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How do you determine what the dagger alif is for?

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In the mushaf you see a letter which ends with the dagger alif and you see a yaa after it. For example in Surah al-hajj Ayah 37, the word at-taqwaa. The wow ends with this dagger alif and there is a yaa after it. However the dagger alif is directly over the yaa and not the wow, how do you determine what letter the dagger alif is for? Is there are a specific rule to determine this? I hope my question is clear.

Jazzak Allaahu khair

Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. 

The small dagger alif, or alif al-khhanjariyyah is put in modern copies of the Qur’an to indicate that an alif is pronounced, even though it may not present in the ‘Uthmani writing of the Qur’an. The Arabs at the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah upon him and those after took the Qur’an mostly orally, as well as in written form, and they would know when an alif was present in pronunciation, but not in writing because of their strength in the Arabic language and knowledge of the Qur’an. The dagger alif always stands for an alif.

In the word at-taqwaa, the dagger alif is written over what looks like a ya’ but without the dots. 

There are certain rules that apply as regards to the alif in rasm al-Mushaf (writing of the Qur’an). In the word  at-taqwaa this alif is called Alif Maqsoora and it is originally a ya that changed (munqalab) into an Alif. This is because this word and other similar words are originally written in Arabic in some verb forms with a ya’.

As regards to pronunciation for Hafs an Aasim it is simple, whenever we see the dagger alif over the ya, a wow, or simply in the air not over a specific letter, we pronounce as a normal alif with a lengthening of two counts if there is a voweled letter other than a hamzah that follows it. If there is a hamzah that follows it, it is lengthened four or five vowel counts for Hafs ‘an ‘Aasim by the way of Ash-Shaatibiyyah.

We apologize for the absence of the image for the word in question.

Wa Iyyaakum
Wassalam Alaikum wa rahmatullah
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