Calligraphy of Umar's name - History
Islam and the Jews: The Pact of Umar, 9th Century CE
THE Pact of Umar is the body of limitations and privileges entered into by treaty between conquering Muslims and conquered non-Muslims. We have no special treaty of this sort with the Jews, but we must assume that all conquered peoples, including the Jews, had to subscribe to it. Thus the laws cited below and directed against churches apply to synagogues too. The Pact was probably originated about 637 by Umar I after the conquest of Christian Syria and Palestine. By accretions from established practices and precedents, the Pact was extended yet despite these additions the whole Pact was ascribed to Umar. There are many variants of the text and scholars deny that the text as it now stands could have come from the pen of Umar I it is generally assumed that its present form dates from about the ninth century.
The Pact of Umar has served to govern the relations between the Muslims and "the people of the book," such as Jews, Christians, and the like, down to the present day.
In addition to the conditions of the Pact listed below, the Jews, like the Christians, paid a head-tax in return for protection, and for exemption from military service. Jews and Christians were also forbidden to hold government office. This Pact, like much medieval legislation, was honored more in the breach than in the observance. In general, though, the Pact increased in stringency with the centuries and was still in force in the 20th century in lands such as Yemen. The Pact is in Arabic.
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate!
This is a writing to Umar from the Christians of such and such a city. When You [Muslims] marched against us [Christians],: we asked of you protection for ourselves, our posterity, our possessions, and our co-religionists and we made this stipulation with you, that we will not erect in our city or the suburbs any new monastery, church, cell or hermitage that we will not repair any of such buildings that may fall into ruins, or renew those that may be situated in the Muslim quarters of the town that we will not refuse the Muslims entry into our churches either by night or by day that we will open the gates wide to passengers and travellers that we will receive any Muslim traveller into our houses and give him food and lodging for three nights that we will not harbor any spy in our churches or houses, or conceal any enemy of the Muslims. [At least six of these laws were taken over from earlier Christian laws against infidels.]
That we will not teach our children the Qu'ran [some nationalist Arabs feared the infidels would ridicule the Qu'ran others did not want infidels even to learn the language] that we will not make a show of the Christian religion nor invite any one to embrace it that we will not prevent any of our kinsmen from embracing Islam, if they so desire. That we will honor the Muslims and rise up in our assemblies when they wish to take their seats that we will not imitate them in our dress, either in the cap, turban, sandals, or parting of the hair that we will not make use of their expressions of speech, nor adopt their surnames [infidels must not use greetings and special phrases employed only by Muslims] that we will not ride on saddles, or gird on swords, or take to ourselves arms or wear them, or engrave Arabic inscriptions on our rings that we will not sell wine [forbidden to Muslims] that we will shave the front of our heads that we will keep to our own style of dress, wherever we may be that we will wear girdles round our waists [infidels wore leather or cord girdles Muslims, cloth and silk].
That we will not display the cross upon our churches or display our crosses or our sacred books in the streets of the Muslims, or in their market-places that we will strike the clappers in our churches lightly [wooden rattles or bells summoned the people to church or synagogue] that we will not recite our services in a loud voice when a Muslim is present that we will not carry Palm branches [on Palm Sunday] or our images in procession in the streets that at the burial of our dead we will not chant loudly or carry lighted candles in the streets of the Muslims or their market places that we will not take any slaves that have already been in the possession of Muslims, nor spy into their houses and that we will not strike any Muslim.
All this we promise to observe, on behalf of ourselves and our co-religionists, and receive protection from you in exchange and if we violate any of the conditions of this agreement, then we forfeit your protection and you are at liberty to treat us as enemies and rebels.
Jacob Marcus, The Jew in the Medieval World: A Sourcebook, 315-1791 , (New York: JPS, 1938), 13-15
Hazrat Hafsa bint Umar ibn al-Khattab
Hazrat Hafsa ra was the daughter of Hazrat Umar ibn al-Khattab ra and Hazrat Zainab bint Maz‘un ra . Born several years before the first revelation from God, she was raised in a family renowned for its learning and education. Like her father, she was inquisitive, sharp-witted and a courageous woman who lived up to her name.
