Knowing Khat increases one’s ability to read Jawi, which in turn helps one to read the Quran
MY love and interest in the art of Khat, which is Islamic or Arabic calligraphy, began when I was still very young -- 11 years old, to be exact.
I was then studying in Sekolah Agama Seri Pasir in Seri Medan, Batu Pahat.
The headmaster of the school, Cikgu Yusof Othman, was my first teacher of that art, the one who taught me the basics of Khat and who nurtured my passion for it.
In 1996, when I was 12 and under the guidance of Cikgu Yusof, I won the Johor Khat competition for religious schools, organised by the state government.
As I grew up, my passion for the art grew stronger and I continued to learn more about the art from three other teachers, who taught me everything that I needed to know.
During the course of my learning, I came to know the existence of about 80 styles of Khat, some of which were already rare while others had become extinct altogether.
At present, there are seven styles of Khat that are being practised. These are, namely, Thuluth, Nasakh, Riq'ah, Diwani, Farisi, Diwani Jali and Kufi.
Thankfully, with the guidance of Cikgu Yusof and my other teachers, I am proficient in all seven styles of Khat and am able to write using any of the styles correctly and without problems.
After I finished secondary school, I went on to further my studies at the famous Al-Azhar University in Egypt. Even then, my love and passion for Khat never left me.
Following my graduation from Al-Azhar University, I was a teacher for about two years before I decided to devote all my time to the art of Khat.
Recently, in September, I set up Seni Khat Solutions which not only offers pieces of Khat art for sale but also conducts courses and workshops on this artform for schools or anyone who has the interest.
So far, I have been invited to conduct demonstrations and workshops at schools and expos around Batu Pahat, Muar, Pontian, Johor Baru and Malacca.
As it is rare for someone as young as myself to be proficient in the art, people are intrigued and so, become more interested in wanting to know more.
I have also found out that, as a young person myself, it is easier for me to approach other young people to draw their interest in the art and, at the same time, young people are less hesitant in approaching me to ask questions.
One of the reasons that I think learning Khat is important is because the Jawi script is slowly being forgotten, and increasingly fewer people are able to read it.
In my opinion, if someone is proficient in the art of Khat, he or she would have no problem in reading the Jawi script which, in turn, would help them in reading the Al-Quran.
Besides conducting demonstrations and workshops, I also make stationery equipment used for making Khat. These are made from bamboo and a type of wood called kayu resam.
People, especially young students, are always astonished when I tell them that I use bamboo and sticks to make Khat.
Abdul Rahman Sahalan, 28, graduated from Al-Azhar University with a degree in Syariah. He owns Seni Khat Solutions and can be contacted at 013-710 7022.