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The Rules of Stopping (Waqf)


'To stop on the last letter of a complete word, which is disconnected from the word after it, and giving the last letter a sukoon and by breaking the breath, then taking a new breath to read the next word.'


  • The proper way to stop in a word is by putting a on the last letter of the word. If there is a harakah ( ) or tanween ( ) on the last letter of a word before a stop, that letter is made into a sukoon


(112:1) will be read as

The last word will be read 'ahad' and not 'ahadun'



will be read as

Will be read 'al faa faa' and not 'al faa fan'

  • If the last letter is a 'taa marbutah' (), it is read as 'ha' ()



will be read as

Will be read 'aa-niah' and not 'aa-niatin'

  • If the last letter of a word contains a 'hamzah' (), the harakah on the hamzah is changed into a sukoon (), and the hamzah is read clearly. A common mistake when stopping at a hamzah is not to indicate the presence of the hamzah at all



will be read as

will be read as


  • If the last letter of a word contains a 'tashdeed' (), the mashaddad letter is changed into a saakin letter, BUT making sure the tashdeed is still read i.e. by spending more time on the letter (refer to Shaddah )



will be read as
  (but without the qalqalah)  

  (but without the qalqalah)  

Click 'here' to view practice exercises for the rules of ending with Shaddah

NB remember to tighten / emphasize the saakin letter so to differentiate from an ordinary saakin letter

  • A waqf is only correct if breath is taken before reading the following word. To read the last letter as sukoon () and not to renew the breath is incorrect.
  • The opposite of waqf is known as 'wasl'. Wasl means to join verses / sentences without stopping.
  • Different letters / symbols are placed to indicate compulsory stops, recommended stops, better to read on, and other such commands:


ۢ The compulsory stop - we have to stop, wasl is prohibited
ۙ The prohibited stop - we can not stop
ۖ The good stop - it is better to continue, but stopping is allowed
ۗ The sufficient stop - it is better to stop
ۚ The quality stop - it is the same to stop or continue
ۜ The subtle stop/pause - stop vocal sound for a brief time, without taking breath
۝  Necessary stop - denotes end of sentence
Stopping at either of the points but not at both

Click here to view a printable chart depicting the symbols of Waqf (where to and where not to stop)

Click 'here' to view practice exercises for the rules of Waqf


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