Calligraphy of Umar's name

Calligraphy of Umar's name

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Calligraphy of Umar's name - History

Islam and the Jews: The Pact of Umar, 9th Century CE

THE Pact of Umar is the body of limitations and privileges entered into by treaty between conquering Muslims and conquered non-Muslims. We have no special treaty of this sort with the Jews, but we must assume that all conquered peoples, including the Jews, had to subscribe to it. Thus the laws cited below and directed against churches apply to synagogues too. The Pact was probably originated about 637 by Umar I after the conquest of Christian Syria and Palestine. By accretions from established practices and precedents, the Pact was extended yet despite these additions the whole Pact was ascribed to Umar. There are many variants of the text and scholars deny that the text as it now stands could have come from the pen of Umar I it is generally assumed that its present form dates from about the ninth century.

The Pact of Umar has served to govern the relations between the Muslims and "the people of the book," such as Jews, Christians, and the like, down to the present day.

In addition to the conditions of the Pact listed below, the Jews, like the Christians, paid a head-tax in return for protection, and for exemption from military service. Jews and Christians were also forbidden to hold government office. This Pact, like much medieval legislation, was honored more in the breach than in the observance. In general, though, the Pact increased in stringency with the centuries and was still in force in the 20th century in lands such as Yemen. The Pact is in Arabic.

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate!

This is a writing to Umar from the Christians of such and such a city. When You [Muslims] marched against us [Christians],: we asked of you protection for ourselves, our posterity, our possessions, and our co-religionists and we made this stipulation with you, that we will not erect in our city or the suburbs any new monastery, church, cell or hermitage that we will not repair any of such buildings that may fall into ruins, or renew those that may be situated in the Muslim quarters of the town that we will not refuse the Muslims entry into our churches either by night or by day that we will open the gates wide to passengers and travellers that we will receive any Muslim traveller into our houses and give him food and lodging for three nights that we will not harbor any spy in our churches or houses, or conceal any enemy of the Muslims. [At least six of these laws were taken over from earlier Christian laws against infidels.]

That we will not teach our children the Qu'ran [some nationalist Arabs feared the infidels would ridicule the Qu'ran others did not want infidels even to learn the language] that we will not make a show of the Christian religion nor invite any one to embrace it that we will not prevent any of our kinsmen from embracing Islam, if they so desire. That we will honor the Muslims and rise up in our assemblies when they wish to take their seats that we will not imitate them in our dress, either in the cap, turban, sandals, or parting of the hair that we will not make use of their expressions of speech, nor adopt their surnames [infidels must not use greetings and special phrases employed only by Muslims] that we will not ride on saddles, or gird on swords, or take to ourselves arms or wear them, or engrave Arabic inscriptions on our rings that we will not sell wine [forbidden to Muslims] that we will shave the front of our heads that we will keep to our own style of dress, wherever we may be that we will wear girdles round our waists [infidels wore leather or cord girdles Muslims, cloth and silk].

That we will not display the cross upon our churches or display our crosses or our sacred books in the streets of the Muslims, or in their market-places that we will strike the clappers in our churches lightly [wooden rattles or bells summoned the people to church or synagogue] that we will not recite our services in a loud voice when a Muslim is present that we will not carry Palm branches [on Palm Sunday] or our images in procession in the streets that at the burial of our dead we will not chant loudly or carry lighted candles in the streets of the Muslims or their market places that we will not take any slaves that have already been in the possession of Muslims, nor spy into their houses and that we will not strike any Muslim.

All this we promise to observe, on behalf of ourselves and our co-religionists, and receive protection from you in exchange and if we violate any of the conditions of this agreement, then we forfeit your protection and you are at liberty to treat us as enemies and rebels.

Jacob Marcus, The Jew in the Medieval World: A Sourcebook, 315-1791 , (New York: JPS, 1938), 13-15

Hazrat Hafsa bint Umar ibn al-Khattab

Hazrat Hafsa ra was the daughter of Hazrat Umar ibn al-Khattab ra and Hazrat Zainab bint Maz‘un ra . Born several years before the first revelation from God, she was raised in a family renowned for its learning and education. Like her father, she was inquisitive, sharp-witted and a courageous woman who lived up to her name.

As stated, she was the daughter of Hazrat Umar ra , the second Khalifa of Islam. Hazrat Umar ra earned the title of “Farooq”, meaning the one who distinguishes between right and wrong. Regarding Hazrat Umar ra , the Holy Prophet sa said:
“If there were to be a prophet after me, it would be Umar.”(Tirmidhi, Vol. 1, book 46)

His son and Hafsa’s ra brother, Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar ra was also a close companion of the Holy Prophet sa . Salim narrates on the authority of his father a hadith in which Hazrat Hafsa ra relates one of her brothers’ dream to the Holy Prophet sa . The Messenger sa of Allah commented:

“Abdullah is a good man. [I wish for him] to observe Tahajud more often.”

Upon hearing this, Hazrat Abdullah ra became more observant of Tahajud prayer. (Sahih al-Bukhari)

A pious nature

The incident mentioned above is indicative of the atmosphere in which Hazrat Hafsa ra was raised. A devout Muslim herself, she grew up amidst the senior companions of the Holy Prophet sa and embodied their characteristics. She would often observe fasts and stay awake most of her nights offering Tahajud. Hence, it leaves little to question why she was chosen as one of the wives of the Prophet of Islam sa in this life and the Hereafter. The archangel Gabriel as attested to her traits before her husband:

“She fasts often and frequently prays at night she will be your wife in Paradise” (Mustadrak al-Hakim)

Marriage to the Holy Prophet sa

Hazrat Hafsa ra was first married to Hazrat Khunais bin Huzaifa ra who, owing to the atrocities of the Quraish, had migrated both to Abyssinia and Medina to seek God’s pleasure. At the Battle of Badr, he was severely wounded and later succumbed to his injuries.

The account of her marriage to the Holy Prophet sa is rather amusing, which Hazrat Umar ra narrates in the following words:

“When Hafsa bint Umar lost her husband, a companion of the Holy Prophet sa , Khunais bin Huzaifa al-Sahmi, who had fought at Badr and [later] died in Medina, I met Uthman bin Affan and suggested that he should marry Hafsa, to which he replied, ‘I will think it over.’ I waited for a few days and then he said to me, ‘I am of the opinion that I shall not marry at present.’ Then I met Abu Bakr and said, ‘If you wish, I can marry Hafsa bint Umar to you.’ He kept quiet and did not respond. I became agitated and it [displeased me] more than Uthman’s [response]. Some days later, the Prophet sa asked for her hand in marriage and I married her to him. Later, Abu Bakr approached me and said, ‘Perhaps you were angry with me when you offered me Hafsa for marriage and I gave no reply to you?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ Abu Bakr replied, ‘Nothing prevented me from accepting your offer except that I learnt that the Prophet of Allah had referred to the issue of Hafsa and I did not want to disclose his secret, but had he (the Prophet sa ) not married her, I would surely have accepted her.”(Sahih al-Bukhari)

Another hadith relates that when Hazrat Umar ra disclosed his predicament to the Holy Prophet sa and he received a response from both the companions, the Messenger of Allah as smiled and consoled him that Hafsa ra would get a better husband and Uthman ra would receive a better wife.

Thirst for knowledge

Hazrat Hafsa ra learnt to read and write at an early age and had memorised the Holy Quran by heart. Her knowledge of religious matters was very sound. At least 60 ahadith have been quoted by her. Like her father, she was inquisitive by nature and would not shy away from asking questions to quench her thirst for knowledge.

