Tue, Mar 16 | Online

Introduction to Calligraphy with Shahryanshah Sirajuddin

This is a semester-long course, which immerses the student in the classical way of learning Arabic calligraphy, as has been taught in the Osmanli (Ottoman) tradition for over 500 years. Our teacher, Shahryanshah Hoca is an award-winning master calligrapher in the Osmanli...
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Introduction to Calligraphy with Shahryanshah Sirajuddin

Time & Location

Mar 16, 7:00 PM PDT

About the Course

Introduction to Calligraphy:

The Introduction to Calligraphy course is one semester-long, and will prepare you for the Calligraphy Apprenticeship Program.

The most important aspect of this class is having your work corrected by a master calligrapher, so that in your practice you will not be continually copying mistakes. The Islamic arts are transmitted through the Ijaza system and calligraphy has been preserved for over 1000 years through this methodology. Our teacher, Shahryanshah Hoca is an award-winning master calligrapher in the Osmanli (Ottoman) tradition of the Riqa, Diwani, Jali Diwani, Naskh, Thuluth and Jali Thuluth scripts. Students are expected to allocate 10 hours per week for practicing, preparing one’s lessons for submission, and attending live online classes.

Shahryanshah Hoca starts with the Riqa script as it is the easiest one to learn and most students gain proficiency in about 3 months. Until the early 20th century, Riqa was the handwriting script used on a daily basis in Osmanli lands, so everyone who started learning calligraphy already knew it. When you start learning calligraphy, you are initially learning how to hold a qalam, how to sharpen it, how to dilute your ink, how much ink your qalam holds, and learning the pressure needed to transfer the ink from the qalam to the paper. You are also learning subtleties of the angles, measurements, lines and twists while writing the letters.

The Divinely inspired purpose of calligraphy is not only learning the mechanics of writing the letters, which are based on philosophical and spiritual understandings, but is also a means of disciplining the nafs. "Learn calligraphy with your soul" is a message Shahryanshah Hoca repeats often to his students. It is considered an Islamic science (akin to fiqh and tafseer) because it preserves the written Word of Allah, and it is a means of purification of the nafs. There are many texts on the subject written by present and past scholars. Understanding the intentions of the scholars who developed and preserved this Islamic science helps refine one's intention before embarking on the calligraphic path. May Allah Grant Tawfiq to all of your endeavors.

MATERIALS: North American students can buy the Shahryanshah Hoca Calligraphy Set and Essentials Calligraphy Set from Deen Arts Foundation. International students please check availability locally and online.

  • Bamboo/reed qalam in sizes: 2mm, 3mm, and 5mm
  • Felt or leather pad for under your paper
  • Arabic calligraphy paper (glossy laser printer paper if not available)
  • Ink, lika and inkwell
  • Leather hand rest (other materials are also acceptable)
  • Knife for sharpening the qalam (kalem terash, olfa cutters or olfa heavy duty cutters)
  • Maqta': for cutting the nib of the qalam. Scissors can be used as well.
  • Fine sandpaper

Upon registration you will receive multiple videos discussing the history of Islamic calligraphy, materials, and how to prepare your lessons.

Şeyh Hamdulllah Calligraphy Apprenticeship Program:

Şeyh Hamdullah (d. 1520) is known as the “father of Ottoman calligraphy.” Indeed, the renowned artist ushered in a new age of calligraphic arts in the Ottoman empire with his revitalization of the so-called six scripts (sulus [thuluth], nesih [naskh], muhakkak, reyhani, tevki’ [tawki], and riqa’), especially nesih (naskh). Şeyh Hamdullah succeeded in this important task around the year 1485, after he had undergone a four-month period of mystical seclusion. This accomplishment promoted him to the position of spiritual founder (pîr) of Turkish calligraphy. He wrote 47 copies of the Quran, in an age when writing just one is the goal of every calligraphy.  Dr. Bilal Badat in his presentation "What Does it Mean to be a Master Calligrapher" speaks more about Şeyh (Turkish for 'Sheikh') Hamdullah.

Once you have completed the Introduction to Calligraphy class, you have the necessary skills to join the Şeyh Hamdulllah Calligraphy Apprenticeship Program.  Apprenticeship is defined as "the method or process of gaining knowledge of a trade, art, or profession from the instruction of a master".  In this case the calligraphy is the trade, art, profession, and devotional act, and the master is Shahryanshah Hoca. Students who completed the Introduction to Calligraphy course together will remain in their group and will be given a name in honor of one of the great masters.  The students in each group travel together on this path, supporting and learning from one another, creating community and camaraderie, moving from semester to semester to complete the scripts according to their Hoca's instruction.  The timeline below is approximate for students who dedicate the necessary daily time for practice. Apprenticeships will continue until ijazas are granted in each of the scripts.


  • Riqa - 3 months


  • Diwani - 2 months
  • Jali Diwani - 2 months
  • Thuluth and Naskh - 2 years

We have 6 Groups currently:

  • Group 1 Mehmet Şevki Efendi
  • Group 2&3 Mustafa Halim Özyazıcı
  • Group 4 Sami Efendi
  • Group 5 İsmail Hakkı Altunbezer
  • Group 6 Mehmet İzzet Efendi

Apprenticeships will continue until Ijazas (certificates of mastery), are granted in each of the scripts.

Classes will be conducted online using Zoom, and Whatsapp will be used for communication, sharing and homework.

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