copyright 2002, abouttajweed.com, all rights reserved

Question

Assalamu Alaikum.

I asked you the question which you answered on the page:
http://www.abouttajweed.com/23070102.htm

Jazakumullaahu Khairan. It was very useful. However I have a follow up question about the pronunciation of the meem saakinah next to baa: called Ikhfaa Shafawee.
You said that the opinion with evidence is that of
closing the lips when pronouncing it. So I want to ask why is it called 'Ikhfaa Shafawee' if we pronounce the meem clearly in it, why does it come under Ikhfaa and not idh-haar for example and why is it called Shafawee. It seems that not closing the lips and therefore not pronouncing the meem completely suits this name more! Please clarify for me.
Jazakumullahu Khairun

Answer

Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatu Allahi wa barakatuh.

This is a very common question, and may Allah reward you for asking it and helping clarify any questions that others may have as well.

Let's first look at the definition of the ikhfa'. The ikhfa is defined as: The pronunciation of a non-voweled letter stripped of any shaddah, characterized somewhere between an and an  with a ghunnah remaining on the first letter.

When we pronounce the ikhfa' shafawee (or iqlaab), there is a  saakinah followed by a , as in: .  The technique of the ikhfa' shafawee of the strongest scholarly opinion is that we close the lips with collision on the letter  , maintain this for the period of time appropriate for the complete ghunnah, then we separate the lips not with the release of the letter , but instead we separate the lips with the letter .  If there was ith-haar of the  saakinah, we would have a collision of the lips on the, then a slight open the lips releasing the, then pronounce the next letter.  If there was idghaam of the, we would hear nothing of the first letter, and would directly pronounce the next letter.  We can then see that there is an element of ith-haar and an element of idghaam in the ikhfa' shafawee.  We hold the lips together for the period of time of the ghunnah, then open them with the letter.  The change over is not sudden, but if you attempt it, you can see that while you are maintaining the ghunnah, your lips are already getting ready to say the , in contrast to when the  merges into another  .  We now can see that the ikhfa' shafawee fits exactly into the definition of the ikhfa'.  The  is saakinah and without a shaddah, it is pronounced neither with an ith-haar nor an idghaam but instead somewhere between the two, and there is a ghunnah observed on the first letter. 
If we look at Imaam Al-Jazaree's warning about the ith-haar of the saakinah when he said:

We see he is warning against making an ikhfa' of the meem saakinah when followed by a wow or fa'.  The meem, fa', wow, and ba' are all pronounced using one or both lips, this is the reason why it is easy to mistakenly make an ikhfa' of the meem saakinah when followed by the wow or fa'.  This is a mistake that the students of the Qur'an are warned against. A student making this mistake (making ikhfa' of the saakinah when followed by a or ) doesn't usually leave a space between the lips, but instead, closes the lips on the meem, and changes the lips over in the middle of the meem to the articulation point of the wow or fa', then separates the lips with the wow or fa'.  We can use this warning then to see how the correct ikhfa' of the meem saakinah when followed by the ba' is called an ikhfa'.

 The word "shafawee" means oral, but also refers to the lips.  The meem is pronounced from the two lips and the rules surrounding the meem saakinah tend to have the word "shafawee" attached to help differentiate them from the noon saakinah rules.  Therefore, just as ith-haar shafawee refers to the ith-haar of the meem saakinah; ikhfa' shafawee refers to the ikhfa' of the meem saakinah.

And Allah knows best.

Wa iyyakum wa-l-muslimeen.