Sahih Muslim mentions an incident that once, the Holy Prophet sa told Hazrat Hafsa ra , “Of those who took the pledge of Aqabah, none would enter hell.” Hazrat Hafsa ra , who was of a curious disposition, replied, “[What about the verse which states] ‘There is not one of you, but will come to it.’” The Holy Prophet sa pointed her to the next verse which stated, “God shall save the righteous and leave the wrongdoers therein, on their knees.”(Sahih Muslim)

It ought to be understood that by no means had she meant to question the authority of the Holy Prophet sa out of defiance, rather it was her keen sense of observation which would often compel her to inquire and comprehend the intricacies of the Quranic injunctions more deeply.

Custodian of the Quran

During his lifetime, the Holy Prophet sa used to entrust Hazrat Hafsa ra with the parchments on which the Holy Quran was inscribed for safekeeping. After his demise, a large number of Muslims who had memorised the Holy Quran laid down their lives in the Battle of Yamama. Hazrat Abu Bakr ra ordered Hazrat Zaid ra bin Thabit to compile the Quran into a single book form. Hazrat Hafsa ra was also consulted in the matter.

By the end of the second Khilafat, Hazrat Umar ra bequeathed the compiled copy to his daughter which remained with her till her demise. Numerous copies were made from her version of the copy in the era of Hazrat Uthman ra and distributed throughout the Muslim world.

She died in the month of Shaban, 45 AH. Her funeral prayers were led by the governor of Medina, Marwan bin Al Hakam.

Many prominent companions of the Holy Prophet sa partook in her funeral, including Hazrat Abu Huraira ra . She was buried in Jannat-ul-Baqi alongside the rest of the mothers of the faithful.

Salam. Basically I have heard of two narrations which show why was Umar blessed with the title. I am going to copy both below:

This is a long story but I will give it short here. "Ibn Al-'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) related that he had asked 'Umar bin Al-Khattab why he had been given the epithet of Al-Farouque (he who distinguishes truth from falsehood), he replied: After I had embraced Islam, I asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him): 'Aren't we on the right path here and Hereafter?' The Prophet (Peace be upon him) answered: 'Of course you are! I swear by Allâh in Whose Hand my soul is, that you are right in this world and in the hereafter.' I, therefore, asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him) 'Why we then had to conduct clandestine activism. I swear by Allâh Who has sent you with the Truth, that we will leave our concealment and proclaim our noble cause publicly.' We then went out in two groups, Hamzah leading one and I the other. We headed for the Mosque in broad daylight when the polytheists of Quraish saw us, their faces went pale and got incredibly depressed and resentful. On that very occasion, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) attached to me the epithet of Al-Farouque." (narrated in Rahiq al-makhtum and by Abu Naeem and Ibn Asaakir as well)

It is related from Ibn Abbaas (رضي الله عنهما) that a hypocrite had a dispute with a Jew. The Jew summoned him to the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and the hypocrite summoned him to Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf. They [finally] took the case to the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), who passed a ruling in favour of the Jew. The hypocrite was not pleased and insisted that they go to Umar (رضي الله عنه) for a ruling. The Jew told Umar (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had already ruled in his favour and the hypocrite had not been pleased. He had insisted that they come to 'Umar (رضي الله عنه). 'Umar (رضي الله عنه) asked the hypocrite whether that was true, and he replied that it was. 'Umar (رضي الله عنه) instructed them to remain where they were until he returned. He went inside, picked up his sword, and came out and beheaded the hypocrite. He then said, 'This is my ruling for the person who is not satisfied with the ruling of Allaah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم).' Jibreel (عليه السلام) states, 'Umar (رضي الله عنه) differentiated between the truth and untruth, so he was named the Differentiator (al-Farooq).' [This is as stated in the Tafseer of Qadi Baydaawi (رحمه الله)]

I myself think that the first one maybe more accurate and Allah knows the best.

Calligraphy of Umar's name - History

Islamic calligraphy as the most important representation of Islam's cultural heritage relies on the aesthetic expression of spiritual-imagery that transcend the word form, rendering it a highly cherished art object. In a profound sense of its poetical quality, Qura'nic inspiration is deeply rooted in the humanistic spirituality, it bridges between the enigma of human existence and the pathos with which Deity looks at humanity. The aesthetic value associated with Islamic calligraphy's spiritual quality is clearly on the side of artistic creativity. Its script is applied on all kinds of objects to remind the observer of the mystical power of divine .

As Anthony Welch has observed the primary reason for the chronological, social, and geographic persuasiveness of the calligraphic arts in the Islamic world is found in the Holy Qur'an

Thy Lord is the Most Bounteous,
Who teacheth by the pen,
Teacheth man that which he knew not. -- (Surah al-Alaq, 96:3-5)

Al-Nam ā rah, the oldest Arabic document on record, inscribed on a stone discovered near Damascus by Dussaud, a French archaeologist, is dated 328 AD. It is written in clear cursive forms and hailed by many scholars as a definite evidence that the modern Arabic script had evolved from the late Nabataean script.

Arabic script, that encompasses 28 letters and uses long but not short vowels is derived from Nabataeans, who were of north-west Arabian origin (whence came their attachment to deities like Dushara and al-‘Uzza, as well as Arabian-type personal names). They modified Aramaic for writing. T. Nöldeke was the first to establish the link between the Nabataean and Arabic scripts in 1865, which later confirmed against J. Starcky’s Syriac thesis by Grohmann. The affiliation between Nabataean and Arabic scripts has now been fully documented by J. Healey with almost a complete consensus among scholars on the Nabatean origin of the Arabic script (Healy, J. 1990).

Chinese Quran Ming/Qing Dynasty ( 18th Century)
Niujie Mosque (simplified Chinese: 牛街礼拜寺 traditional Chinese: 牛街禮拜寺 pinyin: Niújiē lǐbàisì literally “Cow Street Mosque”) is the oldest mosque in Beijing, China. It was first built in 996 during the Liao Dynasty and was reconstructed as well as enlarged under the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1661-1722) of the Qing Dynasty.

During the 5th century, Arabian nomadic tribes who dwelled in the areas of Hirah and Anbar used the Nabatean script extensively. According to Muslim historians in the early part of the 6th century, the North Arabic script version was introduced to Makkah by Ibn Umayyah ibn' abd' Shams, who studied it by travelling in various regions. In particular, he met Bishar ibn ' Abd al-Malik, the brother of al-Ukaydir, the ruler of Dumat al-Jandal, who introduced and popularized the use of this script among the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad, Quraysh. Other tribes in nearby cities adopted with enthusiasm the art of writing.

Mosaic calligraphy, Jameh Mosque, Isfahan

The script used in the earliest written Qura'an was Jazm, which may have been scribed by Zaid ibn Thabit and released during the caliphate of Uthman ibn Affan (644-656). The stiff, angular, and well-proportioned letters of the Jazm script came in different styles representing different regions such as the Hiri, Anbari, Makki, and Madani and would later influence the development of the famous Kufi script. In addition to the Jazm, many other scripts were developed. Some became quite popular gradually evolving in sophistication, for instance first into unwieldy scripts such as the Ma'il and then with further elaboration to the elegant Kufi script, while other less popular scripts such as the Mukawwar, Mubsoott, and Mashq discontinued after a while.

