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Chapter on the Subject of Craftsmen being Two

فصل في ان موضوع الصناع نوعان

Chapter on the Subject of Craftsmen being Two

Maulana Imam Ahmed al-MasturAS writes:

Know my brother that in every craft a craftsman requires a subject upon which he carries out his craft. In line with this, there are two subjects for all human crafts: spiritual and physical. The spiritual is the subject for all theoretical crafts, as we have explained in ‘The Epistle on Logic’. The physical is the subject for all practical crafts, of which there are two types: simple and composite. Simple consists of four forms: fire, air, water and earth, while composite consists of three compounds: minerals, plants and animals.

There are select crafts whose subjectsare only water, like those of salters, water bearers and swimmers. While the subjects of others is limited to the earth, like that of those who dig wells, waterways, channels and graves, work in mines, transport stone and quarry rock. Crafts limited to fire include those of fire breathers (during battles) and stokers. Finally, flutists, trumpeters and all those who play wind instruments are examples of crafts that are limited to the use of air.Certain crafts make use of both water and earth.These include the making of ceramics, grout, earthenware and bricks, and all those crafts that involve adding water to earth.

Crafts limited to minerals include those of blacksmiths, coppersmiths, tinsmiths, glassmakers and forgers. While those such as carpentry, palm-leaf plaiting, straw mat making, and building hutches and cages are limited to the key elements of plants: trees, branches and leaves.Crafts that utilize their bark and cortex include weaving linen, making jute, sisal and paper. Select crafts use leaves, grass, flowers, stems and cortices. Others like those who deal in flour, rice, kernels, dealers, juices, seeds and sesame seed oil make use of fruits and seeds, in addition to all those who extract oils and juice from fruits and seeds.

Crafts in which the subject is animals are those of hunters, herdsmen, stablemen and equerries, veterinarians, farriers and ornithologists. Some of these are limited to one part of an animal: its flesh, bones, skin, fur, wool or silk like that of butchers, those who roast and broil meat, cooks, tanners, cobblers, those who make belts,large vessels and shoes and other similar craftsmen.

A number of crafts pertain to the quantity and dimensions of an object like of thosewho weigh and measure objects. Others are limited to their value, like that of cambists,  agents, brokers and appraisers. Some crafts,like medicine and that of hairdressers, focus on the body. Other crafts focus on the soul of people, like that of all teachers. This craft has two parts to it: practical and theoretical. The theoretical relates to what has been discussed in the Epistle on the Various Forms and Types of Knowledge, and is expounded upon throughout our 51 epistles, while the practical has been narrated previously.

فصل في الحاجة الى الآلات والادوات

Chapter on the Need for Instruments and Tools

Know my brother that some craftsmen are required to use one organ of their body, or two, or an external tool or many tools like a ploughman, builder, tanner and weaver. Each of them requires tools which are external to them along with the use of their hands and legs. On the other hand, some crafts do not require external tools, with any one organ of the body sufficing.An orator, poet, judge and reciter only require their speech, while watchmen, lookouts and people of high office are sufficed by their eyes. Others like storytellers and mourners require two organs: their hands and mouth, while performers and swimmers are required to use their entire bodies. Craftsmen like couriers and surveyors are required to be on the move, while darners and cotton carders are required to sit. Select crafts require only one tool like that oftrumpeters, flutists and drummers, while that of seamstresses and calligraphers require two. A seamstress needs a needle and thread, and a calligrapher a pen and paper. A calligrapher’s use of a knife is not an element of calligraphy but is from carpentry. Some crafts like cotton ginning, grinding rice and turning of wheels with the feet require one to stand at all times.

فصل في ان النار من الادوات المفيدة في الصناعة

Chapter on Fire being a Beneficial Tool for Craft

Know my brother that a majority of crafts require the use of fire. A craftsman who uses fire does so for one of three reasons. The first are coppersmiths, glassmakers and those who heat gypsum and lime. Their purpose in using fire is to soften the matter so that it accepts the shape and form given to it. The subjects of such crafts are hard rocks that do not accept a shape or form but after being soften by fire. Once they soften it is possible for a craftsman to craft them as he envisions. After accepting this, the raw material has now become something formed.

The secondreason relates to potters and vessel makers whose craft involves the use of fire in order to ensure that the form and shape given becomes permanent.This is because raw materialstend to resist the form given to it and seek to revert to their original and simple state, as an essence devoid of all measure and modality. The third and final category consists of those who cook, roast or broil meat and make bread. Their intentionsare to bring their crafts to completion and maturity so that its benefits are maximized.