Islamic calligraphy is a type of art that is executed with the help of the scripts used by the Arabians, Ottomans, and Persians. Different types of Islamic calligraphy use different scripts to enhance the artistic style of the art piece in question and, as mentioned above, the most commonly used ones are the Ottoman, Persian, and Arabic scripts. The common thing between these three scripts is that all three of them have played a major role in Islamic cultural heritage, and they are still being used to this very day.
Islamic calligraphy is known as ‘Khatt Islami’ in Arabic, and it directly translates to Islamic construction or design. Initially, Islamic calligraphy was used almost exclusively to spread the word of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in an artistic form, but today Islamic calligraphy is used for all kinds of decorations of buildings, mosques, and even home décor.
The areas in which Islamic calligraphy is applied knows no bounds, and it is not a surprise that Muhammad (pbuh) has said: ‘The first thing God created was the pen.’ There are two primary types of Islamic calligraphy that are being used today – Naskh and Kufic. Of course, each of them also has several sub-divisions that are different in terms of their region of origin.
Islamic Calligraphy is one of the finest form of writing art in the world particularly when it comes to Quranic Verses & Chapters. The word calligraphy is derived from two Greek words, kallos (beauty) & graphein (writing). So it refers to the art of writing words beautifully.
The Holy Quran describes the beauty and majesty of Quranic verses as follows:
“And we have arranged it in the best form.”
According to an Islamic Scholar Hafiz Fazle-Rabbi, the Arabic word ‘Tarteel’ is has been used in the context of writing that can refer to calligraphy which is used to beautify the writing in a deep and strong way.
Once the Holy Prophet (pbuh) said to Hazrat Ameer Muawiya regarding the Quranic writing work, “O Muawiya, keep the correct consistency of your ink under the inkpot, make a slanting cut to your pen, write the ‘Ba’ of Bismillah prominently, also sharply write the corners of the letter ‘Seen’, do not make an incorrect eye of the letter ‘Meem’, write the word Allah with great elegance, elongate the shape of the letter ‘Noon’ of the word Rahmaan, and write Raheem beautifully, and keep the pen at the back of your right ear so you will remember that.”
Abu Hakim Abdi used to write many books in script Kufi. One day while he was busy in writing, Hazrat Ali (r.a), the 4th successor of Holy Prophet (pbuh), saw him writing & said; “Try to write boldly and in a prominent manner, also try to make your pen beautiful”, so he cut the pen to start writing again. Hazrat Ali (r.a) remained standing there and further added; “use the best ink with the writing pen and make the writing beautiful just as Allah has revealed his beautiful message.”
At another place, Hazrat Ali (r.a) saw a person writing Bismillah. He said to him, “you have to write it in a beautiful manner, because if you do this, then Allah will bless and forgive you.”
Once a great Egyptian writer, Taha Hussein, said, “Others read in order to study, while we have to study in order to read.” He was write as this vast & deep form of art can take years to master.