The 42 Laws of Maat
Artifacts from African peoples inhabiting what we now know as Egypt demonstrate that their laws were founded upon “Maat,” an antiquated Egyptian term meaning truth, balance, order, harmony, regulation, and ethical quality/morality.
These 42 ideals existed 2,000 years before the biblical Ten Commandments or Book of the Dead that Europeans adopted from Kemet (Egypt), Africa, yet remain relevant today.
1. Do No Harm
Ancient Egyptian cosmology depicted Ma’at, or Maath, as an embodiment of physical law and moral virtue, often wearing an ostrich feather symbolizing truth and justice. She was an intermediary between heaven, earth, and humanity to strike an equilibrium.
The 42 Laws of Ma’at were listed in ancient Egypt’s Book of the Dead as part of funerary texts for those who died there. Also known as Negative Confessions or Declarations of Innocence, these laws provided a checklist of actions that could violate ma’at, such as killing, theft, mistreating others, and breaking taboos.
If a deceased individual were to have faithfully adhered to these 42 laws during life, they would pass into the Field of Reeds and rejoin their body after death. These laws were created to reduce chaos (Isfet) while maintaining societal truth and order.
2. Do Good
Maat (pronounced maa-at) is the law of order which maintains equilibrium and equality in our universe, world, and society. It brings order from chaos by eliminating violence, injustice, and disorder – it is the organizing principle behind everything that exists!
Integrating man into divine society enables him to obtain both a tomb and Book of the Dead and bread-beer from Osiris’ table; all essential conditions for his transition from duat to new life.
An individual who has passed on is evidence of compliance with maat if their heart weighs heavier than its feather. Otherwise, they will fail to pass from duat into the next life. Maat serves as the basis of African spirituality and provides an ideal goal that philosophers, moralists, and ethicists strive for.
3. Do No Harm to Others
Ma’at is the goddess who represents truth, balance, order, harmony, and morality/law/morality. In the afterlife, she would weigh the hearts of departed souls to ensure their passage through duat (duat = datum and datum = duat) back into reincarnation – making sure their hearts were lighter than her feather measurement tool – making sure duat’s standards were being observed by measuring how soft their hearts were against her feather measuring instrument –
Ma’at (Ancient Egyptian Laws) symbolizes civilization’s moral aspect. This idea can be found across politics, society, art, science, and economics, evidenced by the laws that guide it all. If these were all observed today, it could make our world a much better. Many followers of ancient Egyptian ways like repeating 42 ideals each morning and evening as part of spiritual practice – believing reciting something daily would bring it about sooner rather than later.
4. Do No Harm to Nature
Ancient Egyptians believed in an orderly universe. According to legend, Ma’at brought order into existence with wings representing order, truthfulness, balance, law, morality, and justice – an icon representing everything good about life!
Ma’at is often depicted holding a feather as her measuring instrument for soul weighing in the afterlife. If a soul wants to cross through Duat (underworld) into rebirth successfully, its heart must weigh less than Ma’at’s feather.
Many scholars assert that the founders of Western religion borrowed heavily from ancient Kemetic and classical African spiritualities, specifically ma’at (42 ideals or principles that guide any society), when creating Western religion. Some modern-day practitioners still repeat them every morning and evening as an act of devotional practice or even to stay upbeat!
5. Do No Harm to Animals
Ancient Egyptian moral life was guided by maat, or truthfulness, as codified in 42 negative confessions in the Papyrus of Ani and Book of the Dead.
At the time of their death, the spirits of those who had lived were judged according to how closely their actions aligned with maat (God’s will). If their lives included theft, killing animals for pleasure, or violating other sacred values, their souls would likely become separated from Isfet in the afterlife.
Maat was an Egyptian idea that served to integrate individuals into society, establish harmony between human and divine cultures, and prevent chaos (Isfet). Maat represented truth, order, harmony, and regulation within the community; she was personified as goddess Maat who wore an ostrich feather as her symbol – this feather also represents honesty in Egyptian iconography.
6. Do No Harm to the Environment
Maat lies at the core of Egyptian civilization as a whole, not just morally (including justice and truthfulness ), but also universal order and social integration through communication and trust – this principle allowed for the functioning of Pharaonic states.
