a city in Iraq. Al-Kufa arose approximately in 636 or 638 as an Arab military camp on the right bank of the Euphrates. From 656 to 661 it was the seat of the Arabian Caliphate. Under the Umayyads (661–750) it was the residence of the caliphate’s governor-general in Iraq and a major cultural center. It was here that the Kufic script, one of the oldest forms of Arabic writing, developed. Al-Kufa fell into decay after the devastating raid by the Qarmatians in the late ninth century.