As stated, she was the daughter of Hazrat Umar ra , the second Khalifa of Islam. Hazrat Umar ra earned the title of “Farooq”, meaning the one who distinguishes between right and wrong. Regarding Hazrat Umar ra , the Holy Prophet sa said:
“If there were to be a prophet after me, it would be Umar.”(Tirmidhi, Vol. 1, book 46)
His son and Hafsa’s ra brother, Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar ra was also a close companion of the Holy Prophet sa . Salim narrates on the authority of his father a hadith in which Hazrat Hafsa ra relates one of her brothers’ dream to the Holy Prophet sa . The Messenger sa of Allah commented:
“Abdullah is a good man. [I wish for him] to observe Tahajud more often.”
Upon hearing this, Hazrat Abdullah ra became more observant of Tahajud prayer. (Sahih al-Bukhari)
A pious nature
The incident mentioned above is indicative of the atmosphere in which Hazrat Hafsa ra was raised. A devout Muslim herself, she grew up amidst the senior companions of the Holy Prophet sa and embodied their characteristics. She would often observe fasts and stay awake most of her nights offering Tahajud. Hence, it leaves little to question why she was chosen as one of the wives of the Prophet of Islam sa in this life and the Hereafter. The archangel Gabriel as attested to her traits before her husband:
“She fasts often and frequently prays at night she will be your wife in Paradise” (Mustadrak al-Hakim)
Marriage to the Holy Prophet sa
Hazrat Hafsa ra was first married to Hazrat Khunais bin Huzaifa ra who, owing to the atrocities of the Quraish, had migrated both to Abyssinia and Medina to seek God’s pleasure. At the Battle of Badr, he was severely wounded and later succumbed to his injuries.
The account of her marriage to the Holy Prophet sa is rather amusing, which Hazrat Umar ra narrates in the following words:
“When Hafsa bint Umar lost her husband, a companion of the Holy Prophet sa , Khunais bin Huzaifa al-Sahmi, who had fought at Badr and [later] died in Medina, I met Uthman bin Affan and suggested that he should marry Hafsa, to which he replied, ‘I will think it over.’ I waited for a few days and then he said to me, ‘I am of the opinion that I shall not marry at present.’ Then I met Abu Bakr and said, ‘If you wish, I can marry Hafsa bint Umar to you.’ He kept quiet and did not respond. I became agitated and it [displeased me] more than Uthman’s [response]. Some days later, the Prophet sa asked for her hand in marriage and I married her to him. Later, Abu Bakr approached me and said, ‘Perhaps you were angry with me when you offered me Hafsa for marriage and I gave no reply to you?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ Abu Bakr replied, ‘Nothing prevented me from accepting your offer except that I learnt that the Prophet of Allah had referred to the issue of Hafsa and I did not want to disclose his secret, but had he (the Prophet sa ) not married her, I would surely have accepted her.”(Sahih al-Bukhari)
Another hadith relates that when Hazrat Umar ra disclosed his predicament to the Holy Prophet sa and he received a response from both the companions, the Messenger of Allah as smiled and consoled him that Hafsa ra would get a better husband and Uthman ra would receive a better wife.
Thirst for knowledge
Hazrat Hafsa ra learnt to read and write at an early age and had memorised the Holy Quran by heart. Her knowledge of religious matters was very sound. At least 60 ahadith have been quoted by her. Like her father, she was inquisitive by nature and would not shy away from asking questions to quench her thirst for knowledge.
Sahih Muslim mentions an incident that once, the Holy Prophet sa told Hazrat Hafsa ra , “Of those who took the pledge of Aqabah, none would enter hell.” Hazrat Hafsa ra , who was of a curious disposition, replied, “[What about the verse which states] ‘There is not one of you, but will come to it.’” The Holy Prophet sa pointed her to the next verse which stated, “God shall save the righteous and leave the wrongdoers therein, on their knees.”(Sahih Muslim)
It ought to be understood that by no means had she meant to question the authority of the Holy Prophet sa out of defiance, rather it was her keen sense of observation which would often compel her to inquire and comprehend the intricacies of the Quranic injunctions more deeply.
Custodian of the Quran
During his lifetime, the Holy Prophet sa used to entrust Hazrat Hafsa ra with the parchments on which the Holy Quran was inscribed for safekeeping. After his demise, a large number of Muslims who had memorised the Holy Quran laid down their lives in the Battle of Yamama. Hazrat Abu Bakr ra ordered Hazrat Zaid ra bin Thabit to compile the Quran into a single book form. Hazrat Hafsa ra was also consulted in the matter.
