The Calligraphic Tradition in Islam

“He who taught the use of the pen, taught man that which he knew not.”
Qur’an, Sura Al-‘Alaq (96:4-5)

Calligraphy has developed as a very important artform and devotional activity in Islam since it is regarded as one means by which the divine word of God can be recorded. It has permeated all aspects of creative expression in Muslim culture, including art and architecture, and is consequently more than merely a visual means of reminding the viewer of the Qur’an and the word of God.

“Beauty of script is incumbent upon you for it is one of the keys of mankind’s daily bread.”
Attributed to the Prophet Muhammad

In addition, the calligrapher (in Arabic al-khattat) was afforded a higher social status than for example the gilder, binder or painter. This elevated social status accorded to the calligrapher was reinforced by the fact that many rulers in Islam were keen to compete in the artform with professional calligraphers. It is not an exaggeration to say that calligraphy is considered by many to be the very heartbeat of Islam.

Read more at:

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.