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 Maat is concerned with our relations to our individual self, each other, community, natural environment, ancestor, the universe and Divine. It should be noted that Maat is not a religion.  Maat is not a theory.



MAAT Our New Social Policy

By Ata Omom


This letter is written in order to propose a new frontier for each member of our African American community.  We are all aware that social conditions (economics, politics, law and order, education, ethics and health) for African people around the world need urgent attention. 

For example, the National Urban League’s STATE OF BLACK AMERICA 2004 report, key findings are:

The status of African Americans has improved since the Civil Rights era with significant increase in overall income, home ownership, business development, voter participation and educational achievement. 

However, there are still notable gaps between African Americans and whites, especially in the area of economics that reveal major challenges in the pursuit of equity and opportunity.

 In summary, the report highlights the fact that in the areas of economics, health, education, and social justice—disparities are apparent for African Americans.

Furthermore, according to the UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund:

Inadequate resources, gender (and racial) bias and gaps in serving the poor and adolescents are undermining further progress as challenges mount.  Some 2.8 billion people—two in five—still struggle to survive on less than $2 a day. 

Poverty perpetuates and is exacerbated by poor health, gender inequality, and rapid population growth.  Policy makers have been slow to address the inequitable distribution of health information and services (thus helping to keep people poor).

We need not overly bore each other with analysis of empirical social research findings in this regard.  We just need to act.  I propose to reestablish Maat as a social policy.  This endeavor will require the efforts and cooperation of the entire society—which includes you and your community.

It helps to know that Maat is concerned with our relations to our individual self, each other, community, natural environment, ancestor, the universe and Divine. It should be noted that Maat is not a religion.  Maat is not a theory.  According to the Dictionary of Ancient Egypt (1995):

On a cosmic scale, Maat is also represented by the divine order of the universe as originally brought into being at the moment of creation.  It was the power of Maat that is believed to regulate the seasons, the movement of the stars, and the relations between men and gods.  The concept was therefore central to both the Egyptians ideas about the universe and their code of ethics.

On a social scale the 42 Principles of Maat are ethical principles (rules that energize and satisfies the inherent nature of African people) that were discovered as ancient Africans strived to maintain sacred melodious and harmonious relations with each other and the environment.  Upon close review we can see that these principles can have a profound effect on all aspects of our society, including all academic disciplines. 

After you have closely reviewed the 42 Principles of Maat at the end of this paper, imagine a future President of the United States declaring in a State of the Union Address:

Mr. Speaker, Vice President, Members of Congress, Fellow Citizens:  This country has many challenges ahead.  During the past years, the White House has carefully evaluated our progress as a country.  My staff and members of congress have also closely evaluated every operational aspect of our federal government.  Leaders of both parties have talked and together we all agree that the 42 Principles of Maat will now govern our social, economic and foreign policies.  This is in the best interest of national security and world peace.  My fellow Americans, it is time for change. (Applause)

This will happen with your support.  By working to reestablish Maat as a social policy we will be enhancing the social justice, economic, health and education status of our communities; and we will be offering the present and future African Americans youth respectable and honorable options that will make our society safer and healthier. 

It may shock some of the readers to know that open-minded scholarly inquiry will show that the origin of our major contemporary world religions and the Ten Commandments were derived from the Principles of Maat.

According to Hunter H. Adams III:

Yet even prior to the earliest pre-dynastic cities such as Nagada and Hierakonpolis (5,100 years ago), a principle of Divine Order had governed all the people of the Nile Valley, from the Great Lakes of Central Africa to the Nile Delta on the Mediterranean Sea.  This principle came to be known as MAAT.

Former Director of Egyptology at the University of Leipzig, Seigfried Morenz, states: ‘Maat is right order in Nature and society, as established by the act of creation, hence means according to context of what is right.  This state of righteousness needs to be preserved or established in all manners great and small.  Maat is therefore not only right order but also the object of human activity.  Maat is both the task which man sets for himself and also, as righteousness, the promise and reward which awaits him (her) on fulfilling it (H. H. Adams III, ibid).

Simply put, the Maat perspective has been confirmed, "before the origin” of our contemporary world religions: as rules of conduct that guarantee compassionate and respectful relationships amongst human beings and their relationships with the natural environment—to such a degree that it would be “fundamentally evil” to create circumstances that would prevent such human conduct from flourishing. 

This is because the Principles of Maat are reflective of the universal and fundamental nature of humans.

This is why we need a social structure and social policies that will protect humans that strive to live MAAT—in the same manner that there are social policies to protect those “born with disabilities.” Biological inheritance (in-born nature) tends to be one of the major justifications for lawmakers passing state and/or federal legislation to legally protect these groups under the law, in most cases.

