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Qur'anic calligraphy brings cultures together: Ibne Kaleem
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 07 - 05 - 2014

Muhammad Mujahid Syed
Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH – “After the advent of Islam, Arabic language didn't remain confined to the field of the poetry and entertainment.
It operated as international lingua franca and the great majority of communication in Arabic was between people who came from non-Arabic backgrounds,” said Ibne Kaleem famous Pakistani calligrapher and inventor of Khatte Ra'ana in an interview to Saudi Gazette.
“Arabic became a language of science, art and culture. The Qur'anic script and Islamic calligraphy, also known as Arabic calligraphy (the artistic practice of handwriting, calligraphy, and by extension, of bookmaking) became an apple of the eye of different nations. Humanity accepted the Kufic, Nasta'leeq, Naskh, Thuluth, Ruqqa'a and Deewani scripts as its lost treasures and it saved and developed it,” he said.
“Arabic calligraphy was based on the Arabic script, which for a long time was used by all Muslims in their respective languages. They used it to represent God because Islam forbids representing God with images.
Calligraphy is especially revered among Islamic arts since it was the primary means for the preservation of the Qur'an.
“Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Turkish calligraphy is associated with abstract arabesque motifs on the walls and ceilings of mosques as well as on the page. Contemporary artists in the Indian Subcontinent and the Islamic world draw on the heritage of calligraphy to use calligraphic inscriptions or abstractions in their work. Pakistani calligraphers and artists too are famous for their innovations in this field,” added Ibne Kaleem.
Ibne Kaleem, who hails from Multan, Pakistan, is in the Kingdom to participate in the 3rd Islamic calligraphy exhibition in Jeddah. Ibne Kaleem, originally Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal was born on Jan. 3, 1946, in Multan.
He is the descendant of famous scholar Haji Muhammad Abdullah Khan Lingah.
He memorized the Holy Qur'an when he was 11 years old. He is MA in Arabic language and had learned calligraphy from his famous father Muhammad Hasan Kaleem Khan “Ahsan At Tahreer”.
“When I entered this realm there were many famous calligraphers. I thank all of them that I learned from each of them. But the most profound impression I had on my mind and character was of my father who had spent his life in the field of calligraphy and who bestowed all the honors upon me by making me a calligrapher and the servant of the Holy Qur'an,” Ibne Kaleem said.
“I know all the seven calligraphic styles and personally I like Thuluth and Nasta'leeq. Thutluth is used in architecture. I have invented Khate Ra'ana that is also used in architecture. It has become popular in Pakistan. It's used in engraving verses of the Holy Qur'an in the stones, wood and chips,” he told.
Ibne Kaleem draws a clear line between Qur'anic calligraphy and the traditional calligraphy.
“Qur'anic calligraphy has been a movement of elegance and unparalleled beauty in the Oriental and world culture.
Its evolution is matchless and cannot be compared with any other form of art. Its beauty brought different people and cultures together. No such type of other example is found in human history,” he said.
Ibne Kaleem has won many prestigious awards and has toured different nations. His calligraphy exhibitions found many visitors and fans in India, the Gulf countries and Europe.
According to him his innovation Khate Ra'ana was very successful in attracting a large number of people who have artistic sense and the knowledge of Qur'anic and Arabic calligraphy.
Ibne Kaleem, who along with other Pakistani calligraphers is participating in the 3rd Islamic calligraphy exhibition in Jeddah, as a senior calligrapher and a seasoned artist hoped the “Beauty of the Message” event that is organized by the Pakistani Consulate and the World Muslim Congress jointly will bring the people together and will help strengthen Saudi and Pakistani relations too.

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