As part of the development process for the Nastaliq-style font I'm working on, I've needed to come to grips with the different forms of "hamza" characters and how they are rendered.

U+0621  ARABIC LETTER HAMZA

This is the standard hamza base character, essentially the head of an ain (). It is always displayed as an isolate form, causing breaking in the middle of the word. It never has cursive connections to other characters.

U+0626  ARABIC LETTER YEH WITH HAMZA ABOVE

This character can be called a "hamza-yeh". Although it appears to combine in interesting ways with other characters, it is not a combining character in the typical sense.

In the initial and medial forms, it takes the form of a beh () with a hamza above and no nuqta. In final or isolate form, it takes the form of a yeh () with a hamza above.

Contextual shaping of yeh with hamza above



U+0654  ARABIC HAMZA ABOVE, U+0655  ARABIC HAMZA BELOW and U+065F  ARABIC WAVY HAMZA BELOW

These characters are true combining characters; they behave like diacritics. It is unlikely to find them on letters that also contain nuqtas, so for rendering purposes they could take the place of nuqtas. You would generally expect to find them on vowels or approximants such as alif, waw, yeh, yeh-barree (bariyeh), heh, goal-heh, reh, or laam.

The wavy hamza looks like this: . It is used in lesser-known languages written with Arabic script.

U+0674  ARABIC LETTER HIGH HAMZA

This character is intended only for use in a few languages like Kazakh and perhaps Uyghur. It is considered a base character, but is written in conjunction with other characters in a unique way.

Since I am working with Nastaliq, I don't need to support it, so I haven't bothered to research it much. :-) If you can describe its behavior or usage, please comment below!

Characters that include a hamza

Some other characters that include a hamza are: