Sufi Art: Rumi Calligraphy

Above Farsi or Persian Calligraphy bears the following: Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi popularly known as Maulawi (Mevlevi) Maulana (Mevlana), and Rumi.

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following line from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 441 from his Lyrical Poems Collection, Divan Shams Tabrizi: 

Dancing in the middle of this kind of dance floor 
Is what I am wishing for.
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

رقصی چنین میانه میدانم آرزوست

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following lines from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 189 from his Divan Shams Tabrizi:

The Spring of souls has come, 
O wet green leaf: DANCE!
That long dress is no excuse,
O slim-waisted one: DANCE!
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

آمد بهار جان‌ها ای شاخ تر به رقص آ
آن جا قبا چه باشد ای خوش کمر به رقص آ
مولانا - غزل شمارهٔ ۱۸۹ - دیوان شمس 

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following lines from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 3026 from his Divan Shams Tabrizi: 

All dust particles are in love like me.
But you, O the pure spirited one,
Are a unique kind of Lover.
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

جمله اجزای خاک هست چو ما عشقناک
لیک تو ای روح پاک نادره‌ترعاشقی

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following lines from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 441 from his Divan Shams Tabrizi: 

Last night, 
Our Sufi Master, holding an oil lamp,
Was roaming around town and lamenting:
"I'm sick and tired of all these beasts and demons,
True humans is what I'm looking for.
I've had it with all these crying and complaining people,
That ranting and roaring of the wasted drunkards
Is what I'm looking for."

"We've searched all over for true humans, 
You cannot find them anywhere these days," 
They informed our Master.

"The ones who're lost and cannot be found
Are precisely the kind I'm looking for,"
Our Sufi Master responded!
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

دی شیخ با چراغ همی‌ گشت گرد شهر
کز دیو و دد ملولم و انسانم آرزوست
زین خلق پرشکایت گریان شدم ملول
آن‌های هوی و نعره مستانم آرزوست
گفتند یافت می‌نشود جسته‌ایم ما
گفت آنک یافت می‌نشود آنم آرزوست

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following lines from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 1475 from his Divan Shams Tabrizi:

In this Earth, in this Field, in this clean Farm,
Let us sow nothing but the seeds of kindness and Love.
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

دراین خاک دراین خاک دراین مزرعه پاک
بجز مهر بجز عشق دگر تخم نکاریم

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following lines from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 2319 from his Divan Shams Tabrizi:

Last night, I just went totally crazy.
Love saw me and said: "I am right here! 
Stop yelling and ripping your shirt, and
Just don't say anything!"
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

دوش دیوانه شدم عشق مرا دید و بگفت
آمدم نعره مزن جامه مدر هیچ مگو

Above Persian calligraphy bears Rumi's following lines from his magnum opus, Masnavi Manavi - Book 1: 

The illness of a Lover is different from all other illnesses.
Love is the astrolabe of God's mysteries.
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

علت عاشق زعلتها جداست
عشق اصطرلاب اسرار خداست

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following very famous and often quoted line from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 1129 from his Divan Shams Tabrizi: 

"A Life without Love is not worth living."

عمر که بی‌ عشق رفت هیچ حسابش مگیر

Above Persian calligraphy bears Rumi's following lines from his Masnavi ~ Book 6: 

Love conquers all things,
I'm conquered totally by Love,
I've become sweet like the sugar
By the passionate fervor of Love.
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

عشق قهارست و من مقهورعشق
چون شکر شیرین شدم از شورعشق

Above Persian calligraphy bears Rumi's following famous line from his Masnavi ~ Book 2:

"Through Love thorns become roses."

از محبت خارها گل می‌ شود

Above Persian calligraphy bears Rumi's following very famous first two lines from his magnum opus, Masnavi Manavi - Book 1: 

Listen to this reed-flute how it's complaining, 

Telling tales of separations...
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

بشنو این نی چون شکایت می‌کند
از جداییها حکایت می‌کند
مولانا - مثنوی معنوی - دفتر اول

Above Persian calligraphy bears these two lines from Rumi's famous 'Song of Reed' in Masnavi - Book 1:

I want a chest sliced open, sliced open by separation
So I can explain in details the pain of longing...
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

سینه خواهم شرحه شرحه از فراق
تا بگویم شرح درد اشتیاق

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following line from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 553 from his Divan Shams Tabrizi:

I can make it without everyone else, 
But I cannot make it without you.
My heart has your burn mark in it,
I can't make it anywhere else
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

بی همگان به سرشود بی‌تو به سرنمی‌ شود
داغ تو دارد این دلم جای دگر نمی‌شود
 مولانا - دیوان شمس - غزل شمارهٔ ۵۵۳ 

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following two lines from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 2020 from his Divan Shams Tabrizi:

O Lord, don't break up this union. 
Don't make Love-intoxicated ones suffer.
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