The Jazm script

The Ma'il script of this one of the very earliest Qur'ans in the British Museum is written on parchment dating back to the eighth century AD .

Kufic script in an Ottoman Koran

The forms Arabic letters are limited to seventeen distinct shapes, whereby different sounds are created by placing one to three dots above or below these shapes. Short vowels are indicated by small diagonal strokes above or below letters. Calligraphers use dots and diacritical points in their creative styles to beautify and decorate the text, adding a transcendental dimension.

Early Calligraphic Development

After the death Prophet Mohammed in 632 AD, it was incumbent on the community to collect the dispersed sheets of the Quran in various regions and to verify their authenticity, as there were numerous huffaz who memorized and recited all the verses of the Qur'an by heart. Zayd bin Thabit, who served as a secretary for the Prophet, narrates:

Abu Bakr added, "I said to 'Umar, 'How can I do something which God's Messenger has not done?' 'Umar replied, 'By God, this is the most excellent idea.' So 'Umar kept on pressing, trying to persuade me to accept his proposal, till God opened my heart for it and I had the same opinion as 'Umar." Zayd added: Abu Bakr turned to me and said: "You are a wise young man and we do not suspect you of telling lies or of forgetfulness: and you used to write the Divine Inspiration for God's Messenger. Therefore, look for the Qur'an and collect it. "By God, if he had ordered me to shift one of the mountains from its place, it would not have been harder for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Qur'an. So I started locating Quranic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leaf-stalks of date palms and from the memories of men who knew it by heart.” (Bukhari)

The first Arabic script, Arabic Musnad, originated from Aramaic Nabataean, is discovered in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, in Yemen. This angular script reached its final form around 500 BC and was used until the 6th century.

Nebataean tomb inscription from Madeba, First century AD. Louvre

The first written copies of the Qur'an were written in the Jazm script that came in different styles associated with different regions such as the Hiri, Anbari, Makki, and Madani. The last two, which were named for two cities--Makki for Mekka, and Madani for Medina were the most prominent ones. They were written in two different styles Muqawwar which was cursive and easy to write, and Mabsut which was elongated and straight-lined.

Gradually, many other scripts were developed, such as those that after considerable technical improvements have survived like Mashq (extended) and Naskh (inscriptional), and those like Ma'il (slanting), a kind of primitive Kufic script that proved too barren and were abandoned.

Hijazi script . Developed in the Hijaz area, that includes the Holy city of Mecca and Medina, hence the name. It is an Arabic script style that is angular and squarish, but still have some slight curves to it. It is the earliest form of Arabic calligraphy, already being used in the emergence of Islam. It is also known as the Ma’il Script (sloping)
A Mamluk Qur'an, Attributed to Ibn Al_Wahid with illumination by Sandal, Egypyt Circa 1306-1311 AD
Bold black thuluth, gold and blue rosette verse roundels, drop-shaped gold and blue khamsa and 'ashr markers

The Reform of Arabic Writing

The expansion of Islamic culture into the Persian and Byzantine empires resulted in development of regional calligraphic schools and styles, interpreting the art of writing as an abstract expression of Islam, resulting in development of styles such as Ta'liq in Persia and Deewani in Turkey. The vast Islamic territory required a more efficient system of writing. The intense and dramatic early development of writing matured during the Umayyad dynasty (661-755), when two new scripts Tumar and Jali were appeared. These were created by the renowned calligrapher Qutbah al-Mihrr. Tumar that was formulated and extensively used during the reign of Muawieyah Ibn Abi Sufyan (660-679), the founder of the Umayyad dynasty, became the royal script of the succeeding Umayyad caliphs.

Caliph Abd-Al-Malik Ibn Marwan (685-705) legislated the compulsory use of Arabic script for all official and state registers, and on the behest of al-Hajjaj Ibn Yousuf al-Thaqafi (694-714), Nasr and Yehya refined the Tashkil system, and they introduced the use of dots and certain vowel signs as differentiating marks. The dots were placed either above or beneath the letter, either single or in groups of two or three.

Abul Aswad ad-Du'ali is credited with the invention of placing diacritical points to distinguish between certain identical consonants such as the 'gaf' and 'fa' in the Arabic alphabet. This system of diacritical marks is known as Tashkil (vocalization). Different colors also were introduced to differentiate between these marks--black for the diacriticals and red or yellow for the vocalics.

Later, during the Abbasid dynasty (750-1258), Ibn Jlan and Ibn Hama developed and improved the Tumar and Jali scripts. Calligraphy entered a phase of glory under the influence of Abbasid vizier and calligrapher Ibn Muqlah. According to Welch (1979), Ibn Muqlah is regarded as a figure of heroic stature who laid the basis for a great art upon firm principles and who created the Six Styles of writing: Kufi, Thuluth, Naskh, Riq'a, Deewani, and Ta'liq. Unfortunately, for many people and scribes the system was unclear and confusing. A more sophisticated system was needed.

Taj Mahal calligraphy, Qura'nic verses made of jasper or black marble, inlaid in white marble panels

Al-Khalil Ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi (718-786) introduced vowel signs that was inspired by the basic shapes or parts of certain letters like the sign 'hamza,' which is adopted from the letter 'ayn' (without its end-tail). The new system gained wide popularity throughout the Islamic world, and its calligraphy acquired the characteristics of beauty, sanctity, and versatility. The calligrapher Ibn Muqlah (886-940) was followed by Ibn al-Bawwab in the 11th century and Yaqut al-Musta'simi in the late 13th century who built upon Ibn Muqlah's achievements and raised its standards of harmony and elegance to new heights.

The Abbasid dynasty, the last of the Islamic caliphates, ended in 1258 when Baghdad was sacked by Chengiz Khan, his son Hulagu, and their Mongol armies. That was a major turning point in the history of Islamic culture, especially in the fields of arts and architecture. Abaqa (1265-1282), the son of Hulagu, established the Ilkhanid dynasty in Persia. Ghazan, taking the Muslim name of Mahmud, dedicated himself to the revival of Islamic culture, arts, and traditions. The impact of Ghazan's reforms continued through the reigns of his two successors, his brother Uljaytu (1304-1316) and his nephew Abu Sa'id (1317-1335).

Kufic script - The name of the script derived from the name of the city of Kufa in Iraq, derived from the old Nabatean script. This script is used for the first copies of the Al-Quran. It was the preferred script to be used in the 8th-10th Century. As with Hijazi, the main characteristic of this script is that is is angular and squarish in shape. There are two further variants of the Kufic script – Maghribi and Andalusi. These two script still retains the angular characteristics, however it is less rigid with more curves.
Calligraphy inside the dome of Selimiye Mosque, an Ottoman imperial mosque, in Edirne, Turkey.

The arts and architecture under the Timurids and their contemporaries set a standard of excellence and elegance for generations in Iran, Turkey, and India. During this era, special attention was given to the arts of the book -- elaborate arts involving transcription, illumination, illustration, and binding. Safadi (1979) notes in Islamic Calligraphy that the Timurid style aimed to create a balance between beauty and grandeur by combining clearly written scripts in large Qur'ans and extremely fine, intricate, softly-colored illumination of floral patterns integrated with ornamental eastern Kufic script so fine as to be almost invisible. The calligraphers of this era were the first to use various styles with different sizes of scripts on the same page when copying the Holy Qur'an. Under Timurid patronage, the most impressive and largest copies ever of the Qur'an were produced.

