Photo credits: British Museum, via Wikimedia Commons
“The earliest forms of religions can only be found when we study the Anthropological Ethnology of earliest man”
“By the almost unanimous testimony of ancient historians, they [the Egyptians] belonged to a Negro race which first settled in Ethiopia, on the Middle Nile, following the course of the river”
(I will use the words Afrikan and Black interchangeable for people of African decent)
The 42 laws of Ma’at are the oldest moral and ethical codes known to human beings. Ma’at, when translated from the Medu Neter into English, means “for truth, justice, harmony, righteousness, order, balance, reciprocity, and propriety.” Ma’at was found in The Book of Pert Em Heru. Pert Em Heru means “enlightenment” in Medu Neter. The non-Black invaders of Afrika called this text “The Book of the Dead.” Medu Neter is the ancient language of Kemet (Egypt).
When the European and Arab invaders of Afrika conquered Kemet (Egypt), they changed the Afrikan names of Kemet’s nation, architecture, leaders, scientists, philosophers, mathematicians, and theologians to foreign names. The name Kemet was changed to Egypt. Kemet means the “land of the Blacks.” The conquers rename its language of Medu Neter to the hieroglyphics. Afrika’s invaders made Kemet’s spirituality illegal.
They closed all the faith temples of Kemet for hundreds of years. Although Kemet was taken over by colonizers, the Medu Neter language still existed. It documents the recorded history of Kemet, its culture, its spirituality, its sciences, its theology, and its philosophical traditions. Ma’at comes from ancient Kemetic spirituality. In the contemporary world, Kemet’s, faith tradition is slowly becoming the spirituality and philosophies of the modern world, particularly in the Afrikan world community.
The following are the 42 laws of Ma’at:
1) I have not committed sin.
2) I have not committed robbery with violence.
3) I have not stolen.
4) I have not slain men or women.
5) I have not stolen food.
6) I have not swindled offerings.
7) I have not stolen from God/Goddess.
8) I have not told lies.
9) I have not carried away food.
10) I have not cursed.
11) I have not closed my ears to truth.
12) I have not committed adultery.
13) I have not made anyone cry.
14) I have not felt sorrow without reason.
15) I have not assaulted anyone.
16) I am not deceitful.
17) I have not stolen anyone’s land.
18) I have not been an eavesdropper.
19) I have not falsely accused anyone.
20) I have not been angry without reason.
21) I have not seduced anyone’s wife.
22) I have not polluted myself.
23) I have not terrorized anyone.
24) I have not disobeyed the Law.
25) I have not been exclusively angry.
26) I have not cursed God/Goddess.
27) I have not behaved with violence.
28) I have not caused disruption of peace.
29) I have not acted hastily or without thought.
30) I have not overstepped my boundaries of concern.
31) I have not exaggerated my words when speaking.
32) I have not worked evil.
33) I have not used evil thoughts, words, or deeds.
34) I have not polluted the water.
35) I have not spoken angrily or arrogantly.
36) I have not cursed anyone in thought, word or deeds.
37) I have not placed myself on a pedestal.
38) I have not stolen what belongs to God/Goddess.
39) I have not stolen from or disrespected the deceased.
40) I have not taken food from a child.
41) I have not acted with insolence.
42) I have not destroyed property belonging to God/Goddess
The 42 laws of Ma’at were “discovered” in ancient Kemet (Egypt), which was Afrika’s greatest high culture Nile Valley Civilization. Scholars of Ma’at realize that Afrika’s 42 laws of Ma’at are the origins of the world’s major religious (i.e., Judaism, Christianity, and Al-Islam) code of ethics and morals. The 42 laws of Ma’at existed thousands of years before Judaism, Christianity, and Al-Islam came into existence.
In fact, many respected theologians, Egyptologists, and history scholars have written books presenting to humanity that the world’s western religions plagiarized Ma’at to develop their own versions of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic ethical and moral codes. Like many people that have exploited Afrika of its people, land, treasures, and resources, so too were her religious traditions plundered.
Unfortunately, the world’s major religions did not give credit back to Afrika for her helping them find their pathway to a code of ethics and morality.
Bashir Muhammad Akinyele is a History and Afrikana Studies teacher at Weequahic High School in Newark, NJ. He is also the co-coordinator for ASCAC’s (the Association for Study of Classical African Civilizations) Study Group Chapter in Newark, NJ. (https://ascac.org/)