Fat’hah -Zabar فَتْحَةٌ َ- is an Arabic short vowel sign (diacritical symbols) - a tiny diagonal stroke above a letter. It produces the sound "ā" like " Ba" (slightly soft side) in “Banana"
Arabic Short Vowels (Hara’kaat) حَرَكَاْتٌ
In any vocalized language, vowels play an important role as a central and most prominent sound of a syllable. The vowels help join letters together, so that a proper sound can be achieved.
In English, there are at least five 5 vowel letters a,e,i,o,u and (sometimes y), which are clearly spelled out in a text. By comparison, in Arabic, there are no exact equivalencies ,
Arabic vowels may differ in quality and they often behave differently depending on the circumstances in which they are used.
There are 29 letters in the Arabic alphabet all consonants.
The Arabic vowels Hara’kaat (movement) Fat’hah َ- (a) Kasrah ِ- (i) and Dammah ُ- (u) are not part of Arabic alphabet, but they are naturally pronounced when letters are joined to make words and words are joined to make sentences.
The letter Alif . ا.Waw ﻭ and Ya ﻱ also function as weak vowels حُرُوْفُ الْعِلَّةِ (Huroofe-Maddah) and diphthongs (Maddah Lin) as well. (refer to Lessons xxxx)
With the spread of Islam beyond the Arabian Peninsula, and the increasing number of non-Arab Muslims, there was a greater need for facilitating reading and learning of Arabic. Since several letters of the Arabic alphabet shared the same shapes, and since vowels were not clearly indicated, some improvement was needed.
As a consequence, a system of Nuaqt or I'jam (letter-pointing), and Tashkeel (vowel indication) including Sukoon (resting) ـۡ Tanween (Nunation) ـً ـٍ ـٌ Tashdid ـّ (double consonant), and Maddah (prolongation), hamzah (glottal stop) signs were introduced and perfected well before the first century of Islam. They serve the same purpose as pronunciation keys shown in any language dictionary for a proper pronunciation of a word.
Even today, modern Arabic writing such as newspapers and textbooks, the vowel signs are often omitted, and similar words may have to be interpreted from the context in which they are used. The indication of vowel signs is only shown when there is the possibility of confusion. As far as the Qur’aan is concerned, these vowel signs are a must and absolutely necessary in this age, particularly given its large readership of non Arabic Muslims.
Unlike the previous generations, the Arabic colloquial language continued to be influenced by other languages and as a consequent, a native Arabic speaker is not able to read the Nobel Qur’aan properly without the vowels and other signs and also must learn the art of tajweed, obligatory rules governing proper pronunciation and recitation of Nobel Qur’aan as recited by the Prophet and the early Muslims.