Quranic Arabic Elongation (Madd) – Tajwid Enhancement Lesson 2

ذَٰلِكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًۭى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

Vālika alkitābu lá roiba – fíhi – hudaņa llilmuttaqína

[Quran 2:2]

The Arabic word [ مَدّ ] madd means ‘extension’, or ‘elongation’. The principle of madd elongation exists in almost every language for rhythmic purposes, or as a method to distinguish meanings (Chinese being a notable exception). Pronounce for example, the English word ‘content‘. The meaning changes depending on which vowel you elongate. If the ‘o‘ is elongated (extended), and the ‘e‘ kept short, it would mean ‘things held or included‘. If on the other hand, the ‘e‘ is elongated, and the ‘o‘ kept short, it would mean ‘in a state of peaceful satisfaction‘. In linguistics, this elongation of particular vowels is called ‘stress’, and is often indicated in European languages via accent marks. In Arabic, any of the 3 vowel letters may experience this elongation; [ ا ] Alif, [ و ] Wau, and [ ي ] . In Quranic Arabic however, elongation can happen to varying lengths, depending on the context of the vowel where the elongation occurs, and it thus becomes necessary to introduce a base unit of time to measure them. Such units are referred to as ḥarokátbeats‘ (lit. ‘motions’), each of which lasts approximately half a second under formal recitation speed. In the English example above, one could describe the differentiation in meaning as the choice between elongating either the ‘o‘, or the ‘e‘, from 1 beat, to 2 beats. Quran reciters in particular should familiarise themselves with the possibility of either 1, 2, 4, 5, or a maximum of 6 beats of elongation for some vowels in Arabic. There are 5 forms of madd elongation explained below:

  • Natural elongation (alMadd uṭṭobí’ie)
  • Connected elongation (alMadd ulmuttaṣil)
  • Disconnected elongation (alMadd ulmunfaṣil)
  • Halting elongation (alMadd ullázim)
  • Temporary pause elongation (Madd ul’áriḍ lissukún)

2.a) Natural elongation (alMadd uṭṭobí’ie)

Priority: Mandatory

This type of elongation is inherently acquired by anyone learning to speak Arabic. It is expressed in the marked Quranic text, as well as unmarked Arabic texts, as any of the Arabic vowel letters following a ḥarokáḧ diactritic of the same ‘nature’. These are [ ـا ] Alif after [ َ] fatḥaḧ, [ ـو ] Wau after [ َ] ḍommaḧ, or [ ـي ] after [ َ] kasroḧ. These three instances can be summarised with the Arabic word [ نُوحِيهَاnúḥíhá (lit. ‘we inspired her/it’) where we can see each long vowel with its natural diacritic placed on the consonant before it. These pairings are important because it is the preceding diacritic (short vowel) that determines whether the letter is indeed acting as a vowel or not. If they are of the same nature, the letter is a long vowel which must be elongated for 2 beats (approx. 1 second). Otherwise, the letter is a consonant (or a ‘seat’ for hamzaḧ) and the preceding short vowel diacritic is of only 1 beat duration.

Notes:
  • • The three vowels of natural elongation can also appear exclusively in the Quran as diacritics [ ٰ  ] Alif Conjariyyaḧ ‘dagger Alif‘, [ ۥ ] Wau Ṣogíroḧ ‘small Wau‘, and [ ۦ ] Yâ Ṣogíroḧ ‘small ‘ above or after letters. Dagger Alif appears in many common words, such as [ الله ] Allōh ‘God’ and [ ذَٰلِكَ ] vālika ‘that’. Small Wau and almost always appear at the end of a word as the repeated pronouns …hū and …hī respectively (both meaning ‘him/it/his/its’) (also see introduction to lesson set 7. Stop Signs). They should also be elongated for 2 beats when appearing after their natural vowel diacritic, just like with the full-form vowels. Diacritic long vowels are represented in this transliteration with a macron accent (¯) over the vowel, while full-form long vowels are represented with an acute accent (´)

E.g.

ذَٰلِكَ ٱلْكِتَـٰبُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًۭى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ

Vālika alkitābu lá roiba – fíhi – hudaņa llilmuttaqína

[Quran 2:2]

وَمَا تَأْتِيهِم مِّنْ ءَايَةٍۢ مِّنْ ءَايَـٰتِ رَبِّهِمْ إِلَّا كَانُوا۟ عَنْهَا مُعْرِضِينَ

Wamá ta-tíhim mmin –áyaẗiņ mmin –áyāti Robbihim ìllá kánúa ‘anhá mu’riḍína

[Quran 6:4]

كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَن تَقُولُوا۟ مَا لَا تَفْعَلُونَ

Kaburo maqtana ‘ińda Alllōhi àń taqúlúa má lá taf’alúna

[Quran 61:3]

2.b) Connected elongation (alMadd ulmuttaṣil)

Priority: Mandatory

This instance of elongation is a frequent and standout feature of Quran recitation. It occurs when a long vowel within a word – ‘connected’ by letters either side of it – appears just before a [ ء ] hamzaḧ () glottal stop. The Arabic diacritic used to denote it is [ ٓ  ] madd – itself named so for its general use whenever an elongation longer than the usual 2 beats arises. The hamzaḧ following it can appear full-form, or as a [ ٔ  ] diacritic over another vowel too. Regardless of the form of the hamzaḧ, the preceding vowel must be elongated for 5 beats (approx. 2.5 seconds).

