Introducing the art of Arabic, Ottoman, & Persian calligraphy


(Pronounced “moo-huk-uk”; Turkish–Muhakkak; Persian–Mohaqqaq)


  • “Muhaqqaq” means “fully-realized,” and “strongly expressed”


  • Muhaqqaq was used throughout the Islamic world to write fine, large Qur’ans or architectural inscriptions

Companion script

  • Muhaqqaq is most often written in conjunction with rayhani, which is a smaller version of the same script.


  • Developed in the 10th century
  • Refined by Şeyh Hamdullah in the 15th century
  • Yielded its place to Thuluth at the end of the 17th century
  • Muhaqqaq is mostly obsolete today, but by tradition is still used to write the bismillah (an Islamic phrase meaning, “In the name of God, most gracious, most compassionate”)

Distinctive characteristics

  • Precise, angular script with upright letters
  • Carefully balanced ascenders and horizontal letters
  • Strong horizontal emphasis (wider than it is shorter)
  • Descending strokes end in a straight, sharp points rather than turning upwards in a hook
  • Descending round strokes often encircle the following letter
Fragment of a Qur’an folio, Sura 3:85-86
Muhaqqaq script. Freer Galler of Art.
Folio from a Qur’an, sura 79:7-39; sura 80:1-19
Muhaqqaq and thuluth scripts. Freer Galler of Art.
Qur’an Fragment
Muhaqqaq and thuluth scripts. Courtesy of the Nasser D Khalili Collection of Islamic Art. QUR 413.
Detached folio from a Qur’an, sura 11:61-71
Muhaqqaq script. Courtesy of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Image gallery

View the full muhaqqaq image gallery