Hijazi script was already in use at the time that Islam was developing, it was one of the earliest scripts.
In Week 2, Neelam Hussain will look in greater detail at calligraphy, particularly in relation to Quranic manuscripts. Key points to note about the Hijazi script are its very angular nature, particularly in comparison to other Arabic scripts. It also tends to slope very obviously to the right. In general it contains no or few dots or diacritical marks to indicate the vowel signs which later come in. It does however use dashes above the main graphic letters to differentiate the consonants.
To be able to read the script it helps if you have a working knowledge of the text. As a primarily oral tradition, this would have been the case when the original text of the Qur’an was collated under Caliph Uthman.
Many modern Muslims find that they can read the text of the Birmingham Qur’an. This is in part because the text is so clear, but also because they know the Qur’an by heart and so they can relate to what they see on the page even though it is missing the key diacritical marks to indicate the vowels.