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The multilingual framework for localizing LaTeX, LuaLaTeX, XeLaTeX


The Arabic language is available for pdftex, xetex, and luatex, but the preferred engine is the latter, because of its unique features for bidirectional texts, not requiring explicit mark up.

The recommended basic settings for a monolingual Arabic document in luatex is (please, note your browser might not be rendering correctly the source code):


\usepackage[arabic, provide=*, bidi=basic, layout=counters.tabular]{babel}


الموسيقى أو الموسيقا هي فن مؤلف من الأصوات والسكوت عبر فترة زمنية،
ويعتقد العلماء بأن كلمة الموسيقى يونانية الأصل، وقد كانت تعني سابقا
الفنون عموما غير أنها أصبحت فيما بعد تطلق على لغة الألحان فقط.


There is a complete example (with tables, columns, a figure, a description, etc.) in the repository (tex, pdf). It uses the tentative algorithm for justification with kashida.


Numerals are best entered directly in the desired form, but you may still need some conversion because LaTeX uses internally the Western Arabic ones. With luatex there are two ways to map the latter to the locale numerals, passed as option to \babelprovide:


Two calendar are defined: islamic-civil (arithmetical) and islamic-umalqura. Since the main aim is to provide a suitable \today, and maybe some close dates, data for islamic-umalqura just cover Hijri ~1435/~1460 (Gregorian ~2014/~2038). They can be adjusted with +, - after the name (and ++, -- in the Civil calendar), so that, for example, with islamic-civil+ a day is added.

The default calendar, which applies to \today, can be set in the following way:

\babelprovide[import, calendar=islamic-civil]{arabic}

If the default calendar is Gregorian, you can convert and print it as follows:

\localedate[calendar=islamic-civil, convert]{\year}{\month}{\day}

Following the CLDR, the default calendar is gregorian in all regions except in Saudi Arabia, where it’s islamic-umalqura.


The transform applies the transliteration system devised by Yannis Haralambous for dad. Not yet complete, but sufficient for many texts.

This method to enter Arabic can be useful if you only need a few words in this language:


\usepackage[bidi=basic, ngerman]{babel}
\babelprovide[transforms =]{arabic}


Eine Präposition (\foreignlanguage{arabic}{Harof}) ist per
Definition \foreignlanguage{arabic}{maboniY+}.



Arabic support in pdftexis provided by the external package arabi, which has been devised for documents written in Arabic.

For a few words or sentences (unvowelized) in a non-Arabic document, you may prefer to set the language on the fly as shown in the following example (≥3.84):


\usepackage[bidi=default, ngerman]{babel}
\usepackage[LAE, T1]{fontenc}


Eine Präposition (\foreignlanguage{arabic}{حرف}) ist per Definition


Very likely you will need some manual intervention (for example, numerals). Sadly, with this procedure text cannot be copy-pasted (and cmap works only to some extent).