kufic calligraphy

Mouneer Al-Shaarani

Mouneer Al-Shaarani is a master Syrian calligrapher, designer and writer. He is highly regarded internationally for his innovative synthesis of traditional arabic lettering and modern shapes. In 1977, he graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus. 

After living abroad for some time, he returned home to Syria where he feels his work can have the greatest impact. Through the poems, prayers and sufic philosophy in his work, he hopes to inspire his fellow citizens who tragically continue to suffer the dire conditions of war.

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صفحه من  القرآن ترجع إلى القرن الحادي عشر، كتبت بالخط الكوفي الشرقي وعلى اول صفات هذا القران ملاحظة ، تعزو كتابة هذه الطبعة من القرآن إلى الخليفة علي بن أبي طالب رضي الله عنه

11th-Century Qur’an in Kufic script

A note ascribes the Qur’an to the hand of the Caliph Ali, Radi aala anhu demonstrates the high significance of this manuscript.

The Minaret of Jam is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in western Afghanistan. It is located in the Shahrak District, Ghor Province, by the Hari River. The 62-metre high minaret, surrounded by mountains that reach up to 2400m, was built in the 1190s, entirely of baked-bricks. It is famous for its intricate brick, stucco and glazed tile decoration, which consists of alternating bands of kufic and naskhi calligraphy, geometric patterns, and verses from the Qur'an


The Minaret of Jam is probably located at the site of the Ghurid Dynasty’s summer capital, Firuzkuh (Firuz Koh). During the 12th and 13th century, the Ghurids controlled what is now Afghanistan, but also parts of eastern Iran, Northern India and parts of Pakistan.

The Arabic inscription dating the minaret is unclear - it could read 1193/4 or 1174/5. It could thus commemorate the victory of the Ghurid sultan Ghiyas ud-Din over the Ghaznevids in 1186 in Lahore. However, Ralph Pinder-Wilson, believes the minaret was built for the victory of Mu'izz ad-Din, Ghiyath ud-Din’s brother, over Prithviraj Chauhan. The assumption is that the Minaret was attached to the Friday Mosque of Firuzkuh, which the Ghurid chronicler Juzjani states was washed away in a flash-flood, some time before the Mongol sieges. Work at Jam by the Minaret of Jam Archaeological Project, has found evidence of a large courtyard building beside the minaret, and evidence of river sediments on top of the baked-brick paving.

The Ghurid Empire’s glory waned after the death of Ghiyath ud-Din in 1202, as it was forced to cede territory to the Khwarezm Empire. Juzjani states that Firuzkuh was destroyed by the Mongols in 1222.