The Arabic language is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It comprises 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, which is derived from Classical Arabic.
Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims and Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by perhaps as many as 422 million speakers (native and non-native) in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, which is an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography.
Arabs in Through Darkest Europe
Arabic was the most common international language.