Gardens have been an integral feature of Islamic architectural design.

Gardens have been an integral feature of Islamic architectural design.

In the Muslim world, gardens are seen as places of peace, an escape from the noise outside, and perhaps the best place on earth to feel close to God. Indeed, the Holy Qur’an offers several references to the idea of jannat al-firdaus or gardens of paradise, ranging from blissful retreat to secure refuge. These images have fed centuries of Muslim art, narrative, and design. Along with being an integral feature of Islamic architectural design, particularly for palaces, gardens have also served as final resting places for the dead. Gardens are also rich with esoteric symbolism not just because of the Qur’anic references but also because of the way a garden organizes space to appeal to both the outer and inner dimensions of a person.

Gardens were incorporated in several of the Umayyad (first major ruling Muslim dynasty [661–750]) palaces, as well as the palatial designs in Muslim Spain. The development of formal gardens became an art form in Iran from at least the fourteenth century as can be seen from their frequent depiction in miniature paintings of the period. Under the Timurids (Muslim dynasty which ruled Persia and Transoxiana [1370–1507]), gardens became a priority for royal residences. The Mughals of India acquired their interest in gardens from the Timurids and developed the concept of a memorial garden surrounding a tomb. An example of a memorial garden is Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi, India, that was restored in 2003 by the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

Sources:

Marianne Barrucand. “The Garden as a Reflection of Paradise.” Islam: Art and Architecture Edited by Markus Hattstein and Peter Delius (Konemann, 2000)

Archnet: http://archnet.org/library/dictionary/entry.tcl?entry_id=DIA0116&mode=full

AKDN: http://www.akdn.org/aktc/Humayun%20Brief%2004-2003.pdf

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