Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Symbolism of Quranic Illumination

Syed Tajammul Hussain

The lecturer suggested that this was a sacred visual language and which owed its origins and indeed early development to not one but two of the Khulafa-i-Rashideen, both of whom also were the revered sons in law of the Holy Prophet. For indeed with the evidence so far unearthed it is clear that the earliest Art of the Quran started with the first son in law, the 3rd Khalifa Uthman bin Affan and then was developed by the 4th Khalifa Imam Ali. Subsequent developments took place in the ensuing centuries with the involvement of BOTH temporal and indeed spiritual authorities of the time. Hence any symbol that was frowned upon or considered heretic was destroyed. Over time rules and regulations developed for both the visual language and on the art of calligraphy.

The lecture discussed the development of the main symbols known as alphabets in this visual language of the Holy Quran. The earliest symbol used is the Shamsa which came to be used in the time of the 3rd Khalifa. This is the symbol of the radiant sun was used to indicate a certain number of verse counts and suggested that the Verses of the Quran were like radiant with light. Since radiance was being depicted, the symbol of the sun was thus used in the Quran in the very early period and still continues to be used even in these dark times for Verse endings.

c. This material is copyrighted and subject of a forthcoming book by the lecturer Syed Tajammul Hussain.

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Buy Book:  Splendours of Quran Calligraphy & Illumination, Martin Lings