By the end of the second Khilafat, Hazrat Umar ra bequeathed the compiled copy to his daughter which remained with her till her demise. Numerous copies were made from her version of the copy in the era of Hazrat Uthman ra and distributed throughout the Muslim world.
She died in the month of Shaban, 45 AH. Her funeral prayers were led by the governor of Medina, Marwan bin Al Hakam.
Many prominent companions of the Holy Prophet sa partook in her funeral, including Hazrat Abu Huraira ra . She was buried in Jannat-ul-Baqi alongside the rest of the mothers of the faithful.
Salam. Basically I have heard of two narrations which show why was Umar blessed with the title. I am going to copy both below:
This is a long story but I will give it short here. "Ibn Al-'Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) related that he had asked 'Umar bin Al-Khattab why he had been given the epithet of Al-Farouque (he who distinguishes truth from falsehood), he replied: After I had embraced Islam, I asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him): 'Aren't we on the right path here and Hereafter?' The Prophet (Peace be upon him) answered: 'Of course you are! I swear by Allâh in Whose Hand my soul is, that you are right in this world and in the hereafter.' I, therefore, asked the Prophet (Peace be upon him) 'Why we then had to conduct clandestine activism. I swear by Allâh Who has sent you with the Truth, that we will leave our concealment and proclaim our noble cause publicly.' We then went out in two groups, Hamzah leading one and I the other. We headed for the Mosque in broad daylight when the polytheists of Quraish saw us, their faces went pale and got incredibly depressed and resentful. On that very occasion, the Prophet (Peace be upon him) attached to me the epithet of Al-Farouque." (narrated in Rahiq al-makhtum and by Abu Naeem and Ibn Asaakir as well)
It is related from Ibn Abbaas (رضي الله عنهما) that a hypocrite had a dispute with a Jew. The Jew summoned him to the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), and the hypocrite summoned him to Ka'b ibn al-Ashraf. They [finally] took the case to the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم), who passed a ruling in favour of the Jew. The hypocrite was not pleased and insisted that they go to Umar (رضي الله عنه) for a ruling. The Jew told Umar (رضي الله عنه) that the Messenger of Allaah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) had already ruled in his favour and the hypocrite had not been pleased. He had insisted that they come to 'Umar (رضي الله عنه). 'Umar (رضي الله عنه) asked the hypocrite whether that was true, and he replied that it was. 'Umar (رضي الله عنه) instructed them to remain where they were until he returned. He went inside, picked up his sword, and came out and beheaded the hypocrite. He then said, 'This is my ruling for the person who is not satisfied with the ruling of Allaah and His Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم).' Jibreel (عليه السلام) states, 'Umar (رضي الله عنه) differentiated between the truth and untruth, so he was named the Differentiator (al-Farooq).' [This is as stated in the Tafseer of Qadi Baydaawi (رحمه الله)]
I myself think that the first one maybe more accurate and Allah knows the best.
Calligraphy of Umar's name - History
Islamic calligraphy as the most important representation of Islam's cultural heritage relies on the aesthetic expression of spiritual-imagery that transcend the word form, rendering it a highly cherished art object. In a profound sense of its poetical quality, Qura'nic inspiration is deeply rooted in the humanistic spirituality, it bridges between the enigma of human existence and the pathos with which Deity looks at humanity. The aesthetic value associated with Islamic calligraphy's spiritual quality is clearly on the side of artistic creativity. Its script is applied on all kinds of objects to remind the observer of the mystical power of divine .
As Anthony Welch has observed the primary reason for the chronological, social, and geographic persuasiveness of the calligraphic arts in the Islamic world is found in the Holy Qur'an
Thy Lord is the Most Bounteous,
Who teacheth by the pen,
Teacheth man that which he knew not. -- (Surah al-Alaq, 96:3-5)
Al-Nam ā rah, the oldest Arabic document on record, inscribed on a stone discovered near Damascus by Dussaud, a French archaeologist, is dated 328 AD. It is written in clear cursive forms and hailed by many scholars as a definite evidence that the modern Arabic script had evolved from the late Nabataean script.
