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Word Count: 600
Arabic Calligraphy 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 ie 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 dots placed above or below them provide the 28 letters of the alphabet There are no capital letters Some letters have more than one form depending on how they are coupled to other letters Some letters cannot be coupled to their neighbors At one time there were about thirty styles of calligraphy Today there are just six main standard styles only two of which are normally taught at school namely Naskh and Ruqa 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 It is a more or less square and angular script It went out of general use around the 11th century but remains till today as one of the most important scripts for decoration especially in mosques and major buildings in the form of carving in stone or marble stucco faience tiles etc There are various forms of the script one tree-like with elaborate decorative branches
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