MAGHRIBI - Palaeography EXERCISE Lesson 52 -

The Maghribi script has developed from the Kufic script, or more precisely from the formal book-hand of the 7th-10 th century. Its most distinctive features are

has one dot under the loop instead of above it.
has one dot above the loop, instead of two.
, ḍād and ṭā have very large loops, without a dent; the dot of ḍād is sometimes placed inside the loop.
and dhāl are sharp hooks at the beginning of words.
, dāl and dhāl are sometimes linked to the next letter.
ꜤAyn and ghayn have a high stem.
has a tail that curves a long way up.
Pointed letters at the end of a word are written without a point.

The examples below are from Ibn Ṭuwayr’s Al-riḥla al-munā w’al-minna, Or. 14.050 (see lessons 6 and 10). Some characteristics belong to the scribe’s (Ibn Ṭwayr’s) personal handwriting. Note for instance
A typical ligature of dāl or dhāl plus , for instance in the word in الذي
The tā marbuta and at the end of a word (Allāh e.g.) have the shape of an x.

Letters Or 14 050

Another feature of this scribe’s work is his growing respect for the mistara and the text-block. By the time he reached f 17a, he decided that he should keep to it so strictly that it compelled him to abbreviate the last words of many lines. Note also how he added to small signs at the end of line 8 in order to fill all the space of the line and avoid the insertion, by accident, of letters that do not belong there. Later he abandoned again the intention to keep exactly to the confines of the text-block (cf lesson 6)

The best way to get used to a script is to make your own list, while you are reading, of remarkable characters it features.

Futher reading: N. van den Boogert, ‘Some notes on Maghribi script’, Manuscripts of the Middle East
4, 1989.

About this manuscript


Go to f 17r in the viewer. It may be easier to open the viewer in a second tab, so that you have it in your screen next to the box below. Type one line in the manuscript as one line in the box below. Make sure that you insert no blank lines. After one line or more, click the button "compare". Three dots will appear in places where you have misread letters; you can retype the incorrect letters, and once no dots appear in the below, you have transcribed the text 100% correctly.