Ikhfa is an Arabic word that means to conceal something, and in Tajweed Ikhfa is to slightly hide the sound of a letter, and to pronounce it with a sound between (Ith’har) and (Idgham) with the presence of Ghunnah.
To be more clearly, in Idgham rule the sound of the two letters are merged so that you can’t recognize the sound of any of them clearly. But in Ith’har, the sound of each letter is recognized clearly. However, in Ikhfa the sound would be between these two sounds.
Rules of Ikhfa:
There are 15 letters called “letters of Ikhfa”, and they are:
(Taa’, Thaa, Jeem’ Dal, Thal, Zal, Seen, Sheen, Saad, Daad, Taa, Dhaa’, Faa’, Qaf, Kaf)
For the Ikhfa rule to be applied, one of these letters should come after Noon Sakenah (non- voweled) or Tanween (double the short vowel at the end of the word) either in the same word or in two consecutive words.
Correct way to pronounce Ikhfa:
The correct way is to place your tongue at the point of articulation of the Ikhfa letter and pronounce the Ghunah (nasal sound) with a duration of two Harakah.
Examples of Ikhfa with Tanween:
Which is pronounced (A’mlan Salhan), where (n) represents the(عملاً صالحاً)* sound of Tanween , and (S) is (Saad) letter, here the sound of Tanween will be slightly hidden with the presence of Ghunnah.
Examples of Ikhfa with Noon Sakenah:
it is pronounced (Mn Syam), where (n) is Noon Sakenah, and (S)(مَن صِيامٍ)*
is (Saad) letter, so the sound of Noon sakenah will be slightly hidden with the presence of Ghunnah, which is called the rule of “Ikhfa”.
Types of Ikhfa Ghunnah:
There are two types of Ghunnah:
1-heavy Ghunnah. –
Ikhfaa with Heavy Ghunnah :
It is applied with the heavy letters of the letters of Ikhfa, which are:
(Saad, Daad, Taa, Dhaa’,Qaf), these letters require that you make the tongue thicker in their pronunciation, so when the Noon Sakenah or Tanween comes before one of these heavy letters, we apply Ikhfaa which comes with a hidden Ggunnah. The sound of Ghunnah comes from the nose and meets this heavy sound so Ghunnah also be heavy.
And here is some representative examples, ) which is pronounced (Fandhur), where (n) represents Noon Sakenah, فنظُر)* and (dh) is (Dhaa’) letter which is a heavy letter, so in this case the Ikhfa rule is applied with a heavy Ghunnah.
And it is pronounced ( Reehn Taibah), where (n) is a Tanween, (بريحٍ طيبة)* and (T) is (Taa’) letter which is a heavy letter.
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Ikhfa with light Ghunnah:
It is applied with (Taa’, Thaa, Jeem’ Dal, Thal, Zal, Seen, Sheen, Kaf) which are the light letters of the Ikhfa, and therefore the nasal hidden sound of Ghunnah becomes light too.
Observe the following examples , where (n) is Noon Sakenah, and (th) It is pronounced (Antherhum)(أنذرهم)* is (Thal) letter which is a light letter, therefore the sound of Ghunnah is light.
Another example is, , it is pronounced (Nafsn zakyah), and (n) represents the sound(نفساً زَكيَّة) * of Tanween and (z) represents (Zal) letter which is a light letter.