The Arabic script is the writing system used for writing the Arabic language and several other languages of Asia and Africa, such as Azerbaijani, Pashto, Persian, Kurdish, Lurish, Urdu, Mandinka, and others. Until the 16th century, it was also used to write some texts in Spanish. Additionally, Turkish, prior to the Turkish language reform, was written in Perso-Arabic script. It is the second-most widely used writing system in the world by the number of countries using it and the third by the number of users, after Latin and Chinese characters. The Arabic script is written from right to left in a cursive style. In most cases, the letters transcribe consonants, or consonants and a few vowels, so most Arabic alphabets are abjads. The script was first used to write texts in Arabic, most notably the Qurʼān, the holy book of Islam. With the spread of Islam, it came to be used to write languages of many language families, leading to the addition of new letters and other symbols, with some versions, such as Kurdish, Uyghur, and old Bosnian being abugidas or true alphabets. It is also the basis for the tradition of Arabic calligraphy.
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