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The Connecting Hamzah: Hamzatul Wasl September 4, 2011

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This type of hamzah is that of a complex nature, in that it differs based on a given circumstance. It’s ruling is simple, but the circumstances are many, I will try to cover as many necessary as possible, so that the tajweed rules for hamzatul wasl are as clear as can be!

To note as well, I have not delved into the grammatical aspect of this rule, it is very hard to understand for those who have little knowledge in Arabic, but insha Allah this will not be the cause of misunderstanding.

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Hamzatul wasl[1]: the connecting hamzah, is an “extra” hamzah at the beginning of the word, sounded when starting a word, dropped when continuing from a previous word or voweled letter. It occurs in three places: nouns, verbs, and participles.

Before delving into that, however, let’s try to understand why a hamzatul wasl exists.

With only one exception, we should note that when reading in Arabic, more specifically, the Quran, we cannot start with a sukoon, and we cannot end with a diacritic (fat-ha, dammah, or kasra). Rather, we must start with a diacritic, and end with a sukoon!

Despite this rule, some words still begin with a sukoon due to their placement in a sentence or grammar definition. It is because of such words that the hamzatul wasl exists and is vital.

The  hamzatul wasl is often mistaken for alif. Although the alif is just a line ( ا ), and the connecting hamzah is also a line ( ا ), there is a particular calligraphic difference that helps a reciter distinguish the two. The letter alif usually has a hamzah ( ء ) on top or underneath, or has nothing at all, whereas the hamzatul wasl has a little saad drawn above it ( صـ ).

The hamzatul wasl should be clearly sounded if a reciter is starting a word that begins with this type of hamzah.

However, if a voweled letter preceeds this hamzah, then it should be dropped.

Without noting whether a verb, noun or participle, let’s look at some examples,

Fas-takbaroo

NOT Fa-astakbaroo

NOT Fa-istakbaroo

Rabil-‘aalameen

NOT Rabi al-‘aalameen

Al-hamdu

NOT Il-hamdu

Ith-hab

NOT Uth-hab

NOT Th-hab

The first two examples drop the hamzatul wasl, but the second two sound it. Notice though, the first has “Al-”, yet the second has “I-”. Now note this example,

Unthur

NOT Inthur

NOT N-thur

it starts with “U-”. This is, ultimately, showing reciters three different ways the hamzatul wasl can be pronounced.

So how do we pronounce it? When do we pronounce it like that? And how can we quickly recognise the difference?

Well, first let’s look at participles.

A hamzatul wasl precedes the laam tareef (the definite article) which is known in two situations: laam shamseeyah, and laam qamareeyah.

When this hamzatul wasl precedes this laam, it becomes the famous “Al-” which starts a word. When starting a sentence or word that has this “Al-”, the hamzatul wasl is always pronounced with a fat-ha.

So, the first situtation in which the hamzatul wasl is sounded, is when beginning a word that starts with “Al-”.

The hamzatul wasl is sounded with a fat-ha.

Whether the laam is sounded or merged, depends on whether it is shamseeyah or qamareeyah. It does not change the fat-ha on the hamzatul wasl at all.

So for example,

Al-qamar

The laam here is pronounced because it is a laam qamareeyah.

Ash-shams

The laam here is merged becaues it is laam shamseeyah.

In both situations though, the hamzatul wasl is still pronounced.

Still looking at participles, when the hamzatul wasl is dropped, is when a voweled letter precedes it.

So for example, if the above two words come after a voweled letter, the hamzatul wasl is dropped and the words are read as,

Wal-qamar

Where the ‘a’ in wal- is from the fat-ha on the waawWash-shams

Where the ‘a’ in wash- is from the fat-ha on the waaw

Let’s move away from participles now.

Let’s look at general examples of when the hamzatul wasl can be dropped.

The first example is of when the hamzatul wasl is dropped when the voweled letter before it is actually attached to the word,

Fatadoo

Where the ‘a’ is from the fat-ha on the faa

Next is an example of  when the hamzatul wasl is dropped because the last letter of the preceding word is voweled,

Humul-waarithoon

Where the ‘u’ is from the dammah on the meem from ‘hum’

Finally, I want to give an example of an exception. This is when the preceding word ends with a sukoon due to a harf madd. In these situations, a different tajweed rule comes into play. It is called mani iltiqaa’ al-sakinayn – I will look into this rule later insha Allah, but basically, in such a situation, you drop the hamzatul wasl, and you drop the harf madd which ends the preceding word.

Example,

Fakasawnal-‘ithaama

NOT Fakasawnaa-l‘ithaama

NOT Fakasawnaa al-‘ithaama

Wastakbaru-stikbaaran

NOT Wastakbaroo istikbaaran

I will not delve any further into that rule. But just know that it applies for words ending in the yaa madd letter, too.

Next is the hamzatul wasl in a verb.

This is where the “i” or “u” sound comes into play.

If you are beginning a verb with hamzatul wasl, then you must pronounce it with either a kasra or dammah. To know which of the two you must sound is very easily done. The trick is to look at the third letter in the verb. If the third letter has a dammah, you must sound the hamzatul wasl with a dammah, if the third letter has a fat-ha or a kasra, then you must sound the hamzatul wasl with a kasra.

A hamzatul wasl is never sounded with a fat-ha in verbs.

Examples of the this are as follow,

Udkhuloo

NOT Idkhuloo

Istash-hidoo

NOT Ustash-hidoo

In the above two examples, if these words had a voweled letter before them, the hamzatul wasl would be dropped. For example, a voweled waaw (wa) before them, they would be read as, wad-khuloo; and, wastash-hadoo respectively.

And finally, in the case of nouns.

With the exception of irregular nouns, the above “in verbs” rule applies. There is a very in-depth grammatical reasoning to this, which I find unnecessary to explain if one is here to learn how to read in tajweed. However, in regards to irregular nouns, I will touch on this briefly.

There are seven irregular nouns found in the Quran. The ruling with these nouns is that the hamzatul wasl is ALWAYS pronounced with a kasra if beginning with these words – whether or not the third letter has a dammah, kasra or fat-ha.

These seven words are,

ابن     ابنت     اثنتين     اثنين     اسم     امرأت     امرؤ

So to reiterate, if reading in continuation, the hamzatul wasl is dropped like any other word, however, if starting with one of these words, the hamzatul wasl is pronounced with a kasra.

I hope this all makes sense!

Now that you know the rulings for hamzatul wasl, go back and state the rule for each of the 5 words given in the five very first examples! :)

Then proceed to discover some of the hamzatul wasl ‘exceptions’ we take for granted.

Resources Link:

- Document “Hamzatul Wasl”

- The Definite Article “Al-” [Gateway To Arabic Book 2: page 16]

Note, these documents are found on the resources page.


[1]: همزة الوصل