Hasan Çelebi

Hasan Çelebi

Hasan Çelebi, ( _tr. Hasan Çelebi), born 1937 in Erzurum, Turkey is a world-renowned Turkish master of Arabic calligraphy.

Çelebi has devoted his whole life to calligraphy. He is an internationally recognized artist with his mosque inscriptions, special writings and exhibitions. In 1987, the Saudi government invited Celebi to perform decorative inscriptions at the two newly rebuilt masjids, the Quba Mosque whose foundation stone was laid by the Prophet Muhammad himself, and the Al-Qiblatain mosque. He feels himself highly honored for these calligraphic works in the holy city of Medina, for which needed around one year to accomplish. Çelebi’s calligraphies are decorating mosques in many countries from South Africa to Kazakhstan, from Belgium to Germany. In Turkey, the restored inscriptions of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and the inscriptions of the masjid within the parliament building in Ankara are some of his works.


Until his retirement in 1987, Çelebi served as an imam. Recently, he is teaching Arabic calligraphy in order to relay this Islamic art to the next generations. He gave lectures to around 500 students so far. Only 30 of them including two females could get "icazet", a distinguished advanced diploma, from him, which is the permission to sign one’s independently created own work as a master calligrapher.

Today, Çelebi has ten corresponding students from all around the world. Students from Morocco, Tunisia, the United States, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are sending their work for correction to him. Even a prince of Jordan is among them.

Women are more than men interested in calligraphy in Turkey. Çelebi has 25 female students, but he says, "Calligraphy is a man’s job. Because, it requires long and hard training." Since women will have duties as mother at home after marriage, they do not have the time and the calm hand needed for this very fine art. In calligraphy, the very first lesson takes six months and the "icazet" six to eight years.

30 calligraphers were awarded "icazet" from Çelebi, among them 10 are international, ranging from the United States to Japan. His student Mohammed Zakariya, a famous American master calligrapher lectures in the USA and in the Middle East.

Interpretation of calligraphy

According to Çelebi, in calligraphy harmony and beauty is much more important than the text content. He comments, "The view of calligraphy is like a tulip, beautiful and far. Tulip does not smell, so it is useless to touch calligraphy. Someone comes and tries to read it. However, our issue is not the content, but the harmony and beauty in it. That gives our soul the feeling of praying."

"In calligraphy, the dimensions are very tiny: the width of a line may not be broader than a fly’s leg and a dot may not be larger than the lung of a flea." he says.

Future of calligraphy

Çelebi believes in the future of Arabic calligraphy in Turkey, which was almost forgotten after the take over of the Latin alphabet on November 1, 1928. The wide spread saying in the Islamic world "Qur’an was transmitted in Mecca, read in Egypt and written in Istanbul" reflects the summit in perfection, which Ottoman calligraphers reached. During the Ottoman era, Istanbul was the center of Arabic calligraphy. The growing number of his students interested in Arabic calligraphy today assures a comeback.

External links

* [http://www.hatvesanat.com Hatvesanat.com] The biggest source on Islamic Calligraphy Art. Hundreds of artists and thousands of works! (mainly tr)
* [http://www.kalemguzeli.net/modules/makale/index.php?cat_id=4 Calligraphers' Biographies] Mainly in Turkish

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