Invoking the Qur’anic verses that describe paradise (jannah) as a garden, Professor Nanji likened experiencing a garden to a ‘spiritual balm’ for the soul. At another level, gardens are also rich with esoteric symbolism not just because of the Qur’anic references but also because of the way a garden organizes space to appeal to both the outer and inner dimensions of a person. In this way, the exoteric and esoteric are brought into harmony, consistent with a basic Islamic conception of not dichotomising between the spiritual and material – whether in terms of space or human life more generally.

The BBC World Service Religion broadcast the interview on the 18th of April 2000 as part of a programme entitled “Patterns of Faith: A Place in Paradise”.

Link to BBC Programme