Notes:
  • • Some ‘words’ in the Quran appear to contain a connected elongation, but are actually disconnected (also see lesson 2.c) on the disconnected elongation). This is because in speech they are understood as two words, yet when written, they are together without a space in between due to convention. The two most common Quranic examples are [ يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ] yãàyyuhá ( + àyyuhá) and [ هَـٰٓؤُلَآءِ ] hãùlã-i ( + ùlã-i). Both of these words contain an ‘ã‘ long vowel which is technically disconnected and thus optional to elongate, though notice how in the example hãùlã-i, the second elongated ‘ã‘ is connected and so indeed mandatory

E.g.

ٱلَّذِى جَعَلَ لَكُمُ ٱلْأَرْضَ فِرَٰشًۭا وَٱلسَّمَآءَ بِنَآءًۭ وَأَنزَلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءًۭ فَأَخْرَجَ بِهِۦ مِنَ ٱلثَّمَرَٰتِ رِزْقًۭا لَّكُمْ ۖ فَلَا تَجْعَلُوا۟ لِلَّهِ أَندَادًۭا وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

Allavie ja’ala lakumu alàrḍo firōṡaņa waalssamã-a binã-aņ waàńzala mina alssamã-i mã-ań faàcroja bihī mina alṫṫamarōti rizqoņa llakum, falá taj’alúa liLlāhi àńdádaņa waàńtum ta’lamúna

[Quran 2:22]

وَءَاتُوا۟ ٱلنِّسَآءَ صَدُقَـٰتِهِنَّ نِحْلَةًۭ ۚ فَإِن طِبْنَ لَكُمْ عَن شَىْءٍۢ مِّنْهُ نَفْسًۭا فَكُلُوهُ هَنِيٓـًۭٔا مَّرِيٓـًۭٔا

Wa-átúa alnnisã-a ṣoduqōtihinna niḥlaḧ; Faìń ṭibna lakum ‘ań ṡai-iņ mminhu nafsańa fakulúhu hanĩ-aņa mmarĩ-aņa

[Quran 4:4]

إِنِّىٓ أُرِيدُ أَن تَبُوٓأَ بِإِثْمِى وَإِثْمِكَ فَتَكُونَ مِنْ أَصْحَـٰبِ ٱلنَّارِ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ جَزَٰٓؤُا۟ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ

Ìnniẽ ùrídu àń tabũà biìṫmie waìṫmika fatakúna min àṣḥābi alnNári; Wavālika jazã-u alṿṿōlimína

[Quran 5:29]

2.c) Disconnected elongation (alMadd ulmunfaṣil)

Priority: Optional

This instance of elongation is not inherent to any particular word, but emerges rather organically in between certain pairs of words. It occurs when a long vowel at the end of one word – ‘disconnected’ from the word next to it by a space – appears before a [ ء ] hamzaḧ () glottal stop at the beginning of that next word. The Arabic diacritic used to denote it is [ ٓ  ] madd – itself named so for its general use whenever an elongation longer than the usual 2 beats arises. The hamzaḧ following it can appear full-form, or as a [ ٔ  ] diacritic over another vowel too. Regardless of the form of the hamzaḧ, the preceding vowel can be elongated for 4 beats (approx. 2 seconds). If however, the reciter chooses not to elongate the vowel for 4 beats, then it must be elongated like that of the natural elongation for 2 beats.

E.g.

فَلَوْلَا كَانَتْ قَرْيَةٌ ءَامَنَتْ فَنَفَعَهَآ إِيمَـٰنُهَآ إِلَّا قَوْمَ يُونُسَ لَمَّآ ءَامَنُوا۟ كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُمْ عَذَابَ ٱلْخِزْىِ فِى ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَمَتَّعْنَـٰهُمْ إِلَىٰ حِينٍۢ

Falaulá kánat qoryaẗun -ámanat fanafa’ahã ǐmānuhã ìllá qouma Yúnusa lammã -ámanúa kaṡafná ‘anhum ‘avába alcizyi fie alḥayāuẗi aldDunyá wamatta’nāhum ìlaē ḥín

[Quran 10:98]

يَعِظُكُمُ ٱللَّهُ أَن تَعُودُوا۟ لِمِثْلِهِۦٓ أَبَدًا إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

