|Languages||Arabic, Persian, Pashto, Urdu, Sindhi, Punjabi, Uyghur, Kurdish, etc.|
|Time period||400 AD to the present|
|ISO 15924||Arab, 160|
|Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols.|
The Arabic script is a writing system used for writing several languages of Asia and Africa, such as Arabic, Persian, Pashto and Urdu. Even until the 16th century, it was used to write some texts in Spanish. After the Latin script, it is the second-most widely used writing system in the world.
The script was first used to write texts in Arabic, most notably the Qurʼān, the holy book of Islam. With the spread of Islam, it came to be used to write languages of many language families, leading to the addition of new letters and other symbols, with some versions, such as Kurdish and Uyghur being abugidas or true alphabets. It is also the basis for a rich tradition of Arabic calligraphy.
The Arabic script has the ISO 15924 codes Arab and 160.
Languages written with the Arabic script 
|Worldwide use of the Arabic script|
|Countries where the Arabic script:|
|→||is the only official orthography|
|→||is the only official orthography, but other orthographies are recognized for national or regional languages|
|→||is official alongside other orthographies|
|→||is official at a sub-national level (China, India) or is a recognized alternative orthography (Malaysia)|
The Arabic script has been adopted for use in a wide variety of languages besides Arabic, including Persian, Malay and Urdu which are not Semitic. Such adaptations may feature altered or new characters to represent phonemes that do not appear in Arabic phonology. For example, the Arabic language lacks a voiceless bilabial plosive (the [p] sound), so many languages add their own letter to represent [p] in the script, though the specific letter used varies from language to language. These modifications tend to fall into groups: all the Indian and Turkic languages written in Arabic script tend to use the Persian modified letters, whereas Indonesian languages tend to imitate those of Jawi. The modified version of the Arabic script originally devised for use with Persian is known as the Perso-Arabic script by scholars.
In the cases of Kurdish, Kashmiri, and Uyghur writing systems, vowels are mandatory. The Arabic script can therefore be used in both abugida and abjad, although it is often as strongly as erroneously connected to the latter.
Use of the Arabic script in West African languages, especially in the Sahel, developed with the penetration of Islam. To a certain degree the style and usage tends to follow those of the Maghreb (for instance the position of the dots in the letters fāʼ and qāf). Additional diacritics have come into use to facilitate writing of sounds not represented in the Arabic language. The term ʻAjamī, which comes from the Arabic root for "foreign," has been applied to Arabic-based orthographies of African languages.
Languages currently written with the Arabic alphabet 
Today Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Israel and China are the main non-Arabic speaking states using the Arabic alphabet to write one or more official national languages, including Dari, Pashto, Kurdish (Sorani dialect/Southern Kurdish), Urdu, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Saraiki, and Uyghur.
An Arabic alphabet is currently used for the following writing systems:
Middle East and Central Asia 
- Garshuni (or Karshuni) originated in the 7th century, when Arabic was becoming the dominant spoken language in the Fertile Crescent, but Arabic script was not yet fully developed and widely read. There is evidence that writing Arabic in Garshuni influenced the style of modern Arabic script. After this initial period, Garshuni writing has continued to the present day among some Syriac Christian communities in the Arabic-speaking regions of the Levant and Mesopotamia;
- Kazakh in Pakistan, Iran, China, and Afghanistan;
- Kurdish in Northern Iraq, and Northwest Iran. (In Turkey and Syria, the Latin script is used for Kurdish);
- Kyrgyz by its 150,000 speakers in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwestern China;
- Turkmen in Afghanistan and Iran;
- Official Persian and related regional languages
- Baluchi in Iran. An Academy for Baluchi Language Protection academy was established in 2009
- Southwestern Iranian languages as Lori dialects and Bakhtiari Language
- Official Dari (which differs to a degree from Persian) and Pashto and all regional languages including Uzbek in Afghanistan;
- Tajik also differs only to a minor degree from Persian, and while in Tajikistan the usual Tajik alphabet is an extended Cyrillic script, there is also some use of Arabic-script Persian books from Iran; in the southwestern region of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China Arabic script is the official one (like for Uyghur in the rest of Xinjiang);
- Uyghur changed to Latin script in 1969 and back to a simplified, fully voweled, Arabic script in 1983.
