Generalife, Alhambra.

Islamic Gardens

This interview with Emma Clark provides an overview of the theory, design and examples of Islamic gardens around the world.

The Islamic garden is regarded as one of the most precious forms of art in Islam. As gardens comprise descriptions of Paradise in the Quran, one of the aims of Islamic gardens is to reflect this Heavenly realm in an earthly form – to remind us through the mesmerising beauty of these gardens that there is a transcendent element to our existence, that needs to be acted upon in this life.

In the preface to her book, ‘The Art of the Islamic Garden’, Emma Clark says, “Understanding something of the religion of Islam in general and Islamic gardens in particular, it became clear that all art, to a greater or lesser degree, should be the vehicle of a message of hope: it should remind us of what it means to be human, of our place in the universe and our role, as God’s vice-regent (khalifat Allah) on earth. It could be argued that any garden, since its main ingredient is God’s creation, carries this message, reminding us as it does of the beauty and unity of nature, especially in built-up environments.”

Emma Clark taught the principles of traditional Islamic art and architecture for ten years at the Prince’s Foundation and was part of the design team for HRH the Prince of Wales Carpet Garden at Highgrove, UK. She was the designer of the garden at the Cambridge Central Mosque.

To watch this interview, the link is:-

This interview is conducted by Dr. Amina Nawaz, as part of the Arts, History and Culture Lecture Series, from the Cambridge Muslim College Online Learning section. There are other excellent lectures to be found in this section.