What Is Ikhfa – A Brief Overview

What Is Ikhfa – A Brief Overview

Ikhfa explanation

Reading the Holy Quran is essential for all Muslims living on this planet to understand and follow its teachings. Abu Umamah (RA) reported: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying, ‘Recite the Quran, for on the Day of Resurrection it will come as an intercessor for those who recite It. Recite the two bright ones, Al-Baqarah, and Surah Ali ‘Imran, for on the Day of Resurrection, they will come as two clouds or two shades, or two flocks of birds in ranks, pleading for those who recite them. Recite Surah Al-Baqarah, for to take recourse to it is a blessing and to give it up is a cause of grief, and the magicians cannot confront it.” [Sahih Muslim]

But before elucidating Ikhfa and its details, we must know their importance and application while reciting the Holy Quran. We all know that reading the Quran well means reciting it in the proper manner and according to the Tajweed rules. Aisha narrated that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The one who is proficient with the Quran will be with the noble and righteous scribes (the angels), and the one who reads it and stumbles over it, finding it difficult, will have two rewards.” [Sunan Ibn Majah]

Now, this post will cover everything about Ikhfaa. So, we have got you covered if you have questions like what is it? How many types of Ikhfa are there? How do you write Ikhfa in Arabic?

Meaning of Ikhfa

Ikhfa pronunciation is to hide. Next is the count of letters of it. To answer your question about how many Ikhfa letters we have, the total count of Ikhfa letters in English and Arabic is 15 as follows:

Now, how to remember Ikhfa letters? Learning these letters by heart and applying them when reciting the Quran could be challenging for many people. So, these letters were collected in the poetic lines:

  • صِفْ ذَا ثَنَا كَمْ جَادَ شَخْصٌ قَدْ سَمَا
  • دُمْ طَيِّبًا زِدْ فِي تُقَي ضَعْ ظَالِمًا

If any of these letters come after a Noon Saakin or Tanween, the word must be read with a nasal sound for the duration of two harakat or beats (nearly 2-second duration).

How to Pronounce Ikhfa

Here is the right way of its pronunciation – When Noon Sakin (ن) or a letter with Tanween is followed by any of the above-mentioned letters not included in those of Idgham, Iqlab, or Izhaar, the Noon Sakin or Tanween will be pronounced with a soft nasal sound or Ghunnha – the Ghunnah will be held for two counts. In other words, the Noon Sakin (ن) sound is still there but will not be pronounced fully or heavily; it is pronounced as if it is hidden.

There are two Ghunnahs of Ikhfa:

1. The Heavy Ghunnah (غنة مفخمة)

If the Tanween or the Noon Saakina is followed by one of the 7 heavy letters (ظ ق ط غ ض ص خ), the Sound of Ghunnah should also be heavy.

2. The Light Ghunnah (غنة مرققة)

If the Noon Saakin or the Tanween is followed by a light letter, the sound of Ghunnah should be light.

What Are the Ikhfa Rules

Ikhfaa Shafawi examples

One of the important Ikhfa rules is Ikhfaa Shafawi. As we clarified before, there are For more explanation, check our 3 rules of Meem Sakinah in Tajweed as follows:

  • Izhar Shafawi
  • Idgham Mutamathelynee Sagheer
  • Ikhfaa Shafawi

The last rule is enacted only when the letter baa follows a Meem Sakinah, the reciter then should add Ghunnah for 2 counts. The condition here is that the baa must be Mutaharik, i.e., have a diacritic (Fathah, Dammah, Kasra).

But, scholars have 2 different opinions on how this Ghunnah should be executed:

  1. Some think that the sound of Meem should be hidden by not pressing your two lips together completely [as you would if you were to pronounce a full meem]. So you leave a very little gap and let the sound of the Meem come from the deeper part of your mouth while you prepare to say the baa. By letting the meem come from the inner mouth, it’s sound stays encapsulated behind the teeth, and so the Meem is hidden.
  2. other scholars also add Ghunnah for 2 counts but they fully close their mouth while pronouncing the Meem.

Here are some Ikhfa shafawi examples in Quran:

  • (Al-Fil: 4) تَرْمِيهِم بِحِجَارَةٍ مِّن سِجِّيلٍ
  • (Al-Baqarah: 33) …فَلَمَّآ أَنۢبَأَهُم بِأَسْمَآئِهِمْ قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ إِنِّىٓ أَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ

Ikhfa and Izhaar – Is There Any Difference?

Izhar means when there are any of the throat letters after Noon Saakin or Tanween, Izhar will take place. It means “clear” as we pronounce the “n” sound of the noon Sakin or tanween without pulling or Ghunnah.

Throat letters of Izhar:

  • ء
  • هـ
  • ع
  • ح
  • غ
  • خ

On the other hand, Ikhfa is to hide the “n” sound. If any of the following fifteen letters appears after Noon Saakin or Tanween, Ikhfa will be done. It means to slightly “hide”, when you see any of these letters, make a light nasal sound, and add Ghunnah. Remember to hide the “n” sound from the Noon Sakin and Tanween.

Ikhfaa letters:

  • ت
  • ث
  • ج
  • د
  • ذ
  • ز
  • س
  • ش
  • ص
  • ض
  • ط
  • ظ
  • ف
  • ق
  • ك

Examples of Ikhfa in Quran

Examples of Ikhfa can be found in many spots in the Quran. Here are some practical Ikhfa examples:

  • (Al-Khaf: 43) (وَلَمْ تَكُن لَّهُۥ فِئَةٌ (يَنصُرُونَهُ)ۥ مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ وَمَا كَانَ (مُنتَصِرًا
  • (Fatir: 44) أَوَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا۟ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ (فَيَنظُرُوا۟) كَيْفَ كَانَ عَٰقِبَةُ ٱلَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِهِم…
  • (An-Nisa: 71)  يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ خُذُوا۟ حِذْرَكُمْ (فَٱنفِرُوا۟) ثُبَاتٍ أَوِ ٱنفِرُوا۟ جَمِيعًا
  • (An-Nisa: 141) ٱلَّذِينَ يَتَرَبَّصُونَ بِكُمْ (فَإِن كَانَ) لَكُمْ فَتْحٌۭ مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ قَالُوٓا۟ أَلَمْ نَكُن مَّعَكُمْ…

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