Learning the rules of Laam Shamsiya and Laam Qamariya is an important step in learning the Arabic language.
If you are new to Arabic, it may seem odd, and maybe it should escape your notice, but sometimes you will see Arabic words starting with ‘AL’. This letter changes the noun from an indefinite to a definite one — just like the English word ‘The’.
However, sometimes ‘AL’ is pronounced as ‘A’. Words with ‘AL’ are Laam Qamariya (also known as the Moon letters) while the words with ‘A’ are Laam Shamsiya (also known as the Sun letters).
In this article, we will walk you through the rules of Laam Shamsiya and Laam Qamariya to make the process of learning the Arabic language easier for you.
In the Arabic language, consonants are categorized into two major groups; the Sun letters (حروف شمسية) and the Moon letters (حروف قمرية). There are 28 consonants in total, 14 out of which are the Sun letters and the other 14 are the Moon letters.
Words starting with Sun letters make ‘AL’ sound like ‘A –’, while those starting with Moon letters pronounce ‘L’ as it should really be.
An initial Sun letter right after the definite ‘L’ will double the initial Sun letter and result in the L sound being lost in ‘AL’.
Moon letters allow the ‘L’ before them to be pronounced fully as ‘AL’.
The 14 Sun letters are as follows:
(ﻥ ,ﻝ ,ﻅ ,ﻁ ,ﺽ ,ﺹ ,ﺵ ,ﺱ ,ﺯ ,ﺭ ,ﺫ ,ﺩ ,ﺕ)
Listed below are some examples of the Sun letters.
The Notebook :الدَّفْتَر
The Window :النَّافِذَة
The Man :الرّجل
The 14 Moon letters are as follows:
( هـ ,ﻱ ,ﻭ ,ﻡ ,ﻙ ,ﻕ ,ﻑ ,ﻍ ,ﻉ ,ﺥ ,ﺡ ,ﺝ ,ﺏ ,أ)
Listed below are some examples of the Moon letters:
The House :البَيْت
The Mosque :المَسْجِد
The Day of Judgment :الْقيامة
There are several instances in the Quran where you will find Huroof e Shamsi and Huroof Al-Qamariya.
Here are some of the prime examples of Haroof e Shamsi from Quran:
الرَّحْمٰنِ– النَّاصِرِين – ٱللَّطِيفُ – ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ – ٱلطَّآمَّةُ – السَّمِیْعُ
الْفَجْرِ – الْعِمَادِ – الْبِلَادِ – الْفَلَقِ – الْجِنَّةِ
The Laam Shamsiya rule is:
When the Laam comes after any of the Huroof Al-Shamsiyah (also known as the Sun letters), it will be read with Idghaam (merging) but without the Ghunna (nasal sound).
The Laam Qamariya rule is:
If any of the Huroof Al-Qamariya (also known as the Moon letters) follows the Laam, it would be recited with Ith’har (obviousness).
Initially, remembering the Sun and Moon letters might seem a bit tricky but once you understand the concept, you will be surprised that remembering the Sun and Moon letter is so easy.
The trick of remembering the Sun and Moon letters lies in their names. For instance, الشمس (meaning the Sun) is pronounced as Ash-Shams in Arabic, which means there is no ‘L’ sound in the letter. This implies that all the letters falling under this consonant’s category will be pronounced without the ‘L’.
On the other hand, القمر (meaning the Moon) is pronounced as Al-Qamar in Arabic, which means there is a significant ‘L’ sound. This implies that all the letters falling under this consonant’s category will be pronounced with the ‘L’.
Tajweed plays an important role when you are trying to learn to read quran with tajweed rules, as you do not want to pronounce any letters incorrectly.
In terms of the Sun and Moon letters, the Sun letters are pronounced from points of articulation that close to the one of letter “Lam” while the Moon letters are pronounced from far points. This would be the reason of merging the Laam Shamsiya in the Sun letters.
Regardless of how it is pronounced, the ‘AL’ cannot be spelt differently in written language. Shaddah can be added to the consonant after the Lam to identify Laam Shamsiya. A Sukoon can be placed over a Lam Al to showcase the Laam Qamariya.
Now that we have gone through all the basics of Laam Shamsiya and Laam Qamariya, let’s have a look at why these consonants are important in the Arabic language.
A consonant indicates a sound that one produces by obscuring the airflow into the vocal tract. It is an alphabet letter that represents a basic speech sound. A consonant sound makes a speaker’s speech clear and crisp, allowing other people to understand him/her easily.
While we sign off, we would like to go through the important points we mentioned in this post about the rules of Laam Shamsiya and Laam Qamariya one last time.
In this article, we learned about the consonants of the Arabic language and mentioned that Laam Shamsiya and Laam Qamariya are two broad categories of them. But the main difference between them is that Laam Shamsiya letters make the A sound, while Laam Qamariya letters make the AL sound.
As well as that, we would advise you to take advantage of the basics and you will be able to master the Arabic language with ease. We would also like to end this article with a simple prayer:
رَبِّ زِدني عِلمًا
Translation: My Lord! Increase me in knowledge (20:114)