Arabic script, that encompasses 28 letters and uses long but not short vowels is derived from Nabataeans, who were of north-west Arabian origin (whence came their attachment to deities like Dushara and al-‘Uzza, as well as Arabian-type personal names). They modified Aramaic for writing. T. Nöldeke was the first to establish the link between the Nabataean and Arabic scripts in 1865, which later confirmed against J. Starcky’s Syriac thesis by Grohmann. The affiliation between Nabataean and Arabic scripts has now been fully documented by J. Healey with almost a complete consensus among scholars on the Nabatean origin of the Arabic script (Healy, J. 1990).
|Chinese Quran Ming/Qing Dynasty ( 18th Century)|
|Niujie Mosque (simplified Chinese: 牛街礼拜寺 traditional Chinese: 牛街禮拜寺 pinyin: Niújiē lǐbàisì literally “Cow Street Mosque”) is the oldest mosque in Beijing, China. It was first built in 996 during the Liao Dynasty and was reconstructed as well as enlarged under the Kangxi Emperor (r. 1661-1722) of the Qing Dynasty.|
During the 5th century, Arabian nomadic tribes who dwelled in the areas of Hirah and Anbar used the Nabatean script extensively. According to Muslim historians in the early part of the 6th century, the North Arabic script version was introduced to Makkah by Ibn Umayyah ibn' abd' Shams, who studied it by travelling in various regions. In particular, he met Bishar ibn ' Abd al-Malik, the brother of al-Ukaydir, the ruler of Dumat al-Jandal, who introduced and popularized the use of this script among the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad, Quraysh. Other tribes in nearby cities adopted with enthusiasm the art of writing.
|Mosaic calligraphy, Jameh Mosque, Isfahan|
The script used in the earliest written Qura'an was Jazm, which may have been scribed by Zaid ibn Thabit and released during the caliphate of Uthman ibn Affan (644-656). The stiff, angular, and well-proportioned letters of the Jazm script came in different styles representing different regions such as the Hiri, Anbari, Makki, and Madani and would later influence the development of the famous Kufi script. In addition to the Jazm, many other scripts were developed. Some became quite popular gradually evolving in sophistication, for instance first into unwieldy scripts such as the Ma'il and then with further elaboration to the elegant Kufi script, while other less popular scripts such as the Mukawwar, Mubsoott, and Mashq discontinued after a while.
|The Jazm script|
|The Ma'il script of this one of the very earliest Qur'ans in the British Museum is written on parchment dating back to the eighth century AD . |
The forms Arabic letters are limited to seventeen distinct shapes, whereby different sounds are created by placing one to three dots above or below these shapes. Short vowels are indicated by small diagonal strokes above or below letters. Calligraphers use dots and diacritical points in their creative styles to beautify and decorate the text, adding a transcendental dimension.
After the death Prophet Mohammed in 632 AD, it was incumbent on the community to collect the dispersed sheets of the Quran in various regions and to verify their authenticity, as there were numerous huffaz who memorized and recited all the verses of the Qur'an by heart. Zayd bin Thabit, who served as a secretary for the Prophet, narrates:
Abu Bakr added, "I said to 'Umar, 'How can I do something which God's Messenger has not done?' 'Umar replied, 'By God, this is the most excellent idea.' So 'Umar kept on pressing, trying to persuade me to accept his proposal, till God opened my heart for it and I had the same opinion as 'Umar." Zayd added: Abu Bakr turned to me and said: "You are a wise young man and we do not suspect you of telling lies or of forgetfulness: and you used to write the Divine Inspiration for God's Messenger. Therefore, look for the Qur'an and collect it. "By God, if he had ordered me to shift one of the mountains from its place, it would not have been harder for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Qur'an. So I started locating Quranic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leaf-stalks of date palms and from the memories of men who knew it by heart.” (Bukhari)
The first written copies of the Qur'an were written in the Jazm script that came in different styles associated with different regions such as the Hiri, Anbari, Makki, and Madani. The last two, which were named for two cities--Makki for Mekka, and Madani for Medina were the most prominent ones. They were written in two different styles Muqawwar which was cursive and easy to write, and Mabsut which was elongated and straight-lined.
Gradually, many other scripts were developed, such as those that after considerable technical improvements have survived like Mashq (extended) and Naskh (inscriptional), and those like Ma'il (slanting), a kind of primitive Kufic script that proved too barren and were abandoned.
The Reform of Arabic Writing
The expansion of Islamic culture into the Persian and Byzantine empires resulted in development of regional calligraphic schools and styles, interpreting the art of writing as an abstract expression of Islam, resulting in development of styles such as Ta'liq in Persia and Deewani in Turkey. The vast Islamic territory required a more efficient system of writing. The intense and dramatic early development of writing matured during the Umayyad dynasty (661-755), when two new scripts Tumar and Jali were appeared. These were created by the renowned calligrapher Qutbah al-Mihrr. Tumar that was formulated and extensively used during the reign of Muawieyah Ibn Abi Sufyan (660-679), the founder of the Umayyad dynasty, became the royal script of the succeeding Umayyad caliphs.