- Judeo-Arabic languages
- Azerbaijani language in Iran
East Asia 
- The Chinese language is written by some Hui in the Arabic-derived Xiao'erjing alphabet
- The Turkic Salar language is written by some Salar in the Arabic alphabet
- Sini (script)
- Uyghur alphabets
South Asia 
- Official language Urdu and regional languages including
- Balochi in Pakistan and Iran
- Dari in Afghanistan
- Kashmiri in India and Pakistan
- Pashto in Afghanistan and Pakistan
- Punjabi (where the script is known as Shahmukhi) in Pakistan and India
- Sindhi in Arabic script. British commissioner in Sindh on August 29, 1857 ordered to change Arabic script.
- Aer language
- Bhadrawahi language
- Ladakhi language and Balti dialect
- Brahui language of Brahui people of Pakistan and Afghanistan
- Burushaski or Burushko language a language isolate in Pakistan
- Urdu (and historically all of Hindustani), Sindhi and Kashmiri in South Asia. Urdu is one of several official languages in the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh; Kashmiri also uses Sharada script
- Dogri language (डोगरी or ڈوگرى) spoken by about five million people in India and Pakistan, chiefly in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir and in Himachal Pradesh, but also in northern Punjab
- The Arwi language (a mixture of Arabic and Tamil) uses the Arabic script together with the addition of 13 letters. It is mainly used in Sri Lanka and the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu for religious purposes. Arwi language is the language of Tamil Nadu Muslims.
- Malayalam language represented by Arabic script variant is known as Arabi Malayalam. The script has particular letters to represent the peculiar sounds of Malayalam. This script is mainly used in madrasas of the South Indian state of Kerala and of Lakshadweep to teach Malayalam.
- Chittagonian language of Chittagong people in Bangladesh
- Rohingya language (Ruáingga) is a language spoken by the Rohingya people of Arakan (Rakhine), Burma (Myanmar). It is similar to Chittagonian language in neighboring Bangladesh
Southeast Asia 
- Malay in the Arabic script known as Jawi. In some cases it can be seen in the signboards of shops or market stalls. Particularly in Brunei, Jawi is used in terms of writing or reading for Islamic religious educational programs in primary school, secondary school, college, or even higher educational institutes such as universities. In addition, some television programming uses Jawi, such as announcements, advertisements, news, social programs, or Islamic programs.
- Cham language in Cambodia
- North Africa
- Arabic languages of North Africa in West of Egyptian Delta, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco & Mauritania
- Berber languages have often been written in an adaptation of the Arabic alphabet. The use of the Arabic alphabet, as well as the competing Latin and Tifinagh scripts, has political connotations.
- Tuareg language (also Tamasheq)
- Coptic language of Egyptian Coptics as Coptic text written in Arabic letters
- Northeast Africa
- Southeast Africa
- West Africa
- Zarma language (also spelled Djerma, Dyabarma, Dyarma, Dyerma, Adzerma, Zabarma, Zarbarma, Zarma, Zarmaci, and Zerma) of the Songhay languages. It is the language of the southwestern lobe of the West African nation of Niger, and it is the second leading language of Niger, after Hausa, which is spoken in south central Niger.
- Tadaksahak language or Dawsahak language is a Songhay language spoken by the pastoralist Idaksahak of the Ménaka area of Mali.
- Hausa language, for many purposes, especially religious (known as Ajami), also includes newspapers, mass mobilization posters and public information
- Dyula language is a Mande language spoken in Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali.
- Jola-Fonyi language of the Casamance region of Senegal
- Balanta language a Bak language of west Africa spoken by the Balanta people and Balanta-Ganja dialect in Senegal
- Mandinka, widely but unofficially (known as Ajami), (another non-Latin script used is the N'Ko script)
- Fula, especially the Pular of Guinea (known as Ajami)
- Wolof (at zaouia schools), known as Wolofal.
- Arabic script outside Africa
- In writings of African American slaves
- Writings of by Omar Ibn Said (1770–1864) of Sengal
- The Bilali Document also known as Bilali Muhammad Document is a handwritten, Arabic manuscript on West African Islamic law. It was written by Bilali Mohammet in the 19th century. The document is currently housed in the library at the University of Georgia.