Single-volume Qur’an Iran, probably Isfahan dated 1101 AH (1689󈟆 AD) copied by Muhammad Riza al-Shirazi (main text) and Ibn Muhammad Amin Muhammad Hadi Shirazi (supplementary texts) possibly for the Safavid ruler, Shah Sulayman ink, gold and opaque watercolour on paper Khalili Collections

The Mamluks founded their dynasty (1260-1389) mainly in Egypt and Syria. During the Mamluk era, architecture was the pre-eminent art, and the Mamluks' patronage defined many Islamic arts. There were many master Mamluk calligraphers whose works exhibit superb artistic skills including Muhammad Ibn al-Wahid, Muhammad Ibn Sulayman al-Muhsini, Ahmad Ibn Muhammad al-Ansari, and Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad al-Khabbaz. Abd al-Rahman al-Sayigh is very well-known for copying the largest-size Qur'an in Muhaqqa script.

The Safavid dynasty (1502-1736) in Iran also produced alluring and attractive masterpieces of Islamic art. During the reigns of Shah Isma'il and his successor Shah Tahmasp (1524-1576), the Ta'liq script was formulated and developed into a widely used native script which led to the invention of a lighter and more elegant version called Nasta'liq. These two relatively young scripts soon were elevated to the status of major scripts.

Baba Shah Isfahani was famed as a master of the Nasta`liq style of calligraphy, the beautiful Persian hand developed primarily at the Timuri and Uzbek ateliers in Herat and Bukhara. A modern authority on calligraphy has remarked,

The dates and details of his life have been subject to some dispute. According to modern authorities like the Turkish scholar Habib Effendi, Baba Shah Isfahani had begun the study of calligraphy from the age of eight, and studied night and day for eight years with the celebrated Mir `Ali Haravi (d. 951/1544-5), who perfected the Nasta`liq style in Herat and Bukhara. Habib Effendi further states that Mir `Imad (d. 1012/1603), perhaps the most admired master of Nasta`liq, derived his style from Baba Shah. If correct, this information would put Baba Shah's birth at least sixteen years before Mir `Ali's death, or no later than 940/1533-4. On the other hand, Muhammad Qutb al-Din Yazdi wrote that he had met Baba Shah Isfahani in 995/1586-7, when the latter was still a young man, and he was amazed to see that he already excelled most of the calligraphers of the day. Qutb al-Din said that if he had lived longer, Baba Shah would have surpassed Sultan `Ali Mashhadi and Mir `Ali Haravi, and to achieve so much he must have had a divine gift.

Although Nasta'liq was a beautiful and appealing script, Turkish calligraphers continued to use Ta'liq as a monumental script for important occasions.

Ayat al-Kursi (Quran 2:255) Calligraphy in Nasta`liq Script

The word Nasta'liq is a compound word derived from Naskh and Ta'liq. The Persian calligrapher Mir Ali Sultan al-Tabrizi invented this script and devised the rules to govern it. Ta'liq and Nasta'liq scripts were used extensively for copying Persian anthologies, epics, miniatures, and other literary works -- but not for the Qur'an. There is only one copy of the Qur'an written in Nasta'liq. It was done by a Persian master calligrapher, Shah Muhammad al-Nishaburi, in 1539. The reign of Shah Abbas (1588-1629) was the golden era for this script and for many master calligraphers, including Kamal ad-Din Hirati, Ghiyath ad-Din al-Isfahani, and Imad ad-Din al-Husayni who was the last and greatest of this generation.

Taj Mahal's calligraphy in the 'thuluth' script, in a style associated particularly with the Persian calligrapher, Amanat Khan, who was resident at the Mughal court.

The Mughals lived and reigned in India from 1526 to 1858. This dynasty was the greatest, richest, and longest-lasting Muslim dynasty to rule India. The dynasty produced some of the finest and most elegant arts and architecture in the history of Muslim dynasties. A minor script appeared in India called Behari but was not very popular. Nasta'liq, Naskh, and Thuluth were adopted by the Muslim calligraphers during this era. The intense development of calligraphy in India led to the creation of new versions of Naskh and Thuluth. These Mughal scripts are thicker and bolder, the letters are widely spaced, and the curves are more rounded.

A complete Chinese Qur'an from Khanfu (Canton) Copied and illuminated by Abdul-Hayy Ibn Mahmud China, Khanfu (Guangzhou, formerly Canton) Dated AH 1000/ 1591 AD 276 folios

During the Mughal reign of Shah Jahan (1628-1658), calligraphy reached new heights of excellence, especially when the Taj Mahal was built. One name remains closely associated with the Taj Mahal, -- in particular with the superb calligraphic inscriptions displayed in the geometric friezes on the white marble -- that is the name of the ingenious calligrapher Amanat Khan, whose real name was Abd ul-Haq.

The Bibi Khanum Mosque , built in Samarkand between 1399 and 1404, commemorates Timur's wife. She was buried in a tomb located in a madrasa complex

This incomparable calligrapher came to India from Shiraz, Iran, in 1609. According to Okada and Joshi in Taj Mahal (1993) , Shah Jahan conferred the title of Amanat Khan upon this Iranian as a reward for the calligrapher's dazzling virtuosity. In all probability, Amanat Khan was entrusted with the entire calligraphic decoration of the Taj Mahal. During Jahangir's reign, Amanat Kahn had been responsible for the calligraphic work of the Akbar mausoleum at Sikandra and for that of the Madrasah Shahi Mosque at Agra.

Flowering Kufic, where the script is merged with vegetal and floral motifs.

It is quite possible that Amanat Khan was responsible for the choice of the epigraphs of the Taj Mahal -- that is, the Qur'anic verses and other religious quotations appearing on the mausoleum. He signed his work inside the calligraphic inscription on the left side of the southern iwan -- Amant Khan al-Shirazi, followed by the date (1638-39). The calligrapher's signature bears witness to his status and renown at the court, since many of his peers remained anonymous.

Muslims in China who used the Arabic scripts for liturgical purposes adopted the calligraphic styles of Afghanistan with slight modifications. Muslim Chinese calligraphers invented a unique script called Sini (Chinese). The features of this script are extremely rounded letters and very fine lines. Another style was derived from Sini for ornamental purposes and was used on ceramics and chinaware. This ornamental style is characterized by thick, triangular verticals and thin horizontals.

Fan tasmiya (invocation) by Liu Shengguo. "In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful." Original at the West Mosque, Cangzhou, Hebei. [AHG]

Placard in Sini script by Riyaduddin (Ma Yuanzhang), Zhangjiachuan, Gansu, c.1919. [AHG] The placard begins, "Why holdest thou to be forbidden that which God has made lawful to thee?" (Quran 66:1)

The Osmanli or Ottoman dynasty reigned in Anatolia from 1444 until 1923. Under Ottoman patronage, a new and glorious chapter of Islamic arts and architecture was opened, especially the arts of the book and Arabic calligraphy. The Ottomans not only adopted the most popular calligraphic scripts of the time, but also invented a few new and purely indigenous styles such as Tughra. Arabic calligraphy was highly esteemed and incorporated into such artistic objects as mosques, madrassahs, palaces, miniatures, and other literary works. The most accomplished Ottoman calligrapher of all time was Shaykh Hamdullah al-Amsani who taught calligraphy to the Sultan Bayazid II (1481-1520). Uthman Ibn Ali, better known as Hafiz Uthman (1698), was another figure in a line of famous calligraphers.

