise teachers to be extremely critical of their students, to examine their understanding and knowledge thoroughly so that baseless claims about the recitation of the Qur’an can be prevented.  Since Man is naturally prone to make mistakes, this extra precaution is essential.

In the end, we ask the student and teacher of the Qur’an:  how can this innovation be supported when:

  1. There is absolutely no textual evidence for it?
  2. There is no oral sanad for it?
  3. It is traced back to only one individual or group, and not the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم?
  4. Based on the above, Tawatur for this way of recitation has not be established (not even close)?
  5. Not a single group or Qari’ anywhere in the world besides this one group recites this way?

We advise all students and teachers of the Qur’an to make an effort to deeply understand the conditions of an accepted Qiraa’ah which we have emphasized repeatedly on this website.  The three Pillars:

  1. Sanad
  2. Rasm
  3. Nahw (Arabic Language)

…have been put in place for a reason:  to ensure that no change of any kind, great or small, is made to the Book of Allah and to ensure that what we have authentically documented and preserved today is indeed the words of our Lord, and Allah knows best.

How to Pronounce Two Consecutive Saakin Letters Correctly

We didn’t want to leave off the discussion without providing some tips to make the difficult easy.  Admittedly pronouncing two consecutive Saakin letters is not the easiest task for a reciter of the Qur’an, and for that, we give the following advice:

  1. Always remember that just because it is difficult, it is not impossible.  If something is difficult, practice makes perfect. 🙂
  2. In all circumstances, it is a teacher who has mastered the recitation who will be able to train the student in perfecting the pronunciation of two consecutive Saakin letters and applying the permissible ways of the إدغام كبير.
  3. While it takes a great deal of practice, one thing that students (and teachers) can keep in mind is that the attributes of شدة / بينية / رخوة (to be explained soon on this website) are very important to keep in mind in this situation, especially for that first Saakin letter.
  4. In light of the above, remember that to go from one Makhraj to the next for two Saakin letters requires “sliding” from one to the next by giving each letter its allotted time.  Without this very important technique, a person could say the letters with Qalqalah or mix up the pronunciations of both letters.
  5. Don’t rush when trying to say both letters, because many reciters will have the tendency to say both letters at once.  If each letter is given its proper right and allotted time, then it becomes very easy.
  6. Supplicate to Allah for we should never depend on our teachers or our selves only when perfecting our recitation.  It is by Allah’s allowance and immense blessing that He facilitates His words to be uttered by our tongues.

A Final Word

And finally, we wanted to close on this topic by reminding all those involved in teaching and propagating this innovation to fear Allah with regard to His Book and not to say about His speech that which is devoid of evidence or support of any kind.  And as we mentioned before, no issue is too small or petty when it comes to the Qur’an, for if that were the case, then rules like Rawm, Ishmam and Ikhtilaas would have been ignored by our scholars.   Those who have this attitude towards the Qur’an should fear Allah’s punishment for causing a change to His words!  What is interesting to note is that reputable and trustworthy teachers who have learned from the sanad, do not ignore the two-consecutive-sukoon scenario that can appears at stopping, but in fact stress the importance of pronouncing that Sukoon clearly, which is the opposite of Harakah!

In the end, our loyalty is towards the Qur’an whereby we seek its truth and reality, not any one individual who teaches it or opinions regarding it.  Therefore, if an individual or opinion leads us closer to the truth, it is due to our loyalty to the Qur’an.   We conclude with the words of the Companions رضي الله عنهم:

« القراءة سنة فاقرؤوه كما تجدونه »
Recitation (of the Qur’an) is Sunnah so recite it in the way that you find it.

« اتبعوا ولا تبتدعوا فقد كفيتم »
Follow (the recitation) and do not innovate because you have been sufficed (from doing so).

And Allah سبحانه وتعالى knows best.

2 Responses to “The Shubuhaat | Part 1: A Tale of Two Sukoons”

  1. Umm Abdurrahman