The Arabic script is written from right to left in a cursive style. In most cases, the letters transcribe consonants, or consonants and a few vowels, so most Arabic alphabets are abjads.
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, Uyghur, and old Bosnian being abugidas or true alphabets. It is also the basis for the tradition of Arabic calligraphy.
Use of the Arabic script in West African languages, especially in the Sahel, developed with the spread 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.
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 or widely read, and so the Syriac alphabet was used. There is evidence that writing Arabic in this other set of letters (known as 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.
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, although Dogri is more commonly written in Devanagari
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 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. In everyday life, Malayalam is written with the Malayalam script
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.
Nobiin language, the largest Nubian language (previously known by the geographic terms Mahas and Fadicca/Fiadicca) is not yet standardized, being written variously, in both Latinized and Arabic scripts; also, recently there have been efforts to revive the Old Nubian alphabet.
Zarma language of the Songhay family. 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 is a Songhay language spoken by the pastoralist Idaksahak of the Ménaka area of Mali.
Hausa language uses an adaptation of the Arabic script known as Ajami, for many purposes, especially religious, but including newspapers, mass mobilization posters, and public information
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.
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 – discuss] 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 Afghanistan and Iran.
پ – Pe, used to represent the phoneme /p/ in Persian, Urdu, Pashto, Khowar, Sindhi, Kurdish; it is not used in most Arabic varieties (except Mesopotamian and Gulf) and it is normalized as /b/; e.g., pepsi > bibsi.
ڥ – Vi, used in Algerian and Tunisian when written in Arabic script to represent the sound /v/.
ڤ – Ve, used in by some Arabic speakers to represent the phoneme /v/ in loanwords, and in the Kurdish language when written in Arabic script to represent the sound /v/. Also used as pa/p/ in the Jawi script.
^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.