Arabic calligraphy

The year 2020 sees the revival and growth of Arabic calligraphy

MAKKAH: With the Kingdom’s declaration of 2020 as the Year of Arabic Calligraphy, the art form is enjoying a revival.

Several Saudi cities offer sessions for men and women, allowing participants to reconnect with the heritage of Arabic calligraphy, which continues to grow in popularity among art lovers. Other platforms to receive and support ideas and submissions have also been launched.

Asked why many women are currently interested in the revival of Arabic calligraphy, calligrapher Reem Al-Qahtani told Arab News, “It’s due to their love for beauty.”
Aesthetics, however, weren’t the only motivation. Those who practice calligraphy quickly learn that it is “characterized by order, balance and proportion” and that its execution requires patience.

It is a priority for us, the inhabitants of the Two Holy Mosques, to preserve this great heritage.

Reem Al Qahtani

The interaction between men and women has increased during the Year of Arabic Calligraphy initiative, Al-Qahtani said, not least because of the various activities that have been made available to all. segments of society.

“That passion will surely stay with anyone who has had the honor of learning Arabic calligraphy and Islamic patterns,” she told Arab News.
On how to preserve this heritage among young people, Al-Qahtani pointed out that Arabic calligraphy is historically linked to the writing of revelations.
Before becoming an art form in its own right, calligraphy was a tool for documentation, she explained.
“It is a priority for us, the inhabitants of the Two Holy Mosques, to preserve this great heritage. We must learn it and pass it on to younger generations so that they can be proud of our long-held Islamic values,” the calligrapher said.
She called on all governmental and private institutions to launch various activities and initiatives to enhance the role of Arabic calligraphy.

Grand Mosque calligrapher Ibrahim Al-Rafei told Arab News that “in light of modern technological development, the importance of Arabic calligraphy lies in the fact that it is considered a means of communication that a number growing number of people are learning despite all the rapid progress.”


The art of Arabic calligraphy developed from two major styles: Naskh and Kufic. Originating in the Iraqi city of Kufa around the 7th century CE, Kufic is the earliest example of a universal calligraphic style.

Al-Rafei added that no matter how old the calligrapher’s tools are, he can integrate them with computer technology.
While the computer letters are standardized, the calligrapher’s letters are his own. “The calligrapher has his own mark. His lines express his identity, personality, uniqueness and pride as he blends classic writing with the spirit and aesthetics of the times.
Writing in Arabic preserves the language and the continuity of its use as a means of communication, Al-Rafei said, adding that one of the language’s most important tools, aesthetically and visually, is Arabic calligraphy, which attracts even the eyes of non-Arabic speakers. .
He stressed the importance of teaching Arabic calligraphy to younger generations as it builds their confidence and pride in Arabic culture.
“Throughout my 32 years of experience learning Arabic calligraphy, beginning with the Grand Mosque, where I have been learning for 17 years, all segments of society have demonstrated a passion for learning Arabic calligraphy. different styles of Arabic calligraphy,” he said.

Aesthetically, Arabic calligraphy develops the artistic taste of the student.

Ibrahim Al Rafei

He added that some of the students are very determined, which gives them great writing skills as well as the discipline to pursue the art form.
“Aesthetically, Arabic calligraphy develops the artistic taste of the student,” added the calligrapher.
Calligraphy is a social experience, Al-Rafei explained, because the art brings people together, with many asking the artist to write their names or phrases of their choosing.
“It’s what connects a calligrapher to others; the more he masters his craft, the more connected he becomes to all groups in society,” he added.