Time is TBD | Online

Introduction to Classical Arabic Calligraphy

This is a semester-long course that immerses the student in the classical way of learning Arabic calligraphy as practiced for hundreds of years, with regular feedback provided on one’s work by our master calligrapher Shahryanshah Sirajuddin.
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Introduction to Classical Arabic Calligraphy

Time & Location

Time is TBD

About the Course


September 9 - December 16, 2021

Times: 10 PM UTC | 5 PM CDT | Course Format: Online


The most important aspect of this class is correcting your work by a master calligrapher, not continually copying mistakes in your practice. The Islamic arts are transmitted through the Ijaza system, and this methodology has preserved calligraphy for over 1000 years. Our teacher, Shahryanshah Sirajuddin, is an award-winning master calligrapher in the Osmanli (Ottoman) tradition of the Riqa, Diwani, Jali Diwani, Naskh, Thuluth, and Jali Thuluth scripts.

Shahryanshah Hoca will start with the Riqa script as it is the easiest one to learn, and most students gain proficiency in about three months. Until the early 20th century, Riqa was the handwriting script used daily 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, sharpen it, dilute your ink, how much ink your qalam holds, and learn 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 to learn the mechanics of writing the letters, which are based on philosophical and spiritual understandings and are also a means of disciplining the nafs. "Learn calligraphy with your soul" is a message Shahryanshah Hoca often repeats 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.


Students are expected to allocate a minimum of 10 hours per week to attend live online classes, practice, and prepare their lessons for submission.


Students can buy their supplies from the Islamic Art Supplies (click to view) store.

  • 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.


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, 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 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.

Click here to know more about the Şeyh Hamdulllah Calligraphy Apprenticeship Program.

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

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.

Due to limited seating, we request that you cancel by August 29, 2021, to receive a full refund.

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