Calligraphy: art works from the heart

Maulana Tarique, a Fazil from the Darul-Uloom Deoband, is the only professional calligrapher in Deoband. He has inspired many youngsters to value the art of calligraphy.

By Nigar Ataulla

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Quiet by-lanes and creaky cycle rickshaws, little tea shops and steep stairways dot the town of Deoband in western Uttar Pradesh.

Tucked away among a row of houses in a busy street is the home of Maulana Tarique Bin Saqib. The flowery curtains on the doorway give way to a neat and tidy room. It is here that Maulana Tarique patiently creates his beautiful calligraphic Toghras, intricate works of calligraphy in different styles using verses form the Quran along with various geometric and floral designs. He is the only professional calligrapher in Deoband. Born in Araria court, Village Jogindar, Bihar, in 1958, Maulana Tarique is a Fazil from the Darul-Uloom Deoband, South Asia’s largest madrasa, having graduated way back in 1987.

Interested in calligraphy since childhood, he learnt the basics and finesse of the art from his father, Maulana Abdul Waheed, a renowned poet. Specialising in different styles of Quranic calligraphy, Maulana Tarique took to it first as a hobby and in 1990 made it a regular profession. His first Toghras were sold to his friends.

“There are two major arts in Islam. Reciting the Quran well and writing the script of the Quran gracefully. It is sad that Muslims have not encouraged calligraphy, or what in Urdu is called khatati. Muslim-owned organizations, especially educational institutions, should patronize calligraphy,” says Maulana Tarique. He laments the fact that the creativity involved in calligraphy is not valued by Muslims today.

It was through sheer hard work and self-study from books that Maulana Tarique learnt the art. To promote the dying art of calligraphy, he set up the World Islamic Khattati Institute in Deoband and over 500 students from Darul Uloom, Deoband have so far learnt the art under his guidance.

“I want to set up an art gallery exclusively dedicated to calligraphy in New Delhi. At least in this way calligraphers and Toghra makers will get an opportunity to display their works of art. Apart from this, awards and scholarships should be instituted to encourage budding young calligraphers,” says Maulana Tarique.

Every Toghra created by Maulana Tarique is unique and has a separate identity. Taking a short break, sometimes he composes poetry that has a social message.

While thanking Almighty Allah for the gift of talent, he credits his wife and children for their unflinching support.

“Calligraphy is one of the best ways of propagating the Quran and I dream that one day I will be able to write at least one ayat of the Quran in calligraphic style on the walls of the Haram in Makkah and Makkah. Every piece of art I do is like my child,” explains the Maulana as he gets set to create yet another exquisite Toghra.


Maulana Tarique Bin Saqib can be contacted on the following address:

Maulana Tarique Bin Saqib (Fazil Deoband)
Khattati Institute
Gali Haji Sahab
Badziyaul Haque
(Ph: 09412557987)

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