Rules of the Definite Article

Of the 28 letters of the Arabic alphabet,

14 of the letters are known as solar (sun) letters. These are:

ت ‌ث ‌ د ‌ذ‌ ر ‌ز ‌ س ‌ش ‌ص ‌ض ‌ ط‌ ظ ‌ ل‌ ن‌

14 of the letters are known as lunar (moon) letters. These are:

ء ‌ب ‌ج ‌ ح ‌خ ‌ع ‌غ ‌ ف ‌ق ‌ك‌ م ‌ه‌ و ‌ ي

the Arabic letters

ال
means ‘The‘ in English

E.g ﺑﺎب door  
 
ال
the  

ال
+ ﺑﺎب = اﻟﺒﺎب  
The + Door = The Door  

The 1st letter of the word that follows ال would determine the pronunciation depending on
whether it is a sun or moon letter

 

SOLAR (SUN) LETTERS (shamsiyyah) ﺷﻤﺴﻴﻪ

EXAMPLE 1

Requirements :

  • Presence of ال  
  • followed by a sun letter

Effect:

  • the letter alif of the ال is assimilated with the sun letter
  • the letter laam of the ال is ignored
  • the sun letter carries a shaddah
  ﺷَﻤﺲ Sun
  ال The
ال + ﺷَﻤﺲ = اَﻟﺸَّﻤﺲ
The + Sun = The Sun

This is pronounced as ‘ash-shams’ and not ‘al-shams’

If you want to join the preceding word onto the ال word,
then you ignore the ال completely

EXAMPLE 2

Requirements :

  • Presence ofال
  • followed by a sun letter
  • and preceded by another word

Effect :

  • the last letter of this word joins straight onto the sun letter
  • so the ال is ignored completely
(1:4)
    The letter
joins straight
onto the sun letter and the
is ignored completely
    This is pronounced ‘yaw-mid-deen

 

Examples of Solar Letters

Sun Letter Definite article attached to word Definite article preceded by letter
/ word
Surah : Verse   
(95:1)
(3:195)
(1:3)
(51:1)
(2:143)
(2:277)
(2:22)
(25:29)
(112:2)
(9:91)
(2:260)
(4:75)
(2:274)
(75:2)

Lunar (MOON) Letters (Qamariyyah)ﻗﻤﺮﻳﻪ

EXAMPLE 1

Requirements :

  • Presence of ال
  • followed by a moon letter

Effect :

  • the ال is pronounced
  ﻗَﻤﺮ Moon  
  ال The  
ال + ﻗَﻤﺮ = اﻟْﻘَﻤﺮ
The + Moon = The Moon  

This is pronounced as ‘al-qamr’ and not ‘aq-qamr’

If you want to join the preceding word onto the
ال word, you only ignore the letter alif of the ال

EXAMPLE 2

Requirements :

  • Presence of ال
  • followed by a moon letter
  • and preceded by another word

Effect :

  • the last letter of this word joins straight onto the letter laam of the alif
  • therefore ignoring the letter alif only
(1:7)
    The letter
joins
straight onto the
and
only the alif is ignored
    This is pronounced as ‘ghair-ril-magh-dhoo-be

 

Examples of Lunar Letters

Lunar Letter Definite article attached to word Definite article preceded by letter
/ word
Surah : Verse   
(12:6)
(2:127)
(7:40)
(69:2)
(52:35)
(10:88)
(10:90)
(2:191)
(16:107)
(18:9)
(1:7)
(56:1)
(56:55)
(15:99)


Click here
to view a printable chart depicting the solar and lunar
letters.

Click 'here' to
view practice exercises for the rules of The Definite Article