Which Diacritic Marks Are Used in the Quran?

The Quran is Islam’s central religious text, shaping Muslims’ beliefs and practices worldwide. It utilizes a limited set of diacritical marks to aid in proper recitation and understanding of its verses.

These marks represent the sounds and intonations of the Arabic language, adding layers of depth and nuance to the already profound meaning of the Quran. Here are some of the diacritic marks to know when you learn Arabic: 


In Arabic grammar, i’jam, a small dot above or below a letter, signifies a silent consonant sound, aiding pronunciation clarity in Arabic script. It helps to preserve the original pronunciation of words, especially when reciting the Quran. The i’jam is also used to mark a word’s end,

signaling that no more vowels are to be pronounced. Diacritical marks allow for greater clarity and accuracy in reciting the Quran, offering that the sacred text is preserved in its original form. When you learn Arabic, you’ll notice that the i’jam is often placed on letters like ‘ba’, ‘ta’, and ‘tha’.


Tashkīl refers to the short vowels added above or below letters in the Quran. These marks indicate the correct pronunciation of words and help to differentiate between similar-sounding letters. The three main short vowels marked by tashkīl are a, i, and u.

These vowels can also appear in conjunction with the sukun or i’jam, changing the pronunciation of a letter even further. Tashkīl also adds a musical quality to the recitation of the Quran, enhancing its rhythmic and melodic nature. Learning tashkīl streamlines the process of learning Arabic, making it easier to read and understand the Quran.


The sukūn is a small circle that appears above or below a letter, indicating no vowel sound attached to it. It acts as a pause in pronunciation. The sukūn is often used when reciting longer words where multiple letters are repeated, such as in the word Allāh.

It also helps to differentiate between words that would otherwise sound similar. Blending in seamlessly with tashkīl, the sukūn allows for a smooth and fluid recitation of the Quran. The consonants marked by sukūn are b, t, s, and th. When Islam spread over vast territories, many languages did not have equivalent sounds to Arabic.


Harakāt is the small marking on top of letters in the Quran. These markings indicate long vowels and are used when reading words without tashkīl. Harakāt helps readers to pronounce words accurately and prevents any misinterpretation or confusion.

The three central long vowels marked by harakāt are ā, ī, and ū. These vowels can also appear with the tashkīl, creating a more complex pronunciation. The use of harakāt is encouraged for beginners, as it helps them to understand the fundamental rules of Arabic pronunciation. 


Shaddah is a small mark that appears above or below a letter, indicating that the letter should be doubled in pronunciation. The shaddah is often used when reciting words where double letters appear, such as in the word sallāh.

It also helps to distinguish between words with similar spellings but different meanings. When you learn Arabic, it allows you to understand the subtle nuances and differences in pronunciation.


Tanwīn involves using double vowels in a word, which creates a nasal sound. These double vowels are known as an, in, and un in Arabic. These symbols are often used at the end of words to indicate that they are indefinite nouns. The use of tanwīn adds a unique rhythm and beauty to spoken Arabic.

The correct use of tanwīn depends on the grammatical context of the sentence and is an aspect of mastering proper Arabic pronunciation. Knowing how to use tanwīn enunciates your speech and helps you to sound more natural when speaking Arabic.

Learn Arabic in a Reputable Academy

If you are interested in learning Arabic, choose a reputable academy that offers comprehensive courses on proper pronunciation. A good academy with experienced teachers will guide you through the intricacies of Arabic pronunciation, including using tanwīn and tajwīd.

With dedication and practice, you can master proper Arabic pronunciation and enhance your understanding and appreciation of the language. Enroll in a reputable academy to learn Arabic today and open yourself to a new world of knowledge and culture.

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