SIL International is pleased to announce the release of version 1.000 of the Awami Nastaliq font. Awami is an Urdu word meaning “of the people”, “of the common population” or “public”. It is an Arabic script font specifically intended for a wide variety of languages using the Nastaliq style of southwest Asia. This font is specifically aimed at minority language support. Lesser-known languages often require more vowel diacritics than Urdu. They may use a different set of base characters and diacritics, and the base characters often include more nuqtas to represent sounds that are not present in Urdu or standard Arabic. This font includes all the vowel diacritics and base characters (that we are aware of) required for languages using the Nastaliq style of Arabic script. This makes it unique among Nastaliq fonts.

Nastaliq is considered one of the most beautiful scripts on the planet. Nastaliq has been called “the bride of calligraphy” but its complexity also makes it one of the most difficult scripts to render using a computer font. Its right-to-left direction, vertical nature, and context-specific shaping provide a challenge to any font rendering engine and make it much more difficult to render than the flat (Naskh) Arabic script that it is based on. As a result, font developers have long struggled to produce a font with the correct shaping but at the same time avoid overlapping of dots and diacritics. In order to account for the seemingly infinite variations, the Graphite rendering engine was extended just to handle these complexities properly. Awami Nastaliq uses the Graphite rendering technology. This is the only freely-available font to provide an authentic Nastaliq style with kerned calligraphic segments. Because of the complexities in supporting lesser known languages, we have not implemented OpenType support in Awami Nastaliq.

Download the release package from the Download Page.

For a history of the changes to the font see the FONTLOG.txt which is part of the download package.

Known Issues with the font

  • We expect some problems with spacing around punctuation.
  • We know there are collisions with obscure sequences.

Please do report bugs through the Support page.