- Letter written by Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (1701–1773)
- Arabic Text From 1768
- Letter written by Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori (1762–1829)
- In writings of African American slaves
Languages formerly written with the Arabic alphabet 
Speakers of languages that were previously unwritten used Arabic script as a basis to design writing systems for their mother languages. This choice could be influenced by Arabic being their second language, the language of scripture of their faith, or the only written language they came in contact with. Additionally, since most education was once religious, choice of script was determined by the writer's religion; which meant that Muslims would use Arabic script to write whatever language they spoke. This led to Arabic script being the most widely used script during the Middle Ages.
In the 20th century, the Arabic script was generally replaced by the Latin alphabet in the Balkans[dubious ], parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia, while in the Soviet Union, after a brief period of Latinisation, use of Cyrillic was mandated. Turkey changed to the Latin alphabet in 1928 as part of an internal Westernizing revolution. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, many of the Turkic languages of the ex-USSR attempted to follow Turkey's lead and convert to a Turkish-style Latin alphabet. However, renewed use of the Arabic alphabet has occurred to a limited extent in Tajikistan, whose language's close resemblance to Persian allows direct use of publications from Iran.
Most languages of the Iranian languages family continue to use Arabic script, as well as the Indo-Aryan languages of Pakistan and of Muslim populations in India, but the Bengali language of Bangladesh is written in the Bengali alphabet.
- Afrikaans (as it was first written among the "Cape Malays", see Arabic Afrikaans);
- Berber in North Africa, particularly Shilha in Morocco (still being considered, along with Tifinagh and Latin, for Central Atlas Tamazight);
- Harari, by the Harari people of the Harari Region in Ethiopia. Now uses the Geʻez and Latin alphabets.
- For the West African languages—Hausa, Fula, Mandinka, Wolof and some more—the Latin alphabet has officially replaced Arabic transcriptions for use in literacy and education;
- Malagasy in Madagascar (script known as Sorabe);
- Somali (see Wadaad's writing) has used only the Latin alphabet since 1972;
- Songhay in West Africa, particularly in Timbuktu;
- Swahili (has used the Latin alphabet since the 19th century);
- Yoruba in West Africa (this was probably limited, but still notable)
- Albanian called Elifbaja shqip
- Aljamiado (script used sometimes for Mozarabic, Berber, Spanish or Ladino)
- Azeri in Azerbaijan (now written in the Latin alphabet and Cyrillic script in Azerbaijan);
- Belarusian (among ethnic Tatars; see Belarusian Arabic alphabet)
- Bosnian (only for literary purposes; currently written in the Latin alphabet; Text example:
- مۉلٖىمۉ سه تهبٖى بۉژه = Molimo se tebi, Bože (We pray to you, O God); see Arebica)
- Crimean Tatar
- French by the Arabs and Berbers in Algeria and other parts of North Africa during the French colonial period.
- Greek in certain areas and Greece and Anatolia
- Medieval Albanian
- Medieval Bosnian
- Mozarabic, Aragonese, Portuguese, and Spanish, when the Muslims ruled the Iberian peninsula (see Aljamiado)
- Ottoman Turkish
- Polish (among ethnic Lipka Tatars)
Central Asia 
- Adyghe language also known as West Circassian, is an official languages of the Republic of Adygea in the Russian Federation. It used Arabic alphabet before 1927
- Avar as well as other languages of Daghestan: Nogai, Kumyk, Lezgian, Lak, Dargwa;
- Bashkir (officially for some years from the October Revolution of 1917 until 1928, changed to Latin, now uses the Cyrillic script);
- Chaghatai across Central Asia;
- Chechen (sporadically from the adoption of Islam; officially from 1917 until 1928);
- Circassian and some other members of the Abkhaz–Adyghe family in the western Caucasus and sporadically – in the countries of Middle East, like Syria;
- Karachay-Balkar language in the central Caucasus;
- Kazakh in Kazakhstan (until 1930s, changed to Latin, now uses the Cyrillic script);
- Kyrgyz in Kyrgyzstan (until 1930s, changed to Latin, now uses the Cyrillic script);
- Tatar before 1928 (changed to Latin Janalif), reformed in 1880s (iske imlâ), 1918 (yaña imlâ – with the omission of some letters)
- Belarussia Belarusian Arabic alphabet
- Chinese and Dungan, among the Hui people (script known as Xiao'erjing);
- Tat in South-Eastern Caucasus;
- Turkmen in Turkmenistan (changed to Latin in 1929, then to the Cyrillic script, then back to Latin in 1991);
- Uzbek in Uzbekistan (changed to Latin, then to the Cyrillic script, then back to Latin in 1991);
- Some Northeast Caucasian languages of the Muslim peoples of the USSR between 1918 and 1928 (many also earlier), including Chechen, Lak etc. After 1928 their script became Latin, then later Cyrillic.
