Gardens of Al-Andalus: A way of live

Muslim Travel Blog

Since the arrival of Islam as a religion in the 7th century C.E., Gardens have been described as a
metaphor of Paradise or al-janna (the garden). Every time heaven is mentioned in the holy book of
Quヴげaミ, there is a description of flowing water and fruit bearing trees, signifying their importance to
man. The reward for good deeds according to the Quヴげaミ is a place of shaded trees, flowing water,
gardens with sweet fruits (bostan) and fragrant flowers (gulistan).

As the religion evolved in a desert climate, Water became the main resource to conserve and utilise
in the most optimum way possible.

The Quヴげaミ gives 8 different names which Muslim theologians
take to be 8 different levels or stages of Paradise.
a. Jannatu-al-khuld (al-furqan, 25:15), can be called as
さGaヴdeミ of eteヴミit┞ざ1 oヴ さthe Gaヴdeミ of Iママoヴtalit┞ざ2
b. Darul-as-salam (al-aミaマ, ヶ:ヱヲΑぶ, Iaミ He Ialled as さthe
AHode of PeaIeざ
c. Darul-al-Qaヴaヴ ふal Muげマiミ, ヴヰ:ヴヲぶ, Iaミ He Ialled as さthe
Gaヴdeミざ oヴ さThe Gaヴdeミ of Blissざ
d. Jannatu-al-adn (al-Baヴaげah, Γ:Αヲ-Αンぶ, Iaミ He Ialled as さthe
Gaヴdeミ of Edeミざ oヴ さthe Gaヴdeミ of E┗eヴlastiミg Blissざ
e. Jannatu-al-Maげ┘a ふal-“ajdah, ンヲ:ヱΓぶ, Iaミ He Ialled as さthe
gaヴdeミ of ‘etヴeatざ oヴ さthe Gaヴdeミ of HospitaHle hoマesざ
f. Jannatu-al-nain (al-Maidah, 5:70), can be called as
さPaヴadiseざ oヴ さHea┗eミざ
g. Illiyin (al-tatfif, 83:18), can be called as the same.
h. Jannatu-al-Firdaus (al-kahf, ヱΒ:ヱヰΑぶ, Iaミ He Ialled as さthe
Gaヴdeミ of Paヴadiseざ
The above translations indicate that Paradise, in all levels is a
garden

Some quotes from Quヴげaミ, indicating water and plants as the main
source of our well-being:
 And He is the One Who sends down water from the sky.
Then by means of this (rain) We bring forth vegetation of
every kind out of which We produce green (foliage) from
which We bring forth clustered grain packed one over the
other, clusters of date-palm hanging low from its spathe
and gardens of grapes, olives and (also) pomegranates
(which from many aspects look) alike but (in products,
tastes and effects) are unlike. Look at the fruit of the tree
when it bears fruit, and (also observe) when it ripens.
Verily in these are Signs for those who believe.

The Muslims inherited practical and intellectual knowledge from the Roman past, the built landscape on which they now inhabited; they learned also from their diverse brethren, for these were areas populated by Byzantine Christians, Jews, Copts, and adherents of various polytheistic religions such as Zoroastrianism and Judaism.

However, while human cultural practices changed with the advent of Islam, many aspects of the land itself did not, for the climate of the Mediterranean rim has not changed significantly in the past 2000 years.

In Arabia, at the time of coming of Islam in the 7th century, a
garden was conceived as a walled orchard or vineyard, and was
irrigated by a channel of water or a well.

Islam absorbed the already well established Persian tradition of
hunting parks and royal pleasure gardens and invested them with
a new spiritual vision. It was through this vision, as portrayed in
the Quヴげaミ, that Islamic gardens were born. The first Muslims
came from the deserts and towns of Arabia and Syria.
The pleasurable aspect of Islamic gardens- the sensory delight of
sight, sound, scent and refreshing spray were balanced with their
ability to yield useful fruits and to display the process by which
fertility was transformed into profit.
The Umayyad Palace at Rusafa, in Syria is the earliest example of
char-bagh, where a raised pavilion stood at the intersection of the
walkways in an irregular garden enclosure.
Thereafter, the quadripartite plan spread across the Islamic world,
from Spain and Morocco to Afghanistan, culminating in the great
gardens of Timurid and Safavid Iran and Mughal India.

A Paradise Garden was based on the classic Char-bagh design, in
which the garden was divided into 4 parts by water channels; the
4 water channels being the 4 rivers of paradise, as described in
Islam. Plantation of fruit trees and roses and other flowers lay in
geometrically arranged beds below the level of flanking pathways,
making irrigation simple and also giving a sensation of walking on
a carpet of flowers.

さafter such fruit trees as Lemons, Oranges and Palm trees, comes
the legumes and Cotton and finally, the aromatic herbs, with
Coriander, Sesame, Cumin, and Saffron being mentioned, as well
as soマe oヴミaマeミtal plaミtsざ1
.

Experiments involving horticultural techniques were specially
developed in the area of Seville in the so-called Al-sharaf. This was
an elevated table land with surface of approximately 1650 km2
which was bordered with water. Its soil was made with sand
mixed with lime and local layers of clay and it was highly fertile.
The area which was occupied by about 800-2000 villages was
cultivated by a dense population working for wealthy families,
who hired agronomists and agriculturalists to improve cultivation
techniques and production.

Experiments involving horticultural techniques were specially
developed in the area of Seville in the so-called Al-sharaf. This was
an elevated table land with surface of approximately 1650 km2
which was bordered with water. Its soil was made with sand
mixed with lime and local layers of clay and it was highly fertile.
The area which was occupied by about 800-2000 villages was
cultivated by a dense population working for wealthy families,
who hired agronomists and agriculturalists to improve cultivation
techniques and production.

A lush garden with fountain and shade giving trees and the gentle
green everywhere as depicted in the kind of Char-bagh in
miniature, there may be room for many plants and flowers, but,
there is always water, usually a small fountain or a small pool in
the centre with possibly one palm tree and a few pots.
The houses were often quite high, with 4-stories or more and a
flat roof on which one can sleep on hot summer nights, the
windows opening up into the courtyard, a miniature Paradise
garden within.

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