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Script type
LanguagesUrdu, Persian (including Dari and Tajik), Ottoman Turkish, Kurdish, Azerbaijani (in Iran and Iraq), many varieties of Punjabi (including Hindko and Saraiki), Kashmiri, Balochi, Afghan Uzbek, Pashto, Uyghur, Sindhi, Balti, Shina, Hazaragi, Nuristani Languages, Burushaski, Iraqi Arabic, Luri, Chagatai, Qashqai, Mazandarani, Tati[disambiguation needed], Gilaki, Talysh, Pashayi
ISO 15924
ISO 15924Aran, 161 , ​Arabic (Nastaliq variant)
A couplet versified by the Persian poet Hafez in Nastaliq, in print: [note]

? ?

in a Naskh styled typeface:

? ?

Nasta'l?q (;[2] Persian: ?‎, IPA: [næs'tæ?li:q]) is one of the main calligraphic hands used to write the Perso-Arabic script in the Persian and Urdu languages,[3] and traditionally the predominant style in Persian calligraphy.[4] It was developed in the land of Persia (modern-day Iran) in the 14th and 15th centuries.[5] It is sometimes used to write Arabic language text (where it is mainly used for titles and headings), but its use has always been more popular in the Persian, Urdu and Turkic sphere of influence.[] Nastaliq remains very widely used in Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan and other countries for written poetry and as a form of art.[6]

A less elaborate version of Nastaliq serves as the preferred style for writing in Kashmiri and Urdu and it is often used alongside Naskh for Pashto.[] In Persian, it is used for poetry only. Nastaliq was historically used for writing Ottoman Turkish, where it was known as tâlik[7] (not to be confused with a totally different Persian style, also called ta?l?q; to distinguish the two, Ottomans referred to the latter as ta?l?q-i qadim, "old ta?l?q").

Nastaliq is the core script of the post-Sassanid Persian writing tradition and is equally important in the areas under its cultural influence. The languages of Iran (Western Persian, Azeri, Balochi, Kurdi, Luri, etc.), Afghanistan (Dari Persian, Pashto, Turkmen, Uzbek, etc.), India (Urdu, Kashmiri, etc.), Pakistan (Urdu, Punjabi, Saraiki, Pashto, Balochi, etc.) and the Turkic Uyghur language of the Chinese province of Xinjiang, rely on Nastaliq. Under the name ta?liq (lit. "suspending script"), it was also beloved by Ottoman calligraphers who developed the Diwani (divanî) and Ruqah (r?kʻa) styles from it.[]

Nastaliq is amongst the most fluid calligraphy styles for the Arabic script. It has short verticals with no serifs, and long horizontal strokes.[] It is written using a piece of trimmed reed with a tip of 5-10 mm (0.2-0.4 in), called qalam ('pen', Arabic and Persian ) and carbon ink, named siyahi. The nib of a qalam can be split in the middle to facilitate ink absorption.[8]

Two important forms of Nastaliq panels are Chalipa and Siyah mashq. A Chalipa ("cross", in Persian) panel usually consists of four diagonal hemistiches (half-lines) of poetry, clearly signifying a moral, ethical or poetic concept. Siyah Mashq ("black drill") panels, however, communicate via composition and form, rather than content. In Siyah Mashq, repeating a few letters or words (sometimes even one) virtually inks the whole panel.[] The content is thus of less significance and not clearly accessible.[]


Example saying, "Nastaliq script", written in Nasta'l?q.


(Naskh: ?)
The dotted form ? is used in place of ? in the word ? Nastaliq.

After the Islamic conquest of Persia, the Iranian Persian people adopted the Perso-Arabic script and the art of Persian calligraphy flourished in Iran as territories of the former Persian empire. Apparently, Mir Ali Tabrizi (14th century) developed Nastaliq by combining two existing scripts of Nas? and Ta?l?q.[9] Hence, it was originally called Nas?-Ta?l?q. Another theory holds that the name Nastaliq means "that which abrogated (naskh) Ta?l?q".[10]

