Echoes of Paradise: the Garden and Flora in Islamic Art
The Role of Individual Plants and Flowers
‘Some flowers were particularly popular; a particular favourite was the rose.’
Some flowers were particularly popular and are represented repeatedly in the arts of the Muslim world. A particular favourite was the rose. In popular Islamic tradition the rose was created from a drop of sweat which the Prophet Muhammad lost during his miraculous night journey to Paradise. It also symbolises the unity of Allah, its petals the Muslim Umma, or community. Others see the rose as a symbol of the Prophet at the heart of all believers. Its thorns remind us of the difficulties Muslims have to overcome in their quest for God. Its scent anticipates those of the paradisiacal rose gardens to come.

Hegira early 12th century / AD early 18th century
Museum of National Antiquities
Stockholm, Sweden
This fine embroidery is decorated with rose-like flowers and was used to cover a turban, a sign of authority and rank in Ottoman Turkey.