26. The craft of weaving and tailoring.



It 135 should be known that people who are temperate in their humanity cannot avoid giving some thought to keeping warm, as they do to shelter. One manages to keep warm by using woven material as protective cover against both heat and cold. This requires the interlacing of yarn, until it turns out to be a complete garment. This is spinning and weaving.

Desert people restrict themselves to this. But people who are inclined toward sedentary culture cut the woven material into pieces of the right size to cover the form of the body and all of its numerous limbs in their various locations. They then put the different pieces together with thread, until they turn out to be a complete garment that fits the body and can be worn by people. The craft that makes things fit is tailoring.

These two crafts are necessary in civilization, because human beings must keep warm.

The purpose of (weaving) is to weave wool and cotton yarn in warp and woof and do it well, so that the texture will be strong. Pieces of cloth of certain measurements are thus produced. Some are garments of wool for covering. Others are garments of cotton and linen for wear.

The purpose of tailoring is to give the woven material a certain form in accordance with the many different shapes and customs (that may occur in this connection). The material is first cut with scissors into pieces that fit the limbs of the body. The pieces are then joined together with the help of skillful tailoring according to 'the rules, either by the use of thread, or with bands, or (one) quilts (them), or cuts openings.136 This (craft) is restricted to sedentary culture, since the inhabitants of the desert can dispense with it. They merely cover themselves with cloth. The tailoring of clothes, the cutting, fitting, and sewing of the material, is one of the various methods and aspects of sedentary culture.

This should be understood, in order to understand the reason why the wearing of sewn garments is forbidden on the pilgrimage. According to the religious law, the pilgrimage requires, among other things, the discarding of all worldly attachments and the return to God as He created us in the beginning. Man should not set his heart upon any of his luxury customs, such as perfume, women, sewn garments, or boots. He should not go hunting or expose himself to any other of the customs with which his soul and character have become colored. When he dies, he will necessarily lose them (anyhow). He should come (to the pilgrimage) as if he were going to the Last Judgment, humble in his heart, sincerely devoted to his Lord. If he is completely sincere in this respect, his reward will be that he will shed his sins (and be) like he was on the day when his mother gave birth to him. Praised be You! How kind have You been with Your servants and how compassionate have You been with them in their search for guidance toward You!

These two crafts are very ancient in the world, because it is necessary for man in a temperate civilization to keep warm. The inhabitants of less temperate, hotter zones do not need to keep warm. Therefore, we hear that the Negro inhabitants of the first zone are mostly naked. Because of the great age of these crafts, they are attributed by the common people to Idris, the most ancient of the prophets.137 They are also often attributed to Hermes.138 Hermes is said to be identical with Idris.

God is "the Creator, the Knowing One." 139