In these two verses Allah says:

The Day their faces will be turned about in the Fire, they will say, "How we wish we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger." (33:66)

يَوْمَ تُقَلَّبُ وُجُوهُهُمْ فِى النَّارِ يَقُولُونَ يلَيْتَنَآ أَطَعْنَا اللَّهَ وَأَطَعْنَا الرَّسُولاَ

while the -to me- correct wording would be:

يَوْمَ تُقَلَّبُ وُجُوهُهُمْ فِى النَّارِ يَقُولُونَ يلَيْتَنَآ أَطَعْنَا اللَّهَ وَأَطَعْنَا الرَّسُولَ


And they will say, "Our Lord, indeed we obeyed our masters and our dignitaries, and they led us astray from the [right] way. (33:67)

وَقَالُواْ رَبَّنَآ إِنَّآ أَطَعْنَا سَادَتَنَا وَكُبَرَآءَنَا فَأَضَلُّونَا السَّبِيلَا

where the -to me- correct wording should be:

وَقَالُواْ رَبَّنَآ إِنَّآ أَطَعْنَا سَادَتَنَا وَكُبَرَآءَنَا فَأَضَلُّونَا السَّبِيلَ

Note that all verses before and after these two verses end with نَصِيراً, كَبِيراً , سَعِيراً , قَرِيباً and so on. With a few exception one may even say all verses of the whole surah al-Ahzaab end in this style.

This sounds to me like these two words (nouns in ma'arifa form) were put to fit in the poetic license of those nouns in a nakriah form (adjectives)...

Is this addressed somewhere or is there any explanation for this or am I simply wrong?

1 Answer 1


The verses that you quoted are two out of seven alifs that have the same conditions and recitations, commonly known as al-Alifāt as-Sab'ah (Arabic: الألفات السبعة) in the topic related to starting and stopping (Arabic: علم الوقف والابتداء) under the science and rules of tajwīd (recitation) of the Qur'an (Arabic: أحكام التجويد), and are specific to the qirā'ah of Āssim (Arabic: عاصم) and the ruwāyah of Hafṣ (Arabic: حفص).

In the answer to the question on manuscripts of the Qur'an, the rule is:

مذهب الأصوليين وفقهاء المذاهب الأربعة والمحدثين والقراء: أن التواتر شرط في صحة القراءة، ولا تثبت بالسند الصحيح غير المتواتر، ولو وافقت رسم المصاحف العثمانية، وهو قول محدث لا يعول عليه، ويؤدي إلى تسوية غير القرآن بالقرآن

NOTE: My own translation, so treat with care:

The school of the scholars of the principles [of jurisprudence] and the jurists of the four schools of jurisprudence and the scholars of hadith and the scholars of recitation that tawātur (successive narration) is a condition of a correct recitation; what is not mutawatir even when authentic is not proof, even if a recitation [that is not mutawatir] matches a manuscript of the 'Uthmanic mus'hafs, ass this would be an innovation that cannot be taken into account, as it would be equating non-Qur'an with Qur'an.

Muqaddimāt fi 'Ilm al-Qirā'at, pp. 71

The way the words are written in these seven verses is to conform to the recitation. These seven alifs have the following characteristics:

  • Pronounced as alif when stopping on them (unlike a fat'ha, which becomes silent at a stopping position), and silent (treated as a regular fat'ha) when joining them with the next verse.
  • The following letter is a mutaḥarrik (Arabic: متحرك) letter, not a sākin (Arabic: ساكن) letter.
  • Its conjugation is an elongated zero (Arabic: صفر مستطيل), which I highlighted in green to show its 'Uthmanic scripting technique.

The two verses you quoted are:

Qur'an 33:66

Qur'an 33:67

However, the same rule applies to four other verses:

Qur'an 18:38

Qur'an 33:10

Qur'an 76:4

Qur'an 76:15

The seventh alif is not really in one verse; rather, it is in 60 (out of 67) times where the pronoun ana (Arabic: أنا) is mentioned in the Qur'an, for instance:

Qur'an 2:258

Qur'an 7:12

Worth noting that the reason seven occurrences bear different ligatures is based on a grammar rule that al-alif (Arabic: الألف), al-wāw (Arabic: الواو) and al-yā' (Arabic: الياء), when are in state of maddiyyah (Arabic: الألف والواو والياء المدية) at the end of a word when followed by a sākin (Arabic: ساكن), they are joined by hamzat wasl (Arabic: همزة وصل) as it is a point of two sākin letters following each other, which is the case of the other seven verses with ana. This is similar to pronouncing a non-existing "r" in between two vowels in the English language.

  • Even if other qira'at have differences to Hafs the letters -the rasm- and recitation is more or less the same see for example Qalun 'an Nafi' or Qunbul 'an ibn Kathir so it is clearly not a single case of one qira'a. And in Arabic the alif is not necessary nor would it be correct in a normal sentence.
    – Medi1Saif
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 11:37
  • @Medi1Saif, yes, at large, it is not related to only one ruwayah or qira'ah, e.g., this is not the case for 76:4, but getting into all possibilities will not fit in a single answer. The alif in the verses you inquired about are essential to get the correct recitation, otherwise, they would be read as "sa-beel" (not "sa-bee-la") and "ra-sool" (not "ra-soo-la") without the alif. The key point is the writing reflects the recitation.
    – III-AK-III
    Commented Jun 29, 2018 at 14:06

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