The Qur’anic orthography refers to the spellings, signs, and symbols used in the Quran but not in normal Arabic writing.

The Elements of a Typical Qur’anic Page

  1. الرَّسْمُ العُثْمَانِيُّ (the Uthmanic text/codex) : This is the consonantry text without the short vowels nor dots that was prepared under the supervision of Uthman (R.A).  For example, the word خَلَقَ)- khalaqo)  is written as ﺣﻠٯ.  But the Arab Muslims were able to read these sticks because they actually knew the Qu’ran by heart and only used the written text as support.

Note that الرَّسْمُ العُثْمَانِيُّ does not refer to a style of writing, but refers to the text as was prepared by the calligraphers of Uthmaan (R.A). Therefore, a text with a spelling like اﻟﺴﻤٰﻮٰﺕ, مائة conforms to الرَّسْمُ العُثْمَانِيُّ, while one with, مئة  السَّمَاوَات does not. 

Scholars have permitted that one or two lines of a Qur’anic quotation in an article may be written in the normal Arabic script but not a whole chapter because the Arabic spelling varies from place to place.

2. الإِعْجَام: This is the addition of dots to the previously undotted letters for proper identification. This was necessitated by the entrance of the non-Arabs into Islam.

A dotted letter such as خ ,ذ is called حَرْفٌ مُعْجَمٌ  while a dotless one such as ح, د is حَرْفٌ غَيْرُ مُعْجَمٍ

3. الضَّبْط: This refers to the  vowel signs.

4. عَلَامَاتُ الْوَقْفِ: These are the punctuation marks that were later added by scholars to guide readers where to stop and where not to.

Learning the Qur'anic orthography