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Cursive scripts: ‘The Six Pens’

During the 10th century, various reforms were introduced to the Arabic script to further aid the ease and accuracy of reading.

This was achieved through the introduction of the six proportional cursive scripts. The Abbasid vizier Ibn Muqlah (d. 940) used a system of dots to fix the proportions of cursive scripts. Cursive scripts were later codified by the famous calligrapher Ibn al-Bawwab (d. 1022) into six major styles that remain in use until our current day. These styles are:

thuluth (ثلث) naskh (نسخ) rayḥan (ريحان)
muḥaqaq (محقَّق) riqʿa (رقعة) tawqīʿ (توقيع)

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This article is from the free online course:

The Birmingham Qur'an: Its Journey from the Islamic Heartlands

University of Birmingham