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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.
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.