From ArchWiki

This article describes how to set up Arabic language environment. It does not cover setting up Arabic input on the console.


Persian fonts:

Fonts with support for Arabic:


Bidirectional text includes text direction support among applications. In particular, Firefox Ctrl+Shift+X is the only supported shortcut for switching text direction.

Ayaspell offers Arabic spellchecking extensions for applications like Libreoffice, Firefox, and also system-wide dictionaries using hunspell-arAUR.


  1. Enable Complex Text Layout: Tools > Options... > Language Settings > Languages > Default Languages for Documents.
  2. Install Ayaspell dictionary: Tools > Language > More Dictionaries Online > Arabic.


Common issues may be solved by checking Locale#Troubleshooting first. For problems related to text direction, check Bidi.

XKB Lam Alif problem

X keyboard layout sends Arabic ligature glyphs as a single glyph. For example, Laa+Alif ligature "لا" (U+0644, U+0627) is sent as "ﻻ" (U+FEFB), and similarly for (ﻷ، ﻵ، ﻹ). This is due to a known limitation in xkb which does not allow mapping a key to more than one character.

Workaround with X compose

If you have im-config installed, you can use im-config -n xim. Or alternatively, add the following to your environment variables:

SHORT_DESC="X compose table"

If XIM is set as the default input method, then XCompose table offers additional Arabic letters like: گ، ڤ، چ، پ, quotes «», as well as Wikipedia:Zero-width non-joiner, by pressing the AltGr key. The default compose table is located in /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/ara.

Workaround with ibus

  • Set ibus as an input method by running im-chooser or by setting the environment variables:
    GTK_IM_MODULE=ibus; QT_IM_MODULE=ibus; XMODIFIERS=@im=ibus
  • Run ibus-daemon or ibus-setup if ibus is not set up.
  • Use ar-kbd-m17n as ibus input method.

See also