Arabic script

The Arabic script is a writing system used for Arabic and several other languages of Asia and Africa. It is the second-most widely used writing system in the world by number of countries using it, and the third-most by number of users (after the Latin and Chinese scripts).[1]

Arabic script
Script type
Abjad primarily

Alphabet in some adaptations
Time period
400 CE to the present
Directionright-to-left script 
Official script

Co-official script in:

10 sovereign states
LanguagesSee below
Related scripts
Parent systems
Child systems
Hanifi script
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Arab, 160 , Arabic
Unicode alias
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

The script was first used to write texts in Arabic, most notably the Quran, the holy book of Islam. With the religion's spread, it came to be used as the primary script for many language families, leading to the addition of new letters and other symbols. Such languages still using it are: Persian (Farsi/Dari), Malay (Jawi), Uyghur, Kurdish, Punjabi (Shahmukhi), Sindhi, Balti, Balochi, Pashto, Lurish, Urdu, Kashmiri, Rohingya, Somali and Mandinka, among others.[2] Until the 16th century, it was also used for some Spanish texts, and—prior to the language reform in 1928—it was the writing system of Turkish.[3]

The script is written from right to left in a cursive style, in which most of the letters are written in slightly different forms according to whether they stand alone or are joined to a following or preceding letter. However, the basic letter form remains unchanged. The script does not have capital letters.[4] In most cases, the letters transcribe consonants, or consonants and a few vowels, so most Arabic alphabets are abjads, with the versions used for some languages, such as Sorani, Uyghur, Mandarin, and Serbo-Croatian, being alphabets. It is also the basis for the tradition of Arabic calligraphy.

Worldwide use of the Arabic script
Arabic alphabet world distribution
Countries where the Arabic script:
  is the only official script
  is the only official script, but other scripts are recognized for national or regional languages
  is official alongside other scripts
  is official at a sub-national level (China, India) or is a recognized alternative script (Malaysia)

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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Arabic script, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.