Calligraphy as The Supreme Art of the Islamic World

In the Islamic world, from the very beginning, writing and the Arabic language played a central role.

The Place of Calligraphy in Islamic Art tradition is unique. Like many civilizations that valued their written literature and literate milieu in society had paid some attention to calligraphy.

To effectively study Islamic calligraphy it is necessary to consider artistic principles and theories, religious veneration for writing, philological evidence, and cultural or political history.

This art has been influenced by many peoples and powers; it has accompanied, in its way, the whole history of Islam. According to Ibn Khaldun (Arab historian of the 14th century), writing and calligraphy flourished when the civilization was at its height and decayed with its decline. Thus, reflecting cultural coherence and widespread geographical distribution that enabled its flourishing.

With the flourishing of the Islamic civilization, a multitude of scholarly styles developed in the course of the history of calligraphy.

As documents dating from the beginning of Islam have confirmed, the origin of Calligraphy must have been twofold: an angular geometric script of hieratic and monumental nature, used originally to transcribe the Qur’an or texts of great religions or literary value; and a rounded script, cursive and stenographic, employed by the scribes for ordinary use.

But how is one to distinguish the precise number of Calligraphic styles and definitive models? Knowing that some styles have changed their names or have merged with others no longer in existence. The exhibit will provide examples of the richness and variety of styles of the types of pre-Islamic script, and how Islam has enabled Arab calligraphers to excel using the holy book of the Qur’an as an inspiration.

Calligraphy has never been challenged as the supreme art of the Islamic world, reflecting the centrality of the Qur’anic revelation to Islamic faith and culture.   In Islam, the Qur’an is held to be God’s eternal and uncreated word, giving Arabic a special status as the language of God’s actual revelation.




Calligraphy as The Supreme Art of the Islamic World