Islamic Art and Language as a Source of Inspiration Leading to Traditional Arabic Calligraphy Art


  • Duaa Mohammed Alashari Faculty of Islamic Civilization, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
  • Abd.Rahman Hamzah Faculty of Islamic Civilization, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
  • Nurazmallail Marni Faculty of Islamic Civilization, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Johor Bahru, Malaysia



Islamic civilization, Arabic Calligraphy, Islamic Art, Arabic language, Quranic colour


The Islamic art has developed from different kind of visual art. Arabic calligraphy is one of the most prominent arts starting from the revolution of the Quran and has a long history. This paper will help to provide some sources of information that can be used by people who would like to understand and study the Islamic calligraphy and Islamic art. Also, this paper is connecting the Arabic language to universal spirituality and express how Arabic calligraphy has become a prominent feature in Islamic world. Indeed, this paper provides a brief of the long history of Islamic calligraphy, explains about some of various of Arabic fonts style, and some important Quranic colour that has significant in the Islamic culture. Arabic calligraphy, which is also known as Islamic calligraphy, has a long history of development starting from the first written form of the Quran, in the early 7th century. The Arabic calligraphy art presents how to understand and appreciate its varied styles and modes. Calligraphers start creating their art by using some passages from the Quran or Arabic poems as a starting point then they develop their compositions in a complex and intricate piece of art by the overlap of Arabic letter and words that integrate. Arabic calligraphy is about movement, rhythm and dynamism as seen through the calligraphic marks in most mosques or Islamic building or Islamic calligraphy painting. Islamic calligraphy presents the aspect of aesthetic principles and demonstrate the love for Arabic language and culture with the aesthetic methods of traditional Arabic art.

Author Biography

Duaa Mohammed Alashari, Faculty of Islamic Civilization, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Duaa Alashari was born in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and lived there for many years. Then, she moved to the United States to get her painting MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia. She now lives in Savannah. She received her Bachelors of Islamic Art Education from King Abdu Aziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in May 2007.  Alashari’s work is displayed in King Abdu Aziz University and Arabia Calligraphy Gallery in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and in the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia.  Alashari’s art, which often combines Islamic calligraphy with representations of the Islamic decorations, addresses the complex composition of show identity from the unique perspective of personal experience. In much of her work, she returns to her Arabic language and culture, looking back on it as an artist caught somewhere between past and present, and as an artist, exploring the language in which to “speak” from this uncertain space. Her paintings often appropriate Arabic calligraphy and Islamic art tradition, thereby inviting viewers to reconsider the beauty of Islamic art. She has worked in numerous media, including painting, glass, metal, and fabric. "In my art, I wish to present myself through multiple images, as artist, as Saudi, as traditionalist, as Muslim. In short, I invite the viewer to experience different art from Middle East, and to show them how to identify, understand and appreciate its varied styles and modes.”



Afifi, F. S. (1992). “Al-Khat al-Thulth” [Thuluth script]. Egypt: Usamah li al- Nashr wa al Tauzi.

Afifi, F. S. (1990). “Al-Kitabah al-Muta akisah” [The Mirrored Image script]. Egypt: Maktabah Mamduh.

Ali, Wijdan, Suhail Bisharat, Barbican Art Gallery, and Jamʻīyah al-Malakīyah lil-Funūn al-Jamīlah (Jordan). (1989). Contemporary Art from the Islamic World. London: Scorpion Pub., on behalf of the Royal Society of Fine Arts, Amman.

Blair, Sheila. (2006). Islamic Calligraphy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

Brend, Barbara. (1991). Islamic Art. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Bloom, Jonathan, and Sheila Blair. (2011). And Diverse are Their Bues: Color in Islamic Art and Culture. New Haven [Conn.]: Yale University Press.

Blair, S., & Bloom, J. (2017). By The Pen And What They Write: Writing in Islamic art.

Blankenship, Sherry. (2003) “Cultural Considerations: Arabic Calligraphy and Latin Typography.” Design Issues, 19(2), 60-63.

Dutton, Yasin. (2007). Islamic calligraphy. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 70(2), 421-423. University of London

Derman, M. U. (1998). “Letters in Gold: Ottoman Calligraphy from the Sakıp Sabancı Collection, Istanbul.” Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York.

