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SOAS Language Centre

Arabic Calligraphy 10 Week Course


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Fees: Course fees quoted are per term of 10 weeks.

Arabic Calligraphy Course Image

Part of the range of Arabic language courses and activities at the SOAS Language Centre

These courses are the very latest addition to the SOAS Language Centre portfolio of courses and are aimed at those who wish to explore the significance and the techniques of one of the most important forms of artistic expression in the Islamic world.  These courses are an ideal complement for those who are already familiar with - or are currently studying - Arabic or a language whose writing system is derived from the Arabic alphabet (e.g. Persian, Pashto, Urdu). Applicants must be familiar with the Arabic alphabet but it is not necessary for applicants to be proficient in the Arabic language.

The first course (in Riq'ah) allows students to practice the script and develop writing techniques through the exploration of the underlying proportions of Arabic letter forms; the optional course (in Naskh) is designed to aid students in perfecting and giving their work a professionally finished look. These courses can be taken independently of each other.

The calligraphic styles currently available for study at the SOAS Language Centre are as follows:

Riq'ah style (10 weeks, one session of 2 hours per week)

Arabic Calligraphy - Riq'ah style

Riq'ah is featured by speed and inclined angles. It is quick to write and needs only a few touches at the ends of certain letters, such as haa,  and raa  and Ain.  Riq'ah  is easy, simple and beautiful at the same time. It is very helpful for personal correspondence and for note-taking.

Naskh Style (10 weeks, one session of 2 hours per week)

Arabic Calligraphy - Naskh Style

Naskh is one of the most beautiful and popular of styles and is classified as moderately difficult. This style is the one most commonly used for printing in Arabic. Naskh requires a skill in drawing circles and curves, and sharp endings on letters such as haa and raa. Considerable practice with a calligraphy pen is required to form the oval and circular shapes typifying this style. See our calligrapher in action.

Diwani Style (10 weeks, one session of 2 hours per week)

Diwani style

Diwani is a calligraphic variety of Arabic script, a cursive style developed during the reign of the early Ottoman Turks (16th century - early 17th century). It was invented by Housam Roumi and reached its height of popularity under Süleyman I the Magnificent (1520–1566). It was labelled the Diwani script because it was used in the Ottoman diwan and was one of the secrets of the sultan's palace. It was used in the writing of all royal decrees, endowments, and resolutions. The Diwani script is divided into two types: The Riq`a Diwani style, which is devoid of any decorations and the Jeli Diwani, still used in the correspondence of kings, princes, presidents, and in ceremonies and greeting cards.


Details to follow.


Writing implements (pen, paper, ink) will be provided to students at a cost of £5, payable directly to the teacher at the start of the course. Students will learn how to prepare their own reed pen. Any additional incidentals that students may be required to purchase will be notified to them prior to the start of the course. These courses are taught in English by Moustafa Hassan, a master calligrapher and artist from Egypt.

How to Apply

See our online store to book a place on these courses :

  • Riq'ah style (not available)
  • Naskh Style
  • Diwani Style (not available)




Our course materials page shows you what you need to buy for this course. Course materials are not included in the course fee and can be purchased from the SOAS bookshop bookshop@soas.ac.uk

Language Centre How To Apply


You can view our short course timetables here.

You can enrol:

Not a complete beginner?

If you are not a complete beginner, you will need to complete an assessment for course placement, allowing us to decide which course is right for you.

To apply for an assessment please complete our Needs Analysis Form (pdf; 187kb) and send to the relevant email inbox where a Course Officer will contact you for scheduling.

Course Fees and Discounted Rates

An overview of our Short Course Fees and Discounted Rates.

If you are eligible for a discount, you will not be able to complete your transaction on the Online Store. You will need to bring a paper Application Form (pdf; 35kb) , including your Staff/Student card for us to make a copy of, after which we can process your application at the discounted rate.

Returning students

If you are a returning student, you will have received a letter informing you of the procedures for rejoining prior to the start of the registration period. You can pay using any method indicated above. Returning students, if they are continuing onto the course indicated as the progression course, do not need to be assessed.