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alif is a very common Arabic letter. When it comes after a letter it causes the long "aa" sound. When it comes at the beginning of a word it means the word starts with a vowel sound.

Basic Appearance alif looks like a vertical line. It is drawn from the top down. example:


This is called a plain alif, because it carries no symbols.

alif can also carry a hamza. The hamza is drawn after the alif. It looks like this:


When it makes the "u" or "a" sound.


When it makes the "i" sound (the "i" sound in "bit" not "bite").

When a plain alif comes after a letter. like so:

ب + ا

بـ ـا Putting it together


It makes a long "aa" sound come after it. In the previous example the Arabic letter ب (baa) was followed by a plain alif. So it was read as "baa", remember a long "aa" sound, not a short one.

يا (pronounced: yaa)

فا (pronounced: faa)

وا (pronounced: waa)

دا (pronounced: daa)

با (pronounced: baa)

تا (pronounced: taa)

كا (pronounced: kaa)

ما (pronounced: maa)

The first letter can also be written with a fatHa and the pronunciation does not change.

يَا (pronounced: yaa)

فَا (pronounced: faa)

But if the alif is not a plain alif, then the long "aa" sound is not made. Something special happens, the purpose of hamza will be covered later.

يَأ (NOT pronounced: yaa)

فإ (NOT pronounced: faa)

Do not forget that the long "aa" sound is only made with a plain alif. If you see an alif with anything on it, it will not make the "aa" sound.