WikiShia:Transliteration Guide

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This page is a part of the Manual of Style of Wikishia on transliteration of non-English words in the articles. Transliteration in WikiShia mainly follows ICAS Press 2008 "Transliteration Method".[1]. However, some of the rules are changed and customized according to the needs of Wikishia, which are all mentioned in this page. If you face a new problem or example that are not included in this page, or if you think any of the rules could be improved, please feel free to talk about them in the discussion page.

Arabic Latin Latin e.g. e.g.
ء ʾ
اَ A أکبر Akbar
اُ U اُحُد Uḥud
إ I إبراهیم Ibrāhīm
آ Ā ā آلاء Ālāʾ
ب B b
پ P p
ت T t
ث Th th
ج J j
چ Ch ch
خ Kh kh
د D d
ذ Dh dh
ر R r
ز Z z
ژ Zh zh
س S s
ش Sh sh
ع ʿ ʿ
غ Gh gh
ف F f
ق Q q
ک K k
گ G g
ل L l
م M m
ن N n
و W w وسواس Waswās
ه H h
ي Y y یزیدیه Yazīdiyya
َ- a
ُ- u
ِ- i
و ū یوسف Yūsuf
ي ī سعید Saʿīd
ی َ- ay عُبَید ʿUbayd
و َ- aw ثَوبان Thawbān
و ُ-


The complete form of transliteration (using unicode characters) is used in two cases:

  • Beginning of the first line of the entry.
  • When there is an important transliterated term which wouldn't have an article of its own, for example the titles of scholars.
Example: first line of the page Abu Dhar al-Ghifari is transliterated as Jundab b. Junāda b. Sufyān al-Ghifārī.

Other than the two cases above if there is a non-English word in the body text of an article, for which there is not going to be an individual entry created in Wikishia, and the word could be mistaken for another similar word, transliteration could be used only as much as it is needed to prevent the mistake. For example in the case of the Arabic word "غديرية" which could be mistaken for "غاضرية" if it is written simply as Ghadiriyya. This word should be written as Ghadīrīyya.

Exception: When there is an established form for writing a name in English media, the established form is used for linking and the title of the respective article, except for the first line of the entry where the complete transliteration is used. For example see: Morteza Motahhari, Ruhollah Khomeini, al-Sayyid Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei


Foreign words appearing in a book or journal article are transliterated using the tables below. The letters of the original are substituted for the appropriate Roman characters. However, diacritics should not be included.

Short Vowels Long Vowels Diphthongs
َ a یٰ or آ a و َ aw
ُ u و ُ u ی َ ay
ِ i ي ِ i
Term Appearing in the Text Original Term
ʿAbd Manaf عبد مناف
ʿAfif عفيف
ʿAlam al-Mithal عالم المثال
ʿAqliyya عقلية
Asalat al-wujud أصالة الوجود
Da'irat al-wilaya دائرة الولاية
Duran-i Safawiyya دوران صفويه
ʿIdda عدة
Mali' مليئ
Tuma'nina طمأنينة
ʿUlama al-abrar علماء الأبرار

In the ICAS Press 2008 "Transliteration Method" there is a rule concerning the waw (واو) in a Farsi word which is transliterated as "v", however we do not apply this rule and transliterate every waw as "w".


Diacritics are neither used in the titles nor in the body text of the articles. Special Arabic letters of hamza (ء) and 'ayn (ع) in the titles or the body text of the pages, are both indicated by apostrophe ('). For example, the word "معاد" when is used in a title or the body of a page, is simply transliterated as ma'ad (not ma'ād).

The apostrophe representing hamza is only used in the middle or the end of the word not in the beginning of; not even in the complete transliteration.


In case of tashdid, the letter is repeated (as in Bashshar). When tashdid is over the letter at the end of the word the last letter is repeated (Example: 'Udayy) except when the last letter is ya' (یاء) which it previous letter is maksur [مکسور] (Example: 'Ali, al-'Askari)

Arabic Definite Article, al

The Arabic definite article al is always followed by a dash (-), e.g. Al-Shaykh al-Tusi. This article is capitalized only at the beginning of a sentence, and the followed letter is also capitalized: Al-Bab al-hadi ashar.

Some Arabic names have "al" as a part of them (al al-limhiyya): al-Hasan, al-Husayn, al-'Abbas, al-'As.

When an Arabic noun (mawsuf) is followed by an adjective (sifa), the definite article should be included before the both, e.g. al-haraka al-jawhariyya not haraka al-jawhariyyah. In Arabic genitive cases, only the second word takes al e.g. salat al-fajr, not al-salat al-fajr'. Just like the word al-Sayyid in the beginning of Arabic people: al-Sayyid Muhsin al-Amin.

  • If the word before al ends with vowels (e.g. a, u, i), the a from al should be omitted: Abu l-Qasim, Jumada l-Thania.
  • This article is never assimilated or abbreviated.
  • Titles of people who lived before 14th/20th century, either Iranian or Arabic, have "al-" : al-Shaykh al-Saduq, al-'Allama al-Majlisi. For recent non-Arab people, the correct form should be specified according to the most famous form: Abu l-Qasim al-Khoei, Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Tabataba'i.
  • The word "آل" (meaning family) is written separately: Sura Al Imran, 'Abd al-Husayn Al Yasin
Incorrect Correct
hujjatu-l islam hujjat al-Islam
al-Qur'an ul-karim al-Qur'an al-karim
huruf ash-shamsiyyah huruf al-shamsiyya
ar-Rahmanir Rahim al-Rahman al-Rahim
bidayat l-hikmah bidayat al-hikma

Arabic Attached Particles

Dashes may be used to separate Arabic attached particles: li-takunu (لتکونوا), li-l-dhakar (للذکر)

Al-Ta al-Marbuta (ة)

Al-Ta al-marbuta is not written in names such as: Mu'awiya, Fatima.