Caliph Abd-Al-Malik Ibn Marwan (685-705) legislated the compulsory use of Arabic script for all official and state registers, and on the behest of al-Hajjaj Ibn Yousuf al-Thaqafi (694-714), Nasr and Yehya refined the Tashkil system, and they introduced the use of dots and certain vowel signs as differentiating marks. The dots were placed either above or beneath the letter, either single or in groups of two or three.
Abul Aswad ad-Du'ali is credited with the invention of placing diacritical points to distinguish between certain identical consonants such as the 'gaf' and 'fa' in the Arabic alphabet. This system of diacritical marks is known as Tashkil (vocalization). Different colors also were introduced to differentiate between these marks--black for the diacriticals and red or yellow for the vocalics.
Later, during the Abbasid dynasty (750-1258), Ibn Jlan and Ibn Hama developed and improved the Tumar and Jali scripts. Calligraphy entered a phase of glory under the influence of Abbasid vizier and calligrapher Ibn Muqlah. According to Welch (1979), Ibn Muqlah is regarded as a figure of heroic stature who laid the basis for a great art upon firm principles and who created the Six Styles of writing: Kufi, Thuluth, Naskh, Riq'a, Deewani, and Ta'liq. Unfortunately, for many people and scribes the system was unclear and confusing. A more sophisticated system was needed.
Al-Khalil Ibn Ahmad al-Farahidi (718-786) introduced vowel signs that was inspired by the basic shapes or parts of certain letters like the sign 'hamza,' which is adopted from the letter 'ayn' (without its end-tail). The new system gained wide popularity throughout the Islamic world, and its calligraphy acquired the characteristics of beauty, sanctity, and versatility. The calligrapher Ibn Muqlah (886-940) was followed by Ibn al-Bawwab in the 11th century and Yaqut al-Musta'simi in the late 13th century who built upon Ibn Muqlah's achievements and raised its standards of harmony and elegance to new heights.
The Abbasid dynasty, the last of the Islamic caliphates, ended in 1258 when Baghdad was sacked by Chengiz Khan, his son Hulagu, and their Mongol armies. That was a major turning point in the history of Islamic culture, especially in the fields of arts and architecture. Abaqa (1265-1282), the son of Hulagu, established the Ilkhanid dynasty in Persia. Ghazan, taking the Muslim name of Mahmud, dedicated himself to the revival of Islamic culture, arts, and traditions. The impact of Ghazan's reforms continued through the reigns of his two successors, his brother Uljaytu (1304-1316) and his nephew Abu Sa'id (1317-1335).
The arts and architecture under the Timurids and their contemporaries set a standard of excellence and elegance for generations in Iran, Turkey, and India. During this era, special attention was given to the arts of the book -- elaborate arts involving transcription, illumination, illustration, and binding. Safadi (1979) notes in Islamic Calligraphy that the Timurid style aimed to create a balance between beauty and grandeur by combining clearly written scripts in large Qur'ans and extremely fine, intricate, softly-colored illumination of floral patterns integrated with ornamental eastern Kufic script so fine as to be almost invisible. The calligraphers of this era were the first to use various styles with different sizes of scripts on the same page when copying the Holy Qur'an. Under Timurid patronage, the most impressive and largest copies ever of the Qur'an were produced.
The Mamluks founded their dynasty (1260-1389) mainly in Egypt and Syria. During the Mamluk era, architecture was the pre-eminent art, and the Mamluks' patronage defined many Islamic arts. There were many master Mamluk calligraphers whose works exhibit superb artistic skills including Muhammad Ibn al-Wahid, Muhammad Ibn Sulayman al-Muhsini, Ahmad Ibn Muhammad al-Ansari, and Ibrahim Ibn Muhammad al-Khabbaz. Abd al-Rahman al-Sayigh is very well-known for copying the largest-size Qur'an in Muhaqqa script.
The Safavid dynasty (1502-1736) in Iran also produced alluring and attractive masterpieces of Islamic art. During the reigns of Shah Isma'il and his successor Shah Tahmasp (1524-1576), the Ta'liq script was formulated and developed into a widely used native script which led to the invention of a lighter and more elegant version called Nasta'liq. These two relatively young scripts soon were elevated to the status of major scripts.
