28 Mar, 2021

Script and scripture …..

I think the first time I saw Arabic script was probably during that memorable student trip to Turkey in 1968, being also the first time I’d entered a prison.  Interested in the prison story?  If you haven’t read it, it’s in the blog entry of 29 April 2020 and here.

Can there be a more beautiful written language than Arabic, endlessly varied, flexible and elegant in style?  Artistry to please every writer and reader.  Artistry to create any design and fill any space and shape, such as the picture at the top.  The term ‘calligraphy’ (Greek: ‘beautiful writing’) could have been invented for it.  

For me, two continuing disappointments: I can’t read it or write it.  And the other one is that I never really mastered the spoken language.

When I left Saudi Arabia in 1987 after eleven years, friends gave me a number of gifts, as did the Royal Saudi Air Force for whom I had worked via British Aerospace.  One piece, definitely from friends and definitely NOT from the RSAF, is this:

It’s a piece of printed card 11″/28cm square.  On the other side are farewells and good wishes from friends in that other large compound where I spent so many social hours, including helping in the illegal church.

This card really does show the intricacy and beauty of the Arabic script.  Isn’t it a superb piece of calligraphy?  I think so, anyway.

I can’t read it but I do know what it says. The reason why the RSAF could not have given it to me is this:  it’s the Lord’s Prayer.

4 Comments

  1. Beautiful!
    Our Father – abani / abaana ? (I googled) in the centre..
    Do you know what the top boaty one’s about?!

    Reply
    • I’m told it says: ”O Prophet, we have sent you a witness, an evangelist, a warning and a farewell to God.”

      Reply
      • Looking through my bookcase the other day, I came across a small paper booklet in Arabic. It’s a teaching aid with lists of words, covering various categories, translated from English to Arabic. The title is How to Speak English without a teacher in 4 days!! Were you and Malc really surplus to requirement?! X

  2. Lovely to see the Lord’s Prayer again….. I also have a treasured copy which was given to me by the same friends in SA. which is framed in my study. Like you David, I never learned to read Arabic……. just about managed to write my name only.
    As far as speaking it: the patients I looked after would fall about laughing at my efforts, but at least we tried!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other posts

Rolling on ….

Rolling on ….

I decided to cheat.  On June 5, two blog posts ago, I wrote about the imminent Global MND Awareness Day on June 21 and the challenge for anyone to run 21 miles before that day, even if they only do...

read more
Hip! Hip! …. Boo!

Hip! Hip! …. Boo!

What’s this strange title?  Well, it’s because for an hour a day I’m experiencing the rest of humanity at its hip height. It’s the Peacemobile of course.  Rolling through the streets of London and...

read more
1 ½ miles a day?

1 ½ miles a day?

Something new, or at least new to me: June 21 is ‘Global MND Awareness Day’. Around the world the International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations organises fundraising activities to boost interest...

read more