Newly printed Qur’anic edition of King Fahd press

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A sample of Taha's work
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Taha's handiwork as a young boy
Updated 19 December 2017

Newly printed Qur’anic edition of King Fahd press

MADINAH: The changes made to the latest Hafs Qur’anic edition did not include using a different script variant (handwriting), but a new theme and new motifs as well as printing it in different sizes, said Uthman Taha, the calligrapher who has written the new edition of the Hafs Mus’haf.

The renowned calligrapher, Uthman Taha, was born in a small village close to the Turkish border in northern Syria to a simple family of farmers, and his father was the village’s imam.

“I developed a passion for calligraphy when, at the age of six, I started to look through my father’s books and see how beautifully their titles were written,” Taha said. “I asked my father about the types of scripts used, but he said it was not his specialty but that of calligraphers in the city.”

“When I became older, my father sent me to Aleppo to complete my education,” he continued, “There, I met some of Aleppo’s famous calligraphers, watched them work, and learned about the tools they used, the way they held their pens, and how they created beautiful alphabets.”

“I then moved to Damascus and met the chief calligrapher in Syria, Muhammad Badawi Al-Diyrani, and the Iraqi calligrapher, Hashim Al-Baghdadi. In Istanbul, I met Hamid Al-Amidi, the master of calligraphers in the Islamic world, who gave me a certificate in calligraphy.”

While Taha studied at the University of Damascus, he was approached by the King Fahd Complex for Printing the Holy Qur’an two years after its establishment. “I was appointed as a calligrapher to write different editions of the Mus’haf for several countries across the Islamic world,” he said.

“Today, five types of scripts are being used — Thuluth, the basic, large script known as the king of scripts, followed by Naskh,” he added.

“I was assigned writing the Mus’haf in different textual variants under the supervision of a specialized committee. It takes almost three years to finish writing one Mus’haf.”

Taha explained that the person who writes the Mus’haf must have memorized the Holy Qur’an and should understand its verses well.

“The first Mus’haf I wrote at the King Fahd Complex 32 years ago was a Warsh edition for Arab countries of the Maghreb,” Taha said, “Of course, we have a revision committee at the complex, led by the imam of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, Ali Al-Hudhaifi, to reread what I write.”

“The Warsh Mus’haf, which I completed in 3 years, is among the rarest editions of the Qur’an in the Islamic world,” he continued. “I have also written six Mus’hafs in different textual variants, which were distributed across the Islamic world. I first wrote the Warsh, then Hafs, and then Duri for Africa and Sudan, and I wrote the Qalun for Libya.”

He also pointed out that many Saudi calligraphers visit him at his house. They come from Riyadh, Jeddah, and Qassim to show him what they’d written. “I try my best to coach them, but I don’t have enough time as I spend most of my day working at the King Fahd Complex,” he said.

“Writing a Mus’haf requires readiness and desire, as well as good knowledge in Qur’anic teachings,” he added, “A calligrapher who wishes to write a Mus’haf must understand the beauty of its every page.”

He also revealed that he holds a PhD and a degree in drawing, and that his youngest son, Ahmed, has his calligraphy and artistic talent.

Taha is currently working on a project to write the Qur’an on a large 600-page panel kept in drawers made especially for Qur’anic manuscripts inside rooms designed to keep them in excellent condition.

He wished the new generation would care more about Arabic calligraphy, and said that the youth in Saudi Arabia were interested in this art. “I wish calligraphy were taught at schools,” he said. “Saudi Arabia takes care of the Holy Qur’an, prints it, and distributes it to all Muslims, so that, today, the King Fahd Complex is considered the best in printing the Holy Qur’an at a global level and has everyone’s respect.”

He also highlighted that, recently, the governor or Madinah, Prince Faisal bin Salman, visited him at his house.

Dead whale found on Asir beach in Saudi Arabia

Updated 33 sec ago

Dead whale found on Asir beach in Saudi Arabia

  • Whales enter the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf by swimming next to the large ships and tankers
  • They often lose their way and suffocate through drought and hot weather, or crash against the propellers of large oil tankers

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture discovered the body of a humpback whale on the shore of Al-Qahmah Center Beach in Asir last Saturday.
The Director of the Fisheries Branch in Al-Qahmah, Ali Hamdi, said: “Immediately after we received a notification from the border guards about spotting a dead marine animal at the Al-Qahmah Center, five km away from the fishermen’s shore inside the sea, our field teams were dispersed to explore the spot and what sort of animal it was, as well as the cause of its death.”
He added: “We detected the species was a humpback whale, one of the largest marine organisms in the oceans, with its adults ranging in length from 12 to 16m and a circumference of between 4 and 6m. This specific whale is of the baleen species and can often be found in the Red Sea.
Hamdi said that the whales enter the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf by swimming next to the large ships and tankers coming in through the ocean, often losing their way there and suffocating through drought and the hot weather, or crashing against one of the engines of the large oil tankers.
An immediate committee of border guards and fisheries, along with personnel from the municipality of Al-Qahmah, was formed to get rid of the body by burying it according to the specialists in the fishery, about 10 meters from the beach and the parks.
The hunchback whale is known to weigh between 20 and 30 tons, and is also prone to taking extremely long journeys across oceans. It is one of the marine species that is famous for its long periods of fasting, going on for months during the hibernation season.
On Monday, the Red Sea Development Company announced that it was forming an advisory board to help develop plans for environmental protection, restoration of natural resources and to help expand the tourism sector by establishing a luxurious spot for lovers of nature and adventure.
The Environmental Affairs at the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection is also working on marine-friendly initiatives, monitoring the environment and preventing water pollution.