Arwi Alphabet
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Arwi Alphabet
Parent systems
ISO 15924Arab, 160
Unicode alias
Arwi letters not found in Arabic
Arwi Arabic script in a tombstone at Kilakarai in one of the oldest mosques of India, the Old Jumma Masjid of Kilakarai

Arwi (? , lis?n-ul-arw? or lis?n al-arwi, lit. "the Arwi tongue";[1]?-, aravi-tamil or Aravo-Tamil) is a written register of the Tamil language that uses an Arabic alphabet.[2] It typically has extensive lexical influences from the Arabic language.[1] Arwi was used extensively by the Muslim minority of Tamil Nadu state of India and Sri Lanka.[when?][1] The majority of Madrasas still teach the basics of Arwi as part of their curricula.


Arwi was an outcome of the cultural synthesis between seafaring Arabs and Tamil-speaking Muslims of Tamil Nadu. This language was enriched, promoted and developed in Kayalpattinam. It had a rich body of work in jurisprudence, sufism, law, medicine and sexology, of which little has been preserved. It was used as a bridge language for Tamil Muslims to learn Arabic.[3] The patrons of Arwi seem to have been the Nawab of the Carnatic, they were Islamic and were part of the Mughal Empire. Many hadith manuscripts have been found. Most of the fiqh books, particularly those of Imaam Shaafi and Imaam Abu Hanifa, have been found in Arwi.

There was also a translation of the Bible into Arwi in 1926.

Arwi still has a place among the more traditional Indian Tamil Muslim and Sri Lankan Moor families.


The Arwi alphabet is the Arabic alphabet with thirteen additional letters, used to represent the Tamil vowels e and o and several Tamil consonants that could not be mapped to Arabic sounds.[1]

Arwi vowels arranged according to the Tamil order (right to left)
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
au ? o ai ? e ? u ? i ? a
Arwi letters arranged according to the Arabic hij?'? order
? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? L ? sh s z r R dh T D d kh ? ch j th t b ?
, ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
y w h gn N n m l g k q p f gh ng ' ? ? zh


  1. ^ a b c d Torsten Tschacher (2001). Islam in Tamilnadu: Varia. (Südasienwissenschaftliche Arbeitsblätter 2.) Halle: Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. ISBN 3-86010-627-9. (Online versions available on the websites of the university libraries at Heidelberg and Halle: and
  2. ^ R. Cheran, Darshan Ambalavanar, Chelva Kanaganayakam (1997) History and Imagination: Tamil Culture in the Global Context. 216 pages, ISBN 978-1-894770-36-1
  3. ^ 216 th year commemoration today: Remembering His Holiness Bukhary Thangal Sunday Observer - January 5, 2003. Online version Archived 2012-10-02 at the Wayback Machine accessed on 2009-08-14
  • Shu'ayb, Tayka. Arabic, Arwi and Persian in Sarandib and Tamil Nadu. Madras: Im?mul 'Ar?s Trust, 1993.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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