Calligraphy Qalam: An Introduction to Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Calligraphy uses interactive tools to interest new audiences in Arabic, Ottoman and Persian calligraphy.

Mohamed Zakariya

Full name:

Mohamed Zakariya

What he did:

  • Became an American master calligrapher after studying with Hasan Celebi
  • Commissed to create the U.S. Eid postage stamp
  • Leading proponent of Islamic calligraphy in the United States today


  • Grew up in California
  • Converted to Islam after traveling in the Middle East
  • Master woodworker, engraver, machinist and maker of scientific instruments
  • Studied with several Turkish calligraphy masters and received his ijaza in 1988 for the thuluth and naskh scripts, and in 1997 for the t'aliq script (a Turkish variant of nasta'liq)
  • Teaches, lectures and exhibits his work internationally
  • Website:

<< Hasan Celebi | Ibn Muqla >>

Mohamed Zakariya

Calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya

Photograph by Elisabeth Kvernen.

Calligraphy by Mohamed Zakariya

Calligraphy by Mohamed Zakariya
Calligraphy by Mohamed Zakariya

Quote on calligraphy

"Sometimes people ask me, 'What does it feel like to do such work?' There is no good answer, except awareness of the standards that have been set for the art and the responsibility to be faithful to them. So, rather than think of myself as a calligrapher, I still think of myself as becoming a calligrapher."

From: Zakariya, Mohamed. "Becoming a Calligrapher: Memoirs of an American Student of Calligraphy." Zakariya Calligraphy. 15 Aug. 2008.

Documentary video

To learn more about Mohamed Zakariya, watch the documentary Music of the Eye.