I have always loved body art, the interest started with children's’ temporary tattoos that come out of cereal packets then lead on to admiration of tattoos. As I got older, I refined my taste, to Arabic tattoos, Gaelic tattoos, Hebrew tattoos, all of them represented something, exotic designs, and intense colours, with underlying meaning.

I think tattoos are an essential art form, from full body tattoos to small delicate tattoos on a forearm or lower back. Although I love tattoos and I am very interested in having one, I haven’t yet been inspired enough to get one of my own. Tattoo placement is my main issue, as I want to be able to see the tattoo without it being too obvious to everyone else.

Despite my indecision, what I am sure about is that when I am ready to get my first tattoo that there are a few design styles that have inspired me. It will incorporate a meaningful message or quote. I plan to design it with a mix of femininity, calligraphy, and perhaps a geometric symbol in the shape of a butterfly.

The elegant and skill full lines of Arabic letters are a form of meaningful art, which I have often admired when visiting the Middle East. I like the idea that unless you can read Arabic writing, the tattoo can remain a secret, abstract and locked to the untrained eye.

About Tattoo Designs

Tattooing is an art form that uses ink pigments placed on top of the skin (temporary) or under the skin (permanent) to change the pigmentation of the skin. Tattoos are a kind of body modification, and they can last anywhere from a few days to the rest of your life.

Tattoos communicate and in many ways, can become an expression of who you are or an extension of how you are seen. Your design choice, placement and size will all say something about who you are a person. They will communicate your likes, dislikes, your taste and your style.

Brief and Basic History of the Tattoo

Although tattooing seems to be a 21st-century invention, tattoos are actually an art form that has been practised for thousands of years. Many of the tattoos that we use and see today are descended from tribal tattoos which have had an incredibly long tradition throughout time in various cultures.

Unlike today these tattoos were used to identify members of the same tribe or cultural group and differentiate them from other local villages or groups of people. The tattoo also communicated social status and position within the tribe. Each tattoo was designed based on the characteristics of each individual, giving the wearer a unique and distinct style while still being part of the larger tribe.

These tribal tattoos were made up of design elements that reflected nature and village life. They were traditionally done with black pigments using natural materials such as a porcupine’s quill, a piece of bone, or bamboo.

Islamic symbolism for Arabic tattoo designs
The cresent moon and star symbol. Photo Source: StockVault

Islamic Symbolism for Arabic Tattoo Designs

There are no official symbols to represent Islam, but in the past, the Ottoman Empire had used a flag with a crescent moon and star printed on it. As the succeeding cultures took over, this symbol was unofficially adopted into Islamic culture. The crescent moon and star are the first symbols, which have come to be associated with Islamic culture. This symbol can be seen on top of Mosques, and it is incorporated into some flags in the Arab world.

Although this symbol does not have a defined meaning in Islamic symbolism, the crescent moon is a powerful symbol, one of my favourite definitions for it is to grow and thrive. The star is also has a strong symbolic meaning, one of my favourite being, that of inspiration and truth.

The crescent moon and star could make a wonderfully meaningful tattoo, and due to its simplicity, it could look amazing in any size or location on your body. If you would like to get creative, you could integrate it with some Arabic calligraphy.

Top Arabic Calligraphy Styles for Script Writing Tattoos

The Arabic language is a script based language which includes 28 letters and is written from right to left. The shape of the letters depends on its position within the word, primary position, middle position or end position.  Arabic calligraphy is stunning and is the practice of artistically writing Arabic.

Arabic writing was initially used for communication, and for sacred texts, but it has evolved to be used in many art forms, including Arabic tattoos. As Arabic writing has developed and expanded its reach internationally, it has also become a favourite script, and people from all over the world are asking their tattooist to ink them with tattoos inspired by Arabic writing.

If you are interested in Arabic tattoo quotes or scriptwriting tattoos, then it is essential to be clear about what kind of style you want and also know a little bit about the background of that script.  Let’s delve a little deeper into Arabic calligraphy to learn about the kind of styles available.

The Most Common Tattoo Fonts in Arabic Calligraphy


KuficThick lines, angular strokesBold tattoos
NaskhCursive everyday use – used in the Holy Qur’anElegant tattoos
Nasta‘liqCreated to write Persian, It has a hanging styleArtistic and decorative tattoos
DiwaniHeavily styled and challenging to read and writeArtistic and stylized tattoos
ThuluthDecorative long vertical lines and spacingExpressive tattoos
Ruq‘ahShort strokes and simple curvesSimple tattoos
  • Kufic Calligraphy

Kufic calligraphy style was created in Kufa, Iraq and is the oldest form of Arabic script. Its focus was primarily to reflect divinity within the beauty of its design; it became one of the most beautiful writing styles of the time. The main downside of this script is that many people struggled to read and write it.

