عنوان مقاله [English]
The Kufic script is one of the first scripts of the Islamic era, which was the most widely used script in writing religious texts, coins, pottery, and inscriptions and building decorations in the first centuries. This script evolved in the middle of the second century AH and the styles derived from it were used in some applications such as inscriptions and some Qurans from the fourth century to the early seventh century. After that, with the further prosperity of the cursive scripts, its use was very limited and it wouldn’t be written except for amusement. The Qajar era was a period of widespread prevalence of Nasta`liq, Naskh, and Shikasta Nastaʿlīq scripts in Iranian manuscripts. However, there are few manuscripts and lithographic books that were written in Kufic script by someone named Zayn al-Ābidīn Sharīf Safavī (1282-1333 AH), an Iranian writer, proofreader and author. In addition to writing these works, Zayn al-Ābidīn has taught the Kufic script in a treatise entitled “Risāli ihyā` al-khat” and has explained his method of work in it. The tendency to revive the Kufic script might be assessed in terms of antiquity and a return to the past in this period. This was an applied research in terms of purpose and qualitative in terms of data analysis and sought to find an answer to the question of how Zayn al-Ābidīn Safavī used the Kufic script in writing his three printed works, i.e. Duʿā Sabāḥ 1317 AH, Qur`an 1312-1322 AH, and another version of Duʿā Sabāḥ 1322 AH, and what innovations he resorted to overcome the limitations of this script.
Results of this research in the section on the elements indicate that the writer’s use of the method of early Kufic writing (in all three books) and Eastern Kufi, in some pages of the Qur’an 1312-1322 AH. He was bound to the rules of the original Kufic script in combining lines in Duʿā Sabāḥ 1317 AH, but in combining the calligraphy of the other two versions, he used innovative methods such as italicizing, vertical writing, and overwriting at the end of the lines to overcome the limitations of the Kufic script. Although it was common in other scripts, it was unparalleled in writing Kufic script. He sometimes used ingenious combinations by overwriting words within the text of the Qur’an for stunt, which is noteworthy.
Examining the script and the sayings of Zayn al-Ābidīn, we find that he had at least three visual sources: a page from a Kufi Qur’an mentioned at the end of the Duʿā Sabāḥ, possibly a page from the Eastern Kufi Qur’an (Sackler Museum), or a copy of Sifāt al-Shīʿa (dated 391 AH, Amini collection), and stone inscriptions and rings.
The manuscript, which was considered a novelty, contained additional texts that were not common in Qur’an writing tradition: from the addition of Muzaffar al-din Shāh’s permission to the text of the “Risāle-ye ihyā` al-khat” and the flow of Qur’anic writing. In general, the Qur’an and Duʿā Sabāḥ of Zayn al-Ābidīn were based on a research. He referred to his available works to know the Kufic script, and was able to extract the singular forms and composition of the original Kufic and the eastern and decorative Kufic. He gathered information about the types of readings and talked about it at the beginning of his book. He also paid attention to the difference between the numbering of verses by people of Basra and Kufa and has adjusted the text of the version based on both methods. Following the tradition of the time, he has also included various interpretations in the margins of the version and has provided a comprehensive version to the readers in general.
The Qur’anic script has a relatively different structure compared to the two books of Duʿā Sabāḥ. While the writer in writing the Qur’an tried to be committed to the early Kufic script, according to himself, Ali ibn abī Ṭālib script, in writing the Qur’an he not only explicitly used the two methods of Kufic writing, i.e. the early Kufic and the Eastern Kufic, but also tried to innovate and somehow showed off his art.
The method of writing the Kufic script in the printed books under discussion, which is inspired by early and Eastern Kufic and some of the writer’s innovations based on the structure of Naskh and Nastaʿliq scripts, caused this script to be known among the people in a short period of Qajar rule. However, perhaps the turmoil of the cultural situation in the late Qajar era or perhaps Zayn al-Ābidīn’s prediction in the introduction to the Qur’an, this method of writing did not find any follower in later years and was forgotten after the death of Zayn al-Ābidīn.