The most celebrated derivative scripts, from the Persian scripts Ta'liq and Nasta'liq, were Shikasteh, Deewani, and Jali. The Shikasteh style is characterized by extreme density resulting from tightly connected ligatures, very low and inclined verticals, and no marks.

Ibrahim Munif was a master calligrapher who is credited with the invention of Deewani script which was later refined by the Shaykh Hamdullah. Deewani is excessively cursive and structured. Its letters are undotted and joined together unconventionally. Jali script is attributed to Hafiz Uthman and his students. The major features of Jali are its profuse embellishments, making the script perfect for ornamental purposes. Arabic calligraphy acquired a sublime reputation for being the divine, moral, and artistic representation of Islamic faith and arts. The contributions of calligraphers and their legacies still remain today. The rules governing the use of scripts, the writing techniques, and the entire calligraphic culture the scripts generated are a valued part of the heritage of the Islamic world.

Calligrapher's Tool

The typical tools of the trade for a calligrapher included reed and brush pens, scissors, a knife for cutting the pens, an ink pot, and a sharpening tool. The reed pen, writes Safadi (1978), was the preferred pen of Islamic calligraphers. According to Safadi, the reed pen -- called a qalam -- remains an essential tool for a true calligrapher. "The traditional way to hold the pen," writes Safadi, "is with middle finger, forefinger, and thumb well spaced out along the (pen's) shaft. Only the lightest possible pressure is applied."

The the most sought after reeds to make qalams were those harvested from the coastal lands of the Persian Gulf. Qalams were valued objects and were traded across the entire Muslim world. An accomplished and versatile scribe would require different qalams in order to achieve different degrees of fineness. Franz Rosenthal notes in Abu Haiyan al-Tawhidi on Penmanship (1948) that shaping the reed was one of the significant skills acquired by the scribe:

The tools of an Ottoman scribe: a pen-rest, a pen-sharpener, scissors, and a reed-pen (qalam) from the late 1700's and early 1800's

Calligrapher's Qalams

The standard length of a qalam ranged from 9.5 to 12 inches with a diameter of about a half-inch. David James notes in Sacred and Secular Writings (1988) that these reeds were cut in the marshes and left to lie there for weeks until they had become supple. Then they were gathered, sorted, cut, and trimmed.

Calligraphers had thorough knowledge on how to identify the best cane suitable for a good pen, how to trim the nib and cut the point, and how to split the cane exactly in the center so that the nib had equal halves. A good pen was cherished and, sometimes, was even handed down to another generation. Other times, it was buried with the calligrapher when he died.

Ink was of many colors including black, brown, yellow, red, blue, white, silver, and gold. Black and brown inks were often used, since their intensities and consistencies could vary greatly. Many calligraphers provided instructions on how to prepare ink, while others implied that their recipes were guarded secrets. The ink made by the Persians, Indians, and the Turks would stay fresh for a considerable amount of time. Ink preparation could take several days and involve many complex chemical processes.

A verse from the Ali Imran Chapter from the Quran written in Tawqi' script

Unlike today's paper that is made of wood pulp, the main ingredient of early papers was cotton, silk or other fibers. The fiber-based paper was polished with a smooth stone like agate or jade to prepare it for calligrapher who drew guidelines with a reference dot. The script stood on these barely visible lines or sometimes was suspended from them.

As for the black ink, according to David James, although the preparation techniques varied in different regions, most were based on soot or lamp-black mixed with water and gum-Arabic. Other ingredients were indigo, minced gall-nuts, and henna. The final stage of preparation involved straining the ink through silk. Also, the ink might be perfumed if desired.

With its power to preserve knowledge and extend thought over time and space, ink was compared to the water of life that gives immortality, while human beings were likened to so many pens in Allah's hand.

Islamic calligraphy reached a new height under the artistic creativity of Indonesian carvers .

The Alif as calligraphy's unit of proportion

Geometric harmony of proportions play an essential role in Arabic calligraphy. According to Khatibi and Sijelmassi, the legibility of a text and the beauty of its line require rules of proportion. These rules of proportion are based upon the size of the alif the first letter of the Arabic alphabet.

The alif is a straight, vertical stroke, which depending on the calligrapher and the style of script, its height is between three to twelve dots and its width is equivalent to one dot. According to Khatibi and Sijelmassi that the Arabic dot is the unit of measurement in calligraphy. The Arabic dot is a square impression formed by pressing the tip of the calligrapher's pen to paper. The dimensions of each side of the square dot depend on the way the pen has been cut and on the pressure exerted by the fingers. Khatibi and Sijelmassi state that the pressure had to be sufficiently delicate and precise to separate the two sides of the nib, or point, of the pen. The calligrapher's reed pen, known as a Tomar, consisted of 24 hairs of a donkey. How the pen was cut depended upon considerations like the calligrapher's usage, the traditions of his native land, and the type of text being transcribed.

Mohammed, according to Welsh (1980) "Mslims perceived in the form of the prophet Muhammad's name the shape of aworshiper's body bent in prayer." Note the harmonizing measurements based on the number of Arabic dots.

"The important thing," write Khatibi and Sijelmassi, "was to establish the height for each text. Once the calligrapher had his alif module, he would draw it in the same way throughout the text. This was the general geometric principle, although in practice the calligrapher introduced variations. The arrangement of these variations is of great interest." The alif also was used as the diameter of an imaginary circle within which all Arabic letters could be written. Thus, three elements -- that were chosen by the calligrapher -- became the basis of proportion. These elements were the height of the alif, the width of the alif, and the imaginary circle.

In Naskh script, for example, the alif is five dots high. In Thuluth script, the alif is nine dots high with a crochet or hook of three dots at the top. A single character, which is the fundamental element in calligraphic writing, has a head, body and tail. The characters of calligraphic script also are interrelated with relationships of position, direction and interval. An interplay of curves and uprights, write Khatibi and Sijelmassi, articulate the words, vowels and points.

Evidence from Three Early Historians that the Library of Alexandria was Destroyed by Order of Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab

In September 2020 I found the translation by Emily Cottrell of the account of the destruction of the Alexandrian Library written by the twelfth century Egyptian Arab historian and encyclopedist, Alī ibn Yūsuf al-Qifṭī (Al-Qifti) posted in Roger Pearse's blog on September 24, 2010. Cottrell translated the passages from T&rsquoarīḫ al-Ḥukamā&rsquo by ʻAlī ibn Yūsuf Qifṭī edited by August Müller and Julius Lippert (Leipzig, Dieterich, 1903) pp. 354-357.

A link added to Pearse's blog took me to blog entitled Dioscorus Boles on Coptic Nationalism. In an entry dated October 5, 2017 Boles reprinted the translation provided by Pearse with clarifying commentary:

"Roger Pearse, an English scholar and blogger on Late Antiquity and Patristics, has published a translation into English of the account of the Muslim historian al-Qifti on the destruction of the Library of Alexandria. The translation was made by a French scholar, Emily Cottrell, and she based it on Julius Lippert&rsquos edition.[1] It seems the first translation into English of the first account of the destruction of the Library of Alexandria.

"Al-Qifti[2] (c. 1172&ndash1248)[3] was an Egyptian Arab scholar and an Ayyubid vizier. He wrote several books but his book Ta&rsquorikh al-hukama&rsquo (History of Learned Men),[4] is what made him famous. It contains 414 biographies of physicians, philosophers and astronomers including that of Yaḥyā al-Naḥwī. The book was translated into German by the Austrian scholar Julius Lippert (1839 &ndash 1909) but never into English.

