Language

Difference Between Urdu and Arabic

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Main Difference

The main difference between Urdu and Arabic is that Urdu is evolved from Arabic and Persian, whereas Arabic is the mother of all languages.

Urdu vs. Arabic

Urdu is the mother language of Pakistan; whereas Arabic is the mother language of Arabs, Arabic is a sacred language of all Muslims. Urdu is another Muslim language in South East Asia as well as Arabic is used as a scripting language of the Holy Quran.

Urdu is spoken just in India and Pakistan. Although Arabic is spoken in many countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Libya, Jordan, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Israel, Bahrain, Yemen, and Tunisia. Most speakers of Urdu found in India; on the flip side, most speakers of Arabic found in Egypt.

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The Urdu language belongs to Turkish, Persian, and Arabic languages; on the contrary, the Arabic language belongs to languages that are spoken in West Asia and North Africa, also known as Afro-Asiatic language. The Urdu language is about three hundred years old; on the other hand, the Arabic language is about two thousand years old. Urdu has few other terminologies like Khariboli, Rekhta, Dakhni (also known as Mirgan, Dakani, Deccani, and Desia). Arabic has no other name.

The Urdu language was first introduced by Amir Khosrow (1253-1325) was the first person who wrote dohas (couplets), riddles, and folk songs in Urdu. On the other hand, it is said that Prophet Ismail (A.S)(Son of Hazrat Ibrahim) was the first person who spoke Arabic; he was living in Mecca at that time when he starts to learn the Arabic language, so it is practical in Arabs.

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Urdu is also known as “Hindawi” and sometimes “Dehlwi” before the separation of the sub-continent, whereas there are two other varieties of Arabic, i.e., Modern Arabic and Classical Arabic (al-lugha and al-Fusha). Urdu history is not specifically related to Muslims only; on the flip side, Arabic is rich in its history, and peculiarly belongs to Muslims.

Comparison Chart

UrduArabic
Urdu is adapted from ArabicArabic is the pure language
Origin
SubcontinentSaudi Arabia
Number of Speakers
104 million people221 million people
Codes
Ur/UrdAr/ Arb
Number of Native Speakers
64 million people206 million people
Originated In
12th century6th century
Writing Style
Nastaʿlīq (Persian calligraphy)Naskh or Ruqah

What is Urdu?

In ancient times Urdu is known as Hindawi and Dehlwi. Mainly Urdu belongs to Indian-European. Urdu is induced from Arabic. Before separation, Urdu was systematized as a Hindustani language. At that time, Urdu was acting as an official language of India. Urdu is the lingua franca or national language of Pakistan. Traditionally Urdu is correlated with the Muslim community or Islamic region of North India and Pakistan. Urdu is a collaborative Standard Hindi that is usually spoken by the Hindu community. Today Urdu is a fully developed language.

However, Urdu is a combination of or derived from Persian, Turkish, Arabic, and Sanskrit language. Although the writing style of Urdu is the Nastaliq style, that is the Persian alphabet and derived from” Naskh.” Urdu is spoken to Muslims in South East Asia. It came into existence to ease the communication between Mughal Rulers and local people that were inhabited in central India. Mughals needed a specific language to come in contact with other native people, and soon Urdu became a court language of the Mughal Sultanate or Mughal Empire because the only language that Mughals could speak was Arabic and Persian.

Urdu first developed in Delhi in the 13th century A.D. Some words of Urdu are also related to English. Alphabets of Urdu are similar to Arabic, with a little change in pronunciation. The meaning of the word “Urdu” is “Lashkar,” and it is a Turkish word. Urdu is closely related to Hindi, though Indians and Pakistanis can easily understand their languages. The language spoken in Hindi films is similar to Urdu.

The base and grammar of Urdu belong to the Hindi language, and it is considered a delightful language of the world. Urdu has various influences, and it is famous in the interest of Urdu ghazals and gets high on by the poetry lovers of the whole world. Urdu is the only language that felicitously adopted as another language by the inhabitants of the sub-continent. It is a language that has a base of Sanskrit language (Aryan language) and also has an essence of some Persian and Arabic words for literary and technical use.

What is Arabic?

The Arabic language is one of the most used languages in the world. Arabic refers to the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. It is a sacred language of all Muslims of the whole world, and it is used as a script of the Holy Quran. As a language, Arabic is extensively used in the Middle East and North Africa. The Arabic language is closely related to Hebrew, Phoenician, Ugaritic, and Aramaic. It is also influenced by other languages that are Urdu, Indonesian, Malay, Turkish, Somali, Persian, Hindi, Tagalog, etc.

Arabic has two formal versions of spoken and written. One is known as the Modern standard form of Arabic. It is a written or literary type of Arabic and is the only official Arabic form. Modern forms of Arabic usually use written documents or spoken on ritualistic occasions. The modern version is much different and traditional from other spoken versions of Arabic. Other spoken versions of Arabic may be more different to an extent because they are mutually incomprehensible. The modern standard form of Arabic is also taught in many institutes on a large scale in the whole world. The modern form of Arabic is derived from the Holy Quran.

Arabic is a pure language and is spoken in the Arabs of the world, North Africa, and the Middle East. Lingua Franca is the family of the Arabic language. Arabic is an extensive language mostly spoken by Muslims originated in the 6th century, distribution of Arabic start within the 7th century. Arabic is one of the world’s oldest languages. In Arabic and Urdu language, there are some similarities in the spoken version but differences in written versions.

Arabic is an extensive language that has many words of a single thing. For example; In the Arabic language, there are many meanings of the word “love” and even hundreds of meanings for the word “camel.” Muslims believe that Arabic is the mother language of all languages of the world because it is the first language taught to Hazrat Adam A.S in Jannah.

Key Differences

  1. Urdu is native to Pakistan; on the contrary, Arabic is native to Arab.
  2. Urdu is the essence of Arabic, Persian, and Turkish; on the other hand, The Arabic language is also known as the mother of all languages.
  3. Urdu is 300 hundred years old; conversely, Arabic is about 200 years old.
  4. Urdu contains only modern script; on the contrary, Arabic includes both modern standard form as well as ancient sacred form.
  5. The Urdu language belongs to the Indo-European family; inversely, the Arabic language belongs to the Afro-Asiatic family.
  6. Urdu is also referring to the most beautiful language of Urdu poetry or ghazals, while Arabic is the language of our Holy Quran.

Conclusion

The conclusion from the above discussion is that Urdu is a derived language, but Arabic itself an ancestor language of Urdu.

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Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson