The Tailor would sometimes sell his garments in the lands north of the City, wherein resided wild men and women, nomads and tribes and communes, loosely conflated as self-governing collective.
He never made any sales, but would always get into heated debates with the wild men regarding difficult, obscure or superficially offensive verses of the Reading. They hated the Reading because they only saw confusion and hatred within: he loved the Reading because he saw clarity and love within, despite or, rather, because of its darker tropes. In the past, this “failed sales-pitch” (da’wah-as-failure he would say to his wife) afforded him the inspiration to design new garments, and sell them in the City.
While they painted their bodies in blue wode and walked on the earth in near nakedness, these people were not indigenously wild but, rather, exiles from that City. They were a disparate group — anarchists, political dissidents, Darwinists, homosexuals, converts to other religions — but what they had in common was their apostasy from the City, from its rules, its conflation of statehood and faith, its mindless body constraint, its denial of science (with a hypocritical embrace of pseudo scientific rational posturing when justified).
The Tailor still maintained business linkages within the City, but had some appreciation of the apostates: after all, his west end shop had recently had its window smashed in, his wares defaced and fabrics stolen by the so-called Enlightenment Defense League, a neo-fascist vigilante group formed with the sole objective of ridding the City of strangers (and strange clothing). The police of the City, at the command of the new Mayor, had turned a blind eye.
Nevertheless, the Tailor enjoyed sparring with the Exiled tribes, regarding the nature of the Reading. For he still clung to its words: despite the fact that the city lay in confusion and ruin, with forces such as the Enlightenment Defense League corrupting those words beyond any hope of recovery, so that its words were used to abuse the inhabitants into consent, into acceptance of starvation, to turn them into blind slaves of the new Mayor. Despite that abuse, the Reading continued to form the basis for his trade, his designs, his work, his life.
And so, sentimental and nostalgic fool that he was, by “defending” the Reading to the Exiles, he could position himself (for a moment at least) as a True City-dweller, a Reader with Civic Authority, a civilized man, rather than the endangered and despised stranger he was becoming. To position himself in defense of the Reading reminded him of the old days, when his wares were purchased by the Mayors themselves, by their families and wives. Days when business was sweet, when he had a position, when he was consulted, when people Read with him.
It might well be that by defending the Reading, by making the sales pitch this time, he could momentarily forget the fear he felt at the last EDL attack, to forget the darker night that was inevitably descending.
What follows is a transcript of their sparring, wherein the Tailor spoke of the Reading for the umpteenth time and consequently, selfishly, for an hour at least, felt like a respectable City businessman once more.
Exiles: Since our exile, we’ve never read the Reading — while when we were working with those fascists in the City, I’d recite it continuously. It occurred to me that it would be an interesting exercise to read it again, now that I am free of their bondage: to read it as a freed man. It was a useful exercise: it is a truly muddy, confused and evil document.
The Tailor: I appreciate that your critique is grounded in the ontology of the current state of the City — of, for example, the EDL. But, if you want a second opinion, I can give a Tailorite understanding of any of the verses you found confusing. Pick a verse, any verse, and I will show you how to it ought to be Read. If you think it might be fun, pick one of them at random and I’ll give it to you.
Exiles: We agree this should be interesting. We’ve found a number of really troubling verses, let us give you a random selection one by one — short responses will suffice as long as we can get a handle on your position. And then perhaps we can go into detail on further questioning?
The Tailor: Agreed.
Exiles: And afterward, lo! thereupon they have a drink of boiling water (The Reading, 37:67). Perhaps God is serving tea & coffee in hell (make that 1 sugar please)!
The Tailor: You omitted the interesting bit before this — which is that the boiling water is related to the food of the “tree of hellfire, that is as if it has heads of devils” — the food — including the water — filling the bellies of those there.
In Tailorism, we equate human life with the archetype of a particular tree — the “tree of life” found in lots of cultures. It consists of a number of components — psychological tendencies, so to speak — that need to be balanced. Each component is intrinsically good. One of these branches of the tree, for example, is human rahma, human love. It’s a very good thing. It is associated with the element of water (waters of mercy) and is primal to our existence (because our essence is that “water”). Another branch of that tree is shariah, human constraint, laws, sciences, reason. That branch is associated with the element of fire. It’s also a good thing — under balanced conditions — because without reason, constraints and so on, we wouldn’t have science or society.
When these aspects are unbalanced (for example, when someone fixates on a particular form of idolatry, such as fascism or religious fundamentalism), then that “tree of life” becomes inverted — and then we have the mirror image of the tree.
So each component of the tree is inverted as well — specifically, that branch of love is inverted and becomes idolatry, fascism, unhelpful desire. Human love, for example, turned from being good into, for example, the adoration of a tyrant under times of fascism, submission to cruelty in social structures etc.
At the point when the tree is inverted, the water of human love and the fire of human judgement come together in a pure negative way, inverted from goodness — and we have psychosis — that is, boiling water. Fire and water: adoration of the shariah instead of (what the Tailorite tree grows toward) adoration of Love.
I could say more about the use of “bellies” that are filled in this verse. The arabic root is BTN, which has the connotation of womb and, significantly, interiority. Let’s leave that for the moment.
Exiles: It’s funny how the word “me” interchanges in the Reading to sometimes mean its Prophet. I wonder if the Prophet sometimes got a bit confused as to who was supposedly the author of these words …
The Tailor: I don’t believe Prophecy is/was confused about this — not at least the last time I spoke to him — but the “confusion” of pronouns is sort of the key to understanding the Reading. It is an approximation to say that God is within everyone — but the Tailor does seek out exactly this state of confusion you mention — where we get tangled up in God’s Love, so we don’t know where we end and where Hu begins.
At any rate, when you read the Reading, as a Tailor, you read God reading through you. And, most importantly, the “you” of the Reading is not Prophecy as a man (so you must ignore the tafsir in the translations) — it is always “you” the reader, put in “his” place. It’s your revelation, just like those find-you-fate second person gamebooks. (This is the point of Herman U. Ticz’s 2nd person gamebook — available at fernmind.com — all proceeds going to establishing a Tailorite Ashram in Turkestan.) That is, the Reading is a 2nd person gamebook, with you playing the lead character.
And there are moments in that gamebook — significant moments in its plot where you might win or loose — where God speaks through “you”. We do not deny this state of confusion: it is Divine confusion and Tailorites embrace it within their technology.
Exiles: Here is that jealous, needy God again, wanting attention over children and wanting us to see them as a temptation rather than young beings who need time, attention and guidance: O you who believe! Let not your wealth nor your children distract you from remembrance of God. Those who do so, they are the losers. (The Reading 63:9).
The Tailor: This is about transmigration (of the human soul in all its complexity) — specifically the Tailoric analog of the Hindu-Buddhist notion of karma. “Children” are what your soul becomes/evolves into. We believe the soul splits into other souls — the way in which it does this — is answered by all the inheritance laws.
“Transmigration” is believed to occur at all levels of existence, from microcosmic to macrocosmic. So, for example, this sentence you are reading right now is a bit of my “soul” that happens to be “reincarnated” as a child-sentence from the previous sentences I have written here and elsewhere. So all cause-and-effect is understood to be continual cycles of reincarnation.
Generally the Reading informs us reincarnation — children, descendents etc — is a blessing and part of the “test” of the (tree of) life. But the Tailorite, like the Buddhist, aims to ultimately transcend those cycles of “descent”. Hence the verse.
It’s got nothing to do with real children — apart from the particular sense that children are part of this karmic cycle (but everything is).
Exiles: How about this? The meaning of our lives according to this absolutely egotistical creator God! I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me. (The Reading 51:56).
The Tailor: Tailorite tafsir might better render the intended meaning of this line as
“Love created the psychological drives and your soul-fragments only that they might love the Love.”
Exiles: What about assexual reproductive species living in the animal/plant world, in which instance male/female pairs are not required? Glory be to Him Who created all the sexual pairs, of that which the earth groweth, and of themselves, and of that which they know not! Glory be to Him Who created all the sexual pairs, of that which the earth groweth, and of themselves, and of that which they know not! (The Reading 36:36)
The Tailor: This is a good translation — because the Arabic is “pairs” but with the connotation of mating, spouses and so on.
Approximately these “sexual pairs” do not refer so much to animal/plant species — but rather to a cosmic sexuality that underlies all perception/language/creation.
Think of the notion of the yin-yang principle that is meant to underly the cosmos in Taoism — that’s kind of what is meant here. Or, alternatively, the Shiva-Shakti principle of Tantric Buddhism/Hinduism.
In the Judaic tradition (from which our City originates and Tailorism continues to preserve), this masculine/feminine duality is not equated with Allah, but rather with two aspects of Allah’s Love to creation — loving bestowal (father) and loving reception (mother). God gives/is present and God takes away/is felt as absent. We see everything as ultimately a “family resemblance” in combination of these two aspects. This is the meaning of the hadith where Muhammed was proclaimed a prophet by the Rabbi of Medina when he repeated the Talmudic expression that a child (aspect of creation) resembles its father if the father ejaculates first but the mother if she ejaculates first in sexual congress.
Exiles: Does this mean it is a sin for a woman to talk to any other man? It is no sin for them (thy wives) to converse freely) with their fathers, or their sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or the sons of their sisters or of their own women, or their slaves.
(The Reading 33:55)
The Tailor: This is about how knowledge is transmitted — it is a kind of cosmology of meditation — to grasp it requires us to first work out where the “wives” are inside us.
Exiles: 100 whips for all adulterers! Such is the Mercy of your Infinitely Merciful God! The adulterer and the adulteress, scourge ye each one of them (with) a hundred stripes. (The Reading 24:2)
The Tailor: “Adultery” is infidelity to God. The number 100 in Arabic numerology is very significant. I have a garment inspired by this verse — particularly the need for four witnesses (they relate to the four levels of the soul that has been expounded upon by Judaic and Tailorite sources).
Exiles: No soul can ever die except by God’s leave and at a term appointed. (The Reading 3:145). Sounds like predestination to me.
The Tailor: True. Butt as you mentioned, the Reading itself confuses who is Hu — so — to be consistent with that — what happens to predestination in that light?
Exiles: God (or more likely the Prophet as he was illiterate) has got his mathematics muddled up. The sums just don’t add up. Grab a calculator and try it yourself with this verse: God charges you concerning (the provision for) your children: to the male the equivalent of the portion of two females, and if there be women more than two, then theirs is two-thirds. (The Reading 4:11)
So again: who wrote the the Reading, God or an illiterate man?
The Tailor: Okay, inheritance is basically about transmigration of information/knowledge/soul. It’s too complex for a short rebuttal. You’d have to come into my shop for a full fitting, really.
But regarding dodgy maths — it is a common device in holy books and stories. Dodgy maths is always deliberate. Check out the following tafsir to understand why this is the case … [The Tailor then logged onto youtube and played the following clip from point 3:38 onwards]
Exiles: Can you answer this apparent contradiction too? Here is one verse: Or say they: He hath invented it ? Say: Then bring a sura like unto it, and call (for help) on all ye can besides God, if ye are truthful. (The Reading 10:38)
Here is the same challenge — but adjusted to 10 suras now: Or they say: He hath invented it. Say: Then bring ten Suras, the like thereof, invented, and call on everyone ye can beside God, if ye are truthful! (The Reading 11:13)
Why would an omniscient Allah change his mind? Why was it adjusted from 1 to 10? Is it possible to meet the challenge of one sura? If so, does that negate the earlier verse or is it a mistake by an all-seeing all-knowing creator?
The Tailor: Again, this is a tough one to explain fully in a short space of time. Whenever there’s an apparently minute discrepancy like this, it’s often a deeply and beautifully significant.
First, consider the “invention” problem.
I have heard some folk regard this as not a challenge, but a command — to try to “invent” just like Muhammed did, to try to be like him, up to the point of seeing Angels/God, establishing a perfect “City” of Submission (Medina of the Mind) etc. While somewhat plausible, I actually do not take that position completely — it’s a bit simplified for me.
Instead I read “invention” as “fabrication” and “lies” (so I am somewhat more traditional here).
But then I also consider everything I just wrote about God above (including everything I could say about the Reading, which has a “Real” existence beyond the paper version you are reading) as a kind of “invention”/”fabrication”. Ditto for anything anyone could possibly say about God — it’s all a kind of invention. Everything’s a hijab, including the paper Reading you are perceiving, veiling us from the actual, “Real” words of God. Veiling us from the actual “Real” Tablet.
Approximately, there is a “Real” eternal Reading and the Reading you are reading is an “earthly” projection of that into our veiled, reality of invention/fabrication. Nevertheless, it is a projection, rather than a completely “free” invention. Like a shadow or the outline of a body under a hijab.
Secondly, the process of invention begins the moment we are reading the Reading. And here the challenge is to remain dynamic, rather than fixed in our readings — to understand that the laws of the Real Reading itself — are active, fluid movements, not fixed, static words on the page.
And this is why we have one verse challenging us with fabricating “1″ surah and another saying “10″. The difference between “1″ and “10″ is how a particular active movement is perceived by us/Prophecy in our/his revelation. A movement from 1 to 10 or 10 to 1.
10, in Tailorite cosmolog is the full number of the tree of life. 7 for the levels of the Miraj and 3 for the mother/father principle and their origin. 1 is Tawhid. But Tawhid is achieved only through growing/balancing your psychology, through growing through the tree of life. So 1 will become 10 and 10 will become 1.
I will leave it at that for the moment. I could go on forever about these two verses. The fruits lie, for me, always within the infinite complexity of such details.
[There was a pause.]
Exiles: Very creative whitewashing! Okay, what do you say about the verses regarding alcohol? There is a verse that forbids it completely — and another that says to avoid it and not to approach prayer until sober (which would imply it is not completely forbidden). If this is the perfect book of law, why such blatant contradiction and confusion?
The Tailor: Regarding alcohol, see my previous point regarding abrogation. It’s certainly not a fixed set of laws. Instead it is a kind of vector/dynamic movement.
We understand alcohol/intoxication to be a movement within the third level of consciousness (there are four, corresponding to the four rivers mentioned in the Reading, of water, milk, wine and honey, and each with a “wife” associated to it). When one enters into that particular state of consciousness, one transcends all world view/systems/perspectives/cultures/laws, viewing them as entities/objects to be manipulated/deterritorialized/reterritorialized. For example, it’s the kind of space you get into when you leave reject the City state — you move from one world view to another — and perceive the world as completely relative. If you’ve ever been there, you will know it is a dizzying experience, that meta-view — and a good description is like being drunk.
The Reading is ambiguous about that state of mind — it does not outlaw it, though it forbids it. So Tailors do enter into it, carefully. We call it jihad sometimes.
Exiles: Ya Tailor, please explain Surah 19 — why does it shift from Mary (Isa’s mother) to Miram (Moses’ and Aaron’s sister), then to her cousin Elizabeth? The chapter is mass confusion. Having studied Christian theology for some time, it makes no sense whatsoever. Alot like the first verse about Lot, its almost like the author got part of the story right, and left out the rest.
The Tailor: I assume you are referring to the problems of reconciling the Torah, Gospel accounts and the Reading, as noted by various online anti-Reading propagandists.
Basically, I read it literally, just as Aisha is reported to have done: Mariam, the mother of Jesus, is the same Mariam who is also the sister of Aaron. I am not ignoring the fact that there is a significant timespan that separates the two Mariams — if we were to read Torah, Gospels and Reading as accurate historical accounts. But they are not historical accounts — I’m sure all Exiles here will agree on that at least. The two Mariams are the same Mariam because they are of the same soul — or, to put it in Jungian new-agey terminology, they are the same symbol/archetype.
This is because in Tailorite understanding, Moses and Aaron are, as archetypes, the so-called “uncle” and “father” respectively of Shekhina/Sakina, the female immanently felt presence of God. (She appears in the hadeeth literature as Safiyah, the Jewish wife of the prophet — who referred to by Muhammed as the niece of Moses and daughter of Aaron.)
That Shekhina/Sakina/Safiyah is intimately related to the Body of Christ/Messiah. I won’t go into any more details about unless you want me to. Anyhow a “sister” of two brother archetypes is a feminine version their combination. Hence the sister of Aaron is a feminine version of Aaron and Moses mixed together so to speak — the archetype of Prophecy (messaging) mixed with the archetype of Priesthood (slavery to God). She is both these things, in the Torah and then again in the Gospel and in the Surah, where we see her act as both a priestess in slavery to God and a prophetess, receiving the message of the Christ.
And just as the two brothers give “birth” to Sakina — their single, combined form of a sister Mariam gives “birth” to the Christ, the Christ being masculine match to the Sakina, approximately at least.
What I have just said is standard stuff in esoteric tafsir — and is not limited to Tailorism and the Reading. If you were to read Issac Luria, for example, whose work forms the basis of Hassidic Judaism, you will see similar “confusions/conflations” of Prophetic archetypes. For example, the archetype of Abel is confused in his writing with Moses: the conflation enabling him to make a point that Abel’s sin is corrected through being “reincarnated” so to speak in the body of Moses. Also, we find in the Christian gnostic literature, some very nice examples of Eve being confused/conflated with other women in the bible.
The Reading — for me at least — is similar to Luria and the Gnostic literature in its historically-transcendent archetypical treatment of figures like Mariam. Obviously I’ve got the bulk of the ummah against me here, but they are against me on much bigger points — like what is “halal”! — this is some pretty obscure stuff we are talking about in comparison.
Exiles: If possible, can you please elaborate on the other rivers and what being in those particular states means for a person. Also, how does one understand this quandrangular mandala archetype of 4 levels in relationship to the 7 levels of the Mi’raj?
The Tailor: It’s been expounded upon by various Sheikhs — most publicly (and heretically) by the Bahaullah in his Seven Valleys and Four Valleys. You’ll also find it explained in various Kabbalic cosmologies, but all rather cryptically.
Let me have a go now, but I’m afraid it will also be quite cryptic as the relationship is a bit complicated.
First, it is worth remembering the meaning of the Four Rivers (and their relation to the four planes of Heaven/four forms of consciousness in Tailorism and Kabbalah). I have a woman’s winter collection that was inspired by this.
Basically, we begin with accepting that both human perception/world views and the universe the human experiences (as perception) is pure information — nothing more than data, in various forms. The different levels/rivers correspond to different perspectives on that data. In modern computing terminology, you can think of
- The river of water (the plane of nasut/ordinary life) is the universe viewed as raw information — data.
- The river of milk (the plane of malakut/angelic space) is the space of different categories or models or world views or mental maps we might have of that data. Philosopher/psychoanalyst pair Deleuze and Guattari call these things “regimes of signs” — they can be entire religious doctrines, for example, or poltical systems like Communism or Democracy or family structures in Ethiopia or whatever — but these “things” are ways of structuring data, and they occupy the space of milk.
- The river of wine (the plane of jabarut/unseen life) is the space of models of those models — metamodels of data. Deleuze and Guattari’s framework would be such a kind of thing, approximately, viewed as a method — as it allows us to get a bird’s eye view of the models of milk (though it is actually still framed in as a model). The kind of Tailorism I am espousing is another example of a metamodel — because I speak about movements (e.g., movements from the Citydweller to the Exile) — in a way that pretends as if I am “above” them.
