The punctuation marks in the Arabic Text have been worked out by our ‘Ulama with great care and minute attention to details. The earliest manuscripts had few or no punctuation marks. In classical Europe, Greek had practically no punctuation marks. Later Latin had one or two rudimentary ones. In modern Europe they developed with printing. Aldus Manutius (16th century) was the first to work out a regular system. The Muslims were much earlier in the field for Quranic purposes, although in current Urdu, Persian, or Arabic, punctuation is not a strong point. Quranic punctuation is a elaborate system, in which three kinds of marks are used. First, there are marks to show the variations in the system of Qiraat. The most important of these is that is known as the Mu’anaqa معانقة. This literally means the action of two persons embracing each other shoulder to shoulder, as in the ceremonious salute at the celebration of ‘Id. The technical meaning in connection with the Quranic text is that a certain word or expression so marked can construed as going either with the words or expressions preceding it or with those following it.
The word or expression in question is indicated by three dots ∴ placed before and after it, above other punctuation marks if any. An example will be found in 2:2, where the word fi-hi may be construed either as referring to the word rabb in the preceding clause, or to the word hudan in the succeeding clause. Either or both constructions are admissible.
Passages where such constructions occur are indicated in the margin of the Arabic Text: by the abbreviation مع, where this was worked out by earlier Commentators (Mutaqaddimin), or by the word معانقة in full, where it was worked out by the later Commentators (Mutaakh-khirin). The numeral above it shows the serial number of the Mu’anaqa of each series.
Secondly, there are marginal marks showing division into sections op paraghs. These are denoted by the letter ‘ain (ﻉ) in the margin, and are explained under the heading “Divisions of the Qur’an”.
Thirdly, there are ordinary punctuation marks in the Text. A knowledge of the most important of these is necessary for an intelligent reading of the Text.
Most important of all is a big circle ◌ to denote the end of one Ayat and the beginning of another. If the end of the Ayat is not also the end off a sentence, the mark of a smaller stop is put above it. Where one mark is put on the top of another, the former governs the latter.
A warning not to stop is denoted by لا.
The letter مـ (lazim) shows that a stop is absolutely necessary; otherwise the sense is spoilt. This is so important that it is also shown prominently in the margin as ج .وقف لازم (jaiz) show that a stop is optional, but if you do not stop, the sense is not spoiled.
There are other marks to show the extent to which a stop is permissible, e.g., for taking breatk, etc., or where option is allowed, whether it is better to stop or not to stop.
The letter ﻃ (mutlaq) denotes a full stop, i.e., the end of a sentence, but not the end of an argument, as in the case of a paragraph or section (ﻉ).
|The Rules and Signs of Stopping (Waqf) When Reading Quran|
|⃝ – The Conclusion of Verse|
|“Waqf e Taam” represents the finishing end of a specific verse of Furqan e Hameed. It is also known as the “Perfect Stop”. It is represented simply by a circle at the conclusion of a Quranic line. The reciter has to stop here and take a breath before continuing reading further. It also shows the complete deliverance of the message in that sentence, so a narrator should look back at the verse, fully grasp its gist and get ready to learn about the following lines.|
|مـ – The Compulsory Stop|
|The sign of “Waqf e Laazim” bounds the reader to stop reading at this point, as the word laazim means imperative or to do at any cost. It is so because if one does not take a pause here, the entire meaning of the sentence will alter radically.|
|ط – The Absolute Pause|
|“Waqf e Mutlaq” is stop sign to indicate to the reader to take a gap in reciting the long passage by taking breath and discontinue the recitation for an instantaneous period of time. It is better to stop here because it makes the reading process easier by fully grabbing the meaning of already read text.|
|ج – The Permissible Stop|
|“Waqf e Jaaiz” points toward completion of matter discussed in that fragment of the Ayah, so one needs to stop here, although it is not obligatory to do so, so that it can absorb the meaning discussed in previous part, and get ready to know about new matter in the following part of same verse.|
|ز – Continue Reading|
|The sign of “Waqf e Mujawwaz” means one does not need to take a pause and continue the recital process, although there is no prohibition on stopping here.|
|ص – The Licensed Pause|
|“Waqf e Murakh-khas” is a symbol that permits the reader to take a break and take a breath in case if getting tired only, but it is highly advisable to carry on reading.|
|صلي– Preference for Continuation|
|“Al-wasl Awlaa” indicates towards continue recitation of the verses with no need to stop.|
|ق – Better not to Stop|
|“Qeela ‘Alayhil-Waqf” is a sign that shows not to stop recitation although there are differing opinions on whether to stop reading the verses or not.|
|صل – The Permissible Pause|
|“Qad Yusal” specifies about the permission of continue reading although one should stop here.|
|قف – The Anticipation Mark|
|“Qif” is inserted on the stop sign when a reader might expect the pause sign was not necessary.|
|س – The Silence Symbol|
|“Saktah” is a sign at which the reader should take a brief pause without breaking its breath before keeping on reading further.|
|وقفتہ – The Longer Pause|
|“Waqfah” indicates the longer pause than Saktah with the same gist of not breaking one`s breath while taking the break.|
|لا – No Need of Stopping|
|One should not discontinue reading the verses at this sign of “Laa” as it would change the meaning of Quranic lines altogether, yet one can stop when it is used at the end of the Ayah with Circle Mark of conclusion.|
|ك – Similar Meaning as Previous Sign|
|“Kadhaalik or “like that” applies the same connotation of action as suggested by the preceding symbol.|
|∴ – The Embracing Stop|
|“Mu’aanaqah” is a sign that signifies about stopping at either of the triplet included in it, with no discontinuation simultaneously.|
|وقف النبی – The Pause of Prophet PBUH|
|“Waqf-un-Nabi” shows the parts of Quran where the Messenger ﷺ of God Himself stopped and took pause.|
|وقف غفران – The Sign of Supplication|
|“Waqf e Ghufraan” is a symbol indicating a place where the recite and listener should stop to make a prayer in front of Allah SWT.|
|وقف منزل – The Pause Sign of Jibrael A.S|
|“Waqf e Manzil” is the sign indicating the Angel, Jibrael`s stopping and taking pause at the time of revealing the Quranic Instructions over the Holy Prophet ﷺ.|