Introducing the art of Arabic, Ottoman, & Persian calligraphy


(Pronounced “ray-ha-nee”; Turkish–Reyhani; Persian–Raihan)


  • “Rayhani” means “the aromatic plant basil” or “having a fragrance”


  • Rayhani was used for copying Qur’ans

Companion script

  • Muhaqqaq is the larger script often used in conjunction with rayhani.


  • Developed in the 10th century
  • Refined by Şeyh Hamdullah in the 15th century
  • Like muhaqqaq, the use of rayhani began to decline after the 17th century in favor of naskh

Distinctive characteristics

  • A small version of muhaqqaq
  • Letter shapes are more pointy than naskh
  • Usually has a pronounced spike on the initial alif-lam letter shape


  • An easily readable script
Qur’anic verses
Rayhani script. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, African and Middle Eastern Division.
The Ibn al-Bawwab Qur‘an
Naskh and Rayhani script. The Chester Beatty Library.
The Ibn al-Bawwab Qur‘an
Calligrapher: Abu’l-Hasan `Ali ibn Hilal, known as Ibn al-Bawwab. Naskh and Rayhani script. The Chester Beatty Library.

If the foreign kings brag to us of their proverbs, we shall boast to them of what we have of the styles [scripts] of calligraphy, because of the nobility of the art.

Caliph Al-Ma’mun

Image gallery

View the full rayhani image gallery