[Tajweed 101] Ishmām 101

(This article is 330 words or 3 minutes long. Should you choose to view the video, it will take you 4 minutes to complete the article)

Let’s talk about one of the most talked about ḥukm, the great and mighty Ishmām.

In this article, we’ll discuss about what is Ishmām: how it is pronounced, how it is applied, its types, and the instances where it is applicable, especially in the riwāyah of Ḥafṣ. Ishmām 101 is a basic version of this ḥukm which will be followed by an advanced version, Ishmām 102.

What is Ishmām?


The word ishmām (الإشمام) is derived from the root “al-shamm” which means “to smell”. In the context of tajweed, however, Ishmām generally means to lend a slight effect of a letter (ḥarf) or a vowel (zabar, zer, pesh) to another, and more specifically, by circling the two lips in the shape of the letter “o”.


Ishmām is a method of manipulating the stoppage (waqf) to provide clarity on the stopping vowel. In this context, Ishmām is only used when the vowel is a pesh (ḍammah). It is always silent and does not involve any vocalization. There are other forms of Ishmām which are not restricted to stoppages. See Ishmām 102 to know about the different types and applications of Ishmām.

How to pronounce and apply Ishmām?

Ishmām is expressed by circling the lips in the shape of the letter “o”. In the riwāyah of Ḥafṣ, Ishmām is to be applied during the ghunnah of nūn in the word “taʾmanna” (Yusuf: 11). This means that your lips will acquire the shape of an “o” while you are pronouncing the ghunnah in the word “taʾmanna”. Click here to see how to pronounce Ishmām in taʾmanna.

As an exception to the general rule, Ishmām here is expressed to denote the first nūn which has been absorbed into the second nūn (by way of idghām) resulting in the original word “taʾmanuna” becoming “taʾmanna”. Therefore, by circling the lips, you denote the omitted pesh of the first nūn.

Practice ishmām and let us know how you fared in the comments section below.