Part of a series on the Qur'an Quran cover


Sura · Ayah

Qur'an reading

Tajwid · Hizb · Tarteel · Qur'anic guardian · Manzil · Qari' · Juz' · Rasm · Ruku' · Sujud ·



Origin and development

Meccan revelations · Medinan revelations


Persons related to verses · Justice · Asbab al-nuzul · Naskh · Biblical narratives · Tahrif · Bakkah · Muqatta'at · Esoteric interpretation

Qur'an and Sunnah

Literalism · Miracles · Science · Women

Views on the Qur'an

Shi'a · Criticism · Desecration · Surah of Wilaya and Nurayn · Tanazzulat · Qisas Al-Anbiya · Beit Al Qur'an

Rasm (رسم) is an Arabic term that signifies "sketch, pattern, mark, design, form". When speaking of the Qur'an, it stands for either the basic 18 letters used in early manuscripts, that is, without i'jam diacritics, or for one of the various ways of depicting the precise vocalization of the Qur'an. Examples of the latter use are Rasm Ad-Dani and Rasm Al-Kharraz, both used to render Riwayat Qalun from Nafi'. (See Qira'at.)

The former sense is characteristic of early Qur'anic and other Arabic texts, usually written in Kufic script, before the development of harakat (vowel pointing) and i'jam (consonant pointing). As such, the rasm are the only element of Arabic script which can be traced back to early Qur'anic manuscripts, and therefore are the most straightforward element of orthography when deciding whether a reading of the Qur'an is canonical.

There are eighteen rasm:

The eighteen rasm and their values
rasm ا ٮ ح د ر س ط ع ڡ ٯ ل م ں ه و
IPA values ʔ, aː b, t, θ ħ, x, dʒ d, ð r, z s, ʃ sˁ, dˁ tˁ, zˁ ʔˁ, ɣ f q k l, lˁ m n h w, uː j, iː

However, in medial position, these conflate to fifteen distinct forms, as the differences between ٮ-ں-ﯼ and ڡ-ٯ are lost.

Compare the beginning of the qurʾān with all diacritics and with the rasm only:

بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ


or with spaces:

ٮسم الـله الر حمن الر حٮم

(note that spaces do not occur only between words)

Kufic Quran 7th Cent

Sura 7 (Ala'araf), verses 86 & 87, of the Samarkand Qur'an, written in unadorned rasm.

The Kufic Samarkand Qur'an that was from 1869 to 1917 in St. Petersburg shows almost only the rasm.

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