The 42 Laws of Maat were written on the Papyrus of Ani more than three millennia ago and have become a common theme since. Recited often like a mantra, they represent one of history’s earliest ethical and moral codes of conduct – and have also formed part of Kemet, ancient Egyptian religion, which laid down critical philosophical, cosmological, and spiritual systems within classical African knowledge systems. Their survival speaks volumes for its integrity as an indication that their values were being upheld through generations of scribes dedicated to supporting cultural values through the preservation efforts of these laws of Maat.
7. Do No Harm to Yourself
Ma’at or Mat is the Kemetic/Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, regulation, morality, and justice. She established order at the moment of creation while also overseeing stars, seasons, mortal actions, and moral laws; wearing an ostrich feather as her symbol, she plays an integral role in soul weighing in the nether world.
She is a reminder of the ideals by which all humans should be judged when appearing before their creator. These 42 principles comprised part of an original text called Coming Forth By Day, which European invaders later changed into The Book of the Dead upon invading Kemet (Egypt), Africa. This text contains negative confessions that deceased persons must confess to move on into new lives after death.
8. Do No Harm to Others
The Law of Maat serves as the cornerstone of moral order. It rests upon the principle that all human activities should abide by universal laws of nature, with honesty, kindness, and the absence of jealousy being core components. Furthermore, Maat promotes equality while providing access to fair wages at work.
Maat, or Truth and Justice and Balance in Arabic, is the patron goddess of civilization and prevents chaos from taking hold. Maat also serves as the judge in the afterlife by weighing their hearts against her feather scale for judgment.
Maat is an ancient African philosophy before European invasions of Kemet (Egypt) and Afrika. This code can be found in the Book of the Dead; Europeans later adopted its terminology and named it Christian Bible and Muslim Quran, respectively – making Maat one of the oldest moral codes ever seen on Earth.
9. Do No Harm to Yourself
An individual who pursues positive ideals in life strengthens social and divine connections while helping restore equilibrium to the afterlife.
Ma’at (pronounced ma-at), also known as truth, justice, equilibrium, order, and reciprocity, is an ancient spiritual concept found in Black Kemetic (Egypt) philosophy that can best be explained by reading The Book of the Dead.
Thanks to our ancestors’ vast legacy of material regarding morality in papyri, tombs, and stelae left by them for us today, much information can be salvaged and reinterpreted free from racism by Egyptologists. I highly recommend “Ma’at: Guiding Principles of Moral Living” by Ife and Tdka Kilimanjaro and Maulana Karenga’s earlier “Ma’at: The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt: A Study in Classical African Ethics.” Both books should be read by scholars as well as general audiences alike.
10. Do No Harm to Others
Maat stands for truth, balance, order, harmony, regulation, morality, and justice; its name describes an integral force within cosmic order which should guide our lives. Maat goddess is associated with honesty, charity, lack of jealousy, and fairly compensated work.
Artifacts from Kemet (Egypt), an ancient African nation, show that Maat was their law and way of life. Many people follow suit by repeating these 42 ideals every day as a reminder and encourager of these values in their lives; I find this practice invaluable for spreading light in this world! Thank you so much for reading SSNM; your light shines bright! Peace and blessings to everyone involved : ). –Samirah (@ysanmahar). Thank you, SSNM! You are wonderful people! –Samirah (@ysanmahar). Peace and blessings! –Samirah (@ysanmahar). Thank you all so much! –Samirah (@ysanmahar). Thank you all so much: Dear all for reading! Peace and blessings –Samirah(@ysanmahar). Peace SSNM! Thank you all, beautiful! SSNM! You all are gorgeous!! –Samirah(@ysanmahar) August 19, 2017, Thank everyone so much!! SSNM Thank yall are beautiful!! SSNM –Samirah(@ysanmahar) August 19, 2017 Thanking everyone!! Peace SSNM –Samirah(@ysanmahar) August 19, 2017 Peace SSNM –Thank you all Beautifully!! SSNM!! You all are Beautiful!! –Samirah@yall are beautiful!! –Samirah @ysanmahar)August 19, 2017 –Samirah, @yall are Beautiful!! Thank y All, Beautifully!!- Thanks Samirah @yall are Beautiful!!-Thank yall are beautiful!!! — Samirah@yall yall are Beautiful!! Thanking all are Beautiful Thanks again, Samirah @y’all are Beautiful!! Samirah @YSMaHar