Ayat al-Kursi (The Throne Verse)
Allahu la ilaha ila huwa lhayu lqayyūm
la ta’khudhuhu sinatu wala nawm
lahu ma fisamawati wama fil Ard
man dha ladhi yashfa’au a’indahu ila b,idhni
ya’alamu ma bayna aydeehim wama khalfahum
wala yuheet’toon bi shay,in min a,ilmahu illa bima shaaa’
was’aa kursiyu bis samawati wal Ard.
Wala Yu’udhuhu Hifdhuma
Wahuwa A’alyul A’Adheem
اللّهُ لاَ إِلَـهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ
لاَ تَأْخُذُهُ سِنَةٌ وَلاَ نَوْمٌ
لَّهُ مَا فِي السَّمَوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ
مَن ذَا الَّذِي يَشْفَعُ عِنْدَهُ إِلاَّ بِإِذْنِهِ
يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهم
وَلاَ يُحِيطُونَ بِشَيْءٍ مِّنْ عِلْمِهِ إِلاَّ بِمَا شَا
وَسِعَ كُرْسِيُّهُ السَّمَوَاتِ وَالأَرْضَ
وَلاَ يَؤُودُهُ حِفْظُهُمَا
وَهُوَ الْعَلِيُّ الْعَظِيمُ
Allah ! There is no deity but Him, the Alive, the Eternal.
Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him.
Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth.
Who is he that intercedeth with Him save by His leave?
He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them,
while they encompass nothing of His knowledge save what He wills.
His throne includeth the heavens and the earth,
and He is never weary of preserving them.
He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.
Take the way Arabic writing literally jumped off the page into architecture: Any tourist visiting the Alhambra Palace in Spain, the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem or the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, can’t help being struck by the central role calligraphy plays in traditional Islamic buildings.
Written Arabic emerged from humble beginnings. Among the earliest examples, in Mecca, are crude lettering chipped into standing boulders that date from the late seventh century. They were a people’s way of memorializing significant parts of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (SWA), who lived and had recently died there.
As the Quran began to be written down on parchment, early calligraphers took to heart one of Muhammad’s most famous statements: “God is beautiful and loves beauty.” They started early, developing writing styles that enhanced and formalized the 6346 verses and 114 sections of the Quran. The very tools of these early copyists show their careful attention to aesthetics: the angle at which the tip of the writing reed was cut, the care taken in blending inks and curing paper, the use of precious gold to enhance portions of verses, and above all the meditative, near-mystical approach to penmanship that calligraphers adopted in their work — all combined to create an art of tremendous subtlety and sophistication.
Never mind that we may not understand one word — we are mesmerized by this transformation of language into flowing stone scrolls of shapely meaning. This is a visual, rhythmic Wonder of the World that obeys internal geometric rules, an elegant flow ordered by a mathematical preciseness — which in a way is the essence of all Islamic art.