There are 28 Arabic letters in Arabic alphabet. All Arabic letters are consonants. All Arabic letters share the same 18 basic Arabic letter shapes.
Arabic letters are written from right to left, in a cursive style. Arabic letters change forms depending on where they appear in a word (at the beginning, middle or end of the word) or as an independent letter.
22 Arabic letters have all four forms, which are Isolated, Initial, Medial and Final. These 22 Arabic letters can connect to the left and to the right.
6 Arabic letters are exceptions and have only two forms, which are Isolated and Final form. These 6 Arabic letters do not connect to the left. Arabic Letters Alif, Daal, Thaa, Raa, Zayn and Waw are six Arabic letters, which do not connect to the left. The only forms of these Arabic letters are the Isolated form and Final form. The Initial form and Medial form for these Arabic letters do not exist.
Arabic letters that can be joined, are always joined in both hand-written and printed Arabic
For each Arabic letter that comes in a written word after Alif, Daal, Thaa, Raa, Zaayn and Waw, a writer has to use its Isolated form (in case, if that letter defines the end of the written word) or its Initial form (in case, if that letter is further on combined with another letter).
Always leave some small empty space behind Alif, Daal, Thaa, Raa, Zaayn and Waw when continuing writing other Arabic letters of the word.
Some Arabic letters are equal, but only within their basic shape. The only difference between them is in a position and in the number of the dots above or underneath the basic shape, used to distinguish them.
Dots above or below the Arabic letter help differentiate between Arabic letters that share the same basic shape.
Sets of similar Arabic letters are:
- Baa, Taa, Thaa
- Jiim, Ha, Khaa
- Daal, (Th)aal
- Raa’, Zaayn
- Siin, Shiin
- Saad, Daad
- Taa’, (Th)aa’
- ‘Ayn, Ghayn
When writing an Arabic letter, which contains a dot or several dots, the basic rule is to first finish the writing of the letter’s basic shape and after then adding a dot or dots. Dots differentiate Arabic letters from one another. The position of the dot or dots depends on the design and composition of the letter in a word, but nevertheless a writer must follow basic rules of its position, which could be above, underneath or inside of the letter’s basic shape. More experienced writers are sometimes adding the dots simultaneously, while writing the letter’s basic shape.
Because there’s no use of the letter P and its sound in the Arabic spoken world, the Arabic alphabet does not have a letter P.
In case, when a writer has a word which contains letter P (for example some personal name), an Arabic letter Baa’ has to be used to substitute the pronunciation of the letter P.
Because there’s no use of the letter V and its sound in the Arabic spoken world, the Arabic alphabet does not have a letter V. In case, when a writer has a word which contains letter V (for example some personal name), an Arabic letter Faa’ with exceptional three dots (originally Faa’ has only one dot) has to be used to substitute the pronunciation of the letter V.
Because there’s no use of the letter C and its sound in the Arabic spoken world, the Arabic alphabet does not have a letter C. In case, when a writer has a word which contains letter C (for example some personal name), a combination of Arabic letters Taa’ and Siin has to be used to substitute the pronunciation of the letter C.