[XeTeX] Typesetting Arabic in XeLaTeX

Manuel Souto Pico m.soutopico at gmail.com
Mon Feb 1 01:35:19 CET 2010

Ahlan wa sahlan!

Some years ago I had used XeLaTeX to write my thesis project, which included
some glosses in Arabic and other languages written in non-Latin alphabets.
Now I'm begining to write some full texts in Arabic (with utf8 input
directly, not writing in transliteration mode). So far, I use an environment
to enclose the Arabic text (and still have the title in English or
Galician), but eventually I'd like to write documents completely in Arabic
only.

Not everything works as I expect, but most of the weird problems that I have
are minor and more or less I can always find a workaround. I've got some
questions about the few that are more cumbersome and that I couldn't resolve
reading the package manuals or however else:

1) I've seen that I can either use polyglossia or arabxetex (but not both at
the same time, as they are not fully compatible, or at least I couldn't use
the Arabic environment if I had the package arabxetex declared in my
preamble). Anyway, the question is: which one of the two would you recommend
and why?

2) I've been trying with no success to set the spacing between lines to 2 or
1.5. I've declared package setspace and then used the doublespace or
onehalfspace environments, but they only affect the spacing between
paragraphs, but not between lines of the same paragraph (in Arabic, of
course). What is wrong?

3) How can I get the date in Arabic in the title? I mean like ٣٠ كانون
الثاني ٢٠١٠ or ٣٠ فبراير ٢٠١٠, which are just January 30, 2010 in Arabic,
not the Hijra date according to the lunar calendar... When I used babel long
ago I would put arabic as the last item in the list of parameters of the
package declaration, but what should I do with arabxetex or polyglossia?
I've tried \date{\arab \today} and \date{\begin{Arabic}\today\end{Arabic}},
respectively, but the result is far from good.

4) How can I write section or chapter titles in Arabic? Just \section{\arab
قسم} or \section{\begin{Arabic}قسم\end{Arabic}}, respectively won't work.

5) I can have arab and Arabic environments (for full paragraphs) both with
arabxetex and polyglossia. However, I can only get a short passage in Arabic
using \arab{كلمة} in the former, but not using \Arabic{كلمة آحرِى} in the
latter. What would be the right syntax?

I hope that my questions are clear and relevant, and that they could be
useful for somebody else. Thank you very much for your help and attention.

Ma3a-ssalama wa shukran jazilan!

Manuel
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