- The river of honey (the plane of lahut) is the space of the language of all these languages — the meta-metamodel. It’s a sort of language of God, that frames everything below. To ascend to this plane is to physically grasp the “eternal” meaning of everything — by first grasping the infinite relativities of data/life, world views, and meta-world views that are below it.
Okay, the 7 planes of the Mi’raj I won’t summarize as you probably know them quite well. My shop stocks a men’s range of ties inspired by them.
So, how do these cosmologies interrelate? They interrelate through an “event” we call the Sa’ee.
In this event, we first conceive of all the universe — as a universe of data — consisting of an interplay between 0′s and 1′s, between felt absence and presence of God, between slavery and messaging. Hegel called this interplay the master slave dialectic. You are either apprehending objects (as presence, a 1) or experiencing/desiring their apprehension (absence, a 0): that’s the nature of perception. Both are forms of understanding. And 0 and 1 are called Safa and Marwah, respectively — “peaks” of understanding.
During the Sa’ee, we negotiate these moments of affirmation/negation, seeking the fountain of Life (the uppermost language at the fourth level), between two hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah. And the seeking — to get to that fourth level — requires a miraj of 7 embedded within it.
So you can see here, a movement through seven leading to an ascent to the fourth. The interplay between the four levels is complicated — it’s not like 7 is equal to 4, but more like the four are comprehended via the 7 within.
That the movement is between two hills is significant: it is like a waveform, the crests being points of masculine ascent (Light of transcendence) and valleys being points of feminine Sakina/Shekhina (Light made immanent) — connecting the realms.
Exiles: Hmmm. Very clever. But you must admit that what you are doing is creative anachronism. In the past, Tailors – or the best of them – had to justify their heretical ideas and practices, like alcohol consumption, by the Reading in order to guard themselves from the very real danger of being killed as apostates. Is such a danger a very real possibility for you?
The Tailor: This is like the argument that perhaps Descartes’ last chapter was tacked on to avoid getting the chop — because everything preceding it seems to lead us inevitably to atheism.
There is some truth in it.
But, more accurately I prefer to think of Tailorism as a vine that grows symbiotically onto different trees (cultures/peoples/times). The vine continues on even if the tree dies — the vine is the point. There are some who argue that the tree of the City (as a state) is dead: if so, never mind, because I’m with the vine — a vine, which makes the best of wines.
This, by the way, is my understanding of 47:38 — replacing of “peoples”, favouring a new “people” — I’d be happy to say it has already happened, a number of times over (and in parallel sometimes).
Exiles: If not, wouldn’t it be better that you ceased dressing up your spirituality in City clothing and stop calling yourself a “Citzen”? It just confuses people as to the exact nature of the City!
The Tailor: Increasingly, I am getting requests from the old families of the city, from wealthy and noble Citizens to cease trade — because I might be confusing things, confusing the nature of what clothing is. Well, I’m sorry if I am endangering the purity of the City by confusing it with my strange position! Ooooh, such a dainty little thing it is … poor lil’ defenseless City, never did anyone any harm, all molested and confused by the complicated muddying words of that nasty old Tailor …
Very well then: I am not a Citydweller.
Exiles: Do you mean it?
The Tailor: Sure. I was requested to stop calling myself a Citizen and, for the benefit of the Citizen who requested this. People I thought were close friends, people I have loved have requested this of me, and for that love: I have ceased to call myself a Citizen.
I won’t deny that I am attached to the tree and the badge — the City is like a family, right? You all remember because you were once Citizens too. But my God and my Reading (my iqraa) of the Truth is more important to me than keeping the badge.
If they desire the badge — and if it offends them so much to hear my iqraa because it is not what their fathers worship (see 26:74) … Well then, they can keep the badge. But the terms of my apostasy is that I get to keep my Reading.
