Styles of Islamic Calligraphy

Islamic calligraphy is a highly evolved form of art, and as Muslims ruled vast swathes of geographical territory, from Spain and Turkey in the west to Persia, India and parts of China in the east, each empire developed its own calligraphic style. These styles had regional, cultural influences as well, and their own distinct form of writing.


  1. Thuluth: This style developed in Makkah and Madinah. 'Thuluth' is an Arabic word that means 'one third'. In Thuluth script, one-third of the letters are straight.  It is a very striking font due to long, vertical lines, broad spacing and special emphasis on dots and other vowels sounds. Because of its grand look, it is used for decorative purposes. It adorns the walls and ceilings of many monuments, and people also use it for Islamic wall hangings in their homes.

  2. Nast'aliq: This is a regional style that developed in Persia for non-religious purposes such as writing court documents. The name ta'liq means “hanging”, and refers to the slightly steeped lines of the words, giving the script a hanging appearance. It is a very legible font.

  3. Diwani: This style came into being in Ottoman Turkey in the 16th century. It is an extremely ornate form of writing – the letters are slanted, and the narrow spaces between them are densely covered with dots. The Diwani script is difficult to read and was employed in confidential documents of the court. In modern times, its extreme decorativeness makes it the preferred choice for those looking to buy Islamic wall art.

  4. Tughra: In this style, whose regional origins are unclear, text is written in the form of an object – a flower, a tree, a boat, a mosque, etc. It is slightly difficult to read but is very artistic. It is extremely popular in parts of India. The style is casually and popularly referred to as 'Tughra', which actually used to be the seal of the Ottoman emperor.


Alhamdulillah, at Baradari, we have well-trained veteran artists to write in all the above styles.