David, J. (1989). Calligraphy: The Geometry of the Script in Saudi Aramco World. Sept/Oct , 16-27.

Fu, S., Lowry, G. D., & Yonemura, A. (1986). “From concept to context”. Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution; For sale by the Supt. of Docs., USGPO.

Faruqi, I. & Lois L. (1986). “The Cultural Atlas of Islam”. American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences, 3(1), 169.

Fayeq, Oweis. (2002). Art as an Educational Tool about the Teaching of Islam. Published by: National Art Education Assosiation. Stable, URL:

Ghulam, Yousif Mahmud. (1982). The Art Of Arabic Calligraphy. Lafayette, Ca. (P.O. Box 853, Lafayette 94549): Y.M. Ghulam.

Jafar, M. (2002). “Arabic Calligraphy: Naskh Script for Beginners”. British Museum Press.

Khatibi, Abdelkebir, and Mohamed Sijelmassi. (1996). The Splendor Of Islamic Calligraphy. New York: Thames and Hudson.

Khatibi, A. & Sijelmassi, M. (1976). “The Splendor Of Islamic Calligraphy”. Thames & Hudson. London.

Khader, S. (2001). “The Qur’an manuscripts in the al-Haram al-Sharif Islamic Museum, Jerusalem.” UK, Journal of Qur'anic Studies, 4(2), 88-90.

Khalid, M (2000). Arabic Calligraphy, 1-6.

Minorsky, V. and Wheeler M. T. (1959). Calligraphers and Painters-A Treatise by Qaḍi Aḥmad, son of Mir- Munshi. (circa AH 1015/AD 1606).Washington.

Nasruddin, S. (2004). an Exhibition of Agfan Calligraphy and Miniature Painting. Dublin, Har Centre Library, 315.

Najda. (1994). “Arabic Calligraphy.” Women Concerned about the Middle East 94707th ser, 1-5.

Nasr, S. H. (1987). Islamic Art and spirituality. New York: State University of New York Pre.

Porter, Venetia, Isabelle Caussé, and British Museum. (2006). Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East. London: British Museum Press.

Razwy, S. A. A. (2014). “A Restatement of the History of Islam and Muslims”. Lulu Press, Inc. World Federation of KSI Muslim Communities United Kingdom.

Schimmel, Annemarie. (1990). Calligraphy and Islamic Culture. New York: New York University Press.

Schimmel, A. (1970). “Islamic Calligraphy”. Leiden: E.J. Brill Archive.

Schimmel, A. (1975). “Mystical Dimensions of Islam”. University of North Carolina press.

Sloman, Paul. (2009). Contemporary Art in the Middle East. London: Black Dog.

Siddiqua, S. (2011). Calligraphy – A Significant Islamic Heritage. on 16th March 2013, 1-2.

Saliu, B. A (2006). Aspects of Kano Cultural Tourism. (ed) in Perspective on Kano Volume I (ed) Uba, A.A and Ado, I.K Volume 1 Telletters Consulting Coy Ltd. , 57-82.

Saliu, A.R (2013). Islamic Art for Peace and Unity: The Nigeria Initiative for National Integration. A paper presented at the opening ceremony of the 2nd Islamic Arts/Calligraphy exhibition, held at conference hall National mosque, Abuja on14th September P.6.

Safadi, Y. H. (1978). “Islamic Calligraphy”. London: Thames and Hudson.

Teparic, M. (2013). “Figural Representation in the Arabic Calligraphy.” Epiphany Journal of Transdisciplinary Studies, 6(2), 145-161. ISSN 1840-3719

Waterman, M. (2009). Itroduction to Arabic Calligraphy., accessed on 31/01/2015, 6.

Zoghbi, Pascal. (2011). Graffiti Writer Stone, and Joy Hawley. Arabic graffiti. Berlin, Germany: From Here to Fame Pub.

Zakariya, M. (2002). A Brief Look at the History and Development of Arabic Calligraphy. Accessed on 10th, October 2012, 1-6.




How to Cite

Alashari, D. M., Hamzah, A., & Marni, N. (2019). Islamic Art and Language as a Source of Inspiration Leading to Traditional Arabic Calligraphy Art. UMRAN - Journal of Islamic and Civilizational Studies, 6(3), 33–45.