ای خدا این وصل را هجران مکن
سرخوشان عشق را نالان مکن

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following lines from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 2020 from his Divan Shams Tabrizi:

There is nothing more bitter in the whole world 
Than separation.
Do whatever else you want to,
But don't do that!
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

نیست درعالم زهجران تلختر
هرچ خواهی کن ولیکن آن مکن

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following line from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 2131 from his Divan Shams Tabrizi:

You must first become all soul 
To be worthy of the Beloved.
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

باید که جمله جان شوی تا لایق جانان شوی

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following line from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 2195 from his Divan Shams Tabrizi: 

O the Soul of my soul, don't go without me.
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

ای جان جان بی من مرو 

Above Persian calligraphy bears Rumi's very famous and often quoted line from his Divan Shams Tabrizi - Rubai or Quatrain # 1815: 

"What you seek is seeking you."

هر چیزی که در جستن آنی آنی

Above Persian calligraphy bears Rumi's very famous and often quoted lines from his Divan Shams Tabrizi - Rubai or Quatrain # 1759

"Everything in the Universe is within you. Ask all from yourself."

بیرون ز تو نیست هرچه در عالم هست
در خود بطلب هر آنچه خواهی که توئی

Above Persian calligraphy bears these lines from Rumi's Divan Shams Tabrizi - Rubai or Quatrain # 1293: 

He said to me:
"Whether you like it or not,
It's me who has made you so restless."
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

گفتا تو که باشی که کنی یا نکنی
آن من بودم که بیقرارت کردم

Above Persian calligraphy bears Rumi's following line from his Divan Shams Tabrizi - Rubai or Quatrain # 1334

I won't let your pain slip away from my hands that easily.
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

من درد ترا ز دست آسان ندهم

Above Persian calligraphy bears the following lines from Rumi's ghazal/ode # 2157 from his Divan Shams Tabrizi: 

Fancying to catch a glimpse of yours,
The stone drills a deep hole in itself.
Elevated by the wind of your desire,
The bird-soul shakes its feathers and flaps its wings.
~Rumi ~ my translation ~

سنگ شکاف می‌کند در هوس لقای تو
جان پر و بال می‌زند در طرب هوای تو

















"The art of Persian or Farsi Calligraphy is known to have started about 12th century and a new type of script was formed from combining Naskh and Taliq scripts and was called Naskh-Taliq which was later shortened to Nastaliq. The Persian calligraphers were highly regarded and respected artists and scholars who spent their entire lives recording masterpieces of Farsi prose and poetry. The well known calligraphic artists were often hired by Persian kings and emperors as the official royal court calligraphers to record and decorate important documents. Nastaliq is the most popular contemporary style among classical Persian calligraphy scripts and Persian Calligraphers call it "Bride of the Calligraphy Scripts". This calligraphy style has been based on such a strong structure that it has changed very little since."

Combination of Naskh & Taliq Scripts (Nastaliq)


"Taliq (hanging script) is believed to have been developed by the Persians from an early and little known Arabic script called Firamuz. Taliq, also called Farsi, is an unpretentious cursive script apparently in use since the early 9th century.The calligrapher Abd al-Hayy, from the town of Astarabad, seems to have played  an  important  role  in  the  script’s  early  development. He  was encouraged by his patron, Shah Ismail, to lay down the basic rules for the writing of Taliq. The script is currently in great favor with Arabs, and it is the native calligraphic style among the Persian, Indian, and Turkish Muslims.The Persian calligrapher Mir Ali Sultan al-Tabrizi developed from Taliq a lighter and more elegant variety which came to be known as Nastaliq. However, Persian and Turkish calligraphers continued to use Taliq as a monumental script for important occasions.

The word Nastaliq is a compound word derived from Naskh and Taliq.Taliq and Nastaliq scripts were used extensively for copying Persian anthologies, epics, miniatures, and other literary works — but not for the Holy Quran. Deewani script is an Ottoman development parallel to Shikasteh (broken style). The script was largely developed by the accomplished calligrapher Ibrahim Munif in the late 15th century from the Turkish/Persian Taliq. Deewani reached its zenith in the 17th century, thanks to the famous calligrapher Shala Pasha. Like Riqa, Deewani became a favorite script for writing in the Ottoman chancellery. Deewani is excessively cursive and highly structured with its letters undotted and unconventionally joined together. It uses no vowel marks. Deewani also developed an ornamental variety called Deewani Jali which  also  was  known  as  Humayuni  (Imperial).  The  development of Deewani Jali is credited to Hafiz Uthman. The spaces between the letters are spangled  with decorative  devices  which  do  not  necessarily  have  any orthographic value. Deewani Jali is highly favored for ornamental purposes."

