Type of Script in Arabic Calligraphy
  • Arabic Penmanship
  • Riqah
  • Diwani Jali & Diwani
  • Ta'liq
  • Thuluth & Nasakh
  • Maghribi
  • Kufi

arabic penmanship

Everyday handwriting with the normal pen based on the schematic concepts of the Naskh script.

The riq'ah script

The origin of this script is disputed due to the similarity of its strokes to other scripts and styles. Earlier versions of this script may have surfaced during the 1st century AH or the Umayyad era as a loose connection to the Meshq style which was used to copy writings or correspondence. It also may have surfaced after the time of Ibn Bawwab as a result of the common use of Al-Khat Al-Mansub that started to be commonly used during this era which later developed into the six traditional scripts (Aqlam sitta).

Opinions also differ on the similarity of its stroke to other scripts, some would say that it evolved from various scripts such as the Naskh, Thuluth, Riqa’ or Diwani script. There are others who say that this font was created by the Baghdadi Calligrapher Abu Fadhl ibn Hazin. Despite all the differences in opinion, it is established academically that the Riq’ah script that we see today is an ottoman script in its origin. The Ottomans had used it as a correspondence script since the 9th century AH/15th century AD. Ottoman Calligraphers had contributed much to the maturity of this font by prominent figures such as Mumtaz Bek -the teacher of Sultan Abdul Majid the first- and Mehmed Izzat Effendi. 

Mumtaz Bek (Abu Bakar Muhammad ibn Mustafa Efendi, 1225AH/1893AD) was acknowledged as the one who laid down the systems of Nuqtoh (the dot) for the Riq’ah script. While Mehmed Izzat Effendi published a workbook (1330AH/1912AD) for this script alongside his brother Alhafiz Tahsin. This workbook is still used by students to this day and is considered as the top reference for this script. The most striking characteristic of this script is its simplicity from the simple turns of the strokes and practicality while writing making it the preferred stroke for various correspondence purposes and for beginner students while learning calligraphy.


  • المدرسة العثمانية لفن الخط العربي ، الدكتور إدهام محمد حنش، مكتبة الإمام البخاري للنشر و التوزيع
  • زينة المعنى، يوسف ذنون ، كتاب الدوحة
  • الكتابة وفن الخط العربي، م 1، يوسف ذنون، دار النوادر

The Diwani & Diwani jali script

The Diwani and Diwani Jali scripts are official scripts of the Ottoman court used to write documents such as official correspondences, proclamations, and title appointments and thus its other name Hamayuni. The distinct characteristics of this script can be seen by the striking circular curvature of the letters with the words being written at a specific angle.

The words in the Diwani Jali script are also purposefully arranged to attain a desired shape and a veil of decorative markings which serve different purposes are added to create a compact overall shape   The principles of writing this script was first set by Ibrahim Munif who lived during the era of Sultan Mehmet II better known as Mehmet the Conqueror.

Its form was then brought to maturity by great calligraphers such as Shahla Ahmed Pasha (1167AH/1753AD) who was a minister in the court of Sultan Ahmed III and Mehmed Izzat Efendi (1257-1320AH/1841-1902AD).

Disputed academic opinions have surfaced with regards to the relationship between the Diwani and the Diwani Jali script. The first opinion would be that the Diwani script was written about 50 years after the emergence of the Diwani Jali script. 

This opinion is disputed by another more popular opinion that the Diwani Jali script is an offshoot of the Diwani script due to the fundamental similarity in the strokes of the individual letters and was first seen during the 10th and 11th Century AH/ 17th and 18th Century AD.   

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the adoption of the Latin letters in Turkey, this script could lived on and survived to this day due to its continuous usage in Egypt through commissions of Diwani script artworks by the Egyptian Royal Family. The efforts of great calligraphers such as Muhammad Abdul Aziz Rifaie and Mustafa Ghazlan Bek in teaching and developing this script had given it a renewed vigor of life. Mustafa Ghazlan Bek was a royal Calligrapher of King Fouad I of Egypt and the inventor of the Egyptian/Ghazlani style of Diwani. 

This script was also practiced in Baghdad and from there the Baghdadi/Iraqi style of Diwani was born by the hands of the calligraphy Hashim ElBaghdadi. Despite the long history and the different styles of writing, calligraphers never fail to find beauty within it due to its versatility and the fineness of its strokes.  


  • تاريخ الخط العربي و آدابه، محمد طاهر بن عبد القادرالكردي المكي الخطاط، الطبعة الأولى، مكتبة الهلال.
  • المدرسة العثمانية لفن الخط العربي، د.إدهام محمد حنش، مكتبة الإمام البخاري.

The ta'liq script

The thuluth & nasakh script

the maghribi script

The script that comes from the far west of the Islamic world. Used in parts of Northern and Western Africa in countries such as Morocco, Mauritania, Algeria, and Andalusia (Modern day Spain). It first appeared to be in usage by the local people around 4th Century AH/11th Century AD due to the gradual withdrawal of the Kufic Script from the writing sphere with the invention of Alkhat Almauzun during the Umayyad era. 

Despite the various opinions on the origins of this script, it is widely considered to be closely related to Alkhat Almauzun during the time that is was first used, only to be written with the pointed-nib pen. The motive for using the pointed nib pen was to create speed while preserving the distinct features of the script. 

Through time, the script has gone through many modifications by artists and calligraphers and many variants of the Maghribi script has emerged with most of these types serving a different writing purpose and representing a different geographical area. Some variants of the Maghribi Script are the Maghribi Mabsut and Thuluth Maghribi

Maghribi Mabsut

The Maghribi Mabsut script is used especially in writing the Quran, prayer books, scientific texts, and newspapers. According to Yusuf Zannun a prominent expert in the history of Arabic Calligraphy, the Maghribi Mabsut script was a derivative of the Andalusian version of Mabsut and the minor differences between them can be seen by the dots on the final form of the letters ي،ف،ق،ن. The oldest recorded writing of this script was written in the year 483AH/1090AD.

Thuluth Maghribi

The Thuluth script -which is the basis for most of the Eastern variants of Arabic Calligraphy scripts- had travelled to Andalusia and the western part of the Islamic world during the 5th century AH/12th century AD. The characteristics of the Thuluth script was then incorporated with the Maghribi script and the result was a script with innovative features called Thuluth Maghribi. The Thuluth Maghribi script gained its form that we see today during the 6th century AH/13th Century AD. Its distinctive characteristics made it a preferred script to be used in writings on architectural designs and state treasuries.


  • جوانب من التطور التارخي للخط المغربي، فتيحة الشقيري، مطبعة المعارف الجديدة
  • زينة المعنى، يوسف ذنون ، كتاب الدوحة
  • الكتابة وفن الخط العربي، م 1، يوسف ذنون، دار النوادر.

the kufi script