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As I'm trying to read through Readwithtajweed, I am confused about the meaning of harakat / count, in regards to Madd.

What is 1 (or 2,3, etc.) count? I've read that it is equivalent to seconds (1 count = 1 second). Are count durations relative to the speed with which I read, like beat/rhythm in music?

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The Haraka you are asking about is the time consumed to read the voweled letter. It is not exactly equal to 1 second. It actually differs from 1 person to the other.

Though it is taught to beginners as it is the time consumed to release and spread 1 finger from your fist.

Meaning that if you are counting more than one Haraka, then simply make a fist, then start releasing and spreading the number of fingers according to the number of Harakat you want.

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"Harakat" means movement or vowel-point. There are three harakat. (1)(2)

  • Ḍammah - ـُ

  • Fatḥah - ـَ

  • Kasrah - ـِ

Al-Madd can be prolonged from two to six beats depending on what follows it: E.g., for the word ٱلۡجِبَالُ, one beat would be the jimm with kasrah and two beats for the ba followed by fatḥah and the alef. (2)(3)


References:

  1. "Hippocrene Standard Arabic-English dictionary," by Wortabet and Portor
  2. "Reach the goal of Tajweed,"by Maha Rashed
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_diacritics#Harakat_.28short_vowel_marks.29
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