"It is in the biography of Yaḥyā al-Naḥwī that ibn al-Qifti tells us the story of the destruction of the Library of Alexandria at the hands of the Arab invaders of Egypt in the seventh century on a direct order by the second successor of Muhammad, Caliph Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭab (634 &ndash 644 AD), to his emir, &lsquoAmr ibn al-ʿĀṣ. Al-Qifti is the first one who tells us about this."

Both Pearse and Bose quote the full translation of the relevant passages, so I am inclined to requote only the most relevant passages of Cottrell's translation, under the assumption that one or both of these blogs will have reasonable longevity in cyberspace:

"Then one day Yaḥyā said to ʿAmr, &ldquoYou have control of everything in Alexandria, and have seized all sorts of things in it.&rdquo &ldquoAnything which is of use to you I will not object to, but anything which is not useful to you we have a priority over you,&rdquo said ʿAmr to him, (adding) &ldquoWhat do you want of them?&rdquo (Yaḥyā) said, &ldquoThe books of wisdom which are in the royal stores they have fallen under your responsibility, but you don&rsquot have any use for them, while we do need them.&rdquo (ʿAmr) said to him: &ldquoWho gathered [vii] these books, and what is (so) important about them?&rdquo and Yaḥyā answered him: &ldquoPtolemy Philadelphus, one of the kings of Alexandria in his reign, science and the people of science were in esteem, and he searched for the books of knowledge and ordered them to be collected, and he dedicated a special store-houses to them. They were assembled, and he entrusted the responsibility to a man named Zamira [viii] and he supported him in order that he could collect them, [after] searching for them and buying them and inciting sellers to bring them and he did so. And in a short time he had assembled 54,120 books.

"When the king was informed of the [successful] collection and verified this number he told Zamīra: &ldquoDo you think that there is a book remaining in the world that we don&rsquot have?&rdquo And Zamīra said: There are still in the world a great mass [of books], as in Sind, and in India and in Persia and in Jurjan [ancient Hyrcania] and in Armenia and Babylonia and Mosul and among the Byzantines [ix]. And the king was pleased with this and he told him: &ldquoContinue in pursuing [your duty] and so he did until the death of the king. And these books are until today kept and preserved as the responsibility of the governors working for the kings and their successors. And &lsquoAmr started to wish [to have] for himself what he was hearing from Yaḥyā and he was impressed with it, but he told him: &ldquoI cannot make any order without first asking the permission of the Prince of the Believers [x] &lsquoUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb and he wrote to &lsquoUmar, informing him of Yaḥyā&rsquos speech as we have reported it and asking for his instructions about what to do. And he received a letter from &lsquoUmar telling him [what follows]: &ldquoAs for the books you mention, if there is in it what complies with the Book of God [Q&rsquouran], then it is already there and is not needed and if what is in these books contradict the Book of God there is no need for it. And you can then proceed in destroying them.&rdquo &lsquoAmr ibn al-&lsquoĀṣ then ordered by law [xi] that they should be dispersed in the public baths and to burn them in the bath&rsquos heaters. And I was told that at that time several public baths used [the books] for heating, bringing some fame to new public baths which later on were forgotten afterwards and it is said that they had enough heating for six months. One who listens to what has happened can only be amazed!"

In another blog post dated October 5, 2017 Dioscorus Boles quoted a parallel acdount of the destruction of the Alexandrian library by the 13th century archbishop of the Syriac Orthodox Church in Persia, Gregory Bar Hebraeus. Here I quote all of Boles' comments and translation except for his extensive footnotes, the links to which are preserved:

"As we have seen in a previous article, it was the 13 th century Arab historian of the Ayyubid period, al-Qifti (c. 1172&ndash1248), who first wrote about the destruction of the Library of Alexandria at the hands of the Arabs who invaded Egypt and occupied it in 642 AD. Another writer who wrote about it in the 13 th century was Gregory Bar Hebraeus (1226 &ndash 1286), an archbishop of Syriac Orthodox Church in Persia.

"Bar Hebraeus wrote in Syriac and Arabic many books. One of his Arabic books on history is called Mukhtasar fî&rsquol-Duwal, which was published and translated into Latin by the English scholar Edward Pococke (1604 &ndash 1691) under the title Historia Compendiosa Dynastiarum.[1] I have translated the passage describing the destruction of the Library of Alexandria in Bar Hebraeus, Historia Compendiosa Dynastiarum.[2] AS the reader will see, Bar Herbaeus takes from al-Qifti. The translation is as follows:

"And in this time Yahya[3] who is known to us by the name Grammaticus[4], which means al Nahawi (the Grammarian), became famous with the Muslims. He was Alexandrian and used to believe in the faith of the Jacobite[5] Nazarenes[6] , and confess the beliefs of Saweres[7]. He then recanted what the Nazarenes used to believe in the Trinity, and the bishops met up with him in Misr[8] and requested him to return back from what he was at, and he did not return back to their faith, and he lived until Amr ibn al-Ass[9] conquered the city of Alexandria. Amr entered Alexandria and got to know about Yahya&rsquos position in sciences, and Amr was generous to him and he heard his philosophical sayings which the Arabs were not familiar with, and he became fond of him. And Amr was sensible, a good listener and thinker so Yahya accompanied Amr and did not depart from him. Then one day Yahya said to Amr, &ldquoYou have control of everything in Alexandria, and seized all sorts of things in it. Anything which is of use to you I will not object to it, but anything which is not useful to you we deserve it more.&rdquo Amr said, &ldquoWhat things you are in need of?&rdquo He replied, &ldquoThe books of wisdom that are in the royal stores.&rdquo Amr said to him, &ldquoI cannot issue orders about them until the Amir of the Believers, Umar ibn al-Khattab[10], gives his permission.&rdquo And Amr wrote to Omar and told him of what Yahya had said. Omar wrote to him saying, &ldquoAbout the books you have mentioned, if there is something in them that goes along with what is in the Book of Allah[11], the Book of Allah suffices and if in them there is something that contradicts the Book of Allah, then there is no need for them.&rdquo And he ordered that they get destroyed and so Amr ibn al-As started distributing them to the baths of Alexandria to be burned in their furnaces, and so the books heated the baths for a period of six month. Listen to what had happened, and marvel at it!"

In an additional blog post dated October 6, 2017 Dioscorus Boles quoted a somewhat earlier account of the destruction of the Alexandrian Library by the Arab physician, philosopher, historian, Arabic grammarian and traveler Abd Al-Latif al-Baghdadi: Boles wrote:

"In two previous articles, which you can access here and here, we have seen the evidence for the destruction of the Library of Alexandria as one finds in the accounts of the Muslim historian al-Qifti and the Christian scholar Bar Herbaeus, both from the 13 th century, with the latter copying from the former. Both tell us very clearly that the Library of Alexandria was destroyed by the Arabs on direct instruction by the Second Muslim Caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab (634 &ndash 644 AD). This makes the year of its destruction lies sometime between the years 642-644, since the fall of Alexandria in the Arab hands occurred in 642 AD.

