If you have been in the Black conscious community for any length of time, you have heard the term ma’at used.
Ma’at is the daughter of Ra – Supreme God of Kemetic culture – and is the goddess of truth, justice, divine order, and cosmic balance. Her polar opposite, Set, is the God of darkness and chaos. Therefore, when we discuss ma’at, we are discussing the opposite of destructive force. Ma’at is often shown with wing and carries an ankh, the key of life.
So important were the principles of order and cosmic balance to the rulers of Kemet that they would often carry an image of Ma’at seated as a sign that the Pharaoh represented her regime.
Judges in Kemet also wore an emblem of Ma’at on their chest, and all those who would become a part of society in Kemet were urged to seek Ma’at. Invoking the goddess Ma’at is appropriate for righting wrongs and to help truth and understanding emerge from any situation. Invoking Ma’at also brings one back to the primal beginnings of Earth, finding common ground, balance, and to embody righteousness.
When a person died, their soul was lead by Thoth, god of wisdom, into the Hall of Double Justice, to the presence of Osiris, Lord of the Dead, along with 42 Assessors, or Judges of Ma’at. The heart, which is a person’s essence, would be weighed in the Scales of Justice against Ma’at’s feather from her headdress. If the person had led a good life the heart would balance against the feather. If the person had committed one or more crimes against the divine rules, then it would weigh heavier and would be eaten by the goddess Ammut, thereby to die the eternal death.
Those that balanced would be led by Ma’at to Osiris, and be permitted to join with the celestial goddesses and gods for all eternity. The Declaration of Innocence that the deceased were judged against were written in The Book of Coming Forth by Day (The Book of the Dead) as follows:
I have not committed a sin.
I have not committed robbery with violence.
I have not stolen.
I have not slain men and women.
I have not stolen grain.
I have not purloined offerings.
I have not stolen the property of God.
I have not uttered lies.
I have not carried away food.
I have not uttered curses.
I have not committed adultery; I have not lain with men.
I have made none to weep.
I have not eaten the heart.
I have not attacked any man.
I am not a man of deceit.
I have not stolen cultivated land.
I have not been an eavesdropper.
I have not slandered.
I have not been angry without any cause.
I have not debauched the wife of any man.
I have not debauched the wife of man.
I have not polluted myself.
I have terrorized none.
I have not transgressed.
I have not been wroth.
I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.
I have not blasphemed.
I am not a man of violence.
I have not been a stirrer up of strife.
I have not acted with undue haste.
I have not pried into matters.
I have not multiplied my words in speaking.
I have wronged none, I have done no evil.
I have not worked witchcraft against the king.
I have never stopped water.
I have never raised my voice.
I have not cursed God.
I have not acted with arrogance.
I have not stolen the bread of the gods.
I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the Spirits of the dead.
I have not snatched away the bread of a child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.
I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.
Compare these laws to the 10 Commandments of the Old Testament in Christianity while keeping in mind that these laws preceded the Bible (as we know it) by thousands of years. The 10 Commandments of the Torah (Old Testament) are as follows:
1. I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
2. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
3. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven 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. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.
4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5. Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long.
6. Thou shalt not kill.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt not steal.
9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.
Rather than explaining and interpreting the above laws for today’s society, I ask you to leave your interpretations in the comments section below.