Mukhtar Alam, calligrapher at the factory that makes the Kiswa for the Kaaba, was recently granted Saudi citizenship.
The move came after the government decided to bestow the honor on a number of foreign nationals with specialist skills.
Alam is also a supervisor to the Charitable Association for the Memorization of the Holy Qur’an in Makkah, an Arabic calligraphy counselor at the Hands Craft Association in Jeddah, a founder of Jeddah’s Arabic Calligraphy Society, and a member of the Saudi Scientific Society for Arabic Calligraphy.
He was formerly deputy head of the panel committee for an Arabic calligraphy contest organized by Dar Al-Arqam Schools in Jeddah between 2001 and 2014, and a member of arbitration committees for similar competitions run nationally and in Makkah from 2008 to 2014.
Between 1995 and 1999, he taught calligraphy at Umm Al-Qura University’s department of art education.
In addition, he has received numerous local and international awards, including one for Persian calligraphy at the second International Arabic Calligraphy Competition, held in Turkey in 1989. He holds two licenses in the Holy Qur’an which he received in 2002 and 2011 from Sheikh Fouad Mustafa, a student of Sheikh Ibrahim Al-Akhdar, former imam of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah.
In 1980, Alam joined the Charitable Association for the Memorization of the Holy Qur’an in Makkah working there as a Qur’an teacher for 13 years, and for three years he taught at Dar Al-Arqam Institute in the Grand Mosque in Makkah, which is affiliated to the Qur’an memorization organization.
Alam gained a master’s degree in art education (calligraphy) in 2001 from Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah and a bachelor’s degree in art education in 1992 from the same institution.