Baba Shah Isfahani was famed as a master of the Nasta`liq style of calligraphy, the beautiful Persian hand developed primarily at the Timuri and Uzbek ateliers in Herat and Bukhara. A modern authority on calligraphy has remarked,
The dates and details of his life have been subject to some dispute. According to modern authorities like the Turkish scholar Habib Effendi, Baba Shah Isfahani had begun the study of calligraphy from the age of eight, and studied night and day for eight years with the celebrated Mir `Ali Haravi (d. 951/1544-5), who perfected the Nasta`liq style in Herat and Bukhara. Habib Effendi further states that Mir `Imad (d. 1012/1603), perhaps the most admired master of Nasta`liq, derived his style from Baba Shah. If correct, this information would put Baba Shah's birth at least sixteen years before Mir `Ali's death, or no later than 940/1533-4. On the other hand, Muhammad Qutb al-Din Yazdi wrote that he had met Baba Shah Isfahani in 995/1586-7, when the latter was still a young man, and he was amazed to see that he already excelled most of the calligraphers of the day. Qutb al-Din said that if he had lived longer, Baba Shah would have surpassed Sultan `Ali Mashhadi and Mir `Ali Haravi, and to achieve so much he must have had a divine gift.
The word Nasta'liq is a compound word derived from Naskh and Ta'liq. The Persian calligrapher Mir Ali Sultan al-Tabrizi invented this script and devised the rules to govern it. Ta'liq and Nasta'liq scripts were used extensively for copying Persian anthologies, epics, miniatures, and other literary works -- but not for the Qur'an. There is only one copy of the Qur'an written in Nasta'liq. It was done by a Persian master calligrapher, Shah Muhammad al-Nishaburi, in 1539. The reign of Shah Abbas (1588-1629) was the golden era for this script and for many master calligraphers, including Kamal ad-Din Hirati, Ghiyath ad-Din al-Isfahani, and Imad ad-Din al-Husayni who was the last and greatest of this generation.
The Mughals lived and reigned in India from 1526 to 1858. This dynasty was the greatest, richest, and longest-lasting Muslim dynasty to rule India. The dynasty produced some of the finest and most elegant arts and architecture in the history of Muslim dynasties. A minor script appeared in India called Behari but was not very popular. Nasta'liq, Naskh, and Thuluth were adopted by the Muslim calligraphers during this era. The intense development of calligraphy in India led to the creation of new versions of Naskh and Thuluth. These Mughal scripts are thicker and bolder, the letters are widely spaced, and the curves are more rounded.
During the Mughal reign of Shah Jahan (1628-1658), calligraphy reached new heights of excellence, especially when the Taj Mahal was built. One name remains closely associated with the Taj Mahal, -- in particular with the superb calligraphic inscriptions displayed in the geometric friezes on the white marble -- that is the name of the ingenious calligrapher Amanat Khan, whose real name was Abd ul-Haq.
This incomparable calligrapher came to India from Shiraz, Iran, in 1609. According to Okada and Joshi in Taj Mahal (1993) , Shah Jahan conferred the title of Amanat Khan upon this Iranian as a reward for the calligrapher's dazzling virtuosity. In all probability, Amanat Khan was entrusted with the entire calligraphic decoration of the Taj Mahal. During Jahangir's reign, Amanat Kahn had been responsible for the calligraphic work of the Akbar mausoleum at Sikandra and for that of the Madrasah Shahi Mosque at Agra.
It is quite possible that Amanat Khan was responsible for the choice of the epigraphs of the Taj Mahal -- that is, the Qur'anic verses and other religious quotations appearing on the mausoleum. He signed his work inside the calligraphic inscription on the left side of the southern iwan -- Amant Khan al-Shirazi, followed by the date (1638-39). The calligrapher's signature bears witness to his status and renown at the court, since many of his peers remained anonymous.
Muslims in China who used the Arabic scripts for liturgical purposes adopted the calligraphic styles of Afghanistan with slight modifications. Muslim Chinese calligraphers invented a unique script called Sini (Chinese). The features of this script are extremely rounded letters and very fine lines. Another style was derived from Sini for ornamental purposes and was used on ceramics and chinaware. This ornamental style is characterized by thick, triangular verticals and thin horizontals.