الْلِسَانُ الْأَرْوِيُّ - அல்லிஸானுல் அற்விய்யு
Arwi written in Arabic Script
Script type
Time period
StatusReligious Uses
DirectionRight-to-left script Edit this on Wikidata
RegionIndia, Sri Lanka
Related scripts
Parent systems
Sister systems
Arabi Malayalam
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Arab (160), ​Arabic
Unicode alias
 This article contains phonetic transcriptions in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA. For the distinction between [ ], / / and  , see IPA § Brackets and transcription delimiters.

Arwi or Arabu-Tamil (Arabic: الْلِسَانُ الْأَرْوِيُّal-lisan al-arwiyy, أَرْوِيarwī;[1] Tamil: அரபுத்தமிழ் arabu-tamil) is an Arabic influenced dialect of the Tamil language written with an extension of the Arabic alphabet, with extensive lexical and phonetic influences from the Arabic language. Arwi was used extensively by the Muslim minority of the Tamil Nadu state of India and Sri Lanka.


Arwi script in a tombstone at Kilakarai, Old Jumma Masjid

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.[2] 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 Abu Hanifa and Imaam Shaafi, 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 Arwi Muslim and Sri Lankan Moor families.


Sample text written in Arwi.

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)
اَ اٰ اِ / يِ اِي اُ اُو اࣣ / يࣣ اࣣي اَي اٗ اٗو اَو
◌َ ◌ٰ / ا ◌ِ ◌َي ◌ُ ◌ُو ◌ࣣ ◌ࣣي ◌َي ◌ٗ ◌ٗو ◌َو ◌ْ
a ā i ī u ū e ē ai o ō au


Arwi letters arranged according to the Arabic alphabetical order (right to left)
  த்த   ச்ச   ஃக ட்ட   ஃஜ
ا ب ت ث ج چ ح خ د ڊ ڍ ذ ر ڔ ز
ā b t j c k͟h d D T r z
            ஃப   க்க
س ش ص صٜ ض ۻ ط ظ ع غ ف ڣ ق ك
s ś ng ġ f p q k g
ل م ن ڹ ݧ ه و ی
l m n ñ h v w y

See also


  1. ^ a b 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. ^ 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: Imāmul 'Arūs Trust, 1993.
  • Dr. K. M. A. Ahamed Zubair. The Rise and Decline of Arabu–Tamil Language for Tamil Muslims IIUC STUDIES, 2014
  • DR. S.M.M Mazahir. அறபுத் தமிழும் அறபுத்தமிழ் ஆக்கங்களும் 2018