Kufic Calligraphy is an excellent script if you would like a bold tattoo. Due to its bold style and it being difficult to read, Kufic sometimes can have a less arabesque appearance. Abstract Kufic Tattoos are gorgeous Islamic tattoos.

  • Naskh Calligraphy

Naskh calligraphy has an exquisite style with a roundness in its characters, this makes it very easy to write it free hand. Naskh is often written with a very fine pen to achieve its delicate style.

Naskh is the perfect script for a simple, elegant tattoo with an undeniable arabesque style. The great thing about this script is it can be made to be fancier and could be suitable for sentences and Arabic quotes.

  • Nasta’liq Calligraphy

Nasta’liq calligraphy style was developed in Iran primarily as a form of art and to write Persian poetry. It is the primary style of calligraphy used in the Persian alphabet. It has short vertical and long horizontal strokes. Visually striking it is often used in tattoos and other kinds of art due to its aesthetic beauty.

Nasta’liq calligraphy is a beautiful script to use if you would like a more decorative tattoo. This script has been created with art in mind so it may be one of the most perfect Arabic scripts, especially if you love the striking patterns formed when it is written. This Script is ideal for decorative Arabic writing tattoos.

  • Diwani Calligraphy

Diwani calligraphy style was a formal script used in royal and official documentation within the Ottoman empire. Since this script was not widely used only a few calligraphers became masters of it. Diwani is challenging to write but one of the most beautiful Arabic scripts, known for its balance and beauty.

Like Nasta’liq Caligraphy, Diwani calligraphy is also a very decorative script and perfect if you are looking for an elegant, expressive Arabic tattoo.

  • Thuluth Calligraphy

Thuluth calligraphy style is a popular ornamental writing style, with a large size and elegant sloping design. A vital script used in Mosque decoration, art pieces and for headings within important books.

Thuluth calligraphy is terrific if you want a large tattoo, this script would be perfect for arabesque tribal tattoos.

  • Ruq’ah Calligraphy

Ruq’ah calligraphy style is the most common handwriting script within the Arabic styles; its primary purpose is to be an efficient and fast script. All unnecessary curves, elongation and decoration are stripped away and what remains are simple curves with short, straight lines.

Ruq’ah calligraphy would be excellent for simple tattoos, where the decorative element has been removed, but the readability is maximised.

Experiment with a temporary tattoo in henna
Henna designs are detailed and beautiful. Photo Source: StockVault

Types of Arabic Tattoos and Meanings

Arabic script is simply beautiful and when it is paired with a meaningful message or quote it naturally becomes a unique piece of art. It's a good idea to get the design translated before getting it permanently tattooed on to your skin. So if you have a friend who can read and write Arabic make sure to take them with you. Or search for "Arabic lessons London" and learn the language yourself to decide on the best phrase for your tattoo.

Because tattoos are permanent pieces of body art, the tattoo you choose may be with you for the rest of your life. Try to find a tattoo design, message or symbol that has great meaning to you or something that brings you joy.

Look here at English words from Arabic.

Ten Artistic Tattoo Styles and Script Ideas

  1. An inspirational message or quote such as Love yourself.
  2. A representative word such as surfer if you love to surf.
  3. Your love quote or poem even if no one can read it you will know its meaning.
  4. You can use a favourite animal or symbol such as butterfly tattoos.
  5. Highlight your quote with one word in a bright colour to make it stand out.
  6. A favourite song lyric from your favourite song.
  7. Add a background to a meaningful word
  8. An Art tattoo that uses the script but looks like an image
  9. A name tattoo, you have no idea how beautiful your name can look in Arabic.
  10. The most universal word on the planet ‘Love’ in Arabic.
Your tattoo artist must be skilled in Arabic writing tattoos
Talented tattoo artist at work. Photo Source: Unsplash

Ten Common Tattoo Placement Ideas to Ask Your Tattoo Artist About.

Great For Small Tattoos, Words, Names, Mini Art Larger Tattoos, Artistic, Poems, Quotes and Sayings

FingersFull body
HandsUpper and lower back
WristUpper arm and Shoulder
Behind the ear
In the hairlineShoulder blade

If you are thinking about getting a tattoo but are not ready to take the plunge or want to try out your Arabic tattoo idea before you go permanent. Then why not experiment with a temporary tattoo in henna, it is incredibly versatile, temporary and comes without any pain to the skin. You don’t have to speak Arabic to get an Arabic tattoo, so let's get inked

Find out about historical Arab architecture.

Discover the most prominent Arabian cities.

To understand more about the language and culture, why not learn arabic online.

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