I am facing a weird problem. Files that compiled correctly on earlier versions of TeXLive do not work on TeXLive 2019. The problem seems to be with babel and arabic (or a modified persian).

See this example:

% !TEX TS-program = LuaLaTeX

gives this error:

This is LuaTeX, Version 1.10.0 (TeX Live 2019/W32TeX) 
 restricted system commands enabled.
LaTeX2e <2018-12-01>

luaotfload | main : initialization completed in 0.235 seconds
Document Class: article 2018/09/03 v1.4i Standard LaTeX document class
Loading the definitions for the LaTeX{} Arabic encoding
Loading the Common definitions for Arabic and Farsi
  Arabi Core switching commands v1.0  2006/01/01   (may still change)  
! String contains an invalid utf-8 sequence.
l.137 \ifcase#1\or 
                 ��������� � \ \or �����������^^@�^^@^^@
  • 1
    I have tried with LuaLaTeX from TL 2012 to 2019, always getting the same error message.
    – egreg
    Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 17:28
  • I’d guess the default font used by lualatex doesn’t contain an Arabic script. Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 18:42
  • arabic.ldf is from 2006 and absolutly not usable with lualatex. I don't see why it should ever have been worked with this engine. Commented Sep 17, 2019 at 18:50

1 Answer 1


I gess your system use the old method with arabi that works with pdflatex, here how to use babel to write arabic with lualatex

\babelprovide[import=ar, main]{arabic}

enter image description here

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