Ya’iṿukumu Alllōhu àń ta’údúa limiṫlihiĩ àbadana ìń kuńtum mmu-minína

[Quran 24:17]

وَإِذَا ٱنقَلَبُوٓا۟ إِلَىٰٓ أَهْلِهِمُ ٱنقَلَبُوا۟ فَكِهِينَ

Waìvá ańqolabũa ìlaẽ àhlihimu ańqolabúa fakihína

[Quran 83:31]

2.d) Halting elongation (alMadd ullázim)

Priority: Mandatory

Though this form of elongation (lit. ‘necessary elongation’) does not appear in the Quran often, it is very noticeable when it does, for it is the longest form of elongation required. It occurs when a long vowel comes just before a consonant with a permanent [ ْ  ] sukún ‘pause’ (lit. ‘standstill’) (also see introduction to lesson set 7. Stop Signs). Since a [ ّ  ] shaddaḧ ‘double’ (lit. ’emphasis’) diacritic over a letter is equivalent to two of the same letter with the first having a pause, a long vowel before a double letter is also elongated the same way. The Arabic diacritic used to denote it is [ ٓ  ] madd – itself named so for its general use whenever an elongation longer than the usual 2 beats arises. Whether a long vowel is preceded by a double  shaddaḧ letter, or a permanent sukún pause, it must be elongated for 6 beats (approx. 3 seconds).

Notes:
  • • A sukún pause on a letter can appear over it as a [ ْ  ] diacritic, or be invisible in some cases (also see lesson set 3. N-pause)

    • The ḥurúf ulmuqoṭṭo’át ‘disconnected letters’ at the beginning of many a súroḧ section of the Quran are also often subject to the rules of the halting elongation. This is because the letters are pronounced individually by their name (instead of together as words) of which, many happen to end with a long vowel before a sukún pause. Examples are [ الر ] Alif Lãm , and [ جم ] Ḥâ Mīm. All the disconnected letters that require the halting elongation can be summarised in the Arabic sentence [ سَنَقُص لَكُم ] sanaquṣ lakum (lit. ‘we will tell you all’)

E.g.

صِرَٰطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ ٱلْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ

Ṣirōṭo allavína àn’amta ‘alaihim goiri almagḍúbi ‘alaihim walá alḍḍõllína

[Quran 1:7]

وَحَآجَّهُۥ قَوْمُهُۥ ۚ قَالَ أَتُحَـٰٓجُّوٓنِّى فِى ٱللَّهِ وَقَدْ هَدَىٰنِ

Waḥãjjahu qoumuhū; Qóla àtuḥãjjũnnie fie Alllōhi waqod hadāni

[Quran 6:80…]

ءَآلْـَٔـٰنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنتَ مِنَ ٱلْمُفْسِدِينَ

lǎna waqod ‘aṣoita qoblu wakuńta mina almufsidína

[Quran 10:91]

2.e) Temporary pause elongation (Madd ul’áriḍ lissukún)

Priority: Optional

This form of elongation is not marked in Arabic text, as it presents itself conditionally. It arises when a reciter makes a ‘temporary’ sukún pause during the recitation at a word which has a long vowel just before its last letter. This temporary pause can be within ǎyāẗ ‘verses’, and, more usually, at the end of them (also see introduction to lesson set 7. Stop Signs). Regardless of where the temporary pause is made, the penultimate letter being a long vowel can thus be elongated for 2, 4, or 6 beats (approx. 1, 2, or 3 seconds respectively). If however, the reciter chooses not to elongate the vowel for 4 or 6 beats, then it must be elongated like that of the natural elongation for 2 beats.

Notes:
  • • The principle of temporary elongation also extends to when a Wau or is preceeded by a fatḥaḧ. This particular case is also referred to as alMadd ullín ‘temporary dipthong elongation’ (lit. ‘gentle elongation’). In such cases, the second vowel sound in the dipthong can be extended for 2, 4, or 6 beats. Examples are [ ٱلْبَيْت ] albait or [ ٱلْيَوم ] alyaum

    • One’s choice on the length of the temporary elongation, be it 2, 4, or 6 beats, should remain consistent at that duration for every such instance during the course of the recital

E.g.

غُلِبَتِ ٱلرُّومُ

Gulibaẗi alrRúmu

[Quran 30:2]

فِىٓ أَدْنَى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَهُم مِّنۢ بَعْدِ غَلَبِهِمْ سَيَغْلِبُونَ

Fiẽ àdnae alàrḍi wahum mmiň ba’di golabihim sayaglibúna

[Quran 30:3]

ءَآلْـَٔـٰنَ وَقَدْ عَصَيْتَ قَبْلُ وَكُنتَ مِنَ ٱلْمُفْسِدِينَ

Fie biḍ’i sinína: LiLlāhi alàmru miń qoblu wamiň ba’du; Wayaumaìviņ yafroḥu almu-minúna

[Quran 30:4]


Allah knows best.


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