The Pakistan government has nominated the calligrapher of the Prophet’s Mosque, Ustad Shafeeq uz Zaman, for the President’s Award of Pride of Performance in the calligraphy category.
President Asif Zardari will confer the award on Shafeeq uz Zaman on March 23.
Shafeeq uz Zaman has been doing calligraphy (in the Thuluth script) on the Mosque’s 177 domes. He won second prize at the International Calligraphy Competition in Istanbul, Turkey. He has also won several competitions at national and international levels. He learned calligraphy on his own and considers himself a disciple of the renowned 20th century calligrapher, Hamid Al-Amidi.
Shafeeq told Urdu News he was happy at the announcement of the award.
“Better late than never,” he said, adding, “Many of my students have received awards but I did not receive any appreciation at the government level. Being the calligrapher of the Prophet’s Mosque is a great honor for me.”
He said he has spent half of his life in Madinah and wishes to live the rest of his life there.
“After receiving the award I will try to make it (calligraphy) better and modify it,” he said.
Shafeeq said that in the age of computers, calligraphy’s importance will not fade. “All names on the doors of the Prophet’s Mosque like the King Fahd Gate, Salaam Gate, Rehmah Gate and others have been written by me without using computers.”
He added that he finds peace while doing calligraphy in the Prophet’s Mosque which he cannot find anywhere else. He added that 85 percent of the calligraphy work on the domes of the Prophet’s Mosque has been finished and the remaining work will be completed in three to four years.