"We are told that the Arab emir, &lsquoAmr ibn al-&lsquoĀṣ, consulted ibn al-Khattab on what to do with the books in the Library of Alexandria. Ibn al-Khattab&rsquos answer came quick to him:

&ldquoAs for the books you mention, if there is in it what complies with the Book of God [Q&rsquouran], then it is already there and is not needed and if what is in these books contradict the Book of God there is no need for it. And you can then proceed in destroying them.&rdquo[1]

&lsquoAmr ibn al-&lsquoĀṣ then ordered that the books should be dispersed in the public baths and to burn them in the bath&rsquos heaters. Al-Qifti adds: &ldquoAnd I was told that at that time several public baths used [the books] for heating, bringing some fame to new public baths which later on were forgotten afterwards and it is said that they had enough heating for six months. One who listens to what has happened can only be amazed!&rdquo[2]"

"Another Arab writer who confirms the story that the Library of Alexandria was burnt on the orders of the Muslim Caliph, Umar ibn al-Khattab, is Abd al-Latif al-Baghdadi (1162&ndash1231).[3] He was born in Baghdad in the Abbasid Caliphate and travelled to Egypt and wrote a book on his findings and observations of it called in Arabic &ldquoكتاب الإفادة والاعتبار في الأمور المشاهدة والحوادث المعاينة بأرض مصر&rdquo,[4] which he finished writing in 600 AH (1203/1204 AD). On our story, he writes:[5]
[Here Boles publishes the Arabic text.]

"The translation of the above Arabic text is as follows:

"And I also saw around &lsquoamoud al-sawari [Pompey&rsquos Pillar] some of the columns that were intact and some that were broken and it looks they were [once] roofed, and that &lsquoamoud al-sawari had a dome which was supported by it. And I think that it was the hallway in which Aristotle and his followers after him taught and that it was the house of sciences which Alexander [the Great] had built, and in which was the library that was burnt by Amr ibn al&lsquoĀṣ on permission by Umar ibn al-Khattab.

"Here we have perhaps the earliest mention of the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, which the writer calls &ldquoخزانة الكتب&rdquo, by the Arabs who invaded Egypt and captured Alexandria in 642 AD after having consulted Umar ibn al-Khattab, Muhammad&rsquos second successor."

In a different blog post on October 6, 2017 Boles cited a reference in the work of the 14th century Egyptian Arab historian Al-Maqrizi regarding the destruction of the Alexandrian library:

"In three previous articles (here, here and here) we have seen the accounts of three writers (al-Qifti, Bar Hebraeus and al-Baghdadi) on the destruction of the Library of Alexandria by the Arabs on direct commandment by the Muslim Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (643 &ndash 644 AD). Now, we shall look at the account of the Egyptian historian al-Maqrizi.

"Al-Maqrizi (1364&ndash1442)[1] lived during the Burji Mamuluks who ruled Egypt from 1371 to 1517. Al-Maqrizi was a prolific writer but his fame is due mainly to his voluminous book al mawaiz wa al-&lsquoi&rsquotibar bi dhikr al-khitat wa al-&lsquoathar otherwise known as al-Khitat al-maqrizia.

"In al-Khitat al-maqrizia, Maqrizi talks in a long section about what the Arabs call &lsquoamoud al-sawari (عمود السواري) by which they mean &lsquoPompey&rsquos Pillar&rsquo. One passage of the section reads:

"And here is its translation:

&ldquoIt is to be mentioned that this pillar was one of pillars that used to support the hallway of Aristotle who used to teach wisdom in it. It was a house of learning, and khizanat al-kotob (خزانة الكتب)[the Library of Alexandria], which &lsquoAmr ibn al-&lsquoAs burned on the commandment of Umar ibn al-Khattab, May Allah be pleased with him, was in it.&rdquo[2]".

Calligraphy of Umar's name - History

Medieval Sourcebook:
Pact of Umar, 7th Century?

The Status of Non-Muslims Under Muslim Rule

After the rapid expansion of the Muslim dominion in the 7th century, Muslims leaders were required to work out a way of dealing with Non-Muslims, who remained in the majority in many areas for centuries. The solution was to develop the notion of the "dhimma", or "protected person". The Dhimmi were required to pay an extra tax, but usually they were unmolested. This compares well with the treatment meted out to non-Christians in Christian Europe. The Pact of Umar is supposed to have been the peace accord offered by the Caliph Umar to the Christians of Syria, a "pact" which formed the patter of later interaction.

We heard from 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Ghanam [died 78/697] as follows: When Umar ibn al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, accorded a peace to the Christians of Syria, we wrote to him as follows:

In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate. This is a letter to the servant of God Umar [ibn al-Khattab], Commander of the Faithful, from the Christians of such-and-such a city. When you came against us, we asked you for safe-conduct (aman) for ourselves, our descendants, our property, and the people of our community, and we undertook the following obligations toward you:

We shall not build, in our cities or in their neighborhood, new monasteries, Churches, convents, or monks' cells, nor shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins or are situated in the quarters of the Muslims.

We shall keep our gates wide open for passersby and travelers. We shall give board and lodging to all Muslims who pass our way for three days.

We shall not give shelter in our churches or in our dwellings to any spy, nor bide him from the Muslims.

We shall not teach the Qur'an to our children.

We shall not manifest our religion publicly nor convert anyone to it. We shall not prevent any of our kin from entering Islam if they wish it.

We shall show respect toward the Muslims, and we shall rise from our seats when they wish to sit.

We shall not seek to resemble the Muslims by imitating any of their garments, the qalansuwa, the turban, footwear, or the parting of the hair. We shall not speak as they do, nor shall we adopt their kunyas.

We shall not mount on saddles, nor shall we gird swords nor bear any kind of arms nor carry them on our- persons.

We shall not engrave Arabic inscriptions on our seals.

We shall not sell fermented drinks.

We shall clip the fronts of our heads.

We shall always dress in the same way wherever we may be, and we shall bind the zunar round our waists

We shall not display our crosses or our books in the roads or markets of the Muslims. We shall use only clappers in our churches very softly. We shall not raise our voices when following our dead. We shall not show lights on any of the roads of the Muslims or in their markets. We shall not bury our dead near the Muslims.

We shall not take slaves who have beenallotted to Muslims.

We shall not build houses overtopping the houses of the Muslims.

(When I brought the letter to Umar, may God be pleased with him, he added, "We shall not strike a Muslim.")

We accept these conditions for ourselves and for the people of our community, and in return we receive safe-conduct.

If we in any way violate these undertakings for which we ourselves stand surety, we forfeit our covenant [dhimma], and we become liable to the penalties for contumacy and sedition.

Umar ibn al-Khittab replied: Sign what they ask, but add two clauses and impose them in addition to those which they have undertaken. They are: "They shall not buy anyone made prisoner by the Muslims," and "Whoever strikes a Muslim with deliberate intent shall forfeit the protection of this pact."

from Al-Turtushi, Siraj al-Muluk, pp. 229-230.

[This was a from hand out at an Islamic History Class at the University of Edinburgh in 1979. Source of translation not given.]

This text is part of the Internet Medieval Source Book. The Sourcebook is a collection of public domain and copy-permitted texts related to medieval and Byzantine history.

Unless otherwise indicated the specific electronic form of the document is copyright. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the source. No permission is granted for commercial use.

(c)Paul Halsall Jan 1996
[email protected]

The Internet History Sourcebooks Project is located at the History Department of Fordham University, New York. The Internet Medieval Sourcebook, and other medieval components of the project, are located at the Fordham University Center for Medieval Studies.The IHSP recognizes the contribution of Fordham University, the Fordham University History Department, and the Fordham Center for Medieval Studies in providing web space and server support for the project. The IHSP is a project independent of Fordham University. Although the IHSP seeks to follow all applicable copyright law, Fordham University is not the institutional owner, and is not liable as the result of any legal action.

