Arabic Numerals

A watch with Arabic numerals on the dial.

There are two kinds of numerals used in Arabic writing: standard numerals (predominant in the Arab world) and Eastern Arabic numerals (used in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan). Like Arabic alphabetic characters, Arabic numerals are written from right to left and include ten digits (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).

In Arabic, the numerals are referred to as "Indian numbers" (arqam hindiyyah) as they were adopted from the numerical systems invented by ancient Indian mathematicians. The earliest European manuscript known to contain Arabic-Hindu numerals was written in Spain in AD 976. In around AD 825 the Muslim mathematician al-Khwarazmi wrote a treatise on Indian arithmetic, which was translated into Latin by Adelard of Bath around AD 1120. Hence, over time, the Hindu-Arabic numbering system spread around the world and it is the system we use today. (Source: British Museum)

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