I am with the Vine and drink from its wine, I am not of the tree, and if the tree rejects the Vine then I will follow the Vine where it grows. Trees come and go. There have been a large number since the Reading historically appeared.
Exiles: Thanks for your responses, although I’m ashamed to say I still dont have a good handle on your position, despite all our time sparring.
No doubt you’ve heard this criticism countless times before, and I know you often take it in a light-hearted fashion but its the accusation of spin I want to get to the bottom of.
Consider a random saying, let’s take a kids nursery rhyme “Ring-a-ring of roses, a pocketful of posies, atishoo, atishoo, all fall down”. If I turned round and said this was Divinely ordained, and applied a Tailorite interpretation on this verse, roses are the beautiful beings that were created by Allah and I could claim posies stands for posers, people who like to show off, and they all fall down shows how pride comes before a fall.” If I can do this to all the “collection of the very best nursey rhymes for kiddies”, does that then make it divinely ordained scipture? Obviously not, so the crux of my argument is how do you come to the conclusion that these rhymes are just a collection of manmade tales, and the Reading is not?
The Tailor: Your tafsir of ring-a-ring-a-roses is very nice and absolutely valid in my system. I have seen very experienced Tailors play with children’s rhymes in exactly the way you have done it. My father did it all the time: I’m used to seeing it since childhood. One famous western Sheikh likes to do it with Bruce Springstein.
I guess the main difference between your exercise and these Sheikhs is that they have the faith that a nursery rhyme is the word of God (as well as being a historically situated children’s rhyme). I like to do the same thing with Pop songs (as did the Jewish “premature” messiah Shabatai Zevi, who would sing “profane” medieval love songs to “recover” the light in them). I could do it with, oh, this Kylie song for example …
Surely you can see what I might do with it? And don’t get me started on Elvis …
Perhaps you have seen my children’s range of Disney branded pajamas?
So yes, from one perspective, my reading works just as well — God’s Loving Light shines through all events, all things, all books, all movies, all songs — equally. And in that sense, I could ignore the Reading and keep reading (or misreading, if you think I’m mad) nursery rhymes or fairy stories — and I’d get the same quality of divine, angelic revelation.
It’s not that all these things are manmade: from the Tailorite perspective, nothing is man made — they are all made by God, because ultimately all the universe is ayat of Allah.
In fact, the closest thing a Tailor gets to “sin” — is the belief that man can make things — that man can invent. That, in the Reading, is referred to as “inventing lies about God”. (Although the fact that the Reading refers to this process that I am talking about with its consideration of “invention” is a hint that it is a degree above these other texts, a kind of mother text that predicates over their truth, over their possibility to be Read in this Tailorite fashion).
The Exiles: I can see how its an enticing way to view the world: everything is beautiful because its got God fingerprints over it. Do you believe in the traditional history of how the Reading came about and the life and times of the prophet? How do you interpret uglier things in history (e.g. Aisha being 9) & the atrocities that Muhammed carried out (wars, murders etc).
The Tailor: Certainly not! In a particular sense, I believe that the Prophet is a purely imaginary, literary character, like Hamlet or Luke Skywalker. But another way of putting that is that it is we who are purely imaginary, literary characters while he and his life is the actual “reality”.
For example, check out my faux military fatigue streetware range. Taking Martin Lings further, I believe the story of the Banu Qarayza massacre is essentially a black Jewish in-joke that sounds horrific only because you aren’t in on it.
Regarding Aisha, the betrothal at 6 and the marriage at 9 are classic pieces of Jewish numerology. You can check out my Lolita inspired babydoll outfits: they are only slightly scandalous fun. Of course they are outfits for adult women: do I look like a pervert?
Aisha — as she is described in the hadeeth — is also a kind of literary character. There probably was also a “real” Aisha, like you are “real”. But her nature is irrelevant because it is the literary aspect that what counts (not the least because it’s all that we’ve got of her!).
Exiles: Not just the things recorded in the hadith, but by the objective history e.g. the conquest of Arabia during the prophets lifetime?