Southeast Asia 
- Acehnese language in Sumatra, Indonesia
- Banjar language in Kalimantan, Indonesia
- Pegon alphabet of Javanese and Sundanese in Indonesia, used only in Islamic schools and institutions
- Maguindanaon in the Philippines
- Malay in Malaysia and Indonesia
- Minangkabau in Sumatra, Indonesia
- Tausug in the Philippines
Middle East 
- Kurdish (Kurmanji dialect) in Turkey and Syria was written in Arabic script until 1932, when a modified Kurdish Latin alphabet was introduced by Jaladat Ali Badirkhan in Syria.
- Turkish in the Ottoman Empire was written in Arabic script until Mustafa Kemal Atatürk declared the change to Latin script in 1928. This form of Turkish is now known as Ottoman Turkish and is held by many to be a different language, due to its much higher percentage of Persian and Arabic loanwords (Ottoman Turkish alphabet);
- Hebrew was written in Arabic letters in a number of places in the past.,
Special letters 
- ڤ and/or ۋ – Ve, used in Kurdish language when written in Arabic script to represent the sound /v/. Also used as pa in the Jawi script.
- پ – Pe, used to represent the phoneme /p/ in Persian, Urdu, and Kurdish.
- چ – Che, used to represent /t͡ʃ/ ("ch"). It is used in Persian, Urdu, and Kurdish.
- Ca in the Jawi script
- ژ – Že/zhe, used to represent the voiced postalveolar fricative /ʒ/ in, Persian, Kurdish, Urdu and Uyghur.
- ڭ – Ng, used to represent the [ŋ] phone in Ottoman Turkish, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and Uyghur.
- ݙ – used in Saraiki to represent a voiced retroflex implosive [ɗ̢].
- ݐ – used to represent the equivalent of the Latin letter Ƴ (palatalized glottal stop [ʔʲ]) in some African languages such as Fulfulde.
- ݫ – used in Ormuri to represent a voiced alveolo-palatal fricative [ʑ], as well as in Torwali.
- ݭ – used in Kalami to represent a voiceless retroflex fricative [ʂ], and in Ormuri to represent a voiceless alveolo-palatal fricative.
- ݜ – used in Shina to represent a voiceless retroflex fricative [ʂ].
- ݪ – used in Marwari to represent a retroflex lateral flap [ɺ̢], and in Kalami to represent a voiceless lateral fricative [ɬ].
- ٻ – B̤ē, used to represent a voiced bilabial implosive [ɓ] in Hausa, Sindhi and Saraiki.
- ٺ – Ṭhē, represents the aspirated voiceless retroflex plosive [ʈʰ] in Sindhi.
- ﮎ – Khē, represents [kʰ] in Sindhi.
- ﭦ – Ṭe, used to represent Ṭ (a voiceless retroflex plosive [ʈ]) in Urdu.
- ڳ – represents a voiced velar implosive /ɠ/ in Sindhi and Saraiki
- ڱ – represents the Velar nasal /ŋ/ phoneme in Sindhi.
- ڻ – represents the retroflex nasal /ɳ/ phoneme in Sindhi.
- ݨ – used in Saraiki.
- ڀ – represents an aspirated voiced bilabial plosive [bʱ] in Sindhi.
- ھ – Dochashmi he (two-eyed hāʼ), used in combination to represent aspirated consonants [ʰ] in Urdu.
- ڑ – Aṛ, represents a retroflex flap [ɽ] in Urdu.
- ڕ – used in Kurdish to represent rr [r] in Yekgirtú spelling.
- گ – Gaf, represents a voiced velar plosive [ɡ] in Persian, Urdu, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Kurdish, Uyghur, and Ottoman Turkish.
- ݢ or ڬ – Gaf, represents a voiced velar plosive [ɡ] in the Jawi script of Malay.
- ے – Baṛī ye ('big yāʼ'), represents "ai" or "e" in Urdu [ɛː, eː] and Punjabi.
- ێ – represents Ê or É [e] in Kurdish.
- ۆ – represents O [o] in Kurdish, and in Uyghur it represents the sound similar to the French eu andœu [ø] sound
- ۋ – represents a voiced labiodental fricative [v] in Kyrgyz, Uyghur, and Old Tatar; and /w, ʊw, ʉw/ in Kazakh; also formerly used in Nogai.
