31 July 2009

Garden of the Islamic World

The Qu'ran has many references to gardens and the garden is used as an earthly analogue for the life in paradise which is promised to believers.

Allah has promised to the believing men and the believing women gardens, beneath which rivers flow, to abide in them, and goodly dwellings in gardens of perpetual abode; and best of all is Allah's goodly pleasure; that is the grand achievement (Qu'ran 9.72)

There are surviving Islamic gardens in a wide zone extending from Spain and Morocco in the west to India in the east. Famous Islamic gardens include the grounds of Taj Mahal in India and the Generalife gardens in Spain.

The general theme of a traditional Islamic garden is water and shade, not surprisingly since Islam came from and is generally spread in such a hot and arid climate. Four water canals typically carry water into a central pool or fountain, the four streams symbolizing the four main elements of life. The four streams may also be interpreted as the four rivers in paradise, filled with milk, honey, wine and water. Such a four-fold garden is also called a chahar-bagh.

The Islamic notion of paradise included water, shade, flowers and fruit trees such as dates and pomegranates. It was an enclosed garden, shutting out the harshness of the surrounding landscape.The basic form of an Islamic garden is based upon intersecting canals forming four quadrants.

These gardens portray images of paradise.

There are few elements entitled in arranging an Islamic Garden.Some of it are:

Water Channel

In Iran, Pakistan and India, water channels are often lined with many small fountains in a straight line throwing up crystal clear water. There can be large numbers of these small fountains in a garden.

Water channels are always straight and quite shallow and often tiled in turquoise or jade colours.

There may be little bridges across water channels. Or sometimes square stone blocks are used as stepping stones.


Taj Mahal,India

Paths and Avenue

Paths run on both sides of water channels. Often they are slightly raised.If it’s a large garden, there may be an avenue of tall trees along the outside of each path, shading strollers from the sun.

Pergolas, where plants are trained on arches to grow overhead over paths, are not especially common. But they are sometimes found in Islamic gardens.Paths are paved in some form of attractive geometric pattern. Sometimes these patterns – in tile, brick, cobbles or pebbles – are elaborate . Beautiful paving patterns, both in buildings and outside them, are important in Islamic countries. At the Alhambra there are so many different patterns of floor tile that they have been used for a ‘Find the Pairs’ card game.


These are always a regular geometric shape – never like a natural pool. Most common are octagons, rectangles and eight-pointed star shapes. But ten and twelve sided polygons and six, ten and twelve pointed stars are also used.Sometimes pools include curved shapes but these are regular and symmetrical.


An important thing about Islamic gardens is that they use many small fountains rather than a few big ones. Give an Islamic gardener some extra waterpower for fountains and they would use it for some more small fountains rather than make their existing fountains rise higher. Islamic gardens do not use giant single fountains like those often found in grand European gardens. Also, they never use human statues, like those in Italian Renaissance fountains.


Surely,we can feel such a soothing and breath-taking environment while we are in these gardens.Most importantly,it was built and created by the inspiration of the Quran itself.Not trying to imagine how does the paradise looks like,but more to feel the spiritual feeling and gain our iman and ibadah to reach the Jannah as we all know,paradise is way way way soothing than what we are created now.:)




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