Persian Calligraphy: Nastaliq Script


"Naskh (curved cursive script) was one of the earliest scripts to evolve. It gained popularity after being redesigned by the famous calligrapher Ibn Muqlah in the 10th century. Because of Ibn Muqlah's comprehensive system of proportion, Naskh style displays a very rhythmic line. Naskh later was reformed by Ibn al-Bawaab and others into an elegant script worthy of the Quran — and more Qurans have been written in Naskh than in all the other scripts together. Since the script is relatively easy to read and write, Naskh appealed particularly to the general population. Naskh is usually written with short horizontal stems — and with almost equal vertical depth above and below the medial line. The curves are full and deep, the uprights straight and vertical, and the words generally well spaced. Currently, Naskh is considered the supreme script for almost all Muslims and Arabs around the world."

 Persian Calligraphy: Nastaliq Script

Persian Calligraphy: Shekastah (broken) Script


"The evolution of the Persian script can be traced to 500-600 BC to provide inscriptions on monuments built by the Achaemenid kings. Horizontal, vertical, and diagonal nail-shaped letters made up the script called "Khat-e-Mikhi" or "Script of Nails". Several centuries later came other scripts like "Pahlavits" and "Avestaee" which involved writing on pages of animal skin with a feather pen. Strangely these scripts had much in common with "Sols" and "Naskh," Arabic scripts that were invented several centuries later.

Following the spread of Islam in the 7th century, Persians adapted the Arabic alphabet to the Farsi language. The contemporary Farsi alphabet was developed by adding 4 extra characters to the 28 characters of the Arabic alphabet to get 32 Persian (Farsi) letters. Around the 10th century, Ebn-e-Moqlah Beyzavi Shirazi conducted research and studied six major calligraphy styles. He categorized them as "Mohaqqaq," "Reyhan," "Sols" or "Thuluth," "Naskh," "Reqaa" and "Towqee."

Then Hassan Farsi Kateb combined "Naskh" and "Reqaa" styles to invent "Taliq," a new style. It was Mir Ali Tabrizi, master calligrapher, who combined Naskh and Taliq to create "Nas'taliq" - the most attractive style of Persian calligraphy. "Nas'taliq" is the most popular contemporary Persian calligraphy style that follows natural curves. Greater flexibility in the script led to the invention of "Cursive Nas'taliq" or "Shekasteh Nas'taliq" in the 17th century.

Calligraphy Tools

Paper (Kaaqaz), Calligraphy Pen (Qalam Ney), Pen Sharpener (Qalam-Taraash), Ink (Morakkab), Ink Container (Davaat), Silky Ink-Controller (Liqeh) and Writing Pad (Zir-Dasti) are the tools required for Persian calligraphy. Depending on the required length, Persian calligraphy requires a pen made from reed/cane or bamboo. Reeds for small to mid-sized pens are sourced from Dezful in Iran and are dried and processed before use. Ink-controlling silk is an important factor in Persian calligraphy as it prevents splashing of ink outside and controls the amount of ink that the calligrapher puts on the pen and places on the paper.


Persian calligraphy has 12 Principles which are applied to achieve finesse, balance and beauty in written works:

1. Khat-e-Korsee (Base Line) is a virtual line on which words are rested. The line may be straight horizontal, curved or diagonal.

2. Tarkib (Combination) lays emphasis on the harmony of letters with each other while balancing black and white in the entire effect.

3. Nesbat (Proportion) emphasizes proportion between letters in comparison with each other.

4. Qowat (Strength) and 5. Za'f (Slimness) both represent sturdiness or slimness of the letters or movements wherever applicable.

6. Sath (Flatness) and 7. Dowr (Curvature) indicate the importance of flatness or roundness of the stretched or curved letters or words wherever applicable.

8. So'oud (Descent) and 9. Nozoul (Ascent) are two principles that are applied to determine places where letters or words must be slightly ascending or descending to look more appropriate.

Other principles are summarized as follows:

10. Ossoul (Basics).
11. Safaa (Virtue).
12. Shaan (Value).


Persian calligraphy was mainly applied to inscriptions at the entrances of mosques, shrines and religious places and for writing religious texts. Nas'taliq and Cursive Nas'taliq, both modern Persian calligraphy styles have also been applied to depict visual illustrations of the depth of Persian poetry. Today, Persian calligraphy finds place in logos, letterheads, visiting cards, banners and posters. The recent development of software packages in calligraphy has made the process of creating art with calligraphy convenient for those who are not very artistically inclined."

