The Islamic appreciation of calligraphy is finely expressed by the 10th century Persian philosopher, Abu Hayyān al Tawhidi who wrote that,
Handwriting is the jewellery fashioned by the hand from pure gold of the intellect
The field of Islamic calligraphy is almost inexhaustible given the various types of Arabic script and the extension of Islamic culture. It is because of this reason that a copious amount of scholarly work has been done on the types of Arabic calligraphy in the West.
The name “Thuluth” means one third, which might refer to the size of the pen used to write the script. It is one of the cursive scripts that was commonly used to decorate masjids and different types of texts.
The Thuluth script has cursive letters and long lines, which makes it easy to read and suitable for both titles and long texts.
The word Ta’liq means “suspension” and was inspired by the shape of the script’s lines, which look hung together and connected to each other, and its letters which are rounded curved. While this makes it less legible, the script is often written with a large distance between lines to give more space for the eye to identify letters and words.
the name “Riq’a” derives from how the script was used: written on small pieces of paper or cloth.
The Riq’a script is known for its simple form, making it perfect for paragraphs and long texts. The way its letters are connected makes it particularly easy to convert into a digital font. However, it is not especially attractive in titles or decorations because it does not have the sophisticated letterforms of the Diwani, Thuluth and Kufic scripts.
The kufic Arabic script is the first one that attracted the Orientalists with its angular patterns as found on the coronation gown of the German Emperor and on early coins.
The vibrant vitality of Islam gave birth to sacred art, unrivalled for its beauty and conception in the history of mankind. Using this art, masterpieces of Man’s creative achievement were produced. The Kufic script is a product of that art movement. It is the outcome of a deliberate aspiration impelled by the consciousness of the need for a more literately form of lettering. This script symbolizes the qualities of majesty and beauty of the creator as also the analogy between creation and revelation.
The kufic script is said to be attributed to Maulana Ali SA. Kufa was one of the important centers for the art of writing.
Maulana Ali sa was the first master of calligraphy and had a prominent role in the formation of the kufic script.
Source: Calligraphy and Islamic Culture by Annemarie Schimmel