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Timely transformation key to calligraphy’s survival
BY IMRAN MOJIB November 11, 2017
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SHARJAH: The advent of computer technology killed many traditional art and the related jobs, calligraphy being one of them. However, the same technology also opened new vistas for commercial and financial success for those who were ready to adapt to technology.

Darussalam Publishers, one of the biggest publishing houses of Islamic books in Arabic, English, Urdu, French and about two dozen other languages, is a living example.

Abdul Malik Mujahid, who established the Islamic publishing house in 1986 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, was a professional calligrapher. Hailing from the famous “Kilani” family proudly associated with the art for over 300 years, Mujahid earned a living from calligraphy. Like other members of the family, he also used to write the Holy Quran in “Nasakh” script, as well as other Islamic books that used to be scanned and printed.

Okasha Mujahid, Managing Director of Darussalam Publishers, who is also leading the team at the Sharjah International Book Fair, said that as computer technology merged with publishing industry, his father, Abdul Malik Mujahid, sensed the difficulties it would pose to professional calligraphers.

“In 1986, my father bought a computer and established Darussalam Publishers. Today, the publishing house is credited with publishing over 1,500 books, including more than 30 translations of the Holy Quran in 26 languages and over 60 books on the biography of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH),” he said.

“The Holy Quran in Nasakh script, which is popular in India and Pakistan, is still handwritten, which is scanned before printing. Writing the Holy Quran is a job that needs passion and patience. We keep all manuscripts saved for posterity,” he said.

Okasha said he has also learnt calligraphy as he is passionate about the art. “Besides Arabic calligraphy, I have also learnt English calligraphy. I have also studied this art at the National College of Art, Lahore. I practice calligraphy as a form of modern art, which will continue to live,” he added.

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