Topics Release of Calculation Program for Arabic Alphabet Chronogram “Abjad Numerals Calculator”


Instead of using numeric characters, we often use letters such as abc in order to list ideas in itemization. However, in Japan it seems that we rarely see a chronogram, in which specific letters, interpreted as numerals, signify a particular date when they are rearranged. It is the Arabic alphabet with which the largest number of chronograms have been created in the past and are created even now.

In the traditional order, the first 9 letters of the Arabic alphabet are allocated to the numbers 1-9, the next 10 letters represent 10-90, the following 10 letters signifies 100-900, and the last letter means 1000.

TranscriptionNameNumeric Value
اʾalif 1
بBbāʾ 2
جJjīm 3
دDdāl 4
هHhāʾ 5
زZzāy / zayn 7
طṭāʾ 9
كKkāf 20
لLlām 30
مMmīm 40
قQqāf 100
ثthāʾ 500
خkhāʾ 600
ذdhāl 700
ضḍād 800
ظẓāʾ 900
غĠghayn 1000

For example, the total numerical value of 8 letters composing of the word “comfortable town” in Arabic (balda ṭayyiba, transcribed to Latin letters “BLDT ṬYBT”) is 2+30+4+400+9+10+2+400=857. The number 857 means the year 857 of Hijri Era (AH) and 1453 of the Christian Era, when the Ottoman Dynasty occupied Istanbul. Chronograms are useful to memorize years and many poets have been showing their skills to include them to imply specific years such as that of a historic event, death of a person, in addition to a literalistic meaning of the words.

However, it takes a lot of time to calculate the values of chronograms and often results in making mistakes. So, we developed a program calculating years only by input (or copy and paste) of Arabic character strings. By clicking the button ”Calculation result display,” you will know their math formula and total value. In addition, the results will be converted from the Hijri Era to the Christian Era and displayed in a new window.

This program is applicable to various techniques poets used for creating chronograms. For example, if only calculate the letters of the last verse of a poem on the gravestone “Osman Pasha, who left this world” found in Istanbul, the numeric value is 1667, meaning he passed away in 2238 AD, namely in the future. However, the former verse gives hints; “On his death, chronogram was born in the letters with jewels.” The words “the letters with jewels” mean Arabic letters with dots, so for calculating the year of death, it is necessary to add only letters with dots. When we choose a tab ”Calculate letters with dots” and calculate the last verse “Osman Pasha, who left this world,”
   0+7+0+0+10+0+0+300+0+0+0+0+10+0+0+10+0+500+0+0+50+2+0+300+0 = 1189
we can namely have a correct answer: 1775 AD .

If there are verses which give a hint to calculate only letters without dots, you can choose a tab “Calculate letters without dots” on the program.

For further information, click the following.
Abjad Numerals Calculator

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