Islamic Gardens They Could Build A Green Muslim Movement
Can gardens really help promote environmentally friendly behaviour amongst the Muslim community? Mark Bryant says they can
There’s nothing like being with nature to help clear your mind and when the weather is as lovely as it has been recently, who can resist spending a couple of hours in the garden? But the humble garden should not be overlooked. According to researcher in the uk, the garden can be a powerful tool in inspiring more climate-aware behaviours.
Following my trip to Andalucia and introduction to some stunning Islamic gardens, I looked into the role gardens can play in promoting environmentally-friendly behaviour. I instantly stumbled across a little piece of research by Mark Bryant and Sophie Gilliat-Ray based in the UK who state that “Gardens built reflecting Islamic traditions have been shown to have the potential to educate and inform people about environmental issues.” I caught up with Mark Bryant to find out more about this research and the green Muslim community.
Aburawa: Why do gardens play an important role in Islam and Muslim culture?
Bryant: There are some 166 references to gardens in the Qur’an. These include references to earthly gardens which resemble an oasis or palm gardens found in the Middle East today. Both Eden and Paradise are described in terms of a garden and ‘jannah’ means both garden and paradise in Arabic.
This love for the garden is reflected in the traditions of Muslim poetry, literature and carpet design. And much of what is described as Arabesque design incorporates both realistic and stylised plant forms. In terms of the environment, in addition to respecting nature as part of creation many Muslims regard themselves as having been entrusted with the task of acting as khalifah, or vice-regents, of earth. ‘Later We made you their successors in the land, to see how you would behave’ (Surah 10.14).
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In September 2011, the tenth International Permaculture Conference and Convergence, IPC10, which was held in Jordan around the theme of water. During the conference, projects in the Jordan Valley and around the Dead Sea using permaculture and Islamic environmentally inspired designs were highlighted as a positive response to the growing water crisis in the region.
So the Islamic environmental ethic works very well with the currently growing Permaculture movement. In addition many of the traditional methods of water management used in the Middle East represent good examples of effective Permaculture design. Finally, I think there is potential for palm gardens to be used as an alternative to less sustainable green spaces currently being built in the region.
"You can fix all the world's problems in a garden. .Most people don't know that" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sohI6vnWZmk
Music can solve all the world's problems. Not many people know that- MA 2005
"Politicians will never solve 'The Problem' because they don't realise that they are the problem" R Parsons 2001