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The Islamic Art of Calligraphy

The premier form of Islamic Art is calligraphy, which is derived from the French word calligraphie and Greek word kalligraphia, meaning "beautiful handwriting." One of the main reasons that the calligraphy is given a pedestal status in Islam is the Muslim belief that Allah (SWT) used the Arabic language to narrate his divine message to the Prophet Muhammad in the form of Holy Quran. This makes it sacred for Muslims all over the world.

Secondly, Islamic Art cannot be depicted by the use of pictures; therefore, using words as creativity avoids this problem as well. With the invention of the printing press in European countries, the art of calligraphic writing mostly vanished.

The prohibition of picture images spurred Calligraphy in the Muslim world to new heights. It is used to enhance the aesthetic senses in architecture, decorative arts, coins, jewelry, textiles, weapons, tools, paintings, and manuscripts. Thus Calligraphy has been embedded in each and every aspect of the Islamic society.

Islamic art in the form of Calligraphy is most commonly found in mosques. The walls and ceilings of mosques are decorated with calligraphically written ayah. These inscriptions are done in a very complex and intricate way. This form further branched out according to the spread of Islam through the Arab World, Persia, the Ottoman Empire, The Indian Subcontinent and wherever else Islam reached. Throughout these different regions, calligraphy attained a unique flavor according to the symbiosis of native culture with the Islamic culture.

Calligraphic Islamic Art has evolved into a very multifaceted form of expression. The different forms of calligraphy include Diwani script, Ruqah script and Sini script. Diwani script was invented by Housam Roumini during the Ottoman Turks' early reign. The Ruqah script is considered the easiest form of script. The Sini script originated in China and has noticeable components of the Chinese calligraphy.

As calligraphy flourished, many great calligraphers were seen throughout time. One of the oldest calligraphers was "Ibn Muqla." He was considered to be one of the trendsetters of Calligraphy. He was the creator of the Islamic Art of geometric principles, which was utilized by many calligraphers that followed him. Thus the Calligraphy has played a vital part in the growth and progress of the Arabic language, and the various Muslim cultures.

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