The Tailor: Clearly something went on there — although we really have some pretty poor records. I’m sure it is very interesting for historians, but irrelevant from the Tailorite perspective.
Exiles: Okay, coming back to the Reading being true … why do you pray 5 times a day if you see the Reading like a a nursery rhyme. I am sure if the Jack and Jill nursery rhyme said Jack prayed one time a day, then you wouldn’t pray just the once. And if you see it as something different, then how do you know its not manmade?
The Tailor: Oh, I don’t read any commandments in nursery rhymes, nor in the Reading or sunnah. I don’t obey the shariah in that sense.
The shariah (wherever we find it) is not commandments but, rather, laws of how the mind/body/universe/soul is constructed that, when read correctly, allow us to realise what these things actually are.
So in this sense, I would be praying 5 times a day irrespective of whether I appeared to do so “physically” to a passer by — because a 5-fold submission is how I understand the body to be constituted as a cosmology.
Similarly, as a Tailorite reader of Jack and Jill, I would never read a “command” within it — but, in reading the rhyme as a Tailor — extracting the light from it — I would, like Jack-Jill/Adam-Eve/Ibrahim-Hajar, being climbing up the hill (transcendent waveform peaks Safa/Marwah) then falling down (to the waveform valley of immanence) again in my search for “water”.
Because to ascend and descent are, for me, the nature of the human soul.
Not a command in the Reading, but a sort of metaphysics that I can’t avoid following/embodying the moment I begin to open its pagers and Read (like a future physics of anti-gravity that allows us to levitate the moment we start reciting its equations).
Exiles: This is getting ridiculous. I’ve got no problem with your spirituality, which seems largely innocuous. What I do have a problem with is your confusing true danger the City presents us with — by projecting your imaginary readings onto its book and law.
I don’t care about the “purity” of the City. It’s just that non-Citizens – particularly of the “spiritual seeker” variety – might be inclined to be drawn into the City through reading Reading-twisting philosophies such as yours and making the erroneous conclusion that the City is worth joining. The population of Indonesia was initially persuaded to adopt a core “Citizen” identity largely by Tailorite missionaries who were easy going with alcohol and pork consumption and painted an Urban veneer on existing animist and polytheistic beliefs and practices. Look at the place now. Where Tailorism begins, fascism is sure to follow as night follows day.
Stop pretending to yourself and others that your spiritual philosophy can seriously be justified by the Reading!
The Tailor: It is curious that you employ the same command that the Citizens are currently using on me : to “cease” my business.
I’m sorry this play is upsetting enough to seem to warrant you — and them — issuing such an edict. It’s quite flattering that you think my reading could be so successful as to convert a single other human! For the record, my “supporters”, those who purchase my wares, they were Tailors long before me — their custom teaches me about the nature of transaction and commerce — they do not as such gain much from me. Then there is a larger group, those window shoppers and passers-by, who are merely interested in a different approach but would not in a million years “convert” to my style of dress.
Speaking to spiritual seekers who are not in the City already — well, they generally don’t enjoy what I produce because it is haute couture — it’s hardly Asda. In fact, I can’t think of anyone who would fit such a category.
Very well then. Because I love you the Exile — just as I love the Citizens who told me to “stop” — and I can see this disturbs you enough to issue such a strong command — I will stop speaking about the Reading here — for your command and your command alone.
So I am censored by the Citizens from selling these trifles — and now by the Exiles also. How strange, that I am ceasing to be of the City, but am also not permitted out of the City. Just a drunk, a clown, a confusion, a forbidden strangeness, an joke anomalous zone not-existing beside the serious conflict that will rage between urban and rural spaces.
Very well then. The northern lands will hear no more from me on verses on the Reading.
Instead, to avoid any danger of confusion about the design manual I speak of, the manual I defend, which I live and trade by: to demarcate anomalous self from the Citizen and from the Exile … I will simply call it by its Real name, a name unrecognizable by Citizen and Exile alike.