Ikhfaa Shafawi Rules and Letters with Examples – Best 2023 Guide

Ikhfaa Shafawi Rules and Letters with Examples - Best 2023 Guide (1)

In this article, we will talk about an important rule of Tajweed knowledge, which is Al-Ikhfaa Ash-shafawi. We will mention its definition, its alphabetical letters, the difference between it and other similar Tajweed rules, and some examples from the Holy Quran. Keep Reading.


What is Ikhfaa Shafawi?

The linguistic definition of Al Ikfha: Ikhfaa is an Arabic word that means concealment, disappearance, or masking.

The meaning of Al Ikhfaa in Tajweed knowledge is to make the whole of a letter sound or some of it silent while you pronounce it. In other words, Ikhfaa is a middle way between the rule of Izzhar and the rule of Idghaam.

However, Al Ikhfaa Ash Shafawi relates to the Arabic letter Al-Meem Es-sakinah (ْم). The letters of Ikhfaa Shafawi are only one letter. It is the letter (ب).

So we can define Al-ikhfaa Esh-shafawias follows: Al-meem Es-Sakinah should be hidden or concealed if it is followed by the letter ( ب), and the reciter of the Holy Quran should fulfill Ghunna (a nasal sound) for a period of two seconds. It is worth mentioning that the Ghunnah of Al-Ikfha Ash-Shafawi is the same as Al-Ghunna of Iqalb. 

We have to mention also that Al-Ikhfa Ash-Shafawi would only happen when it is between two words.

What makes the Ikhfaa Shafawi?

Ikhfaa Shafawi would occur when Al-Meem Sakinah is followed by the letter (ب ). When it happens, the Holy Quran reciter should fulfill Ghunnah for a period of two seconds. 

The scholars had different opinions about the issue of how this Ghunnah should be fulfilled. Some scholars and reciters think that while pronouncing Al-Meem Es-sakinah the Holy Quran reciter should not close their mouth completely (the mouth should be open a bit little) so, so the lips should not touch each other during uttering it. 

Other scholars and reciters think that the mouth should be closed and the lips should touch each other. This is to some extent similar to the rule of Iqlaab. Therefore, we hear some Holy Quran reciters fulfill the rules of Ikhfaa Shafawi and the rule of Iqlaab by using similar or different schemes.

Ikhfa Shafawi letters

The letters of Al-Ikhfaa Shafawi are just two letters. They are the letter Baa (ب) and the letter Meem (م). These letters cover the sound during the recitation.

How do We pronounce Ikhfaa Shafawi?

 When we pronounce Al-Ikhfaa Ash-shafawi, we should not place the tongue near the point of articulation of the front teeth. Instead, we should remove the tongue a bit little from the place of the front teeth while we are pronouncing Al-Ikhfa Ash-shafawi.

Ikhfa Shafawi Examples in Quran

In this section, we will present some examples of Al Ikhfa Ash Shafawi in the Holy Quran. Here they are

Examples from the Quran Explanation Reference
تَرْمِيهِم بِحِجَارَةٍ مِّن سِجِّيلٍ  In this example, Al-Meem Es-sakinah is followed by the letter ب in these two words: تَرْمِيهِم بِحِجَارَةٍ Surah Al-Feel Verse, number 4.
فَلَمَّا أَنبَأَهُم بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ قَالَ أَلَمْ أَقُل لَّكُمْ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ غَيْبَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَأَعْلَمُ مَا تُبْدُونَ وَمَا كُنتُمْ تَكْتُمُونَ Here is another example for Al Ikhfa Ash Shafawi with the letter Al Meem ( م) is followed by the letter (ب) in the two words: أَنبَأَهُم بِأَسْمَائِهِمْ Surah Baqarah Verse, number 33.

Other examples to practice and tell us your answer:

  فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنْتَ مُذَكِّر

  لَسْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ بِمُصَيْطِرٍ

What is The Difference Between Ikhfaa Shafawi and Ikhfaa Haqiqi? 

The main difference betweenIkhfaa Al Haqiqi and Al-Ikhfaa Ash-shafawi is the way each one of them is pronounced and the reason behind them. 

Here are the differences:

  1. Al-Ikhfaa Al-Haqiqi is to conceal An-noon Es-Sakinah or At-tanween in case they are followed by one letter of the fifteen letters of Al-Ikhfaa.
  2. Whereas, the meaning of Al Ikhfaa Ash Shafawi is to conceal the sound of Al-Meem Es-sakinah when it is followed by the letter (ب) Baa or meem (مْ) with maintaining the sound of Al-ghunnah for a while that is estimated with 2 beats, such as in the following examples:
  • تَرْمِيهِم بِحِجَارَةٍ
  • وَهُم بِالْآخِرَةِ

Another difference between ikfaa Haqiqi and Ikhfaa Shfawi is that Ikhfaa Haqiqi is formed from specific Letters of Tajweed knowledge. They are fifteen Arabic letters. Al Ikhfaa Al Haqiqi occurs when one of these fifteen letters comes after An-noon Es-Sakinah or At-tanween. 

If one of those fifteen letters find follows An-noon Es-Sakina At-tween, then we have to conceal the sound of An-noon and fulfill Al-Gunna for a length of time, estimated approximately two seconds.

Here are the fifteen Arabic letters of Al-Ikhfaa Al-Haqiqi:

ت ث ج د ذ زس ش ص ض ط ظ ف ق ك

Why was Al-Ikhfaa Ash Shafawi Named With That Name? 

Al-Ikhfaa Ash Shafawi is named Shafawi because the Arabic letter (Meem) is pronounced from the lips and the lips in Arabic is called  شفاة – Shifah. The word Shafawi in an objective of the name Shifah.

Other scholars argue that  Al-Ikhfaa Ash Shafawi is called Shafawi because the point of articulation (Makhraj) of both the letter Meem (م) and the letter Baa (ب) are the same or close to each other i.e. both are pronounced from the lips.

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The Difference Between Al Ikhfa Ash Shafawi and Al-Idgham Ash Shafawi

Al Idgham Ash Shafawi means the labial merging of one specific letter into another letter. 

This kind of Idgham is also known by the name of “Idgham Mithlien Sagherien” ( the little similar letters). It happens when the Arabic letter Al-Meem Es-sakinah is preceded by another Meem which is voiced, then, in this case, al-Meem Es-Sakinah should be merged into the voiced meem to form one new stressed sound of the letter Al-Meem.

Learn All About the Rules of Ikhfaa in Tajweed.


Every Muslim should do their best to learn Tajweed knowledge in order to be able to recite the Holy Quran in a proficient way because this will make them get high rankings in the hereafter. 

You can attend: online Quran classes, Arabic online Classes for kids, And Arabic Classes For Adults with Kalimah Center and attend classes with Native Arab Tutors.

Ā’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and prayers be upon him) said: “The one who recites the Qur’an skillfully will be in the company of the noble and righteous messenger-angels and the one who reads the Qur’an, but stutters and finds it difficult, receives a double reward.”  
Sahih/Authentic. -[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

May Allah make all of us from those who recite the Holy Quran skillfully.

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