Photo credits: The American University in Cairo
During slave trade of the European and Arab world, they had to justify the enslavement of Black people in Afrika by fabricating a myth that Afrikan culture and spirituality was subhuman, savage, uncivilized, satanic, and polytheistic.
White supremacy, and systemic racism, made the world, and us, believe that Afrikan people had no concept of a one God, or spirituality, or any real code of ethics or morals. But nothing can further from the truth.
According to Egyptologist Anthony Browder, Afrika is the mother of world’s major religions. In 1992, he published a phenomenal and groundbreaking history book on Kemet called-Nile Valley Contributions To Civilization. Professor Browder writes on page 88 about the Pert Em Heru (the Book Coming Forth By Day. He says, “there are a number of significant religious references which have emerged from the Book of the Coming Forth by Day, they include: the conception of heaven, the soul of man going to heaven, the soul of man sitting on a throne by the side of God, the heavenly blessed eating from the tree of life, God molding man from clay, God breathing the breath of life into man’s nostrils, the concept of creation through the spoken word, moral concepts of good and evil, and traditions of hell and hell fire.”
The Ten Commandments:
(Exodus 20:2-17 NKJV)
1) “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods
2) “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth
beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to
them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the
iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of
those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and
keep My Commandments.”
3) “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in
4) “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath
of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your
daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor
your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the
heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh
day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
5) “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
6) “You shall not murder.”
7) “You shall not commit adultery.”
8) “You shall not steal.”
9) “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
10) “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”
The late Dr.Yosef A. A. ben-Jochannan, one of the world’s most respected Afrikan Egyptologists, documented the Kemetic origins of the “Ten Commandments” coming from the Pert Em Heru (the Book Coming Forth By Day). In his pioneering book titled, African Origins of The Major “Western Religions,” Dr. Jochannan writes on page 11, “the Ten Commandments spoken of in each of the so-called “Western Religions” moral code of ethics are based upon extensions of philosophical developments by the indigenous Africans-the so-called “Negroes” and “Bantus” – of the Nile Valley Civilizations from pre-recorded history.
The laws that say… “Thou Shalt Not Kill……., etc.” and “Thou Shall Not Steal……etc” were used in Egypt (Sais) and Ethiopia (Kush or Cush thousands of years before the birth of Moses of the Hebrew (Jewish) Torah. Yet these two laws, including all of the other ten that makes up so-called “western religions” basic moral codes, are still being taught as if the first time they ever came to the knowledge of mankind was when they were allegedly “………given to Moses on Mount Sinai.” At least, this is the manner in which they are presently taught in Europe, the Americans, and wherever Europeans and European American religious and economic controls are in evidence.”
Dr. Jochannan’s analysis of Kemetic spirituality and Ma’at being discredited by the white and Arab world is right on point. He speaks to the white supremacy and systemic racism continually perpetuated by non-Black people. We see that in a book like, General History Collections: Types of Mankind: or Ethnological Researches… Illustrated by Selections from the Inedited papers of S.G. Morton…. and by additional contributions from L. Agassiz, W. Usher… H.S Patterson co-authored by two white men named Dr. Josiah Clark Nott and Dr. George Robbins Gliddon.
This book first published in 1854. Nott and Gliddon fabricated beliefs in racial myths that whites were born “genetically superior” to Black people, would not allow them to accept the facts on Kemet (Egypt) being a Black civilization. They argued on page 461 in their book the greatness of Kemet’s (Egypt’s) civilization. But that greatness was because of whiteness. They said, “the earliest civilization known to us is that of Egypt; and from this foundation, it is commonly said, all more modern civilizations derived…. From Egypt, the stream is supposed to have flowed steadily on, through Assyria, Palestine, Tyre, Persia, Greece, Rome, Gaul, Germany, Spain, Britain, until it crossed the Atlantic to our Federal Union.” These two white supremacist scholars argued that the great Egypt (Kemet) of the ancient world was a white civilization, not a Black civilization.
But on the very next page of 462 of their of book, Josiah Nott supports his racism by quoting another white racist historian named Theodore Parker in the text to justify Kemet’s (Egypt’s) whiteness and the racial supremacy of white people. He writes, “the Caucasian race differs from all other races: he is humane, he is civilized, and progresses. He conquers with his head, as well as with his hand. It is intellect after all that conquers-not the strength of a man’s arm. The Caucasian has been often master of the other races-never their slave.
He has carried his religion to other races, but never taken theirs. In history, all religions are of Caucasian origin. All the great limited forms of monarchies are Caucasian. Republics are Caucasian. All the great sciences are of Caucasian origin; all inventions are Caucasian; literature and romance come of the same stock; all the great poets are of Caucasian origin; Moses, Luther, Jesus Christ, Zoroaster, Buddha, Pythagoras, were Caucasian. No other race can bring up to memory such celebrated names as the Caucasian race…… To the Caucasian race belong the Arabian, Persian, Hebrew, Egyptian; and all the European nations are descendants of the Caucasian race.”
But whatever the case may be, in this day in time, we have the 42 laws of Ma’at translated for us to study and incorporate into our daily lives. Many of us that are Afrikan-centered struggle to help our people, and the world, understand that Ma’at is Afrika’s original set of ethics and moral principles.
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/)