I have been searching for this for a few hours today and haven't found anything but this really, well maybe this is as close as it gets. Just found this, too, which is nice.

I've asked this on the Islam SE about the ancient Quran, because they may know based on the detailed writings of the prophets and such perhaps some rules which could be insightful. But I wanted to ask here a more broad version because in terms of Linguistics, this could apply cross-culturally focusing on Arabic Orthography's use.

My question is, how do you break words across lines in the Arabic script? What is acceptable practice in various languages, specifically the early Arabic of the Quran (Kufic script), but also modern Arabic, Urdu, Farsi/Dari (Persian), etc. How do you split a word into two pieces, essentially, using the Arabic script?

2 Answers 2


You don't break words in Arabic. Instead of breaking words, the Arabic script uses optional stretching of words to justify text columns. You can stretch the inter-letter joins and also some individual letters (especially the letter kaf). The feature is briefly mentioned in §8.5 of the ArabTeX manual and described in any decent introduction to the Arabic script.

EDIT: Two more references on Arabic typesetting for your entertainment Jabri: The Arabi system and Haralambous: Infrastructure for high-quality Arabic typesetting. The latter reference contains an interesting note: While the Arabic language isn't hyphenated, Uighur written in the Arabic script is hyphenated (with an example given).

  • 3
    Similar remarks apply to Biblical Hebrew, btw.
    – jlawler
    Nov 3, 2019 at 19:06
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    Might be worth noting that this stretching is often called kasheedah, and the character used for it is a tat'weel (for googling purposes).
    – Draconis
    Nov 3, 2019 at 19:52
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    @LancePollard: For the purpose of encoding (Unicode) the stretching is irrelevant, it is also irrelevant on the level of markup (HTML). What the rendering engine (the browser) does in practice is left to the developers of the engine. Nov 4, 2019 at 11:00
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    Also, if you're writing in Arabic with a pen and make a mistake, like you wrote a wrong letter, you cannot just cross that letter out and write the correct letter above, you're supposed to cross out the whole word and write it anew, this time correctly.
    – Yellow Sky
    Nov 6, 2019 at 18:09
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    @LancePollard You can actually type the tatweel character. You can find it on Arabic keyboards (Shift+J on Windows, or the key between Shift and Z on Mac).
    – Anis R.
    Nov 7, 2019 at 20:30

you can break using javascript

var string = document.getElementById("field").value;


console.log(string); Array.from(string);

var bb = Object.assign([], string); console.log(bb);

cleanArray = bb.filter(function () { return true });

  var filtered = bb.filter(function (el) { 
            return el != null; });

console.log(filtered); var bb = bb.toString();

console.log(bb); bb = bb.replace(",","");

var stringWithoutCommas = bb.replace(/,/g, ' ');


  • 1
    the question is asking for a linguistic answer describing how Arabic texts, whether handwritten, printed with movable type, or electronically typeset handle justifying, not asking for technical details of how to write code to do such a split. Arabic also has some quirks that mean that naive solutions can cause serious bugs such as the "effective power" bug on iphones in 2015 as explained in the following video: youtube.com/watch?v=hJLMSllzoLA
    – Tristan
    Mar 4, 2021 at 10:48

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