"Aleph", a 24k gilded Arabic letter, A3

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Part of an elegant series exploring the hidden interpretations behind the beautiful Arabic letters. Intrigued and awe-inspired by the Arabic Alphabet, I feel honoured to share these Illuminated letters with you all. They are gilded using genuine 24k gold, on A3 handmade khaadi paper

The paintings have beautiful deckled edges which add to their traditional charm. Entwined around the letters are Ottoman florals, painted using handmade pigments from India, and high quality watercolour paints.

Painting comes unframed


The alif represents the number one and belongs to 
the element of fire.

Because of its shape the alif resembles the numeral 1. It symbolizes the selfness of God as well as His unity. Thus, this letter takes on the archetypal value of the whole alphabet, which it begins and is thus also identified with Adam, the father of humankind (and thus any diacritical sign affirming this letter’s value is identified with Eve).

The three main positions of the Islamic prayer are:

· Standing, like the alif
· Kneeling, like the dal
· Prostrating, like the mim.

These three letters also make up the name Adm (Adam). According to the Sufi Ibn Ata Allah Abbas (d. 1309): “this name (alif) is derived from ulfa (good company), because it unites and agrees (ta’lif) with the other letters”. For some, however, the alif represents Satan, because like him it does not bow to God.

Shaykh ad-Dabbaagh writes about this letter that it “corresponds with the obeying the recommendations, which is part of contraction”.