Arabic Alphabet

Arabic Alphabet – How to Write Letters

Arabic Calligraphy

Arabic Alphabet learning guides did not exist on computers when I began learning Arabic. I remember wishing for a clear guide showing how the strokes were made… so I created one.  I hope that it is helpful for you.  If it is, let me know.  All animation work by my friend Zakaria Ounis in Algeria.

Arabic Alphabet Quick Facts

Number of letters 28
Direction of writing Right-to-left
Style Cursive (letters joined)
Type of writing system Abjad (only consonants are written)

The Arabic Alphabet: Background

The Arabic alphabet is a writing system that evolved from the Aramaic script, and was in use by the 4th or 5th century C.E.  It is the language of the Qur’an.  Today, over 400 million people speak Arabic all over the world, making it the 6th most spoken language. 

The Arabic Alphabet uses a cursive script, which means the letters are normally joined together when they are written or typed. Each letter has a different form for where it appears in the word: beginning, middle, or end.

Letters of the Arabic Alphabet

Each letter of the alphabet is written using a specific set of strokes.  Click on any letter below to see how the letter is written, stroke by stroke.  The letters are written in alphabetical order.

1. Alif

2. bā’

3. tā’

4. thā’

5. jīm

6. ḥā’

7. khā’

8. dāl

9. dhāl

10. rā’

11. zāy

12. sīn

13. shīn

14. ṣād

15. ḍād

16. ṭā’

17. ẓā’

18. ‘ayn

19. ghayn

20. fā’

21. qāf

22. kāf

23. lām

24. mīm

25. nūn

26. hā’

27. wāw

28. yā’

More information on the Arabic Alphabet

Wikipedia (has a good chart of all the letters)

Omniglot (a lot of good information) (links to audio of letters)

Stanford University Arabic (shows vowels, various forms)

Arabic letters can take many different forms.  This inscription from El-Fishawy Coffee Shop in Cairo has two different kinds of scripts in it.  It is inscribed on wood inside the coffee shop. The shop has been in business since 1710.

Arabic Alphabet example from El-Fishawy Coffee Shop in Cairo

Deciphering Handwritten Arabic. Handwritten Arabic can be tricky to read. This article goes into some detail about the difference between the printed and the handwritten script, and how one should go about learning to read Arabic written by hand.

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