Calligraphy In Islamic Culture

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Although it could be considered an insignificant part of society, Islamic calligraphy is crucial to its culture because of its role in religion and architecture, and its help in creating unity among Muslims. Calligraphy 's function in religion is mainly due to the Muslim forbiddance of the "representation of living beings" (Schimmel, Islamic 11) in art. In architecture calligraphy is used to decorate the interior and exterior of buildings to help remind citizens of the purpose of the architecture: to glorify God. Lastly, calligraphy helps to unite Muslims because everyone must learn the Arabic language to participate in prayers and recitations.


Islamic calligraphy is considered to have developed into an art during
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The letters of the alphabet can be written in different forms, making the writings difficult to read (Piotrosky 27). It is considered a noble art form, and has its own rhythm and harmony (Khan 7). It is written from right to left and lacks capitalization and punctuation marks (11). Each of these characteristics makes it an original and interesting form of writing and decoration. Influenced by many eastern cultures, Islamic calligraphy has changed dramatically since its beginnings in the seventeenth century B.C. (12). Ancient Arabic scripts were eventually fused into one type called Kufic. It was once the "most commonly used form," but has evolved into six basic scripts now considered the most commonly used among Arabic handwritten texts (Piotrovsky 28). The many different styles and types of handwriting contribute to the innumerable designs and artistic decorations that have been created through calligraphy. Counter…show more content…
Even though it may seem virtually impossible for calligraphy to have a significant role in Islamic culture, it does. Through its sacred role in religion and architecture and as a unifying factor among Muslims, calligraphy has proven to be a crucial part of Muslim life throughout history. Islamic calligraphy will continue to be studied and will hopefully someday be fully appreciated by ignorant western cultures.

Works Cited

Ali, Wijdan. "Right to Write." Arts & the Islamic World 30 (1997): 49-52.

Grube, Ernst. The World of Islam: Landmarks of the World 's Art. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1970.

Khan, Gabriel M. Arabic Script. Trans. Rosanna Giammanco Frongia. New York: Abbeville Press Publishers, 2001.

Khatibi, Abdelkebir, and Mohammed Sijelmassi. The Splendor of Islamic Calligraphy. Paris: Thames and Hudson, 1994.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Islamic Art and Spirituality. New York: State University of New York Press, 1987.

Parry, James. "Calligraphy as a Contemporary Art Form." Arts & the Islamic World 31 (1997): 54-55.

---. "First International Calligraphy Festival in Tehran." Arts & the Islamic World 31 (1997): 50-53.

Piotrovsky, Mikhail B. Earthly Beauty, Heavenly Art: Art of Islam. Ed. John Vrieze. Amsterdam: De Nieuwe Kerk, 1999.

Rosenthal, F. Four Essays on Art and Literature in Islam. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1971.

Schimmel, Annemarie. Calligraphy and Islamic Culture. New York: New York University

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