Based on report from Wakalat Ta`mil-o-Tanfidh
The Holy Qur’an is published throughout the world in various fonts. For the sake of beautification, many fonts endeavor to fill empty spaces with the diacritical marks of other letters and added symbols. Furthermore, letters and words are written on top of one another which can result in the diacritical mark of one letter appearing on a different letter. This presents great difficulty, especially for children and new Muslims when learning to read the Holy Qur’an.
Hazrat Pir Manzoor Muhammad (ra)
It was for this reason that Hazrat Pir Manzoor Muhammad Sahib (ra), a great scholar and companion of the Promised Messiah (as) created a font whereby the didactical marks appeared only on the corresponding letters, making it much easier to read and recite the Holy Qur’an.
A New Calligrapher at an Old Age
His grandson, Syed Mir Mahmood Ahmad Nasir sahib recalls how Hazrat Pir Manzoor Ahmad Sahib (ra) started doing calligraphy. He says that Hazrat Pir Manzoor Muhammad Sahib (ra) learned calligraphy at an advanced age, when he saw that a scribe of the Promised Messiah (as) used to give him trouble. Thus, he learned and even devised his own style of writing. He became a scribe for the Promised Messiah (as)’s books, and also came up with a method to teach the recitation of the Holy Qur’an to the children of the Promised Messiah (as), which would also be published in 1904 under the title of Yassarnal Qur’an.
The Idea for a New Font
With regards to applying the same font to the Holy Qur’an, Hazrat Pir Manzoor Muhammad Sahib (ra) himself states:
‘Despite an extensive search, I was not able to find a copy of the Holy Qur’an wherein the diacritical marks were associated solely with their corresponding letters. Thus, I have intended for quite a while to calligraph a copy of the Holy Qur’an according to the font of the Qa`idah Yassarnal Qur’an [guidebook for learning the correct recitation of the Holy Qur’an], in which the diacritical marks would be written only with their associated letters rather than being moved around. Furthermore, the words would not be written over one another in order to make it easier for children and new Muslims. Thus, through the ability granted by God Almighty, I calligraphed a copy of the Holy Qur’an and certain parts calligraphed by my hand in this same style have been published individually.’
Over time, the font of the Holy Qur’an calligraphed by Hazrat Pir Manzoor Muhammad Sahib (ra) has become standard in the Jama`at (community). For many years, offset printing of this hand-written copy has been published from Qadian, Rabwah, and London. However, due to being printed over and over, certain marks and diacritics were beginning to fade and were becoming indistinct. Thus, a plan was presented to the Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) by Wakalat Ta`mil-o-Tanfidh Bharat, Nepal, and Bhutan to create a digital font based on the font created by Hazrat Pir Manzoor Muhammad Sahib (ra). His Holiness (aba) instructed Nazir Nashr-o-Isha`at Qadian, Nazir Isha`at Rabwah and Wakil Isha`at London to present their reports on this matter. When these reports were received, His Holiness (aba) said:
‘Alright, have the font prepared.’
His Holiness further stated:
‘Nazir Sahib Nashr-o-Isha`at Qadian should assess and inform as to whether he has experts who can prepare a font for the Holy Qur’an on the same pattern as the font of Yassarnal Qur’an?… otherwise copies of the Holy Qur’an are published in Delhi and Hyderabad; find out if there is a company there which can prepare a font for the Holy Qur’an on the same pattern as the font of Yassarnal Qur’an…Make an overall assessment and send the report.’
The Work Begins
In light of this guidance received from His Holiness (aba), information was gathered, and a detailed report was sent. Upon approval from His Holiness (aba), in 2014 a contract was signed with a company based in Mumbai, India. And thus, the work began.
After years of hard work and labor, in 2016, the company from Mumbai sent a soft copy of the Holy Qur’an prepared in Khatt-e-Manzoor (title given to the font created by Hazrat Pir Manzoor Muhammad Sahib (ra)). This was just the initial copy, as there were still many stages of setting and proofreading. With regards to the proofreading and checking, His Holiness (aba) instructed:
‘This work must be done with great care, there should not be even the slightest mistake.’
