2019 Istanbul Calligraphy Retreat



The 2019 Istanbul Calligraphy Retreat is a unique opportunity for aspiring calligraphers to spend a month under the apprenticeship of master calligraphers in Istanbul.

The retreat will consist of direct instruction in the Islamic fine arts, along with lectures and excursions to visit senior calligraphers – both living and passed –  along with masters in  papermaking, bookbinding, marbling, illuminating involved in preserving and honoring the written word. We hope the retreat will offer participants the opportunity:

– to catalyze lifelong relationships with master calligraphers and internalize the spiritual motivations of creative work
– to formally begin the apprenticeship towards mastery in the letter arts which culminates in the coveted _ijaza_ diploma
– To cultivate meaningful relationships with fellow students to be a source of mutual inspiration and support through the demanding and rewarding  journey toward mastery.


The Deen Arts Foundation aims to inspire and educate by organizing art exhibitions and workshops and supporting practitioners of calligraphy, illumination, ceramics and other Islamic fine arts.
Islamic Retreats was established in early 2018 for the purpose of serving the needs of Muslim communities, groups, organizations, and charities in the West that wish to have educational, activity-driven retreats, or halal Holidays in Turkey. We believe that excursions like these help bring us all closer to each other and reconnect us with nature and reignite the spirit.




Prints of the Qur’an in the Living Room

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat is asked if it is permissible to hang framed Qur’an verses in the house as decoration and remembrance.


Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I could really use some help right now for this issue I’m having and hoping it’s permissible to use this to ask. If not, can I be directed to where it would be appropriate. I’ve put myself in a bad spot by not speaking up initially and now just trying to save our relationship before it gets even more uglier.

My wife purchased a print with a lot of her money that has Ayat al-Kursi on it and we are now debating whether or not to actually keep it and use it. My wife initially wanted to have it hung in the living room of our house. My intentions of having it, was to have it as a reminder of what it stands for and to help with remembering and reciting it. After hearing opinions from others and considering the fact there’s a TV across the room (which I didn’t say anything about), we’re having second thoughts.

Is there any sort of ruling or resource that may be able to help in remedying the situation? Any rulings on Qur’anic verses being used in such a way?

Jazak Allah khayr.


Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

In general, we are encouraged by the Shariʿa to remember Allah a lot, “O believers, make much remembrance of Allah.” (Sura al Ahzab 33:41). Anything which aids this remembrance would be praiseworthy with the proper intention and requisite adab.

Use the print as a means of remembering Allah and reflecting on His blessings; this will bring great good into your life. Please also see Rulings Regarding Selling and Displaying Islamic Wall Stickers.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.


Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

Is Writing Qur’an on the Wall Impermissible?

Answered by Shaykh Shuaib Ally

Question: Is it permissible to write Quranic calligraphy directly on a wall?

Answer: Assalāmu ʿalaykum,

I hope you are well.

Writing the Qur’an on the wall is, God willing, permissible, if:

-it is written in a proper, suitable environment
-it is highly unlikely that it will be open to abuse
-the writing is for a good purpose such as remembrance

Scholars across the schools have generally held that writing the Qur’an on the wall is disliked, not that it is impermissible (for example: al-Majmuʿ; al-Sharh al-Kabir ʿala Mukhtasar Khalil; Hashiyat ibn ʿAbidin).

This is because of the potential that:

-The letters will fall and will be walked upon, or that the walls themselves will be walked upon;
-It will be open to abuse, like defacement or vandalism;
-It will distract people from praying (such as if it is in a place of worship)
-It will be in places where impermissible activities occur

If this potential exists, it remains a disliked action.

Shuaib Ally

Living the Arts – Sehar Shahzad by Seema Khan


Conducting the interview for this month’s “Spotlight on a Community Member” was both exciting and inspiring.

Sehar Shahzad is an artist who at a young age possesses incredible discipline and focus.  She has dedicated her spare time to the practice of calligraphy, and will soon be able to teach this ancient art to others.

Sehar is a 22-year-old Muslima born and raised in Toronto, Ontario.  Her composure is apparent in her work.  The technique, care, and attention to detail are evident in every one of the pieces I saw on Sehar’s Facebook page.

She explained her connection to her art with a quote from the Quran: “Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find tranquility,” (Ch 13, v28).  At a personal level, Sehar explained, “We turn to Allah and make dua as a means of easing the heart.  In general, people turn to art or poetry or music to get away and for reflection.  I am able to connect this way – it eases the heart and it is doing dhikr.  It is a mechanism for release – an outlet to reach to Allah (SWT) and to find comfort, and further share this remembrance with others.”

Sehar is a fourth year undergraduate, completing a degree in Psychology at the University of Toronto. Over the last four years, she has pursued her love for art.  For the past two years, she has dedicated herself to studying calligraphy. She is the student of Shaykh Yusuf Badaat, Imam of the Islamic Foundation School in Toronto, and Haji Noor Uddin, a world-renown calligrapher. Her courses with Haji Noor are through e-mail correspondence to/from China!

When asked about her future plans, Sehar explained that traditional calligraphy requires years of practice, as it is an art with many rules and technicalities that has been developed and preserved for hundreds of years.  She is therefore striving towards her ijaza (teaching certification) in traditional Arabic calligraphy. She hopes to teach this fine skill to others one day.

Sehar’s passion has given root to her own budding Islamic art business. She has established herself as an accomplished freelance artist in Arabic and Quranic calligraphy by selling her professional work online and at popular events such as the Reviving the Islamic Spirit conference.  Other notable accomplishments include a magazine interview for London Link Magazine (in Ontario),  artwork commissioned by Taric Mosque and the new Muslim prayer room at the University of Toronto’s Emmanuel College, as well as exhibits at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

I asked Sehar to define the essence of her inspiration and she immediately honored those that influenced her the most: “My parents say that if your heart is drawn towards something good, then Allah will make it easy for you.  These are heavy words – they remind me that intentions are key – that all is from God and we are the pen and He is the Hand – and I make sure that I remember this.  Secondly, my teacher, Haji Noor said to have passion, patience, and practice.”

Sehar summed up her artwork as a “unique form of worship through reflection on the words of God.”  The inspiration and advice she received from those closest to her is apparent in her work: passion for the arts, love for family, and devotion to Islam.

Sehar Shahzad’s works can be found at

Original article sourced from