The Gardens of Russell Page

I lived in East Finchley and the neighbouring Muswell Hill and Highgate in North London from 2009 – 2011. Here I met, under rather unique circumstance, Ken Pledge, a former physics lecturer and a student of the Sufism teachers John G. Bennett, Idries Shah, P.D. Ouspensky and G.I. Gurdjieff. Continue reading

The Way of the Sufi Gardener

This is a chapter from Idries Shah’s Book “The Way of the Sufi” (Penguin Books, London, 1974). It can be found under the chapter “Chishti Order” – this is as such a story narrated by Shah, but is originally a story from the Chisthi Order Sufis.Continue reading

Immigration, Integration & Culture: The Islamic Garden as Space for Diverse Communities

Gardens, Mental Order, Social Health

In the past Summer (2017) I exhibited in Berlin, as part of an art festival “48 Hours Neu-Kölln” and “Open Gardens”. Both events mark the art world of Berlin quite distinctivly. 48 Hours markets itself as “Emerging Art/Underground”. Open Gardens is an events created by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Board.Continue reading

Flowers & Bees

Be like the Bees – On the Natural Care of Bees

“The believer is like a bee, feeds upon the goodness, relieves a burden of goodness (honey), lands upon a branch softly so as not to break it and when falling into the water does not pollute it.” ~ Saying by Mohammed (as)

"The Messenger of Allah said: “By the One in whose hand is the soul of Muhammad, the believer is like a bee which eats that which is pure and wholesome and lays that which is pure and wholesome. When it lands on something it does not break or ruin it.”

The bee only eats from flowers which are tayyib (pure and wholesome). It is not attracted to repulsive things, unlike other insects. Likewise the believer only eats that which is pure and wholesome.

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Emma Clark: The Art of the Islamic Garden, Book Review

"Books are the gardens of scholars." ~ Ali ibn Talib (as)

It is Autumn, 2017. This past summer I exhibited some art work in a garden in Berlin as part of an art festival and studied the culture and history of the Islamic garden. The Berlin garden was pretty yet somewhat chaotic (so Berlin!) and I longed for the calm composition, clarity and artistic refinement of the real thing.

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Two Blue Peonies, Art by Roya Azal

The Peonie: Queen of Islamic Floral Art

"During the night the Peonie spends medicine and healing, during the day the beautiful “Rose with no thorns” is protected by a jealous bird."

The Peonie (Paeonia officinalis) is known in phytology lore as “Fuga Demonica” – a repellent against bad energies and demons. It is a medical rose that came back to medieval Europe via the Islamic world from China (who imported it - via Arab, Persian and Syrian traders - originally from ancient Greece). The Peonie is a very stately flowering bush with large, lush dark pink, purple and rose tinted blooms. She is a wonderful floral gift for women.

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