Arabic is among the top 5 most spoken languages worldwide, with 422 million speakers across various countries. It is estimated to be 1600 years old, originating from the Arabian Peninsula, where it evolved from diverse dialects primarily spoken by Bedouin tribes. The earliest known form of Arabic dates back to the 7th century, when it emerged as the language of the Quran, the holy book of Islam. With the spread of Islam across the Arabian Peninsula, Arabic began to disseminate, giving rise to diverse dialects in different regions.

The timeline of the Arabic language:

Pre-Islamic Era - Origins from the Arabian Peninsula:

Limited records from this period hinder our understanding of the Arabic language in the pre-Islamic era. Arabic was primarily an oral language spoken among diverse tribes with limited written expression. However, Arabian tribes shared poetry and storytelling and drew it as patterns on rocks, tombs, and artifacts. These patterns helped with understanding the linguistic features of early Arabic. Another factor in understanding it is that people would memorize it and spread it around as an act of socializing. It is also important to mention that Arabic poetry is one of the primary sources of understanding the language from that era. Poetry back then was called “Jahiliyya poetry.” It reflected themes of tribal rivalry, honor, and love, showcasing the linguistic richness and poetic mastery of early Arabic. Finally, the influence of trading contributed to the linguistic exchange and the adoption of loanwords from other languages, which is why there are some similarities in some words.

Arrival of the Quran with Arabic written words:

The influence of the Quran on the Arabic language is profound and versatile. The language and the message have shaped the identity and worldview of Arab societies. The unique eloquence, clarity, and linguistic beauty of the written scripts in the Quran influenced how Arabic is nowadays. Vocabulary-wise, the Quran introduced a lot of words and concepts into the language, expanding its semantic range. When it comes to grammar, the Quran played a significant role in the development of Arabic grammar, where it helped scholars study the linguistic features to set rules of morphology, syntax, and rhetoric. From another aspect, the Quran helped writers and poets emulate the linguistic beauty and rhetorical techniques in the holy book. Finally, the Quran’s influence extends far beyond its religious significance because of the linguistic, literary, and cultural aspects that shaped the Arabic language nowadays.

Arabic grammar standardization:

The standardization of Arabic grammar refers to the process through which rules and conventions governing the structure, syntax, and morphology of the Arabic language are established and formalized. Early development of Arabic grammar started during the Abbasid Caliphate, where scholars such as Sibawayh made significant contributions to Arabic grammar. Sibawayh was a Persian grammarian, the first to create a complete guide to Arabic grammar, where he laid out the basic rules and categories using many examples from Arabic sayings, poetry, and verses. One of Sibawayh’s works was ‘Al-Kitab,’ which translates to “The Book,” it played a significant part in establishing the foundation of Arabic grammar. The standardization of Arabic grammar was a gradual process that involved the efforts of different scholars, which led to the high prestige of the Arabic language in the eyes of people nowadays.

The spread of the Islamic Caliphate:

The Arabic language dominated the Islamic Caliphate, serving as the primary means of communication, administration, religion, and scholarship. It facilitated cultural unity, enabled scholarly discourse, and fostered a rich literary tradition. Arabic became a vehicle for passing knowledge and ideas across diverse regions. Its enduring legacy continues to shape language, literature, and intellectual discourse in the modern Arab world and beyond.

Islamic Golden Age:

The Arabic language experienced growth and cultural expansion during the Islamic Golden Age. It was a period of intellectual and cultural achievements where Arabic was a communicational and full-of-knowledge language. The legacy of this era continues to shape our understanding of language, literature, and civilization in the modern era. Scholars from diverse cultural backgrounds contributed to the translation, interpretation, and advancement of knowledge in Arabic. Translation played a role in expanding the language, where it helped with preserving and transmitting classical knowledge to future generations. Poets, writers, and scholars wrote literary works that learners still study today. Scholars would exchange ideas, texts, and knowledge across linguistic and geographic boundaries to maintain and communicate the Arabic language. This kind of exchange contributed to many terms adopted into European languages. The legacy of the Islamic Golden Age remains an important factor and a background for people in the modern world. 

As mentioned, Arabic falls within the Semitic languages family, alongside Hebrew, Amharic, and Aramaic. Arabic speakers write from right to left, with no upper- or lower-case letters. However, certain letters change shape depending on their position within a word—whether at the beginning, middle, or end. 

Look at the letter /baa/ ب   in the Arabic alphabet for an example:

Isolate (when there is nothing attached to the letter, or there is a space before and after the letter.)


Initial (when it is at the beginning of a word)




Medial (when it is between two other letters)




Final (when it is at the end of a word)






The history of the Arabic language is considered fascinating due to its unique system, setting it apart from other languages. For example, vowels in Arabic are different; they use harakat, the diacritical mark of the language. Harakat are marks placed above or below any letter, conveying a specific meaning. People write Arabic words similarly, but if one positions the diacritical marks differently, the entire message of the word changes.


Being one of the most spoken languages globally with its rich history is compelling enough to consider learning it. Arabic is an official language in 22 countries with over 22 different dialects, contributing to society in science, literature, philosophy, and more. Embark on your journey to explore the beauty of the Arabic language and become a fluent speaker. Download the Kaleela app and start learning the Arabic language. Visit for more info.