Islamic Calligraphy: Thuluth Script

Started on 1 January 1970

Islamic Calligraphy: Thuluth Script

This is a 23-week-long course that immerses the student in the classical way of learning Arabic calligraphy, as taught in the Osmanli (Ottoman) tradition for over five hundred years. This course will be led by our teacher Dr. Bilal Badat Hoca, a master calligrapher of the Thuluth and Naskh scripts.

General Info

About the Course

his course aims to train students in thuluth (Turkish: sülüs), an essential script for developing Islamic calligraphy. Throughout history, thuluth has been used to transcribe lines of the Qur’an and sacred texts and compose architectural inscriptions and compositions. Students will be guided through the different stages of learning thuluth by following the traditional Ottoman method of instruction. This method begins with learning single letters followed by compound letter constructions and sentences. 

This course also familiarizes students with how to prepare the traditional tools and materials of calligraphy and includes an introduction to Islamic calligraphy’s theory, practice, and history. All digital materials will be provided in this course.

Learning Objectives

  • Improve writing skills in the thuluth/sülüs script.
  • Improve students’ abilities to use traditional tools and materials.
  • Familiarise students with the traditional Ottoman method of learning calligraphy.
  • Learn to appreciate the different styles of Islamic calligraphy.
  • Develop a deeper appreciation of the history of Islamic calligraphy through practice.

Estimated Time Commitment

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

Required Materials

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

  • Bamboo/reed qalam in sizes: 2mm and 3mm.
  • Felt or leather pad for under your paper
  • Arabic calligraphy paper (glossy laser printer paper if not available)
  • Ink, lika, and Inkwell
  • Leather handrest (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 (1200-2000 grade)

Our Instructor

Bilal Badat is an archaeologist and art historian specializing in Islamic art and architecture history. His research interests include the history of Islamic calligraphy in the Persianate world, Islamic manuscript culture, Islamic aesthetics, and Islamic education and pedagogy.

Bilal completed his master’s in Islamic Art and Archaeology at the University of Oxford. He wrote his doctorate on pedagogy and style in Islamic calligraphy at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts. To support his research, Bilal studied calligraphy in Istanbul for over five years under master calligrapher Efdaluddin Kılıç, obtaining his calligraphic license, or ijazah, in the thuluth and naskh scripts in 2017.

Bilal came to the Center of Islamic Theology as a Teacher at Tübingen fellow in 2017/2018. He was the principal investigator in an AIWG-funded project entitled ‘Beauty and Islamic Theology’ (2020-21), which aimed to explore the rich and diverse relationships between theology, art, and aesthetics in the Islamic world. He has also lectured on Islamic art and architecture at the University of St. Andrews and the University of Tubingen, where he offered modules entitled ‘Early and Medieval Islamic Art and Architecture,’ ‘Art and Architecture of the Ottoman and Persianate World,’ ‘Beauty and Islamic Theology: Art, Ethics, and Aesthetics,’ ‘Formation of Character: Adab, Akhlaq, and Futuwwa,’ and ‘Persianate Manuscript Culture.’ Bilal is a research fellow at the University of Tubingen and works as a specialist curator of Islamic art. He also offers consultancy services for Islamic heritage and museum projects, projects in the cultural sector, and Islamic architecture and design.

Due to limited seating, we request that you cancel by July 12, 2023, to receive a full refund.

Your Order

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