The Proper Way to Do Ikhfa

Do you understand what is meant by Ikhfa? Well, up until recently, I was not familiar with the term.

Not too long ago I was practicing reciting the Qur’an with a teacher and he says to me, “you forgot the ikhfa”. I was puzzled for a few moments, and then realized that he was talking about what I had always termed “ghunna”. However, these two terms signify different things completely.

Well what is ikhfa and what is the proper way to do it? Ikhfa is a techinical term in tajweed. Literally, ikhfa means “hiding” or “concealment”.

See, when a noon sakinah or tanween is followed by a letter of ikhfa, the noon sound will not be produced. Instead, as the tongue approaches the makhraj of the the following letter (the place of articulation of the letter), you will hold it for a moment and pronounce ghunna, or nasalization (the humming type sound heard when reciting). Essentially, you are “hiding” the noon or tanween. This takes practice, and many of us just end up pronouncing ghunna with the tip of the tongue on the front teeth, as if to pronounce noon. Keep practicing and you might sound like Al Huthaifi soon….

Also, there is ghunna, but ghunna simply denotes the nazalization, which is also pronounced when idgham is made on certain letters.

So on what letters do you pronounce ikhfa? They are taa, thaa, jeem, daal, dhaal, zaa, seen, sheen, saad, daad, TAh, ZHAa, faa, qaaf, and kaaf. This is according to all the ten qiraa’t, except that of Imam Abu Ja’far who will generally make ikhfa on khaa and ghayn as well, with some exceptions.

There are some really good (and short) articles on this subject here at the following website, including a really good one on ikhfa.



One comment

  1. Subhanallah, you make a very good point.
    I covered ikhfaa and ghunnah a while ago, and hope that my audience don’t confuse the two.
    I know some did with when a shaddah is used for notice purposes, or when it’s used for shaddah purposes.

    -All the best, insha Allah.

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