An effort in f a c i l i t a t i o n

“There is no such thing as Uthmaanic Script”!

While discussing about the font or the print style of the Qur’an, Muslim individuals or websites normally refer to ‘Uthmaanic script. This is actually a misnomer.

The respected doyen of Arabic language, Dr V Abdur Rahim, says that “There is no such thing as Uthmaanic script. It is Uthmaanic Orthography, i.e., spelling system”.

So while translating Rasm Uthmaani, we need to translate as ‘Uthmaanic Orthography, and not as Uthmaanic script! For, there is a vast difference between the terms script and orthography

The scholar-genius continues, “The Committee which recorded and wrote the muSHaf (copy of the Qur’aan) under the direction of ‘Uthmaan (radhiyallahu anhu) omitted weak letters* like العلمين for العالمين which a man knowing the language can easily recognize. This is one of the points in which the Uthmaanic Orthography differs from Modern Arabic Orthography.

The addition of short vowel marks like fatHah, Dammah, kasrah, etc. (Known as ضبط) took place later on. So these vowel marks are not part of ‘Uthmaanic Orthography”.

The Mushaf printed in Indo-Pak region “is also written according to ‘Uthmaanic Orthography but the system of DabT is different”.

Dr. V. Abdur Rahim, Head of the Qur’an Translation Centre of the prestigious King Fahad Qur’an Printing Complex, Saudi Arabia, lists out Four Elements of Qur’anic Orthography: 

1) Ar-Rasm al ‘Uthmaani, the Qur’anic Orthography as prepared under Caliph ‘Uthmaan’s supervision.

2) Al ijaam, the system of adding the dots.

3) Ad-DabT, adding the diacritical signs (that is Fat’ha, Kasrah and Dhammah (ie. Zabar, Zeir, Pesh in urdu)

4) ‘Alaamaat al Waqf, punctuation marks.

For a detailed discussion on Quranic Orthography please visit this page and this page.

Click here to visit Dr. V. Abdur Rahim’s blog.

Jazakallahu Khayra for reading this post. 

* In Arabic, Alif, Waaw and Yaa are considered as weak letters.

April 19, 2013 - Posted by | Qur'anic Studies, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. JazakAllahu khaira for all your posts…though I am not a regular commentator I go thru all the same…

    Comment by ummnaz | April 19, 2013 | Reply

    • Baarakallaahu Feek.
      Thank you for being a regular reader.
      Please remember me and my family in your du’aa, sister.

      Comment by MuQeet | April 19, 2013 | Reply

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