In the same manner, ancient Kemet’s highest-ranked government officials administered the affairs of the public through the lens of the Principles of Maat knowing all too well that the principles were compatible with human nature.  Thus, the principles were essential in binding the society together.

Truth, Balance, Righteousness, Justice, and Peace were Kemet's highest priorities—and they were able to achieve it longer than any other human civilization known in recorded history; for Maat energizes the inherent temperament of African people, for sure. 

You will not be alone in your pioneering endeavor to promote Maat as a social policy.  For example,

(1) Smai Tawi Ankh Ascension Renaissance (STAAR) is a non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, NY, whose members practice living a lifestyle based on the principles of Maat.

(2) A nearly five-hundred page scholarly textbook entitled, MAAT, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics was recently published by the distinguished Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of the Department of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach, and

(3) “The Philadelphia School District will require every high school student to take a separate course in African and African American history to graduate, beginning with this September’s freshman class,” according to the Philadelphia Inquirer ( June 9, 2005).  These are just a very few examples of current occurrences relevant to our discussion here.

So write your political representatives (city councilman, city councilwoman, mayor, congresswoman or congressman), community organizations; hold workshops, conferences, and discussions on Maat. 

But most importantly—MEMORIZE MAAT.  At some point in the process of memorizing the principles you may experience a mental war.  Your condition ego (socialized conscious mind) will be under attack. 

Thus, the principles are therapeutic in the sense that they promote positive personal transformation.  Also expect opposition.  By memorizing the principles, you will be better able to honestly assess your conduct, the conduct of others and the conduct of the world around you.  There are other benefits from memorizing the Principles of Maat.

And remember that MAAT is not a religion or theory. 

42 Principles of MAAT (Sayings of Truth)

1. I have not done iniquity.

2. I have not robbed with violence.

3. I have not stolen.

4. I have done no murder; I have done no harm.

5. I have not defrauded the offerings.

6. I have not diminished obligations.

7. I have not plundered the Ntr.

8. I have not spoken lies.

9. I have not snatched away food.

10. I have not caused pain.

11. I have not committed fornication.

12. I have not caused the shedding of tears.

13. I have not dealt deceitfully.

14. I have not transgressed.

15. I have not acted guilefully.

16. I have not laid waste to the ploughed land.

17. I have not been an eavesdropper.

18. I have not set my lips in motion (against anyone).

19. I have not been angry and wrathful, except for just cause.

20. I have not defiled the wife of any man.

21. I have not defiled the husband of any woman.

22. I have not polluted myself.

23. I have not caused terror.

24. I have not transgressed.

25. I have not burned with rage.

26. I have not stopped my ears against the words of Maat (Right and Truth).

27. I have not worked grief.

28. I have not acted with insolence.

29. I have not stirred up strife.

30. I have not judged hastily.

31. I have not pried into others’ matters.

32. I have not multiplied words exceedingly.

33. I have done neither harm nor ill.

34. I have never cursed the Pharaoh (The Beloved of Maat).

35. I have never fouled the water.

36. I have not spoken scornfully.

37. I have never cursed the Ntr.

38. I have not stolen.

39. I have not defrauded the offerings of the Ntru.

40. I have not plundered the offerings of the blessed dead.

41. I have not filched the food of the infant; neither have I sinned against the Ntr of my native town.

42. I have not slaughter with evil intent the cattle of the Ntr.

Note 1: The above translation is by ancestor Dr. Gerald Gant (aka Kwame Sabakhu-Ra) and Ade Oba Tokunbo of Baltimore, Maryland in 2000.  Their source for their translation is Book of the Dead by Egyptologist E.A. Willis Budge; and The Egyptian Book of the Dead by Dr. R.O. Faulkner.

Note 2: “Ntr” means Divine Spirit, Creator, God, Supreme Being.  “Ntru” means god(s), goddess(es):  air, water, sun, earth, truth, wisdom etc.

Ata Omom has lived in France, Germany, Vietnam and has visited Mexico, England, and Senegal; and has traveled extensively in the United States.  Ata has over five years experience as an insured professional, nationally certified and state licensed massage therapist, twenty years of experience working as a licensed medical radiation technologist—working in emergency rooms, operating rooms and main radiology departments.  He has been a practitioner of tai chi chuan for nearly fifteen years; and has memorized the 42 Principles of Maat since the year 2000.  One summer morning  in a park while practicing tai chi chuan Ata achieved wu-chi. 

Ata holds an Associate of Applied Science Degree (AAS) in Radiologic Technology from Malcolm X College, Chicago, IL; Bachelor of Science Degree (BS) in Radiology Technology from Howard University, Washington, DC; Master of Science Degree (MS) in Applied Sociology from Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD; and Professional Certification in Therapeutic Massage from Baltimore School of Massage, Baltimore, MD. 

Touch The Spirit! Ata Omom, The Beloved of Maat / Also a member of The Family of Cow Tom

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