Kufic Style of Calligraphy


Islam, another of the world’s great monotheistic faiths, was founded in Arabia by Muhammad. Born in Mecca (c.550 CE), he received the Qur’an, meaning ‘recitation’ or ‘reading’ in Arabic, from the archangel Gabriel during a vision. He believed this to be the uncreated word of God or Allah, embodying the earlier teachings of both Jews and Christians.

In this passage from the Qur’an, in the kufic style of calligraphy, the inhabitants of Mecca are warned of punishment. In translation it says : ‘We [Allah] would certainly have opened for them [the people of Mecca] blessings from heaven and earth, but they rejected it so we rewarded them according to what they have merited’. (Sura 7.96.)


Leaf from a Qur’an manuscript, late 9th-10th century Possibly Syria
Ink, gold, and colors on vellum.


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