‘We created every living thing from water’.
— Qur’an 24:45
Imagine a valley where orange trees nestle among gnarled, millennia-old olives; where figs, mulberries and pomegranates hang heavy with juice; where almonds are studded with nutty goodness in summer and burst with delicate pink-white flowers in early spring; and where channels of snowmelt ribbon their way from majestic peaks around mountain flanks, rushing into smallholdings and keeping the land alive.
One sunny autumnal afternoon, wearing a kufi hat and a long grey beard, Abu Bakr hoes a plot of land, turning over clods bright with yellow wood sorrel flowers to sow broad beans, cabbages, cauliflowers and pumpkins. Chickens strut about officiously. Bees buzz. A few sheep baa behind a fence. From the mosque on the land below, the adhan for ‘asr can be heard.
You’d be forgiven for thinking this was a page from a history book from some faraway Middle Eastern land, but this is Spain, in the twenty-first century. Welcome to the Alpujarra mountains, halfway between Granada and the Mediterranean Sea.