The Arabic script is the 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 or a script directly derived from it, and the third-most by number of users (after the Latin and Chinese scripts).
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Alphabet in some adaptations
Co-official script in:
|ISO 15924||Arab (160), Arabic|
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, Mooré among others. 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.
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. 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 and Perso-Arabic script|
|Countries where the Arabic or Perso-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)|