All that is in the Heavens
All that is in the Heavens
Fuad Kouichi Honda - Japan’s leading master calligrapher of Arabic
Artwork Title & Inspiration
'All that is in the Heavens'
Inspired by the first four verses of chapter Al-Hadid from the Holy Qu'ran.
“All that is in the heavens and the earth extol Allah; He is the August, the Wise.
His is the sovereignty of the heavens and the earth; He gives life and death, and He has power over all things.
He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward, and He is Knower of all things.
He it is who created heavens and earth in six days; then He established Himself on the throne; He knows all that enters the earth and all that emerges from it, and all that comes down from the sky and all that ascends in it, and He is with you wherever you are, and Allah sees what you do”
سَبَّحَ لِلَّهِ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ
لَهُ مُلْكُ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ ۖ يُحْيِي وَيُمِيتُ ۖ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ
هُوَ الْأَوَّلُ وَالْآخِرُ وَالظَّاهِرُ وَالْبَاطِنُ ۖ وَهُوَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ
هُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ ۚ يَعْلَمُ مَا يَلِجُ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَمَا يَخْرُجُ مِنْهَا وَمَا يَنزِلُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ وَمَا يَعْرُجُ فِيهَا ۖ وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ ۚ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ
Jali Diwani script calligraphed with Japanese bamboo pen and black ink on paper.
105 x 65 cm
Country of Origin
Minor crease marks visible near lower circular shaped calligraphy (view image here).
Fuad Kouichi Honda
Fuad Kouichi Honda (b. 1946) is Japan’s leading master calligrapher of Arabic. After graduating from Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in 1969, Honda was hired by a cartographic company and would spend the next three years in the Middle East almost entirely in the desert, where his companions were largely Bedouins. This was the experience that changed his life. Describing his love for Arabic letters he says:
'To me, there are various levels of beauty in the letters. One Arabic letter of the alphabet is beautiful by itself, but when it becomes part of a sentence, there is another level of beauty. And then the letters start to move as if they were living creatures. To me, it is almost like music with no sound.'
After returning to Japan, Honda embraced Islam and took the Muslim name Fuad (Heart).
The rhythm and balance of the Arabic letters that had so inspired Honda is brilliantly articulated in his works, which display a remarkable combination of deep concentration and stillness of mind with fluidity of execution. The Japanese aesthetic of empty space combined with strictly traditional letter forms is a hallmark of his style. The recurring motif of the circle in his works betrays a profound preoccupation with the ensō, or the Japanese circle of Enlightenment, and the Islamic symbol of perfection.
His mastery earned him the recognition of the Turkish calligraphy master Hasan Çelebi, from whom he later received an ijaza (diploma/license) in Arabic calligraphy. Dedicated to his craft, he set up the Japan Arab Calligraphy Association where he now teaches Arabic calligraphy not only to Japanese people but also to Arabs working in Japan. Some of his calligraphic masterpieces, e.g. “The Face of God” (a series of Koranic quotes on blue, red and yellow backgrounds), can be found in the British Museum in London along with works sold at Christie's auction house.
Photography of 'All that is in the Heavens' artwork courtesy of Aiysha Malik & Lisa Islam.