When reading the Quran in Arabic, I find that there are occasions on which I am unsure of the pronunciation. I am not talking about Qira'at, but rather:
- While my copy of the Quran is largely careful about placing diacritics (fathah, kasrah, dammah, sukun, tanwin, shaddah, etc.) on top of letters, there are cases when letters do not have any such indication of the associated "vowel" (often a "nun" at the end of a word or an "alif" at the beginning of a word). Does that mean the letter is silent and should not be pronounced at all, or that there is an invisible sukun, or something else?
- There are cases where there is a tiny "jim" or "mim" at the top-left end of a word. Is this letter meant to be ignored or is there a significance to it?
- Sentences (or perhaps I should say verses) often end with a diacritic but it is not to be pronounced since it is the end of the sentence. Or there is a tanwin at the end of a word in the middle of a verse, but the "nun" ending of the tanwin has to be ignored in order to connect the word with the next word due to a shaddah at the beginning of the next word. What is the purpose of having a diacritic that is ignored?
- The first word of some sentences has an "alif" that is to be ignored due to a waslah on top, but the next letter of that word has a shaddah. This puzzles me because there is nothing pronounced before the letter that has the shaddah on it, so how can the shaddah be pronounced?
- What does it mean when there is a dagger alif on top of a "ya" or "waw"? Is it just an alif or do the "ya" or "waw" play a role?
- On occasion, I have found some non-alphanumerical symbols such a symbol that looks like a house/mosque and a symbol that looks like one's leg when kneeling during prayer. These might be poor descriptions of the symbols. I was wondering what they meant. I have not found an explanation anywhere.
My questions, which are likely a product of my inexperience in the Arabic language, are:
- Are there clear rules about how such words in the Quran should be pronounced based purely on reading it, or is another source necessary, such as hearing a recitation? If there are clear rules, I would greatly appreciate being given some examples as an explanation.
- In the case that there is ambiguity, would it be acceptable for someone to produce a written version with clearer indicators of pronunciation or is it the case that only one spelling of the Uthmanic codex can be in production in Arabic, say for consistency?