Arabic Alphabet [with Interactive Chart] - الأَبْجَدِيَّة الْعَرَبِيَّة

This article deals with how to learn the Arabic alphabet. It’s an important topic for reading Arabic which is one of the four language skills. It poses a challenge to newcomers, especially to those whose mother language is a left to right writing system.

The Arabic writing system is one of the smartest linguistic systems in existence, as it hides many characters (doubling, short vowels, and indefinite Articles). With this abbreviated writing system which hides more than 50% of the language, Arabic till now doesn’t need abbreviations or acronyms dictionaries.

Once you learn these intricacies of Arabic, it opens up a whole new world of vocabulary and expressions.

If you follow these simple steps, learning how to read Arabic letters will only take a few minutes.

Learn Arabic Alphabet with Madinah Arabic

Learn Arabic Alphabet by Madinah Arabic

Learn Arabic Alphabet by Madinah Arabic

Learn Arabic Alphabet video teaches you how each Arabic letter is written and pronounced along with an illustration of a word using that letter and guides on pronunciation.

In this lesson we will start learning the Arabic Alphabet In-Shā’-Allâh إِنْ شَاءَ الله (Allah Willing). The lesson is designed to teach the names of all the alphabets. Click on the letters to hear how the letter names are pronounced.

Arabic Alphabet Lesson Introduction

Please note that some of these Arabic letters are very similar to English letter sounds e.g.: /bā’/ is very close to the letter 'b' in the English language, this is a useful way to remember the sounds of the letters. However many letters have no equivalent sounds in English e.g.: /ʿayn/, and some letters have subtle but important differences in pronunciation, e.g.: /ħā’/ which is pronounced with a lot more emphasis in the throat than the letter 'H' in English.

Finally, please note that the Arabic script is read from right to left. Please read the letters below starting from the right and reading each letter to the left.

Arabic Alphabet Chart

This arabic alphabet chart is interactive - click on the letters to hear their pronunciation






Arabic Character






Letter Name






Letter Sound







Arabic Character






Letter Name






Letter Sound







Arabic Character






Letter Name






Letter Sound







Arabic Character





/ â’/un/

Letter Name






Letter Sound







Arabic Character






Letter Name






Letter Sound







Arabic Character






Letter Name






Letter Sound

Arabic Alphabet Single Vowel Marks

In the next lesson, we will cover the 3 vowel-marks in Arabic below In-Shā’-Allâh إِنْ شَاءَ الله (Allah Willing). The vowel-marks are the marks below or above the letter /dāl/ in the examples below. The letter / dāl/ has been used to give you an idea of where the vowel is placed. The single vowel-marks are the basic vowel-marks which add a sound similar to that of a, i or u in the English language to the letter. Please click on the Arabic alphabet with the vowel-marks to hear the pronunciation.




Arabic Character




Vowel Name




Vowel Sound

The 'u' in put

The 'i' in sit

The 'a' in /ba/

English word with similar sound

More about the Arabic Alphabet and its components

The Arabic alphabet is made up of nineteen shapes that represent twenty-eight letters with the help of dots. E.g. the shape ٮ could represent the letter ب (b), ت (t), ث (th), or the initial يـ (y) by changing the number and positions of dots.

Short vowels are not considered letters in Arabic alphabet. They are represented by diacritic signs above or underneath each letter they follow.

You can read each letter with the help of its components (dots and diacritics). Diacritic signs are to be originally hidden. Most Arabic books and newspapers rarely use diacritics. Arabs depend on context and experience to know the hidden diacritics.

Qur’an and children's book are with full diacritic signs.

List of Arabic Letter Components

Arabic letters are always cursive, so they vary in shape depending on their position within a word.

All Arabic letters are able to connect a preceding letter, 14 of them can be connected from both sides, while the rest 6 letters (ا د ذ ر ز و) could be connected only to the preceding letter.

Therefore, each of Arabic letters has many sub-forms depending on its position (initial, medial, final, or isolated) in the word. The sub-forms of most letters are close to each other, e.g. letter equivalent to /s/:

Isolated: س
Initial: سـ
Medial: ـسـ
Final: ـس

Few of those forms are quite different, e.g. letter equivalent /h/:

Isolated: ه
Initial: هـ
Medial: ـهـ
Final: ـه


The isolated form is the most basic.

This is the standalone form of a letter, and is used when a letter is not connected to any other Arabic letters. This form is used in case of presenting the Arabic alphabet or in the case of numbering elements like (A, B, etc.).

Start (Initial Form)

This form is used when a letter appears at the beginning of a word or after one of the 6 letters which is not connected to the following letter. In other words, it’s the form when a letter is not connected to the preceding letter.

Middle (Medial Form)

This form is used when a letter is connected from both sides. Please note that some Arabic letters comes in the middle of a word, but it is not connected from both sides. This is because of the 6 Arabic letters called "one side connectors".

End (Final Form)

This form is used when a letter appears at the end of a word or when a letter is connected to the preceding only, i.e. when it’s not connected to the following letter in the same word. When you read Arabic you will find this case regularly.