Turkish Ottoman Rumi Calligraphy

Courtesy of
Calligraphy from Ottoman Dervish Lodges 

"CALLIGRAPHIC PICTURE OF A MEVLEVI DERVISH CAP Turkey; dated 1322 H/1904-05 CE. The tall cap of the Mevlevi mystics is formed here by the letters of the invocation to Mevlana (Maulana) Jalal ud-Din Rumi (d. 1273) who founded this order of ‘dancing dervishes’. The Mevlevis’ centre is the city of Konya in Anatolia. The characteristic form of the Mevlevi sikke is formed on this reverse glass painting by Arabic letters of the invocation ya Hazret-i Mevlana [O Our Honorable Master Rumi]. The first and the last letters, ya and na, form the brim of the hat. In the upper part of the hat we read “qaddas Allahu sirrahua’la” – “God blesses his exalted secret”."

Click here to see more Ottoman Calligraphy

For more resources on Persian Calligraphy, please visit:

Examples of Various Persian Calligraphy Styles
Persian Calligraphy. The Development of an Art Form
Brief  History of Persian Scripts
Persian Calligraphy
An introduction to Arabic, Ottoman & Persian Calligraphy
Persian or Farsi Nastaliq Font - Free Download
Persian Calligraphy Online Classes
Persian Language & Literature (50 Articles)

Arts of Painting & Calligraphy in Iran, India & Central Asia -


Arabic Script and the Art of Calligraphy


Calligraphy in Islamic Architecture


"The following exposition of Persian handwriting was compiled by the late Professor E. H. Palmer, a few months before he started on his last disastrous mission to Egypt. In addition to the unusual facility with which Professor Palmer could speak Eastern languages, he had paid special attention to Persian calligraphy, and was himself able to write, with much elegance, in several different styles, as is well known to his more intimate friends. Not only had he acquired skill in the more beautiful forms of Oriental penmanship, but he had also mastered the Shikasta, or running hand, which has so constantly proved a stumbling-block and riddle to ordinary Europeans. It is notorious that the great mass of officials in India, notwithstanding their colloquial knowledge of Urdu and Persian, come short, though after twenty or more years spent in the East, of mastering the intricacies of the running hand."

"From the earliest Sumerian and Babylonian cuneiform inscriptions, the sacred books of Parsis, the literary influence of the Islamic Conquest, the story of Ferdowsi's Shah Namah (Epic of King), to the magnificence of Persian poetry, Elizabeth A. Reed's scholarly book opens the treasure trove of Persian Literature."

Persian Calligraphy by Maestro Salehi ~

~ آموزش خوشنویسی ~ استاد صالحی

خط تعلیق را می‌توان نخستین خط ایرانی دانست. خط تعلیق که ترسل نیز نامیده می‌شد از اوایل قرن هفتم پا به عرصه گذاشت و حدود یکصد سال دوام داشت تعلیق از ترکیب خطوط نسخ و رقاع به وجود آمد و کسی که این خط را قانونمند کرد خواجه تاج سلمانی بود. که بعدها به وسیله خواجه عبدالحی منشی استر ابادی بدان قواعد و اصول بیشتری بخشیده شد
پس از خط تعلیق که نخستین خط شکل گرفته ایرانی بود. در قرن هشتم میرعلی تبریزی (۸۵۰ هجری قمری) از ترکیب و ادغام دو خط نسخ و تعلیق خطی بنام نسختعلیق بوجود آورد که نام آن در اثر کثرت استعمال به نستعلیق تغییر پیدا کرد. این خط بسیار مورد اقبال واقع شد و موجب تحول عظیمی در هنر خوشنویسی گردید. و بعدها در دوران شاه عباس صفوی به دست میرعماد حسنی به اوج زیبایی و کمال رسید
خط نستعلیق علاوه بر خوشنویسانی که در حیطه ایران کنونی می‌زیستند. در خراسان بزرگ و کشورهای آسیای میانه، افغانستان و به‌ویژه خوشنویسان دربار گورکانیان در هندوستان (که تعلق خاطر ویژه‌ای به فرهنگ ایرانی داشتند) رشد و پیشرفت قابل توجهی کرد


خوشنویسی یا خطاطی 

خط در اﻳﺮان ﺑﺎﺳﺘﺎن

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Thank you for visiting Maulana Rumi Online, a blog dedicated entirely to the life, works and teachings of Maulana Jalaluddin Muhammad Balkhi better known simply as Rumi here in our beloved America. Just as a memory refresher, all articles, e-books, images, links and reading materials listed in this Blog are solely for Educational purposes. This Blog is designed and maintained by yours truly, your comments, critiques or suggestions are quite welcome and greatly appreciated. As for my own Rumi Translations, you are welcome to copy and use them as long as it's not for commercial purposes. For best viewing, please try this Blog on Google Chrome Browser. This is a very long Blog though, so please make sure to use the Scroll To Top or Bottom Buttons at the left side, or Back To Top Button at the bottom right corner of your screen for smooth navigation. If you have any question, comment, critique or suggestion, please contact me by clicking the Contact Box embedded at the right middle corner. As Rumi would say, "Come, come, whoever you are, come back again.."!

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