Nastaliq thrived and many prominent calligraphers contributed to its splendor and beauty. It is believed[by whom?] that Nastaliq reached its highest elegance in Mir Emad's works. The current practice of Nastaliq is, however, heavily based on Mirza Reza Kalhor's technique. Kalhor modified and adapted Nastaliq to be easily used with printing machines, which in turn helped wide dissemination of his transcripts. He also devised methods for teaching Nastaliq and specified clear proportional rules for it, which many could follow.[]

The Mughal Empire used Persian as the court language during their rule over South Asia. During this time, Nastaliq came into widespread use in South Asia. The influence continues to this day. In India and Pakistan, almost everything in Urdu is written in the script, constituting the greatest part of Nastaliq usage in the world. The situation of Nastaliq in Bangladesh used to be the same as in Pakistan until 1971, when Urdu ceased to remain an official language. Today, only a few people use this form of writing in Bangladesh.[]

Nastaliq is a descendant of Nas? and Ta?l?q. Shekasteh Nastaliq - literally: "broken Nastaliq" - style (below) is a development of Nastaliq.[]

Notable Nastaliq calligraphers

Persian Chalipa panel, Mir Emad
In print: [note]

? ? ?


In Naskh styled typeface:

? ? ?


And others, including Mirza Jafar Tabrizi, Abdul Rashid Deilami, Sultan Ali Mashadi, Mir Ali Heravi, Emad Ul-Kottab, Mirza Gholam Reza Esfehani, Emadol Kotab, Yaghoot Mostasami and Darvish Abdol Majid Taleghani.[]

And among contemporary artists: Hassan Mirkhani, Hossein Mirkhani, Keikhosro Khoroush, Abbas Akhavein and Qolam-Hossein Amirkhani, Ali Akbar Kaveh, Kaboli.[11]


Islamic calligraphy was originally used to adorn Islamic religious texts, specifically the Qur'an, as pictorial ornaments were prohibited in sacred publications and spaces of Islam. Therefore, a sense of sacredness was always implicit in calligraphy.[]

A Nastaliq disciple was supposed to qualify himself spiritually for being a calligrapher, besides learning how to prepare qalam, ink, paper and, more importantly, master Nastaliq. For instance see Adab al-Mashq, a manual of penmanship attributed to Mir Emad.[12]

Shekasteh Nastaliq

Shekasteh or Shekasteh Nastaliq (Persian: ?‎, ?, "cursive Nastaliq" or literally "broken Nastaliq") style is a "streamlined" script of Nastaliq. It was developed in the 14th century to ease communication for non-calligraphic purposes, such as commerce and administration. Shekasta is characterized by "[letters] greatly reduced in size... thinner strokes... [and] letters that in the formal versions of the Arabic script do not connect to the left were made to connect."[13]

Nastaliq typesetting

An example of the Nastaliq script used for writing Urdu.

? ?


? ?

Nastaliq Typography first started with attempts to develop a metallic type for the script, but all such efforts failed. Fort William College developed a Nastaliq Type, which was not close enough to Nastaliq and hence was never used other than by the college library to publish its own books. The State of Hyderabad Dakan (now in India) also attempted to develop a Nastaliq Typewriter but this attempt failed miserably and the file was closed with the phrase "Preparation of Nastaliq on commercial basis is impossible". Basically, in order to develop such a metal type, thousands of pieces would be required.[]

Modern Nastaliq typography began with the invention of Noori Nastaleeq which was first created as a digital font in 1981 through the collaboration of Mirza Ahmad Jamil TI (as Calligrapher) and Monotype Imaging (formerly Monotype Corp & Monotype Typography).[14] Although this was a ground-breaking solution employing over 20,000 ligatures (individually designed character combinations)[15] which provided the most beautiful results and allowed newspapers such as Pakistan's Daily Jang to use digital typesetting instead of an army of calligraphers, it suffered from two problems in the 1990s: (a) its non-availability on standard platforms such as Windows or Mac OS, and (b) the non-WYSIWYG nature of text entry, whereby the document had to be created by commands in Monotype's proprietary page description language.


