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Gardens beneath which rivers flow : water in the Muslim constructed landscape

Salama, Ashraf M (2010) Gardens beneath which rivers flow : water in the Muslim constructed landscape. Faith and Form: The Interfaith Journal on Religion, Art, and Architecture, XLII (3). pp. 30-35. ISSN 0014-7001

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Abstract

The Muslim faith emerged in a desert culture that thirsted for water, which was praised and prized as a rare yet breathtaking phenomenon. Water is a symbol which encompasses multiple meanings in the culture of Muslims. The Muslim culture spread across territories in which great civilizations had already prospered in the blossoming river valleys of the Nile in Egypt, the Tigris and Euphrates in Iraq, and eventually even the distant Indus and southern Spain. This was a an influential factor in relating the religious sources from the holy Qur’an and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad to the multiple roles water played, from being a landscape element in mosques, mausoleums, and palaces to its utilization for irrigation purposes and in the everyday environment. This article highlights selected manifestations of the use of water as one of the important elements that shaped the built environment of Muslims.