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Whenever I go to mosque, there is always the following image near "ﷲ" name. However, I don't understand how "mim" letter is there. I know "mim" letter as "م". Are there another versions? Do all letters have different formats/versions? Can you explain/share, please?

enter image description here

4 Answers 4

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Welcome to the site!

Whenever I go to mosque, there is always the following image near "ﷲ" name. However, I don't understand how "mim" letter is there. I know "mim" letter as "م". Are there another versions?

I think the short answer to your question is yes. What you circle is a form of Mim, used in this case to write out the second Mim written in the name مُحَمَّد (Muhammad).

As you may know, there have been many Arabic scripts, each with variations. For instance, here is an example of Kufic script that I find almost completely illegible, even when I match up letter by letter with the typewriter forms I am most used to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kufic#/media/File:The_Blue_Qur'an_-_Qur'anic_Manuscript.jpg

In some script styles, like Nastaliq, the writing in single words tends to slant downward from right to left and sometimes circles get filled in letters like Mim. Look at the fourth word (عمری) in this Persian example of Nastaliq and compare it with the Naskh version: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nastaliq#/media/File:Miremad-1.jpg. Also compare how همه is written in the two versions.

If you combine the slant and the filled-in Mim, I think you get the version of Mim you show above.

Do all letters have different formats/versions? Can you explain/share, please?

Again, the simple answer is yes, as you can see from the script examples I have shown above. In the scripts used in ordinary writing, there are also small differences, such as more cursive writing of some letters that smooth out the bumps in letters like Sin or connect dots together or whether dots are written on a final Ya. There are also variations in whether letters are joined from beside or below and which direction you write the circle of Mim. Some of these depend on the region or the style of writing and sometimes on the position of the letter in the the word.

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This page gives the contextual variants for Arabic letters: initial, medial, final, isolated. Mim 4 forms, but I'm not smart enough to be able to copy them into the input box here (what I copy is not what I paste). The name Muħammad would be printed as مُحَمَّد which shows you the medial form. However, you are looking at a calligraphic variant, and you can see here that there are very many artistic variants.

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  • Thank you but that is not what I mean. If you look at the picture, you see what I mean by saying variant. Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 21:34
  • What you call a calligraphic variant is what I call the correct Arabic ligature. The "flat" version is typewriter Arabic.
    – fdb
    Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 21:53
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If you read the Quran, a lot of the time, the "mim" is put above the "kha", "ha" and sometimes below the "yea". It's not another version of the letter "mim". It's just a calligraphic form of writing.

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Yes, it says m-ḥ-m-d (Muḥammad).

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