From introductory remarks by Immanuel Moon, friend and disciple of Musa Qamarbayev (author of A Tailor’s Doctrine).
What can be said of Musa Qamarbayev? A gifted academic and enlightened mystic, a belated, tragic emissary of the Light, for the opening decade of the 21st century London, his teachings directly illuminated the faces of his friends and astonished and darkened the visages of his enemies. The details of his biography are well known: his calling from the Tradition of his birth into the religion of Islam, his claim to visions of the Godhead, to metaphysical silsilah to the Prophet himself, his consequent public attempt to promote a new age of marriage between the hidden Tradition and the (very visible) Islamic religion via a modernist stance rooted in Western Philosophy. Then there is the sordid gossip and scandals associated with this, what can only be acknowledged in retrospect as mistaken proselytization. The repetition of all this would be redundant here.
All I wish to add is the testimony that I was privileged to have known him as a teacher and friend.
The book you hold in your hands is his unfinished magnum opus, A Tailor’s Doctrine. I am grateful to Qamarbayev’s widow Gauhar for permitting Fernmind access to the material. It is likely that Musa would not have approved of the distribution of the work in its current, imperfect and sketched form: he was a perfectionist in all ways. However, given that, since his death, there is now a growth of “secondary” material claiming Tailorite authencity, some with less than honourable intention, Gauhar has agreed to release her husband’s notes. Her hope is that Fernmind provides the world with a truthful, definitive and primary source of Tailorist theosophy. Her condition, gladly accepted, was that we make no effort to change, augment or reconstruct Musa’s draft Doctrine. Apart from some minor spelling corrections, the document remains as it was found on his hard drive. Grammatical errors, unfinished sentences, omissions of words: all remain unchanged. The ordering of the fragments is preserved as Qamarbayev intimated (noting that it is likely this ordering would have been changed in a final draft). Unfinished though it stands, the document remains entirely Musa’s, free of editorial refactoring or comment. It is as close as the reader will get to Musa: to know him more, the difficult onus is on them to extrapolate.
Qamarbayev was working on the final two chapters when he met his untimely end. It should be clear to reader that, by this stage, the author had acknowledged the nature of his failure, if he had not yet fully grasped and confronted the implications of failure to his project.
Thus the later chapters shift considerably in mood from the book’s initial cheery optimism (witnessed most acutely in the author’s preface, written in the premature expectation of publication with a well known Sufi publishing house). Had he lived on, perhaps Musa might have revised the entire work. Maybe he would have bypassed the Islamic project(ion) completely. Or, knowing his character, he might have attempted to simply encode the failure within the proceedings (the chapter at Jihad certainly hints at this, Musa’s own battle for hearts and minds being won through the ironic misprison of its acknowledged failure). Alternatively, he might have simply returned to the womb of his own Tradition, completing the divorce with Islam and creating something else entirely, something far greater, something less rooted in a pretense at religious authority.
For Qamarbayev’s actions were pretense, make no mistake. His closest friends, disciples and lovers would not deny this. He was a pretender to the garb of Islamic Sufic authority. He (mis)presented himself to the Muslims and Sufis of London — as one of them. But he remained a stranger, from his venture’s joyful initiation to its inevitable end. If truth be told, I know for a fact that he had very minimal Islamic background and even less Sufic initiation. Four years before he commenced writing this work, he had not even set foot in a mosque before. He knew no Arabic, worked from Qur’an and hadeeth literature in translation alone, basing his observations, essentially, on internet and library searches. He earned no apprenticeship with a teacher. He possessed a number of translations of Rumi and ibn Arabi: but openly boasted to me that he had never opened them, save to check the odd reference or quote.
Privately, he spoke of personal revelations that bypassed the need for formal instruction and scholarship, laughing that he never read the manual even in his day job. But that’s the point: these were personal revelations, deriving from something novel and individual, not (as he mistakenly misrepresented them) standing in any real lineage to the theological discourses of Sufism and Islam.
In retrospect, we could say that real value of Qamarbayev lies, not his failed aspiration to revolutionize general Islamic tafsir (interpretive science), but in the side-effect of his project: the communication of something unique and new, the intimate, private circuitry of his own soul, at a particular stage along its own unique path. We’re all on different journeys, we all have acquired some wealth along the weay: but it is not often that we make such an elaborate and public exhibition of where we are at in that journey, it is not often that so much of that wealth is shared (albeit in an unusable, foreign currency). It is unfortunate (or, more accurately, inevitable, hence this book being essentially a tragedy in the classical sense) that Musa chose to speak his own private Truth by resorting to the general matter, the verses, tropes and metaphors of a superpower amongst world religions.
By its own rules of spiritual lineage and cultural constancy, by its own nature as a Book carrier, Islam must never accept the clothing of this particular tailor, lest they cease to be. This is not a moral criticism of Islam: it is a law of physics, one that Musa (perceptive though he was in so many other things) chose to ignore. In doing so, he created the garment for a different ummah entirely, the Islam of some other, absolutely orthogonal universe.