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Islamic Gardens in the UK – School of History, Archaeology and Religion

children playing in a garden's water feature with a fountain in the background

Dr Sophie Gilliat-Ray, of the University’s Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK, won funding from Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) to investigate the possibility of establishing Islamic Gardens in the UK.

There is a long tradition in the Islamic world of creating gardens, often designed as a reflection of the heavenly realm in the Qur’an. They incorporate shade and water, reflecting the desert environment from which Islam emerged and also have absorbed elements from across the cultural diversity of the Muslim world.

Botanic Gardens Conservation International was interested in developing Islamic gardens which have sustainability and conservation at their heart. The Centre, which promotes public understanding of Islam and Muslims in the UK, has carried out research into the viability of the idea. In particular, it has made recommendations on sustainability and biodiversity, and has assessed the scope for engagement by British Muslims and for inter-faith integration and co-operation.