Learn the Arabic letter Alif with word samples – 2024

Alif is the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and it is a lunar letter that is frequently used in nouns and verbs… and it is one of the vowels (حروف العلة)(Huruf al eilah), this means that it has great importance in the Arabic language. Alif is a letter that does not accept alharakat ( الحركات), but with the presence of the hamza(ء), it accepts the fatha, the kasra, the damma, and the sukoon.

The shape of the alif varies according to its position in the word and its haraka as well, each of its forms represents a sound because the letter Alif has three sounds.

The shapes of the letter “Alif” :

Terminal Middle Initial Isolated
ـأ/ـا/ ـى ـأ/ـا أ/ا أ

Examples of words with “Alif”:

The initial “Alif”:

ArabicEnglishPronunciation
إنسانHuman‘Insan
أصفرYellow‘Asfar
ألوانColors‘Alwan

The middle “Alif”:

When the letter “alif” is in the middle of the word, it is connected from the right side only. But it writes in different ways.

ArabicEnglishPronunciation
فأسAxFa-as
كأسCupKa-as
بستانGroveBustaan

The terminal “Alif”:

ArabicEnglishPronunciation
خلاياCellsKhalayaa
نبأNewsNaba’
فتىBoyfataa

Alif with the harakat(الحركات):

The shape of the letter alif and its pronunciation change according to the harakat, let’s see its shape and how to pronounce it in each haraka.

When it’s Haraka is the fatha:

The shape of the letter Alif when it is with fatha is like a stick”ا” and above it is the hamza “ء” and above the hamza is the fatha “ءَ“.Then we get the final form”أَ“.The letter “alif” in this case sounds like the letter “a” in the word “Amazing”.

•Examples :

ArabicEnglishPronunciation
أَسدLion ‘Asad
أَرنب Rabbit‘Arnab
أَلعابGames‘Aleab

When its haraka is the damma:

The shape of the letter Alif when it is with damma is also like a stick”ا” and above it is the hamza “ء” but above the hamza is the damma “ءُ“.Then we get the final form”أُ“.The letter “alif” in this case sounds like the letter “O” in the word “Order”.

•Examples :

ArabicEnglishPronunciation
أُسرةFamily‘Osrah
أُمةNation‘Ommah
أُميMy mom‘Omi

When its haraka is the kasra:

The shape of the letter Alif here differs from its shape in the harakat of the damma and the fatha so that the hamza is under the stick just like that”إ“, and in the end, we add the kasra under the hamza”ءِ” to get its final shape”إِ.The letter “alif” in this case sounds like the letter “I” in the word “Important”.

•Examples :

ArabicEnglishPronunciation
إِمرأةWomen‘Imra’ah
إِبرةNeedle‘Ibrah
إِوزةGoose‘Iwazzah

When harakah is the sukoon:

When the letter alif is in the sukoon, it is of two types: the consonant letter, the vowel.

The consonant letter :

The shape of the alif is like a stick”ا” and above it is the hamza “ء” and above the hamza is the sukoon”ءْ“.Then we get the final form”أْ“.It cannot be at the beginning of a word because Arabic words never begin to be silent.

The vowel :

The shape of the alif, in this case, is very simple, as it resembles a stick”ا”.It is often in the middle or the end of a word and it helps determine the pronunciation of the word, And when it is at the beginning of the word with the lam, it is called Hamzat alwasl.

Yes, we want to differentiate between “أ” and “ا” in the word, so what is the solution? Follow with us.

When the alif is a vowel(حرف علّة)(Huruf al eilah), this means that it is pronounced with the letter before it, it does not have a single pronunciation, so we put an “ا” in the word.

And when the alif is a consonant independent in pronunciation of the letter before it, we put an “أ” in the word.

Examples :

ArabicEnglishPronunciation
حيوانAnimalHayawaan
حمارDonkeyHimaar
مرأبParkingMir‘ab

•Note :

When the letter alif is at the end of the word, it is also written as ligatures from the right only. In fact, there are two types of it. In this case, the alif almaqsourah (الألف المقصورة)and the alif almamdudah(الألف الممدودة).

الألف المقصورة “Alif almaqsurah”الألف الممدودة”Alif almamdudah”
ـى ـا

Alif al maqsurah”ى”:

Alef Al Maqsura is one of the forms of the letter Alif, as its shape resembles the letter “Yaa’ ي” without dots.

•Examples :

ArabicEnglishPronunciation
متىWhenMataa
أولىFirst‘Ulaa
مستشفىHospitalMustachfaa

Alif al mamdudah”ا” :

Alif al mamdudah is one of the forms of the letter Alif, it is resembling a stick, and latter is more commonly used than alif al maqsurah .

•Examples

ArabicEnglishPronunciation
لاNolaa
عصاStickEassaa
دنياLifeDunyaa

Alif is the first lesson of the educational series: (Learn more about the Arabic alphabet with MSA Arabic), which provides detailed lessons for each letter of the Arabic alphabet from Alif to Yaa’ and it will be simplified and easy, follow with us.

Thus, we have become well acquainted with the letter Alif? I think that it has become a simple and intuitive lesson for you anymore. You have to repeat the information to benefit more from it. If you have any questions, please ask me and I will answer them personally. We will meet in the second episode of this educational series.

What is that “ئ”?

It is a kind of hamza that we will study later

How to write the alif in the word read in Arabic?

We write it like this:قرأ”Qara’a”

What is this type of alif called “ى”?

It is calles alif almaqsurah”ألف المقصورى”

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