In light of this, the copy of the Holy Qur’an prepared in this font was proofread extensively. Initially, it was proofread at least eight times in its entirety. Once a part would be proofread, it would be scanned and sent back to the company. Once the revised version would come back from the company, it would be proofread once again. Every letter, dot, stroke, punctuation, every verse, number; in essence every minute detail was checked. When certain things needed further clarification, such as matters regarding punctuation, direct guidance would be sought from His Holiness (aba).
Aside from the initial eight rounds of proofreading, Nazir Nashr-o-Isha`at Qadian also proofread the copy. Furthermore, Nazarat Isha`at proofread it four times, and in accordance with instructions received from His Holiness (aba), three Huffaaz (those who have committed the Holy Qur’an to memory) were also asked to proofread this copy of the Holy Qur’an with the new font.
The New Font is Printed
Finally, after five years of effort, a print-ready file was prepared. Upon approval from His Holiness (aba), this file was sent to the Fazl-e-Umar Press in Qadian for publication. An initial batch of 1000 copies were printed. His Holiness (aba) announced the publication of the first edition of this new font during his address on the second day of Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) UK, 2019.
Beautiful Printing from Turkey
In Charge Raqeem Press UK told us that His Holiness (aba) was heavily invested in the printing and publication process which took almost two years. His Holiness further guided after the options were presented that this font should be sent to Turkey in order to have this copy of the Holy Qur’an printed in the highest quality and cost should not be a factor as this is the Holy Quran; only quality should be considered. Therefore, improvements were made to the paper quality and other elements. On the corresponding page after the cover, His Holiness instructed to add ‘Quran-e-Shareef’ in Arabic. Many samples would be presented to His Holiness and His Holiness (aba) himself paid close attention to the smallest details. He guided the printers regarding various aspects of the design and himself gave approval for matters. Around 7-8 borders were presented and His Holiness himself decided which border to use. When the final version of the Holy Qur’an printed in Khatt-e-Manzoor was received from Turkey, the very first person to see it was none other than His Holiness (aba), who expressed his pleasure at the fact that the Word of God had been published so beautifully.
His Holiness comments on Final Version
In his Friday Sermon of 7th August 2020 His Holiness said:
‘The Holy Quran, which is in the Manzoor Script and is a similar script to that of the Yassarnal Quran, was also printed this year. Work was being done on this for the last six to seven years under the supervision of the Qadian Jamaat and Nazarat-e-Ishaat in Qadian played a huge role in this, whereby we could have our own font in the Khatt-e-Manzoor style. Alhamdolillah [all praise belongs to Allah] a very beautiful and attractive Quran was published with this script. The borders are colourful and the binding is very beautiful.
Based on the total number of copies that were received by UK and the rate at which they are selling, it is expected that we will publish the second edition very quickly. The outside cover, the writing inside, the paper and especially the binding is of very high quality. Just as I have mentioned, the script is in the style of script in Yassarnal Quran. This is known as the Khatt-e-Manzoor, which is an exclusive script of the Ahmadiyya Community, and is not found elsewhere and is very easy to read.
As I have said, a great effort was made towards this by the Nazarat-e-Ishaat of Qadian, India. Likewise, Mehmet Sahib of Turkey offered a lot of help to the Raqeem Press here in order to publish this. In future, Insha’Allah, the Qurans with translation will be published with this script and font. Similarly, the Quran with the translation of Hazrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahib [ra] is also being prepared with the Khatt-e-Manzoor script.
Insha’Allah, it shall be sent for print very soon. Likewise, the same style shall be applied to the word-by-word translation of the Holy Quran by Hazrat Mir Muhammad Ishaq Sahib [ra], so this too is being prepared. The more obstacles that are placed in our path in publishing the Quran in Pakistan, the more avenues God Almighty opens for us.’
May Allah Bless the New Font
May Allah Almighty bless the publication of this new font and enable those who read the Holy Qur’an to truly love it, and He Who revealed it. May Allah Almighty enable all who read the Holy Qur’an to truly act upon its teachings.