How long is the ghunnah?

Question

Assalaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuhu

In the lessons for Hafs 'an 'Aasim you have mentioned that it is incorrect to state that Ikhfaa of noon saakinah & tanween is 2 counts. Could you elaborate on as to why this is incorrect please.

Jazaakallaahu Khairan Kathiran

Wassalaamu 'Alaikum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuhu

Answer

Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Vowel counts are used for things that are measured and derived from vowel counts which are vowels and lengthenings (mudood), such as four vowel counts for some lenthenings, six for others, etc.  These are all based on a vowel count or the length of an alif, which is two vowel counts. 

The time for the ghunnah is not derived from vowel counts and thus cannot be compared to vowel counts.  It is derived from sound and being corrected until the proper length is obtained as it has been passed down from generation to generation in solid chains of transmission.  You will not find the length of a ghunnah listed as two vowel counts in the early books of tajweed, this is something that you find in some modern books, but not in the early books.  The length of the ghunnah is not uniform from one  rule to another, and is slightly different for an idhgaam with a ghunnah than an ikhfa'.  Please see:  http://www.abouttajweed.com/the-ghunnah-and-its-ranks/ranks-of-the-ghunnah.html

 If you listen to some of the master shuyookh of recitation and try and compare timings, you will see that the length of the ghunnah in the most complete rank and complete rank is longer than two vowel counts. 

Wa iyyaakum wa-l-muslimeen.

Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.