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Naskh font in Arabic Calligraphy

Naskh (نسخ, also known as Naskhi or by its Turkish name Nesih, from Arabic نسخ) is a specific calligraphic style for writing in the Arabic alphabet, thought to be invented by Ibn Muqlah. The root of this Arabic term نسخ nasakha means “to abolish, abrogate” and “to copy”. It either refers to the fact that it replaced its predecessor, Kufic script, or that this style allows faster copying of texts. With small modifications, it is the style most commonly used for printing Arabic, Persian (Farsi), Pashto, et al.

This type of script was derived from Thuluth by introducing a number of modifications resulting in smaller size and greater delicacy. It is written using a small, very fine pen known as a cava pen, which makes the script eminently suitable for use in book production. Naskhi was used in copying Qur’ans and Hadeeths. It was also used in commentaries on the Qur’an (Tafseer) and in collections of poetry (Diwan). It was and is a very widely used form of script.

Naskh, along with Ta’liq, is also famous for giving rise to the Nasta’leeq script, the script used for writing Urdu, Persian, Kashmiri and sometimes Pashto and Uyghur (Uyghur are a Turkic ethnic group living in Eastern and Central Asia. Today Uyghurs live primarily in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the People’s Republic of China. Communities of Uyghurs exist in the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. Smaller communities are found in Mongolia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Russia and Taoyuan County of Hunan province in south-central Mainland China). Back to naskhi script… Computers typically use Naskh or a Naskh-like script, for instance: بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم (the Bismillah).

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