ARABIC CALLIGRAPHY INSTRUCTION

Square Kufi
Instructor: Mamoun Sakkal

Square Kufi, like other styles of Arabic calligraphy has its rules. However, because of its simple shapes, some calligraphers will try to write it even when they did not master these rules.
Such practice is not limited to students, but is often common among accomplished calligraphers.

In this example I show a work by calligrapher Hashem Muhammad al Khattat al Baghdadi, who is a master in cursive styles such as Thuluth and Naskh, published in his training booklet: Qawa'id al Khatt al Arabi, one of the best training manuals for cursive styles of Arabic calligraphy.

The design has some major problems, indicated with numbers 1-5 below the circles, as well as minor ones indicated with numbers 6-13 above the circles. All these should be avoided when designing in Square Kufi.

1. The word Safileen is missing the tooth for the letter Yeh.
2. The letter Qaf from the word Sadaqa is connected to the Lam in the word Safileen which causes ambiguity and error in reading.
3. The letter Waw in the word Taqweem is connected from above. This connection is limited to the letter Meem and will cause error in reading.
4. The middle Qaf in the word Taqweem is connected from the middle. This connection is limited to the letter Ayn medial and will cause error in reading.
5. Same as 4. above.
6. The letter Heh in the word Allah is usually extended on the right side not the left side when a vertical extension is needed.
7. The line end is positioned one half of a module rather than a complete module (see gray lines indicated in our Square Kufi alphabet page). This causes a break in the continuity of the black lines in the design by placing a white area where black should appear.
8. Two dots of the letter Qar in the word Sadaqa are connected, a practice not used in Square Kufi.
9. Lines from two words are intersecting, a practice not used in Square Kufi.
10. Connection of the letter Faa in the word Asfala is similar to the connection used usually for Meem. Although this is sometimes used in Square Kufi, it is not a good practice because it may lead to errors in reading.
11. Instead of bending the top of the letter Alif in word Radadnahu, the top of the letter Heh should be bent, and the Alif kept straight.
12. Uncommon break in the middle of the word Taqweem which can cause confusion by suggesting a tooth where non exists.
13. Same as 9. above.

 

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