In Arabic, the consonants are divided into two groups, called the lam shamsiya (sun letters) or solar letters and lam qamariya (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 letters, examples, how to pronounce and how to identify them as well.
What Are The Lam Shamsiya?
The Arabic shamsiya letters are called Huroof Al-Shamsiyyah (حروف الشمسيّة). There 14 sun letters (الحروف الشمسية). This classification is based on the way these letters affect the pronunciation of the definite article (ال) at the beginning of words.
What Are Shamsiya Letters (The Arabic Sun 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 shamsiya 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 Lam Shamsiya 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 shamsiya 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.
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.
Examples of Lam Shamsiya
The table below shows examples of all the shamsiya letters in Arabic.
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 lam shamsiya letter – the letter is merged/assimilated into the definite article.
The name comes from the fact that the word for the Sun, Al Shams is pronounced Ash Shams – assimilating the Lam.