- ڽ – Nya in the Jawi script.
- ڠ – Nga in the Jawi script.
- ۏ – Va in the Jawi script.
- ڈ – Ḍ [ɖ] in Urdu.
|Arabic alphabet||28||Arabic||North Africa, West Asia||Abjad|
|Arebica||30||Bosnian||Eastern Europe||Perso-Arabic||latest stage with full vowel marking|
|Arwi alphabet||Tamil||Southern India, Sri Lanka|
|Belarusian Arabic alphabet||Belarusian||Eastern Europe||15th/16th century|
|Berber Arabic alphabet(s)||various Berber languages||North Africa|
|Chagatai alphabet(s)||Chagatai||Central Asia||Perso-Arabic|
|Jawi script||40||Malay and others||Malaysia|
|Kazakh Arabic alphabet||Kazakh||Central Asia, China||Perso-Arabic/Chagatai||since 11th century, now official only in China|
|Khowar alphabet||Khowar||South Asia|
|Kyrgyz Arabic alphabet||Kyrgyz||Perso-Arabic||now official only in China|
|Nasta'liq script||Urdu and others||Perso-Arabic|
|Pegon alphabet||Javanese, Sundanese||Indonesia|
|Soranî alphabet||33||Soranî||Vowels are mandatory, i.e. abugida|
|İske imlâ alphabet||Tatar||Perso-Arabic/Chagatai||1920–1927|
|Ottoman Turkish alphabet||Ottoman Turkish||Ottoman Empire||Perso-Arabic||Official until 1928|
|Uyghur Ereb Yëziqi||Uyghur||China, Central Asia||Perso-Arabic/Chagatai||Vowels are mandatory, i.e. abugida|
|Wolofal script||Wolof||West Africa|
|Xiao'erjing||Sinitic languages||China, Central Asia||Perso-Arabic|
|Yaña imlâ alphabet||Tatar||Perso-Arabic/Chagatai||before 1920|
In Unicode the characters of the Arabic script are contained in four blocks:
- Arabic (0600–06FF)
- Arabic Supplement (0750–077F)
- Arabic Presentation Forms-A (FB50–FDFF)
- Arabic Presentation Forms-B (FE70–FEFF)
See also 
- Eastern Arabic numerals (digit shapes commonly used with Arabic script)
- Arabic (Unicode block)
- Transliteration of Arabic
||This article uses bare URLs for citations. (April 2012)|
- Mahinnaz Mirdehghan. 2010. Persian, Urdu, and Pashto: A comparative orthographic analysis. Writing Systems Research Vol. 2, No. 1, 9–23.
- "Exposición Virtual. Biblioteca Nacional de España". Bne.es. Retrieved 2012-04-06.
- "Arabic Alphabet". Encyclopaedia Britannica online. Archived from the original on 19 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-23.
- Arabic script text
- Language Protection academy
- of the Bakhtiari dialect of Chahar-lang
- Language Video
- image of the official letter signed by a British commissioner in Sindh on August 29, 1857
- Aer written with Arabic script
- written with Arabic script
- Balti language in Arabic script
- Burushaski Arabic script
- written with Arabic script
- written with Arabic script
- Cham Arabic script in Dictionary of KAMUS CAM-MELAYU
- Coptic text in Arabic letters
- Nubian Alphabets
- language lessons
- Arabic script
- written with Arabic script
- Ajami script on UNESCO manuscripts
- Arabic script
- written with Arabic script
- Ibn Sayyid manuscript
- Muhammad Arabic letter
- Alphabet Transitions – The Latin Script: A New Chronology – Symbol of a New Azerbaijan, by Tamam Bayatly
- Tajik Language: Farsi or Not Farsi? by Sukhail Siddikzoda, reporter, Tajikistan.
- Chechen Writing[dead link]
- p. 20, Samuel Noel Kramer. 1986. In the World of Sumer: An Autobiography. Detroit: Wayne State University Press.
- J. Blau. 2000. Hebrew written in Arabic characters: An instance of radical change in tradition. (In Hebrew, with English summary). In Heritage and Innovation in Judaeo-Arabic Culture: Proceedings of the Sixth Conference of the Society For Judaeo-Arabic Studies, p. 27-31. Ramat Gan.