Asma Ibret –15 Centuries of Female Scholarship

In this series, Shaykha Tamara Gray narrates the stories of great Muslim women through the centuries, who excelled in fields of Islamic knowledge, science, and philanthropy. This segment features Asma Ibret from the 12th century.

Asma Ibret was an artist and a calligrapher in the Ottoman times. She studied with the most famous teacher in her time. She must have begun while she was quite young, as she finished her first work at the age of 15. It was a beautiful calligraphic description of the Prophet Muhammad, Allah bless him and give him peace. The piece had been commissioned by someone who gave it as a gift to the Sultan. The Sultan found it so beautiful, and so expressive of the beauty of the Prophet, that he gave Asma a prize. From there, he employed her on a daily salary.

Her works still exists today in museums and private collections around the world. Her final work, done at the age of 28, lives in the home of a Saudi family, and is a beautiful copy of the Qur’an.asma ibret

Asma used her art to honour the Prophet, as well as the Book of Allah. She was given the honorific title of “Ibret,” meaning an exemplary. She is an amazing role model for young artists and creatives of today.

With gratitude to Shaykha Tamara Gray and Rabata.

Qur’an Illumination: artist Unaiza Karim in conversation

Qur’anic illumination specialist Unaiza Karim conducted a series of SeekersHub workshops in July 2015. They proved to be an absolutely hit with kids and parents alike.


The Toronto-based British artist specialises in the traditional Islamic art of manuscript illumination. You know the stunning and intricate decoration around the opening chapter of your Qur’an? That’s done by artists like Unaiza, who train under traditional masters in countries like Turkey and Iran to keep this ancient skill alive.

Listen to this compelling radio documentary on how she trained to become who she is.

Qur'an IlluminationUpcoming courses

On January 10th 2016, Unaiza will offering the first in a three part series of kids workshops on the theme of Paints and Patterns in Islamic Art.

The programme is aimed at children between the ages of 7 and 11 yrs. It will run on three consecutive Sundays from 1.30-3.30 pm.

If you are interested in registering your child for one, two or all three sessions please contact Unaiza through her page.

Unaiza is also running a course in the mornings for young people (age 12-18yrs). There are three remaining sessions. The first centres on the Arts of Andalucia, the second, on Ottoman Art and the third, on the Art of the Mamluks. Please contact Unaiza for details on how to reserve a place.