Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thoughts on a Garden of Alhambra

A relic of a bygone era though it may be, this garden at Alhambra in Granada, Spain continues to offer tranquility, serenity, and an oasis from the rigors and stressors of daily life, if only briefly. For certainly, as a nonMuslim, one may enjoy the serenity of the mountain side palace garden, perhaps there is a tinge of anxiety brought by the ancient, exotic, and yet threatening architecture of the palace.

There may be a chill of threat in that it was from a bygone era of a superpower which was foreign to the Judaeo-Christian "Western" civilization, at least it appeared so. Certainly stone walls and edifices weathered by time are not threatening. Yet, this "Moorish" society/state is somehow the cry of contemporaries who call for a "caliphate" and the resumption of Islam. As if these criers seek to return 600 years into the past to revive some lost civilization. To the common man, that seems a preposterous declaration which instinctly must be resisted and fought, for no people can return to some bygone era. It is against human progress and development.
So indeed, while the garden offers cool humidity from its running water, serene views of flowers, orderly shrubs, with a pastoral and scenic overlook of the entire countryside from its regal mountain side, it perhaps stirs a chill and fear.

To the devout Muslim who follows the Prophet Muhammad (saaw), the Alhambra is NOT a retrogression to anachronisms. The Alhambra represents the achievement of excellence in application of a universal way of life. To the devout and enlightened Muslim thinker, Alhambra is a palace of a caliphate which successfully implemented the Deen of Allah (Islamic system) which successfully produced an advanced, nuanced, sophisticated society which satisfied the needs of all people, and served to advance all people. Thus, though the Alhambra palace is only a historic site run by a Christian Spanish government today, it is a testament to the universal applicability and human capability to implement Islam for the betterment an advancement of all mankind.

And certainly God knows best.

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