The Arabs gave a large part of the world not only a religion – Islam – but also a language and language is Arabic. Where ever Muslims went, Arabic culture, Arabic language and Arabic writing also went with them. Although the Arabic language can become an international language no doubt Arabic language and Arabic writing are very sacred for all the Muslims around the world, whether they are Arabic or not.
Arabic writing is the language and writing of their religion. It is the language of their Holy Book “Quran”. Any Muslim, who understands this language or can’t understand, has equal respect for this language. Even they don’t understand the meaning of Arabic language and Arabic writing; they read it and learn it by heart. From around the world, there are millions of Muslims who learn the whole Quran by heart, even though they don’t know Arabic.
The history of Arabic writing is very ancient. It has been used since the 4th century AD, but the earliest document, an inscription in Arabic, Syriac and Greek, dates from 512 AD. It is generally accepted that the Arabic alphabets are developed from the script used for Nabataean, which was used in northern Arabia. The earliest inscription that has been found that is identifiably Arabic is one in Sinai that dates from about A.D. 300. There are mainly two types of Arabic writing.
Classical Arabic – This is the language of the Qur’an and classical literature. It differs from Modern Standard Arabic mainly in style and vocabulary, some of which is archaic.
This is the universal language of the Arabic-speaking world which is understood by all Arabic speakers. It is the language of the vast majority of written material and of formal TV shows, lectures, etc.
The Arabic alphabet has twenty-eight letters and some additional letters. These additional letters have been added to serve the needs of non-Arabic languages. Each of the letters may have up to four different forms. All of the letters are strictly speaking consonants. Letters that can be joined are always joined in both hand-written and printed Arabic. Most letters change form depending on whether they appear at the beginning, middle or end of a word, or on their own. Vowel diacritics, which are used to mark short vowels and other special symbols, appear only in the Qur’an. They are also helpful for non-Arabic people to read it. Unlike most of the languages used in the world, Arabic writing goes from right to left. Another significant attribute of the Arabic script is the use of much more extensively decoration as a means of artistic expression, which is called calligraphy. The most important reason for Arabic calligraphy was a religious one. The representation of humans or animals in drawings, or paintings, is prohibited in Islam, therefore, Muslim artists used designs based on strictly geometrical forms or patterns of leaves and flowers or very often calligraphy.
Each Arabic speaking country or region also has its own variety of colloquial spoken Arabic. Arabic is the language of most countries in the Middle East. But some other countries like Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan have languages written in Arabic alphabets.