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Kufic is the oldest form of the Arabic script. The style emphasizes rigid and an
gular strokes,
which appears as a modified form of the old Nabataean script. The Archaic Kufi c
onsisted of about
17 letters without diacritic dots or accents. Afterwards, dots and accents were
added to help readers
with pronunciation, and the set of Arabic letters rose to 29.[4] It is developed
around the end of the
7th century in the areas of Kufa, Iraq, from which it takes its name.
The use of cursive script coexisted with kufic, but because in the early stages
of their development
they lacked discipline and elegance, cursive were usually used for informal purp
oses.[9] With the rise
of Islam, new script was needed to fit the pace of conversions, and a well defin
ed cursive called naskh
first appeared in the 10th century.
Variation of the naskh
Thuluth is developed as a display script to decorate particular scriptural objec
ts. Letters have long
vertical lines with broad spacing. The name reference to the x-height, which is
one third of the 'alif.[
Riq'ah is a handwriting style derived from naskh and thuluth, first appeared in
the 9th century.
The shape is simple with short strokes and little flourishes.
is a cursive style originally devised to write the Persian language for literary
and non-Qur'anic works.
Nasta'liq is thought to be a latter development of the naskh and the earlier ta
'liq script used in Iran.
The name ta'liq means 'hanging', and refers to the slightly steeped lines of wh
ich words run in, giving
the script a hanging appearance. Letters have short vertical strokes with broad
and sweeping horizontal strokes.
The shapes are deep, hook-like, and have high contrast.
Calligraphy is the most important and pervasive element in Islamic art. It has a
lways been considered the noblest
form of art because of its association with the Qur an, the Muslim holy book, whi
ch is written in Arabic. This
preoccupation with beautiful writing extended to all arts including secular manusc
ripts; inscriptions on palaces;
and those applied to metalwork, pottery, stone, glass, wood, and textiles and to

non-Arabic-speaking peoples
within the Islamic commonwealth whose languages such as Persian, Turkish, and Urd
u were written in the Arabic script.
Another characteristic of Islamic art is a preference for covering surfaces with
patterns composed of geometric or
vegetal elements. Complex geometric designs, as well as intricate patterns of v
egetal ornament (such as the arabesque),
create the impression of unending repetition, which is believed by some to be a
n inducement to contemplate the infinite
nature of God. This type of nonrepresentational decoration may have been develo
ped to such a high degree in Islamic art
because of the absence of figural imagery, at least within a religious context.
Take the way Arabic writing literally jumped off the page into architecture: Any
tourist visiting the Alhambra Palace
in Spain, the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem or
the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, can't
help being struck by the central role calligraphy plays in traditional Islamic

the act of writing
particularly the act of writing the Qur an or any portion of i
t was primarily a religious experience
rather than an esthetic one.
Muhammad (c. 570 632) was born in Mecca, in western Arabia, where he first began t
o receive the divine revelation and to
preach a message of one god, around the year 610. According to Muslim belief, t
he word of God was disclosed to Muhammad
through the intermediary of the archangel Gabriel, who commanded him to "Recite
! In the name of thy lord." These revelations
were subsequently collected and codified as the Muslim holy book, the Qur an, whic
h means "recitation" in Arabic, the language
of the Prophet and the Qur'an.
The written word acquired unparalleled significance with the arrival of Islam
in the Arabian Peninsula. The Prophet Muhammad s trusted companions
and followers collected the divine revelations from written and oral sources
and compiled them into a manuscript known as the Qur an, Islam s holiest
book. Since the divine revelations were conveyed to the Prophet Muhammad
in Arabic, Muslims regard the Qur an in Arabic script as the physical
manifestation of God s message. Copying text from the Qur an is thus
considered an act of devotion.
Calligraphy, known as 'khatt' in Arabic, is an outstanding example of such blend
ing of form and function. From the grandest of Masjids with their expertly carve
d stuccos to the simplest of rural Masjids with few Qur'anic verses painted on t
heir walls, one can see the strong influence of Qur'anic calligraphy that has at
tached itself to the expression of
Islamic art.
Any architectural work has both a functional and an artistic dimension, which ar
e :
1) An immediate physical context that determines the style, and

2) A wider social, cultural and economic frame of reference that gives it meanin
For example, in the case of a Masjid, the prayer hall must be suitable for its p
urpose in accordance with the liturgy of Islam,
but the building itself must also 'speak' to the local community, providing bot
h spiritual upliftment and an anchor for the
community's identity.
Thus, calligraphy serves as an ornamental purpose along with conveying the word
of God and sayings of the Holy Prophet [ pbuh&hp]
and his noble Ahlul Bayt [A.S].
A passion for the written script constitutes one of the fundamental traits of Is
lamic culture. For Islam, the Arabic script is
not merely a tool invented by human beings, but a gift of God. As Allah says in
the Qur'an:
"Recite, and thy Lord is the Most Honourable! Who taught (to write) with the Pen
, taught man what he knew not"
(Surah al-Alaq, verses 3-5).
The origins of the Arabic alphabet can be traced to the writing of the seminomad
Nabataean tribes, who inhabited southern Syria and Jordan,
Northern Arabia, and the Sinai Peninsula. Surviving stone inscriptions in
the Nabataean script show strong similarities to the modern Arabic writing