An Arabic-to-English transliteration-key for the essays and articles published on this platform.


Bāʾ (ب) = B/b

Tāʾ (ت) = T/t

Ṯāʾ (ث) = Ṯ/ṯ

Jīm (ج) = J/j

Ḥāʾ (ح) = Ḥ/ḥ

Ḵāʾ (خ) = Ḵ/ḵ

Dāl (د) = D/d

Ḏāl (ذ) = Ḏ/ḏ

Rāʾ (ر) = R/r

Zāʾ (ز) = Z/z

Sīn (س) = S/s

Šīn (ش) = Š/š

Ṣād (ص) = Ṣ/ṣ

Ḍād (ض) = Ḍ/ḍ

Ṭāʾ (ط) = Ṭ/ṭ

Ẓāʾ (ظ) = Ẓ/ẓ

ʿAyn (ع) = ʿ

Ḡayn (غ) = Ḡ/ḡ

Fāʾ (ف) = F/f

Qāf (ق) = Q/q

Kāf (ك) = K/k

Lām (ل) = L/l

Mīm (م) = M/m

Nūn (ن) = N/n

Hāʾ (ه) = H/h


Wāw (و) as a consonant = W/w

Wāw (ـُوْ) as a long-vowel = Ū/ū

Wāw (ـَوْ) as a diphthong = aw


Yāʾ (ي) as a consonant = Y/y

Yāʾ (ـِيْ) as a long-vowel = Ī/ī

Yāʾ (ـَيْ) as a diphthong = ay


ʾAlif (ا) by itself = A/a

ʾAlif (ـَا) as a long-vowel = Ā/ā

ʾAlif Maddah (ـَآ) = ʾÂ/ʾâ

ʾAlif Maqṣūrah (ـَى) = Á/á


ʾAlif + Kasrah (اِ) = I/i

ʾAlif + Ḍammah (اُ) = U/u


Hamzah (ء) = ʾ

Hamzah + ʾAlif + Fatḥah (أَ) = ʾa

Hamzah + ʾAlif + Ḍammah (أُ) = ʾu

Hamzah + ʾAlif + Kasrah (إِ) = ʾi


Fatḥah (ـَ) = A/a

Ḍammah (ـُ) = U/u

Kasrah (ـِ) = I/i


Fatḥatayn (ـًا) = an

Ḍammatayn (ـٌ) = un

Kasratayn (ـٍ) = in


Tāʾ Marbūṭah (ة) without a case-ending = H/h

Tāʾ Marbūṭah (ة) with a case-ending = T/t


Šaddah (ـّ) duplicates the consonant to which it is affixed (as in šaddah itself).


As for the implementation of this transliteration, a consistent usage is difficult to construct due to differences between oral and written Arabic and due to the idiosyncrasies of common academic usages; my system is as follows:


  • When Arabic text is being quoted, the transliteration will reflect written Classical Arabic.
    • The –iyy ending is rendered as such, e.g., al-nabiyy rather than al-nabī.
    • The definite article in conjunction with a Sun Letter is rendered as a lām, e.g., al-nabiyy rather than an-nabiyy.
    • Arabic transliterations are not capitalised (given that no such convention exists within Arabic), e.g., al-nabiyy rather than al-Nabiyy.


  • In most other contexts, transliterations will follow spoken Classical Arabic (e.g., citing an Arabic name in an ordinary English sentence).
    • The –iyy ending is rendered as –ī instead, e.g., al-Buḵārī rather than al-Bukariyy (which is also standard usage within academic literature).
    • The definite article in conjunction with a Sun Letter is rendered as such, e.g., aṣ-Ṣiddīq rather than al-Ṣiddīq.


  • Arabic proper names will always be transliterated.
    • E.g., Muḥammad rather than Muhammad.


  • The places, nations, dynasties, and sects will not be transliterated, and will instead retain English convention and usage.
    • E.g., Damascus rather than Dimašq, Arab rather than ʿArabiyy or ʿArabī, Abbasid rather than ʿAbbāsiyy or ʿAbbāsī, Sunnite rather than Sunniyy or Sunnī.


  • When referencing an Arabic work, the names of the author and editor are rendered in spoken Classical (outlined above), whilst the title, section-title, and publisher are rendered in written Classical (outlined above).
    • E.g., Saʿīd ibn Manṣūr al-Ḵurāsānī (edited by Ḥabīb ar-Raḥmān al-ʾAʿẓamī), sunan saʿīd bn manṣūr, volume 1 (Beirut, Lebanon: Dār al-Kutub al-ʿIlmiyyah, 1985), ch. kitāb al-waṣāyā, § bāb mā jāʾ fī nikāḥ al-ʾabkār, p. 145, # 515.


  • Miscellany.
    • Case-endings (both vowels and nunation) are rendered in superscript.
    • Dagger ʾAlif isn’t indicated differently from a normal long-vowel ʾAlif (ā), given that the occurrence of the Dagger ʾAlif is well known (e.g., Allāh, Raḥmān, and the demonstrative pronouns).