Arabic calligraphy is one of the greatest arts of the Arabs. Because Islam forbade the making and worshipping of idols, there was no scope for arts like sculpture to develop and, therefore, Muslims directed their talents towards arts such as literature, architecture, arabesque and calligraphy. Another main reason for the development of calligraphy was the need to make copies of the Quran, which was considered a most meritorious act. Like the names of poets and writers, the names of famous calligraphers are better known today than most of those who excelled in other forms of art. In fact, Ibn Muqlah reached the post of 'Wazeer' (i.e., the highest position in government after the Caliph) during the reign of three successive Abbaside Caliphs, partly if not largely because of his beautiful handwriting.
Arabic is written from right to left. There are 17 basic characters, which by the addition of dot
Naskh script: The word 'naskh' means copying which refers to the fact that it was first developed for copying the Quran. Some letters have more than one form depending on how they are coupled to other letters. It came into use a thousand years ago and was developed by famous calligraphers like Ibn Muqlah and Ibn Al-Bawab, a sample of whose work still exists. Some letters cannot be coupled to their neighbors. Thuluth script: This is considered the most difficult and most beautiful of all Arabic scripts. It is a cursive script based on certain laws governing the proportions between the letters. s placed above or below them provide the 28 letters of the alphabet. Diwani script: the Turks who used Arabic script to write their language until early this century developed this. It is used nowadays mainly for writing Quranic verses on the walls of mosques and in tableaus and for writing sign boards and book titles. Kufie script: This is the oldest of these six styles and one of its early forms was used for reproducing the earliest copies of the Quran. A peculiar form is the 'Tughra', a somewhat intricate and beautiful royal signature indicating name and title of each sultan, done by a skilled calligrapher. It was first developed over 1,300 years ago. Farsi or Taliq script: Persian scribes developed this fluid style in the 13th century.