Arabic Writing System


In order to learn to read Arabic properly, you have to know what diacritics are. They are signs added to Arabic letters to:

  • Indicate short vowels,
  • Indicate double consonant,
  • Indicate the indefinite noun,
  • Indicate the grammatical position in the sentence "Irab (ʾIʿrab)".

The Arabic diacritic signs are frequently hidden (not written) in most Arabic texts only when necessary. Arabs depend on context and experience to guess the hidden diacritic signs.


Arabic script has a rich history. Its origins date back to the 4th century AD. From that date period till modern era, it has many steps of development.

Firstly, Arabic alphabet letters didn’t contain dots or other components. The most improvements were made later (dots, diacritics, Hamzah, etc.) especially to help those non-Arabs converted to Islam.

Arabic script was also adopted by several other languages, including Persian, Urdu, and Pashto.


Most ancient Muslim painters believed that painting persons or animals is Islamically forbidden, so they directed all their artistic creativity to Arabic calligraphy.

Therefore, the most notable feature of the Arabic script is its calligraphy. It’s the artistic form in which the Arabic script is written in a beautiful and decorative manner.

If you see in Islamic monuments, ancient mosques, or papyrus you will find Arabic calligraphy in religious texts or architectural decoration. It’s really enjoyable to try to read Arabic written in an ancient decorative complex font.

Important Notes on How to Read Arabic

As you likely already know, Arabic is read from right to left. However, unlike some Asian scripts, it's also read horizontally. That means that you read the entire first line of text, right to left, before you go to the next line underneath.

Reading Arabic texts is challenging, as there are some letters that look almost identical but read differently and even have different pronunciations, especially to Europeans or people from other languages families.

You can tackle the challenge from two angles:

  • First angle is to learn how to read Arabic letters, but you will only master a few letters and end up having many questions. Therefore, you have to keep practicing.
  • Second angle to tackle is to learn how to read sentences. This will help you understand the grammar. Grammar mainly breaks down the language into small parts and deals with how are parts are engaged in a sentence.

Tips and Tricks for Reading Arabic Texts

You can improve your Arabic reading skill if you follow these tips:

  • Pronounce the letters inside and outside the text. You will notice that some letters are used more than others.
  • Fist study the ones you already know then memorize the letters you don’t know
  • Practice reading Arabic aloud to enable your mouth to pronounce perfectly
  • Make sure you read and pronounce correctly. You may need help from a native Arabic speaker here.
  • Remember; reading one page three times may be better than reading three pages.

Looking for more tips? Check out our blog on ‘How to Learn Arabic Fast'.

Syllables & Stress

Although most Arabs stress regularly the penultimate syllable of most words, there are no rules governing the stress in Arabic.

Only one of the few fields where the Arabic pronunciation is affected by accent is the stress in some few words. E.g. A word like Alǰamiʿah (the university) is pronounced in Gulf and Levantine Arabic with a clear stress on the second syllable, while in Egypt and North Africa the stress is on the penultimate syllable. Both pronunciations are correct in MSA.

Choose Your Scope

If you would like to learn Arabic reading, you have to decide Where you want to focus; Quranic Arabic, business Arabic, or any type else. Try to start reading in the field you learn.

Beginners can start with words and phrases. Reading Arabic for beginners is much easier than reading novels and literature, as it requires thinking about complex meanings. Reading is not just pronouncing meaningless words.

Avoid the Mistakes

How do you read Arabic without mistakes?!

You will naturally make mistakes when you are learning or reading. Try not to be frustrated.

Aim to avoid common mistakes like misreading certain Arabic letters. Check you pronunciation with the help of a native Arabic speaker. Try to record or write his corrections. Remember your mistakes and try to avoid them. Avoiding these mistakes will help you progress faster.

Why Do Arabs Write 7 in Words?

Some Arabs used to chat online using English keyboard which doesn’t have certain letters found in Arabic (‘ ء - ħ ح - ʿ ع – ŧ ط, etc.), so they used numeric symbols to represent these letters. This phenomenon was called Franco Arabic.

As these symbols weren’t adopted by any authorities and weren’t recognized as an Arabic alphabet, they differ from place to another and they were commonly used to express colloquial dialects only.

Some symbols of Franco Arabic:

  • 2 = ء
  • 3 = ع
  • 7 = ح
  • 9 = ق

Why Learn the Arabic Alphabet with Madinah

Learning the Arabic Alphabet with Madinah Arabic is the best choice, because:

  • Affordable experienced native male and female tutors to progress faster
  • Interactive online courses that are easily to follow at home
  • There is a free Arabic lesson without asking you to enter your credit card details
  • Since 2003, Madinah Arabic has been the pioneer online portal for paid and not paid Arabic courses

Getting ready for Lesson #2

Summary of the main points discussed in this guide:

  • Reading Arabic is difficult but not impossible, so be patient and continue.
  • Remember the names of the Arabic letters, as you may need them in the following pages.
  • Keep reading the next pages of the expertly curated curriculum.
  • If you find any difficulties or need any assistance, please write it in a comment below.