In the name of books and in Arabic phrases ة is transliterated between a genitive case (ترکیب اضافی): Laylat al-Mabit. Contrary to adjective phrases (ترکیب وصفی) where it is not transliterated: Al-Hikma al-muta'aliya fi l-asfar al-'aqliyya al-arba'a

After alef (ألف) al-ta' al-marbuta is written as t: Busr b. Artat.

Al-Hamza al-Wasl

When al-hamza al-wasl (الهمزة الوصل) comes after a word ending with a vowel (i.e. "a", "i", "u") it is not transliterated. Most of the cases are the al-hamza al-wasl in "al-" but there are other cases as well.

Allah is the only exception of the above rule.

Farsi plural sign (ha)

Farsi plural sign joins the words before. Example: kitabkhanaha-yi.

Farsi Silent h

When a Farsi word ends with a silent h (Farsi: "ه غیر ملفوظ" or "ه جایگزین کسره") which is pronounced like a short "i", the sound should be transliterated as "a", e.g. kitabkhana (کتابخانه).

Farsi Genitive Case

In Farsi genitive cases, the final kasra of the word in the construct state (mudaf) is transliterated as '-i'. However, there are exceptions:

  • When the word ends in 'i', the genitive kasra changes to '-yi', E.g. 'Bank-i Markazi-yi Iran'.
  • When the word ends in silent h, the kasra changes to 'yi', E.g. 'Kitabkhana-yi Milli'.

Ibn and Bint

The patronymic particles bint (daughter of...) and ibn (son of...) should only be capitalized if at the beginning of a name i.e. Ibn Sina or Bint al-Huda al-Sadr; however, if it is located between two names, it should be written as b. and bt.; e.g. Ali b. Abi Talib and Zaynab bt. Jahsh.

Suffixes of Kunya

Suffixes of kunya (e.g. Abu, Abi, Aba, Umm, Bint) are to be capitalized and they should never be assimilated e.g.

Incorrect Correct
Bintal Huda Bint al-Huda
Abulqasim Abu l-Qasim
Ummul Banin Umm al-Banin

Cities and Countries

For the name of cities and countries the form written on the map (e.g. Google Map) is used not the transliteration: Kadhimiya not Kazimayn.

If the name of the city is used in the title of a person or name of a book the transliteration is used: "Agha Buzurg Tihrani", "al-Futuhat al-makkiyya"

Capitalization of non-English terms

Transliterated words should be capitalized according to English convention, that is, at the beginning of sentences, in titles, and for names. Thus, when transliterating a sentence or phrase, capitalization is not required.

Names of the books, whether in title, headings, or in the middle of sentences, should be written sentence case. The exception is "al" of the beginning of a book's name which should not be capitalized in the middle of the sentence. Example: In al-Kafi, al-Kulayni says...

In notes, "al" of the beginning of the book's name should not be capitalized, as it is after comma (<ref>Tusi, ''al-Istibsar'', ...</ref>); unlike in references, as it is after dot (Tusi, Muhammad b. al-Hasan al-. Al-Istibsar. ...).

Titles are capitalized, but the same word should not be capitalized if it is not used as a title. Example: Thiqat al-Islam is capitalized as the title of al-Kulayni, but when we are speaking about the phrase as a subject it should not be capitalized.

Regarding special phrases that are combined of two words, both words would be capital in the following categories:

  • The names of the special verses of the Quran: Verse of Tathir
  • The names of the special hadiths: Hadith al-Thaqalayn
  • Names of Suras of the Quran: Sura Al 'Imran
  • Event, Battles, etc.: Event of Ghadir, Battle of Harra
  • Duas and supplications: Dua of Kumayl, Supplication of Abu Hamza
  • The names of the special days: Day of 'Ashura, Day of 'Arafa

In the following categories we use lower case letters:

  • Names of rituals: al-'umra al-mufrada, ghusl al-miyyit
  • Names of prayers: zuhr prayer, salat al-'eid, salat al-jinaza
  • Names of groups: people of consensus, shurta al-khamis, special deputies
  • Names of bliefs: imamate, ma'ad, nubuwwat, ...

Roots of Arabic words

Arabic roots of words should be italicized and mentioned with just the corresponding letter in Latin. Example: tawba is from Arabic root t-w-b.


Names of the books should be Italicized: al-Ghadir fi l-kitab wa l-sunnat wa l-adab

Naturalized words

Words that have been admitted into the English language should be transliterated according to their common spelling. For example, Ayatollah, not Ayat Allah; or Ziyarah, not Ziyara. These words are treated as English words for example al- does not attach to them.


The inflexion of the end letter of a word is not usually indicated, e.g.

Incorrect Correct
qawlun wa fi'lun qawl wa fi'l

However, it is warranted in some occasions, e.g. where the pronunciation of the phrase is important, like supplications and dhikrs, in such cases the inflexion is brought after dash: Allah-u akbar, hayy-a ala l-salah.

See Also