In 1994, InPage Urdu, which is a fully functional page layout software for Windows akin to Quark XPress, was developed for Pakistan's newspaper industry by an Indian software company Concept Software Pvt Ltd. It offered the Noori Nastaliq font licensed from Monotype Corporation. This font, with its vast ligature base of over 20,000, is still used in current versions of the software for Windows. As of 2009 InPage has become Unicode based, supporting more languages, and the Faiz Lahori Nastaliq font with Kasheeda has been added to it along with compatibility with OpenType Unicode fonts. Nastaliq Kashish[clarification needed] has been made for the first time[clarification needed] in the history of Nastaliq Typography.[]

Cross platform Nastaliq fonts

Text: ? in the font "Urdu Typesetting".
  • Windows 8 was the first version of Microsoft Windows to have native Nastaliq support, through Microsoft's "Urdu Typesetting" font.[16]
Text: ? in the font "Noto Nastaliq".

Letter forms

For the Arabic alphabet, and many others derived from it, letters are regarded as having two or three general forms each, based on their position in the word (though obviously Arabic calligraphy can add a great deal of complexity). But the Nastaliq style uses more than three general forms for many letters,[21][22] even in non-decorative documents. For example, most documents written in Urdu, which uses the Nastaliq style.

See also


  1. ^ Akram, Qurat ul Ain; Hussain, Sarmad; Niazi, Aneeta; Anjum, Umair; Irfan, Faheem (April 2014). Adapting Tesseract for Complex Scripts: An Example for Urdu Nastalique. 11th IAPR International Workshop on Document Analysis Systems. Tours, France: IEEE. pp. 191-195. doi:10.1109/DAS.2014.45. ISBN 978-1-4799-3243-6.
  2. ^ "Nastaliq | Definition of Nastaliq by Oxford Dictionary on also meaning of Nastaliq". Lexico Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved – via
  3. ^ eteraz, ali (8 October 2013). "The Death of the Urdu Script". Medium. Retrieved 2020. Urdu is traditionally written in a Perso-Arabic script called nastaliq...
  4. ^ The Cambridge History of Islam. By P. M. Holt, et al., Cambridge University Press, 1977, ISBN 0-521-29138-0, p. 723.
  5. ^ Hamed, Payman. "Famous Calligraphers - Persian Calligraphy- All about Persian Calligraphy".
  6. ^ Gulzar, Rahman, Atif, Shafiq (2007). "Nastaleeq: A challenge accepted by Omega" (PDF). TUGboat. 29: 1-6.
  7. ^ "The Scripts". Archived from the original on 2013-12-14. Retrieved .
  8. ^ "Qalam", Wikipedia, 2020-02-15, retrieved
  9. ^ "Famous Calligraphers". Persian Calligraphy. Retrieved 2012.
  10. ^ "Iran Nasta?l?q script - IRAN TRAVEL, TRIP TO IRAN". Retrieved .
  11. ^ Nastaliq Script - Persian Calligraphy Archived September 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Ernst, Carl W. (April-June 1992). "The Spirit of Islamic Calligraphy: B?b? Sh?h I?fah?n?'s ?d?b al-mashq". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 112 (2): 279-286. doi:10.2307/603706. JSTOR 603706.
  13. ^ Spooner, Brian; Hanaway, William L. (1995). Reading Nasta'liq: Persian and Urdu Hands from 1500 to the Present. p. 3. ISBN 978-1568592138.
  14. ^ Khurshiq, Iqbal (17 November 2013). " ? ? ? ". Express. Retrieved 2013.
  15. ^ How to bring a language to the future, 9 Feb 2021
  16. ^ "The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 9: Nastaleeq vs. Nastaliq? Either way, Windows 8 has got it!". MSDN Blogs. Retrieved .
  17. ^ "Google Noto Fonts".
  18. ^ "Apple finally enables Nastaleeq typeface for Urdu keyboard in iOS 11". 23 September 2017.
  19. ^ "What is Special About Awami Nastaliq? - Awami Nastaliq".
  20. ^ Riaz, fahmida (21 November 2013). "Amar Nastaleeq Font for Urdu Web Publishing".
  21. ^ FWP. "Urdu: some thoughts about the script and grammar, and other general notes for students assembled from years of classroom notes by FWP". Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ "The chart below gives the different positional variants of some of the significantly different letters. (scanned document)". Linked by Retrieved 2020.

Further reading

  • Sheila Blair, Islamic Calligraphy, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2005.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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