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Types of Arabic Calligraphy

Types of Arabic Calligraphy

Arabic calligraphy has become one of the most renowned forms of Islamic art over the past centuries. People love and admire this art but are unaware of the types of Arabic calligraphy. It is worth mentioning that the types of Arabic calligraphy took their known names from the names of people, cities or pens in which they were written.

Calligraphy in Arabic types overlap with each other and each type has multiple writing techniques. It became an art in which great calligraphers master as well as a way of writing on business documents and other important documents. The most important and famous types of Arabic calligraphy are as follows:


Arabic Calligraphy Letters

Calligraphy in Arabic is a beautiful art form that has been practiced for centuries. Known for its beautiful curves and elaborate decorations, Arabic script is used to write not only the Arabic language, but also many other languages spoken in the Middle East and North Africa.

There are many different styles of Arabic calligraphy, each with its own unique characteristics. Some of the most recognisable styles include:


Kufi Calligraphy:

Used to copy the Quran for five centuries, it is one of the oldest types of calligraphy. It is derived from the Nabataean calligraphy attributed to the Nabateans and was widespread in the north of the Arabian Peninsula and the mountains of Horan. Its unique style is the angular geometric component, which made it popular in stone carvings and Islamic architecture.


Riq’a Calligraphy:


This type of Arabic calligraphy is used in daily writings, and it is one of the easiest types of Calligraphy in Arabic. It is characterized by its integrity and beauty, ease of writing and reading, and its distance from complexity. “Riqa‘” is derived from the Arabic noun, ruq’a, meaning “a piece of cloth or patch.” The script was named riq’a because it was often written on small pieces of paper.

Naskh Calligraphy:

This type of Arabic font is considered the closest to Thuluth calligraphy. It was originally used for copying the Quran but later became a font for printing. It is a type of beautiful Arabic calligraphy, and many Arabic manuscripts have been copied in it. Naskhi script is very popular in the Arab business world because of it being legible and because of proportionality between its letters.


Thuluth Calligraphy:


Thuluth is one of the most beautiful types of Arabic calligraphy written in the form of cursive script. ‘Thuluth’ comes from the Arabic word meaning ‘one-third’ and derived its meaning from the one-third slope of the letters. It is most difficult to write, and it is one of the types of creative Calligraphy in Arabic that needs skill in writing. This type of calligraphy needs to be mastered according to the rules, and commitment while writing it because it needs a lot of control. You will find this script on mosques and building decorations.


Persian Calligraphy:


This type of Arabic calligraphy appeared in Persia, in the seventh century of Hijrah, and it is one of the beautiful calligraphies that is characterized by clarity, ease and, non-complexity.

Ijazah Calligraphy:

This type of Arabic calligraphy is called the Rihani Calligraphy, and it is called the Ijazah or signature font because it is used to sign school certificates and written licenses. It is simple and easy to read.


Diwani Calligraphy:


One of the types of Arabic fonts invented by the Ottomans and the first to define its scales and lay down its rules is the calligrapher Ibrahim Muneef. The Diwani Calligraphy was formally known after the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih. Diwani calligraphy is a flexible and soft form of calligraphy and is also characterized by being decorative and having extreme stylization.

Tughra Calligraphy:

The world of calligraphy in Arabic is vast and fascinating, offering a rich tapestry of styles, each with its own story to tell. From bold thuluth phrases to elegant naskh curves, Arabic calligraphy transcends mere writing, becoming an art form steeped in history and cultural significance. Whether encountered in religious texts, poetry or everyday life, calligraphy in Arabic continues to capture the imagination and inspire awe.


Moroccan Calligraphy:

This type of Arabic calligraphy appeared in the countries of Andalusia and Morocco. It is commonly used in writing the Qur’an and Al-Ma’kateb. It is close to the Thuluth and the Naskh Calligraphy.



Is Arabic calligraphy difficult to learn?

Calligraphy in Arabic can be challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding. Mastering basic fonts and letterforms requires dedication and practice. However, there are many resources available, from online tutorials to classes with experienced calligraphers, to guide you on your journey.

What tools do I need to practice Arabic calligraphy?

Traditionally, Arabic calligraphy uses a special reed pen called a qalam, but beginners can start with a regular pen or pencil. Specific calligraphy ink provides the best results, but fountain pen ink can be a good alternative. The choice of paper is also important, with paper that is soft, absorbent and ideal for practising.

How can Arabic calligraphy be used today?

Arabic calligraphy remains a vibrant art form, used in everything from creating decorative artwork to wedding invitations and logos. Its timeless beauty continues to inspire designers and artists, while the practice itself provides a meditative and enriching experience.