Islamic Calligraphy Part 2 - The Beginnings of Calligraphy
Arabic writing as such developed around the beginning of the 9th century. There are already several types, but this has not yet been called calligraphy, there are rounded (soft) and angular (dry) writing forms.
They are commonly used on official papers, Qur’an copies, and inscriptions adorning buildings. It was in this era, that is, at the end of the 9th century, that calligraphy, or ornament writing, developed (A Hatt: In Arabic, "writing" does so much)
According to the function of writing, 3 main areas are formed:
- The writing used in plain books is unadorned simple writing
- then Calligraphy, which is calligraphic writing itself, with its characteristic (at that time there were not so many types of writing) rounded features
- finally, the so-called chancellery writing was used for official letters, which will be discussed later in connection with the Diwani writing style.
The writing was already highly respected among Arabs even in pre-Islamic times, and encounters with followers of the two great monotheistic religions (Jews and Christians) were also very influential,
mainly to Arab city dwellers along the caravan routes. They saw in the Jews an almost religious reverence for writing (as the Jews treated their scrolls of Torah) this had a great effect on them.
However, the sacred nature of Arabic writing in other approaches is also closely related to the special situation of the Arabic language itself. Every word of the Qur’an is the word of God and not simply divine inspiration.
The language of the Qur'an is inimitable, so it is impossible to translate it into any other language!
Writing is sacred in itself and carries holiness, and after each surah of the Qur’an (except one) begins with the phrase,
“In the name of Allah the Most Gracious and Merciful,” therefore, whoever writes or describes it to someone a beautiful Bismillah, and puts it on the wall of his house unload innumerable blessings.
The art and vocabulary of writing have become an integral part of Muslim life, perhaps even more for the illiterate than for the practitioners of writing. These ignorant people have a piece of paper on which something
it was writing, they were always treated with great caution, for they did not know what was on it, and if they suspected it to be a holy text, they were treated with respect so as not to defile or desecrate the name of Allah.
By the end of the 9th century, all elements of Arabic writing, that is the drawing of the letters themselves, and the system of points distinguishing the letters had already been established throughout the Muslim world.
This has remained the same in essence and system of Arabic writing, to this day. The written memories left to us from time immemorial are, point by point, the same as today’s Arabic texts, in other words, one by one the same. The most amazing thing is that nothing has changed in so many centuries.
Next time, I’m going to write to you about the rules of calligraphy because that’s important, and that’s what you need to talk about before you start writing about the major fonts.
Allah bless you.