In Arabic, the consonants are divided into two groups, called the sun letters or solar letters and moon letters or lunar letters, based on whether they assimilate the letter lām (ﻝl) of a preceding Arabic definite article al- (الـ), which is an important general rule used in Arabic grammar.
Phonetically, sun letters are ones pronounced as coronal consonants, and moon letters are ones pronounced as other consonants. In this article, we will learn all the Arabic sun and moon letters, examples, how to pronounce and how to identify them as well.
What Are The Arabic Sun And Moon Letters?
The Arabic sun and moon letters are Huroof Al-Shamsiyyah (حروف الشمسيّة) and Huroof Al-Qamariyyah (حروف القمريّة) respectively. There 14 sun letters (الحروف الشمسية) and 14 moon letters (الحروف القمرية).
This classification is based on the way these letters affect the pronunciation of the definite article (ال) at the beginning of words.
What Are The Arabic Sun Letters (Shamsiya Letters)?
The Arabic sun letters are called حروف الشمسيّة and pronounced as Huroof Al-Shamsiyyah. There are 14 sun letters in Arabic language. When a definite article and a word beginning with one of the Sun letters meet, the (ال) in the preceding definite article becomes silent.
The letter (ل) lam is read by directly connecting it to the sun letter with Shaddah (reading the consonant letter twice).
The Sun letters are as follow:
- Taa (ت) التاء
- Thaa (ث) الثاء
- Daal (د) الدال
- Dhaal (ذ) الذال
- Raa (ر) الراء
- Zhaay (ز) الزاي
- Siin (س) السين
- Shiin (ش) الشين
- Saad (ص) الصاد
- Daad (ض) الضاد
- Ṭā (ط) الطاء
- Ẓā (ظ) الظاء
- Nuun (ن) النون
- Laam (ل) اللام
Below is a breakdown of the steps explaining the application Sun letters rule to Arabic words and letter we encounter:
These words are in its indefinite form:
- Thiyabun ثياب
- Shimaalun شمال
- Dawulatu طاولة
- Samaa’un سماء
Add the definite article (ال) to each word:
- Al + Thiyabun ال + ثياب
- Al + Shimaalun ال + شمال
- Al + Dawulatu ال + طاولة
- Al + Samaa’u ال + سماء
The first letters in the words above are all sun letters. The rule is then the first letters replaces the (ل) phonetically in (ال).
We have الشَّمس /Ash-shamsu/. Because we have the same letters next to each other شَ + شَ , we contract them together as one sound and add ( ّ ) shadda.
This is how the words end up. Notice the shadda ّ on the Sun letters in the first two words:
- Attawulatu ال + طاولة = الطّاولة
- Assama’u ال + سماء = السّماء
- Asshimalu ال + شمال = الشّمال
- Aththiyabu ال + ثياب = الثّياب
Remember: When the article “Al” is found in front of The Sun letters, “L” is not pronounced, but it is replaced by sun letter by doubling.
Related Sukoon Meaning.
What Are Arabic Moon Letters (Qamari Letters)?
The Arabic moon letters are called حروف القمريّة and pronounced as Huroof Al-Qamariyyah. There are 14 moon letters in Arabic language. They are named after the word القمر (moon) because the pronunciation of the definite article in this word didn’t change since ق is one of the Moon letters.
The moon letters are as follow:
- Alif (أ) الألف
- Baa (ب) الباء
- Jim (ج) الجيم
- Haa’ (ح) الحاء
- Khaa (خ) الخاء
- Ain (ع) العين
- Ghayn (غ) الغين
- Faa (ف) الفاء
- Qaaf (ق) القاف
- Kaaf (ك) الكاف
- Mim (م) الميم
- Hā (ه) الهاء
- Waw (و) الواو
- Yaa (ي) الياء
There is nothing special about moon letters as they are pronounced and written normally when attached to the definite article ال.
Remember: When there is an article in front of The Moon letters the article “Al” is plainly written and pronounced as “Al”. Examples:
- Alqamaru ال + قمر = القمر
- Almaktabu ال + مكتب = المكتب
- Albina’u ال + بناء = البناء
- Alkursiyyu ال + كرسي = الكرسي
How To Remember Sun And Moon Letters In Arabic?
To remember the moon letters, Arabs usually memorize this rhyme that contains all the Moon-letters ُاِبْغِ حَجَّكَ وَخَفْ عَقِيْمَه. It is roughly translates as: ‘Perform Haj and be vary of quarrel’.
To remember the soon letters easily, the beginning of each of these words in the ryhm below contains all the sun letters.
طِبْ ثُمَّ صِلْ رَحِمًا تَفُزْ، ضِفْ ذَا نِعَمْ# دَعْ سُـوءَ ظَنٍّ زُرْ شَـرِيفًا لــلكَــرَمْ
It is roughly translates as Be good and join ties (family relations) you will succeed, be hospitalized processor of favour # leave evil though, visit illustrious for generosity.
Sun And Moon Letters Examples
The tables below show examples of all the sun and moon letters in Arabic.
Examples Of Sun Letters
Examples Of Moon Letters
Definite nouns in Arabic begin with ال. The way the definite article is pronounced in Arabic language is determined by the letter after it.
If the letter after the definite article is a Sun letter – the letter is merged/assimilated into the definite article. If the letter after the definite article is a Moon-letter – the Lam ل of the definite article is pronounced.
These names come from the fact that the word for the Sun, Al Shams is pronounced Ash Shams – assimilating the Lam. While the word for the moon, Al Qamar, does not.