How Do I Properly Pronounce the Letter ‘Ayn?
Question: Can you offer any advice regarding the proper pronunciation of the letter ‘ayn in the prayer?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate,
May Allah reward you for your effort trying to properly recite His blessed book.
There are two important issues that should be addressed:
1. The Merit Of Striving Recite Properly
The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The expert reciter of the Qur’an is with the noble angels and the one who recites it and stammers in its recitation, while it is burdensome for them – has two rewards.” [Muslim]
In this narration, we see that not everyone will be able to perfectly recite the Qur’an. We also see that what is sought is that one strives sincerely and their efforts are rewarded greatly.
2. Reciting In Prayer
The difficulty that you experience when reciting is normal. You are not obliged to repeat the verse until you feel you’ve recited it properly. Mispronouncing a letter will not affect the validity of the prayer.
Furthermore, it is more congruous to the stillness and focuses due in the prayer not to repeat the verses over and over again due to pronunciation.
Your prayers remain valid despite a mispronounced letter. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
As a person not native to the Arabic languages, I know wholeheartedly the difficulty involved in learning proper pronunciation (tajwid). One thing that greatly helped me was learning the science of Tajwid, specifically the description of each letter’s exit point.
Once you learn the exit point of the letters as theoretically expressed in the books of tajwid, it becomes easier to practice the letters. The letter ‘ayn is indeed difficult and listening to a good reciter may help.
The best advice, however, is to find a teacher who can listen to your pronunciation. Experienced Tajwid teachers not only teach you how to pronounce but also teach you why what you are doing is not producing the desired sound.
Remember that difficulty does not mean you are not achieving great reward and nearness to Allah. The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) said every equals 1,000 rewards. Thus each time you pronounce the ‘ayn or any other letter – remind yourself of this generous gift from Allah.
I hope this helps,
Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.