Arabic alphabet

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Use of the Arabic alphabet in the world
Arabic alphabet world distribution.
 →  Countries where the Arabic script is the only script used officially
 →  Countries where the Arabic script is used with other scripts.
Arabic abjad
Arabic Text.svg
Type Abjad
Spoken languages Arabic, Persian, Baloch, Urdu, Kurdish, Pashto, Sindhi, Malay and others.
Time period 400 CE to the present
Parent systems
Unicode range

U+0600 to U+06FF
U+0750 to U+077F
U+FB50 to U+FDFF

U+FE70 to U+FEFF
ISO 15924 Arab (#160)

Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.

The Arabic alphabet is an alphabet that has been used to write the Arabic language. Some other languages use a similar writing system; examples are Persian and Urdu.

There are 28 basic letters. All of them are cursive, both in handwriting and in print. This means that inside a word, a letter is usually directly connected to the letter following it. Arabic is written from right to left. Each letter can have up to 4 different forms. Which of the forms is used depends on the letters before and after it. The form for uppercase letters and lowercase letters is the same.

The alphabet can also be used to write numbers. This was common in the Middle Ages. Today it can be found more rarely. Usually, Latin-alphabet (Arabic) numbers are used.

Another usage that is rare today, is to use the letters of the alphabet to stand for numbers. That way, the letter ʼalif is 1, ب bāʼ is 2, ج ǧīm is 3, and so on until ي yāʼ = 10, ك kāf = 20, ل lām = 30, …, ر rāʼ = 200, …, غ ġayn = 1000. This is sometimes used to produce chronograms.

Related pages[change | change source]

History of the alphabet