KARACHI    -    Islamic calligraphy is a centuries-old art form practiced throughout the Muslim cultures. Calligraphy cultivates the ‘self’, and patience among the practitioners of the art. Islamic Art is intimately tied to the divine revelation fusing truth and beauty as one and the same.

Dr Noman Baig, the Director of Interdisciplinary Research & Amp; Action Centre (IDRAC) at Habib University, expressed these views while speaking at the one-day online workshop entitled “The Calligraphic Self: The Practice of Writing in Islamic Tradition,” jointly organised by the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi and Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP), held at the LEJ Nation Science Information Centre, KU.

Ustad Kashif Khan, a well-known artist, and practitioner of calligraphy, painting, Tehzib (illumination), also addressed the workshop. Dr Noman Baig owns a PhD degree in Anthropology from the University of Texas (Austin).

Dr Baig introduced students to the basics and practice of calligraphy, and discussed the ways in which calligraphy cultivates the self, and said that the role of Islamic Art, according to Seyyed Hossein Nasr, was not just to provide a historical understanding of art but to mould the soul of the artist. “We can liken the calligrapher to the reed pen, where one needs to empty themselves just as a hollow pen in order for the divine to flow through,” he said adding that the ink itself is a metaphor for the latter.

He said that the act of learning calligraphy owned so many reasons to love the modern form. One of them is that calligraphy helps to control stress, as one simply cannot do calligraphy in a hurry or with an anxious mind, he maintained. Calligraphy also helps teach you one of the greatest virtues in life – patience, he said.

Ustad Kashif Khan told the participants that calligraphy was not an expensive activity, but it was good for mental health. He said that it was quite essential for young people to sit in the company of learned people, as this type of companionship could increase the level of intellect among them.