Lam Shamsiya and Lam Kamariya

Lam Shamsiya and Lam Kamariya

Arabic is a fascinating language to learn because of its magnificent nature and, of course, because it is the language of the Quran. Therefore, learning its rules such as Lam Shamsiya and Lam Kamariya that we are about to discuss in this article could help you understand the Quran and its meanings better, elevate your ranks and grant you with the highest reward.

So let’s start tackling our mission of learning about Lam Shamsiya and Lam Kamariya!   

What is Lam?

It is known that Lam (ل) is one of the letters in the Arabic alphabet that is found in words like: ليمون- جمال. However, the Lam that we intend to talk about in this article is part of the structure for the definite article ال in Arabic.

In order to easily identify this definite article without confusion, you need to check these guidelines:

  1. It is similar to the definite article “the” in English as it precedes nouns only i.e. you can say: the book, but you can not say: the give. Similarly, the definite article ال is to be found in nouns such as: العسل- الكتاب. Hence, (ال) in the verb التمس is not a definite article.
  2. It is only added at the beginning of words, not in the middle or at the end. For example, ال in the word (أعمال) is not considered a definite article unlike ال in the word (القلم)
  3. There is no Hamza on the letter Alif in it.
  4. The fact that it is added to the beginning of nouns does not mean that it is part of their original structure. This excludes the ال in words like (ألوان- ألبان), as ال is an original part of these words whose removal results in a loss in their meanings. This is not the case with the word (القلم/the pen), for example, as ال is an extra part of the word and if it is removed, the meaning doesn’t change.
Lam Shamsiya and Lam Kamariya

Now that we have covered the Lam part, we need to explain why this Lam is sometimes called Shamsiya/شمسية and sometimes called Kamariya/قمرية.

What is Lam Shamsiya?

Shamsiya in Arabic is derived from the Arabic word شمس which refers to the sun but what connects them both becomes clear when the definite article ال is added to the word شمس rendering it as (الشَّمس). The definite article ال is considered Lam Shamsiya because it is found in writing but not in pronunciation. In this word (الشَّمس), the Alif is pronounced like a Hamza with Fatha while the Lam is skipped and the ش is pronounced with Shaddah. These are some Lam Shamsiya examples:

  • النَّعيم←  the bliss
  • الدُّعاء←  the prayer
  • السَّلام←  the peace
  • الرَّحمن← the most Merciful

Note: Pay attention that when the word that contains Lam Shamsiya is preceded by another word, something different occurs. Instead of pronouncing the Alif as Hamza with Fatha and skipping the Lam, the Alif is also skipped. So in (والشَّمس), the reader moves directly from the و to the first letter with Shaddah ش.

What is Lam Kamariya?

On the other hand, Lam Kamariya comes from the Arabic word (قمر) which means in English “moon”. The definite article is called Kamariya/قمرية since when it is added to the word (قمر), it is both written and pronounced like AL. The Alif at the beginning is pronounced like a Hamza with Fatha and the Lam is Sakinah. Some examples that illustrate this include:

  • العرش←  the throne
  • الخوف←  the fear
  • الباب←  the door
  • المفتاح← the key

Note: However, when the word that contains Lam Kamariya comes after another word, the (a) sound that is at the beginning of ال is not pronounced. This is present in this verse from the Quran: (وَالْفَجْرِ) where the (a) sound of ال is omitted and we move directly from the و to the ل.

Identifying Lam Shamsiya and Kamariya

There are two ways to easily differentiate between Lam Al-Shamsiya and Al-Kamariya:

  1. The first way to distinguish Lam Shamsiya and Kamariya is by searching for the Sukoon. With Lam Kamariya, you will find that the Lam has Sukoon as in: (فَبِئْسَ الْمِهَاد). The word (المهاد) starts with Lam Kamariya and that is spotted through the Sukoon on the Lam. On the contrary, words with Lam Shamsiya do not have Sukoon on the letter Lam but have Shaddah on the letter that follows it as in: (إِذَا السَّمَاءُ انفَطَرَتْ). In this verse, the word (السَّماء) has Lam Shamsiya since the letter Lam does not carry a Sukoon and the letter (س) has a Shaddah on it.
  2. The second way to identify Lam Shamsiya and Lam Kamariya is by learning Shamsiya and Kamariya Letters (Sun and Moon letters).

Shamsiya and Kamariya Letters

Through scanning Lam Shamsiya and Kamariya words, it can be deduced that there are certain letters that accompany each condition of the definite article in Arabic.

The first set of letters are called Moon letters or Kamariya letters. These fourteen letters are grouped in the following phrase: (ابغ حجك وخف عقيمه).

These letters (أ-ب-ج-ح-خ-ع-غ-ف-ق-ك-م-ه-و-ي) affect the pronunciation of the definite article that precedes them as it is clear in both written form and pronunciation. For example:

  • الْحقيقة← the truth
  • الْعائلة← the family
  • الْهواء← the air
Kamariya Letters

The second set of letters are called Sun letters or Shamsiya letters. They are the rest of the Arabic alphabet after taking away the fourteen Moon letters. Shamsiya letters could be easily memorized by remembering the following mnemonic:

(طب ثم صل رحماً تفز ضف ذا نعم — دع سوء ظن زر شريفاً للكرم)

These letters affect the pronunciation of ال by hiding it so that the reader moves from pronouncing the /a/ sound at the beginning to the Sun letter that becomes Mushaddad.

Shamsiya Letters

What these letters have in common is the point of articulation for them which is the tongue by either having the tongue touch the teeth as in ظ and ذ or touch the front of the mouth like ت and د.

Here are some examples of Lam Shamsiya accompanied by one of the previously mentioned letters:

  • الطَّلاق← the divorce
  • الشَّمال← the north
  • السَّماء← the sky

Note: A source of confusion for some learners arises when the definite article ال is followed by another Lam which is one of the Sun letters that were mentioned earlier. To illustrate this, try to read the following words:

– اللاجئ← the refugee

– الليل ← the night

As you read these words, you will find that you pronounce a Lam but you needn’t be confused because the Lam that you hear is not from the definite article but it is the Lam that follows it. That Lam is pronounced with Shaddah on it.

Examples from Quran

A great part of the significance of learning Lam Shamsiya and Lam Kamariya is that they help learners of the Quran recitation and Tajweed as they assist them in pronouncing words with the definite article properly. These are some Lam Shamsiya and Lam Kamariya examples from the Quran:

  • –         (قُلْ أَعُوذُ بِرَبِّ الْفَلَق)
  • –         (وَالسَّمَاءِ ذَاتِ البُرُوج)
  • –         (وَهَدَيْنَاهُ النَّجْدَيْن)


Learning about Lam Shamsiya and Lam Kamariya is only part of the necessary rules that you need to know in order to gain more knowledge of the Arabic language and hereby, improve your recitation of the Quran.

To help you on your path of acquiring this knowledge, Almuhammadi Academy provides classes in Quran recitation and Tajweed rules as well as Islamic Studies. These classes are presented and taught by skilled native tutors who are graduates of Al-Azhar University and have Ijazah in Qira’at. So join our courses now and do not miss the opportunity!