The Islamic Post Blog

Natural Fibres: Elegance and Benefit by ipinfo2
December 8, 2012, 1:08 am
Filed under: 2009 June Vol. 1, Hakimah's Corner, Uncategorized

June Vol. 1, 2009

(IP)- This year is known as the International Year of Natural Fibres 2009, in honor of the virtues of cotton, wool, silk and linen/flax among other lesser-known varieties of cloth derived from animal and plant sources.
In the Medicine of the Prophet, Ibn Qayyim Al Jawziyya quotes Al- Raazee on the properties of silk, in particular, which is used for women: “Raw silk (ibreesim) is warmer than flax but cooler than cotton; it nourishes the flesh. Every coarse clothing makes the body lean and the skin firm, and so the reverse is true.”
Al Jawziyya continues: “Clothing is of three kinds: one kind that heats and warms the body, one kind that warms it but does not heat it, and one kind that neither heats nor warms it. There is none that heats but does not warm it, for whatever heats it is even more likely to warm it. Clothing of hair and woollen material [like sheep’s wool, alpaca, camel hair, angora and cashmere] heats and warms, while clothing of linen, silk and cotton warms but does not heat. For garments of linen are cold and dry, those of wool are warm and dry, those of cotton are of moderate warmth, and those of silk are softer and have less heat than cotton.
“The author of the Minhaaj said: Clothing from silk does not heat as cotton does, but it is moderate. All soft and smooth clothing is less heating to the body, gives less aid to the dissolving of such matters as are to be dissolved, and is more suitable for wearing in summer and in hot lands.”
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations touts natural fibres above synthetic varieties as fabrics made from plant fibre or animal hair have served to boost the economies of economically developing countries. Some 30 million tons of natural fibres are farmed from animals and plants across the globe. The biggest crop is cotton, with an annual production of some 25 million tons, while 2.2 million tons of wool is produced every year in almost 100 countries, with Australia accounting for roughly a quarter of that. There is also flax, sisal, henequen, coir (from the husk of the coconut,) and hemp (although, for Muslims, even the form of hemp purified of the THC intoxicant should not be used on the head.) Jute, which comes from the skin of Corchorus plants, is the world’s second biggest fibre crop (2.3-2.8 million tons, main producers are India and Bangladesh) but is worth far less than cotton, or wool. Hafez Ghanem, FAO Assistant Director-General for Social and Economic Development, said production of animal and vegetable fibres is a major agricultural sector, worth some $40 billion annually to the world’s farmers and, in some cases, accounts for up to 50 percent of a developing country’s exports.
Care for your clothes, naturally.
In addition to the natural detergent formulas Hakimah Raziya A. Mu’min gives above, as a natural Islamic medicine practitioner, the hakimah also has added a few tips on the preferred use of natural fabrics, and ways to maintain the freshness and life of your clothing without the use of chemical laundering products.
“Wool and cotton fibres which are in turn made into muslin, terry cloth, corduroy, and flannel are the best to use for clothing. Synthetic fabrics hold bacteria longer, and can contribute to yeast infections. Laundry detergents are full of perfumes, petroleum, and chemicals; they can also be very expensive. The same applies to perfumed body soaps. You can grate a bar of regular Castile soap, and use it for laundry soap, adding borax and baking soda. Stain removers can be made using 2 tbsp. cream of tartar and water, making a paste of the two and rubbing into stain. Allow it to dry before washing. For clothes brighteners, add 1 to 2 tablespoons Epsom salts to the wash cycle. Add ¼ cup baking soda to your wash cycle as a fabric softener, or a ¼ cup or less borax. A ¼ cup of vinegar added to the wash cycle will prevent static cling.

Sources: FAO, Hakimah Razia A. Mu’min


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