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I have a query about the ruling for when the letter  occurs before the letter  like in . I have been told two opinions about the pronunciation.

1.      That a ruling called 'ikhfaa shafawee' applies in that the  before the  in is not pronounced totally.

2.      Some have said to me that you do pronounce the  before the  so you hold on to the sound of the , saying 'mimmbayni'. They say there is no evidence for ikhfaa' shafawee.

Which is the correct opinion?


Although the mechanism in the end is the same, the example in your question is actually of an , or changing of the  saakinah into a  when followed by a .  The ikhfa’ shafawee is as stated in the question, a  saakinah followed by a , an example of the ikhfa’ shafawee is: .  The ikhfa’ shafawee and the iqlaab  have the same mechanism after the  saakinah changes into a  in the , for then we have a  saakinah followed by a , just as we do in the ikhfa’ shafawee. 

The correct method of making the ikhfa’ shafawee is by closing the lips for the , holding the sound for the ghunnah, then opening the lips at the articulation point of the . 

The method of the ikhfa’ shafawee and the different opinions of its mechanism is not a new question.  Sheikh ‘Aamer As-Sa’eed ‘Uthman, may Allah have mercy on him, around 30 years ago, gathered all the reciters in Egypt together, including Sheikh Mohammed Al-Husary, and ordered all of them to recite the ikhfa’ shafawee, and iqlaab with a very small separation of the lips to “hide” the .  Some prominent reciters became convinced that this was the correct way to pronounce the ikhfa’ shafawee, and started reciting this way and ordered their students to recite this way.  Scholars of recitation in the rest of the world did not agree with this method of doing the ikhfa’ shafawee, and instead closed their lips during the ikhfa’ of the  saakinah when followed by the  whether it was in an ikhfa’ shafawee or an iqlaab.  A sheikh named Salaah Ad-Deen from Lebanon recited to Sheikh ‘Aamer ‘Uthman twice, once reciting the seven qira’aat, then years later reciting the ten qira’aat.  The first time he recited to Sheikh ‘Aamer ‘Uthman, he recited the ikhfa’ shafawee with his lips closed.  The second time he recited to Sheikh ‘Aamer ‘Uthmaan, he was ordered by the Sheikh to separated his lips a small bit when reciting the ikhfa’ shafawee.  We can then see that the Sheikh ‘Aamer ‘Uthman went through two phases himself.  One, closing his lips for the ikhfa’ shafawee, the second, leaving a small space between the lips for the ikhfa’ shafawee. 

In the matters of tajweed we have two sources for methods of recitation.  The first, that which is written in the old books by the early generations after the Prophet , and the second the authentic transmission by chain of the Qur’an from generation to generation by mouth to mouth, all recorded and documented as to who recited to who.  Research of both these ways, the books and authentic transmission show that there is no documentation for leaving a small space between the lips for the ikhfa’ shafawee.  The fact that a student of Sheikh ‘Aamer ‘Uthman read to the Sheikh with two different methods leads one to the conclusion that the separation of the lips for the ikhfa’ shafawee was of Sheikh ‘Aamer ‘Uthman’s own ijtihaad, and not from a way of transmission that was passed down from before him.  We do not find fault in Sheikh ‘Uthman for this, but we do not take this method from him, since it is not documented in the old books nor is it found in any authentic chain of transmission of the Qur’an outside of those who recited to Sheikh ‘Uthman and those who recited to the students of Sheikh ‘Uthman. 

A final note, both methods are still named ikhfa’ shafawee, the mechanism differs, but the name does not.

And Allah knows best. 

The source of this answer was taken from a lecture given by his eminence, the Sheikh Dr. Ayman Rushdi Swayd, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.