Current Muslim attitudes to the idea of recreating paradise
January 6, 2014 6:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm interested in knowing what people practicing any of the branches of Islam feel about the idea of recreating paradise on earth. The Quran describes paradise as a garden and there are historic gardens which use these descriptions as a template. Is making a garden templated on paradise as described in the Quran blasphemous in the eyes of Islam today?

In the Quran, paradise (Jannah) is described as a garden with fairly specific attributes.

There are actual gardens modeled on these attributes which I've heard were historically constructed to serve as motivation to be a good Muslim - ie, they motivated you to be good because when you die you'll go to a similarly beautiful place. The readings I've done are not from current sources and before discussing this in a public venue (other than metafilter), I'd like to know if this is accepted currently - is it okay to try to recreate paradise (something created by Allah) on earth?

Context: I work in a garden in the US designed in the 1910s by a non-Muslim for a non-Muslim that was modeled on Indo-Persian walled gardens. Yes, this could be described as cultural appropriation.

I feel a bit embarrassed to be asking this and I hope that I'm not inadvertently asking this poorly.
posted by sciencegeek to Religion & Philosophy (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have an answer for you directly, but if AskMefi comes up dry, the forums at might be a good place to ask.
posted by jquinby at 6:31 AM on January 6, 2014

Re: asking poorly, I'm not sure anyone writes it as "Moslem"- at least in the US- anymore.
posted by BungaDunga at 7:40 AM on January 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Sorry not to answer your question, but pose another one. Does an Indo-Persian walled garden have to be Islamic? There is a lot of pre-Islamic Persian culture to draw on without getting into religious issues.

And yes, Muslim not Moslem.
posted by Dorothea_in_Rome at 8:02 AM on January 6, 2014

Mod note: Changed the spelling per asker's request.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:09 AM on January 6, 2014

Response by poster: I've contacted the mods to request that 'Moslem' be replaced with 'Muslim'. I'm going to blame this one on the fact that I've been reading literature from the late 1800s-early 1900s and that I am relatively stupid when it comes to spelling. There was no intent to be a jerk and now, having learned that the older spelling is offensive, I will not mess this up in the future. My apologies.

A walled Indo-Persian garden does not have to be Islamic. The context is there to explain how I came to ask the question not to say that this garden or any other walled garden must be specifically associated with one religion.

The symbolism of a walled garden as paradise extends to Judaism, Christianity and Islam and the Indo-Persian gardens also were influenced by Hinduism. There are a lot of layers and this is just one aspect.

I could wait another week and ask the same question for Judaism and Christianity and I'm sure I'd learn some interesting facts about different branches of each of these religions.
posted by sciencegeek at 8:18 AM on January 6, 2014

Usama Hasan of the Quilliam Foundation might be a good person to reach out to. They are making waves by moving toward taking the Quran and hadiths allegorically.
posted by parmanparman at 8:35 AM on January 6, 2014

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