Arabic Alphabet Chart

Arabic Alphabet Chart in Naskh Style: With Teaching Notes
Chart ©Dr. Mamoun Sakkal 2016


The Arabic Alphabet has 28 letters. The shape of these letters changes depending on their position in the word, whether isolated; in the beginning of the word (initial); in the middle (medial); or at the end (final).


To learn how to write Arabic text, please follow these notes:
1. Write from right to left. Follow the direction of the arrows writing in a clockwise direction in general. Arrows with dot at beginning of line indicate beginning of strokes. Remove your pen after each stroke then start the next pen stroke.

2. Connect the letters in the same word. If a letter comes at the beginning of a word use Initial form, if it comes in the middle of a word use Medial form, if it comes at the end of a word use Final form. If a letter comes at the end of a word and preceded by a non-connecting letter use Isolated form (See note 3 below).

3. Letters with gray background do not connect to other letters on the left side even when they come in the middle of a word. This means that letters that follow them will always be in the initial form (highlighted in gray background).

4. Small, colored arrows show where letters will connect. Red arrows red should match blue reverse arrows blue like this red_blue. If there is no arrow, the letter does not connect.

5. Match writing base line with center of the small colored arrows and note letters that go below the baseline (highlighted in Yellow).

6. Keep the pen’s chisel angle at about 70 degrees from horizontal baseline. Turn pen at end of letters to achieve the fine, tapered end such as in Ba and similar letters. To achieve the tapered end in the letters that drop below the baseline and go in counter clockwise direction, lift the side of the pen closest to you at end of stroke, then finish with the tip of the pen.

7. Note pen stroke direction for writing dots under Ba Initial arrow diagram.

8. Use consistent pen angle, strokes shape, and proportions throughout. Similar strokes in different letters should look the same.

9. Jeem and its two sister letters Ha and Kha could connect with the previous letter from above rather than from the right on the base line in traditional calligraphy. The same is true for Meem and Ya. When this occurs, such letter combinations have special ligature shapes. In printing, simplified fonts will have these letters connecting on the base line. Other common ligatures are shown below right.


10. In addition to the standard alphabet letters, a Hamza hamzais also used to represent a glottal stop (short a, u, i), and a ligature of Lam an Alef is written in a special form (la):


11. Other letters used in transliteration include:
P peh, and V V .

12. In addition to the long vowels (marked Orange) small vowel marks can be added over and under any of the alphabet letters:


You can get a pdf of the Arabic alphabet chart and writing notes here. (This chart can be printed and distributed without charge, but its contents can not be altered without written permission,

Back to Art of Arabic Calligraphy

Updated 12/26/2016