© Site Concept and Design: Paul Halsall created 26 Jan 1996: latest revision 20 January 2021 [CV]


Kalli- is a Greek root meaning "beautiful", and "beautiful" in the case of calligraphy means artistic, stylized, and elegant. Calligraphy has existed in many cultures, including Indian, Persian, and Islamic cultures Arabic puts a particularly high value on beautiful script, and in East Asia calligraphy has long been considered a major art. Calligraphers in the West use pens with wide nibs, with which they produce strokes of widely differing width within a single letter.

Time to Remember

In his forward to The Lanterns of the King of Galilee , a historical novel based on the life of Daher Al-Umar published in 2011 in Arabic , and in English in 2014, Nasrallah writes, “What saddens me now is that I didn’t come to know this great man earlier in my life.” The man to which he is referring is Daher Al-Umar Al-Zaidani, also known as The King of Galilee, whose remarkable life spanned from 1689 to 1775 .

Daher Al-Umar governed most of historic Palestine and shaped its economy and politics as well as the life of its inhabitants for the better part of the 18th century. He established ties – economic and political – with European empires and created a boost in the economy and lives of the people of Palestine that was unprecedented. Palestine, under Daher, was the closest thing to an independent state one could achieve in 18th century Levant.

I had only heard of Daher Al-Umar from reading Nasrallah’s book, which shows that Nasrallah is correct as he continues to say in his forward, “Unfortunately many people are ignorant of what Daher achieved toward establishing an autonomous Arab homeland in Palestine.” However, what is astonishing is that Nasrallah himself admits that he only came across the figure of Daher in 1985 while working on his epic novel, Time of White Horses , published in Arabic in 2007 and in English in 2012.

Stop Using Hotep as an Insult

For those who don’t know, hotep is an ancient Egyptian term that means “to be at peace.” This is why it’s distressing to me when I see people trying to use hotep as an insult—some of the writers at the Root are especially at fault for helping degrade the term hotep. These people either do not know what the term means or they know and are deliberately trying to demean African history and culture. The term has been coming up a lot lately in regards to Umar Johnson. Umar has been in the headlines because he is currently under investigation and faces losing his psychology license. Umar has also been caught up in a feud with Tariq Nasheed, the director of the Hidden Colors series.

Damon Young gave this definition of hotep:

As African people we have been subjected to having our history and culture degraded, distorted, and destroyed for centuries now. The people who have bastardized what hotep means are contributing to that problem. Take Michael Harriot, for example. Harriot is a writer at the Root and he is constantly using his platform there to criticize Umar Johnson. Some of these criticisms have merit, but other times they have gone so far that Harriot himself has had to apologize and admit he was wrong. In his latest article on Umar, Harriot ironically mocks Umar as being a “Hotepologist” and miseducator, even though Harriot is operating as a miseducator himself by distorting what the term hotep means. Another article mocks the fight between Umar and Tariq as being “The Real Husbands of Hotep”. Hotep means to be at peace, so how does that term fit in with the discord that we have seen being displayed between Umar and Tariq. When Umar and Seti had their feud in 2016, another writer at the Root described it as a “Hotep Hoedown”.

I’m not saying that we do not have people within our communities that are exploiting the Pan-African struggle for their own personal benefit, but surely we can find better names to describe such people. Among Europeans names like Benedict Arnold and Brutus are associated with a person being a traitor because those two men were traitors. In Egyptian history hotep was the name of the great physician and the designer of the first pyramid, Imhotep. Hotep was also the name of some of Egypt’s greatest pharaohs, such as Amenhotep I, Amenhotep III, and Amenhotep IV (who later became Akhenaten). The use of hotep as an insult has been directed at Umar Johnson very frequently, but Umar himself also has no issue with using hotep in that same negative context. The term hotep should be associated with its rightful origin, rather than being used in a derogatory manner. The real hoteps were great thinkers and great rulers, not the fools and frauds that some of us are trying to associate the term hotep with.

Dwayne is the author of several books on the history and experiences of African people, both on the continent and in the diaspora. His books are available through Amazon. You can also follow Dwayne on Facebook.

I Was Wrong. His Name Is Doctor Umar Johnson

A little more than a week ago I wrote two scathing articles about Umar Johnson. I called him a charlatan (I think . I call a lot of charlatans “charlatan”). I castigated him for taking people’s money without showing them where it went. I said that there was no evidence he ever tried to buy a school or would ever build a school.

Most famously, I insinuated that he never earned a doctorate. I researched. I looked through the yearbooks of every school he ever attended. I went through the archived graduation programs. I watched videos of the graduation ceremonies. I paid my own money to verify his degrees. To be clear, instead of outright saying that he wasn’t a doctor, I said that I could find no evidence that Johnson had earned a graduate degree, but I knew what I was insinuating. I think I’m pretty good at this writing thing. I knew what people would think.

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It turns out that Umar Johnson is a doctor of psychology. The National Student Clearinghouse verified it for me late last night after researching his files. You can view the certificate here .

Here is my problem with stupid people and narcissists. They will argue their side of a debate just to save face. They can know they are wrong, yet they will still belabor their point. They don’t want truth or understanding they just want to be right. Dumb people do that. It’s why Donald Trump’s personal mantra is, “Never admit you were wrong. It shows weakness.”

I have always said privately and publicly that I agree with a lot of what Johnson says. Part of my problem with him (aside from our disagreement about homosexuality ruining the black race and some of his more misogynistic rhetoric) was that many people listened to him because he said he was a doctor of psychology. Some people gave him the benefit of the doubt simply because of his credentials.

I don’t think “the white man’s degree” makes Johnson any more or less credible. He was the one going around calling himself “doctor.” If his credentials were fake, then, in my opinion, his foundation was built on lies.

There are opponents of Johnson who will say that we are now giving him credibility. His fans will say I slandered him and will want Hoteparations. Look through what I wrote about him and tell me this: Where’s the lie?

I call balls and strikes. I did not have a vendetta against Johnson nor am I now an Umar apologist. I will admit that I use humor and sarcasm to make my point, and I know that it can come off as smug. Some people don’t like it, and I’m fine with that. You know why I’m comfortable doing it?

Because I’ll never be too self-important or high-strung to say I was wrong.

I stand by what I said about him. No one knows where any of the money has gone that he collected. No one has seen any evidence that he is building a school. I think he’s homophobic. I believe he’s a misogynist. I believe he inflated his connection with Frederick Douglass or doesn’t know what the term “descendant” means. I believe he had an affair with a stripper. I believe he mixes opinion with facts and sells it as truth.

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I also believe that he has some good rhetoric and ideas. I don’t believe that anyone should dismiss every single thing he says because of the things I said in the previous paragraph. I do feel that he erases so much of the good with inane, unfounded, bullshit mythology and Hotepery. I believe he takes advantage of people who want to be taught who aren’t critical thinkers.

Ultimately, I believe in nuance. I believe it is possible to be a scholar and a charlatan. I would still like to know what happened to those people’s money. I actually hope that he builds a school for black boys. But there is one thing I must be clear about:

His name is Doctor Umar Johnson.

World-renowned wypipologist. Getter and doer of "it." Never reneged, never will. Last real negus alive.

Watch the video: Umar Urdu Calligraphy