Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Report: The Black Arabian Origins of the Yoruba and Ifa


By Wesley Muhammad, PhD 

The below is only a summary. The full, 41-page report is here:

http://www.drwesleymuhammad.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Yoruban_Origins.30992200.pdf

(The ideological dogmatists will judge the conclusions here presented on the basis of reading this summary alone. The true Truth-seekers will reserve judgement until afterreading the report in full and weighing the evidences presented and arguments proffered.)


Conclusion: Islam is as African a religion as is Ifá.

“Status quaestionis” is a Latin phrase meaning “the state of the investigation” and refers to scholarly presentations of the up-to-date accumulated data relevant to a particularly controversial and unresolved topic. Truth of God Institute (TGI) publishes Status Quaestionis Reports on various debated Religious Studies topics. This Report concerns the origin of the Yoruban magico-religious tradition called Ifá and its relationship to Islam. This Report is an extract from my upcoming book that treats the subject more fully: Aḷḷāh and Olódùmarè: Islām and Ifá as Sibling Rivals (Atlanta: A-Team Publishing, 2014).    

Professor Razaq Olatunde Rom Kalilu of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Nigeria, observed in 1997 that there exists “a paradoxical relationship of love and hate between the Yorùbá culture and Islam”. He says further: “That paradoxical relation itself was a result of some similarities and contrasts in the cultures which both the indigenous Yorùbá religions setup and Islam radiated.”

In my forthcoming book, Aḷḷāh and Olódùmarè: Islām and Ifá as Sibling Rivals, I argue that this “paradoxical relationship of love and hate” between Ifá and Islam is most aptly described as a sibling rivalry. A sibling rivalry is competition or animosity among siblings, particularly (though not exclusively) siblings that are close of age and of the same gender. Because they are siblings, there is naturally love between them (unless something egregious is done to change that). But their rivalry also produces animosity and hate at times.

Islam was founded in Mecca by Black Arabs and Ifá was founded in Ifẹ (Nigeria) by Black Arabs too. As siblings, Ifá and Islam have the same father (the magico-religion of ancient Black Arabia) but different mothers (Egyptian tradition/Qurʾānic tradition). In ways, both Islam and Ifá are developments from the ancient magico-religion of Black Arabia. This means, among other things, that, just as we cannot fully understand Islam without a sufficient knowledge of pre-Islamic religious tradition in Arabia, we equally cannot fully or even adequately understand Ifá absent that same knowledge.

Nigerian linguist and exegete Modupe Oduyoye collected data for a yet unpublished work entitled, African Words in the Bible and the Qur’an. Oduyoye maintains that “there arecruces interpretationis (i.e. passages very difficult to interpret) in the Hebrew Bible and the Arabic Qur’an which can be resolved only by resort to comparative linguistic data from African languages.” Oduyoye very ably demonstrated this for the Hebrew Bible in his 1984 publication, The Sons of the Gods and the Daughters of Men: An Afro-Asiatic Interpretation of Genesis 1-11.  Unfortunately, any similar work that Oduyoye has done on the Qurʾān has, to my knowledge, not been published. In Aḷḷāh and Olódùmarè, I intend to fill this lacuna. I illustrate that, not only does West African religious and linguistic tradition, Yorùbá in particular, illuminate some parts of the Qurʾān and Islamic tradition in general, but also that the Qurʾān and Islamic tradition can shed light on some Yoruban tradition.

The late Dr John Henrik Clarke has stated:

From the great Nile Valley religions came Judaism, Christianity, and the elements that went into Islam. Islam came out of the Nile Valley. All these great religions are derivative religions…If I wanted a great religion I would bypass all of them and go to the original…Judaism, Christianity and Islam are all carbon copies of African religions. We need to go back and take the original and deal from the original rather than the carbon.

The first part of this statement by our great teacher Dr. Clarke is factually correct, as far as it goes. That some of the substantive elements of the Judeo-Christian (Biblical and extra-Biblical) tradition derived from the Nile Valley, Kemet in particular, has been well documented. That substantive elements of Islam have parallels in Kemet has also been documented and I have argued that the peoples of Arabia who are likely responsible for the religious tradition that later morphed into Islam ultimately derived from the Nile Valley regions (though not necessarily from Kemet).

So there is nothing historically problematic about Dr. Clarke’s claim. His judgment that seems to derive from these facts, however, warrants reconsideration, especially in the light of the foregoing. Is Islam, which originated with Africans in Arabia who migrated there from the Nile Valley area and which shows such remarkable similarities to Ma’at, to be rejected as a “carbon copy” religion? If we applied this same logic to Ifá we would have to discard it as a “copy-cat” religion, for it shows direct derivation – by way of Egypt – from the magico-religious tradition of Black Arabia. If we modified Dr. Clark’s words slightly, this is what we are asked to consider:

From the great [Black Arabian] religions came [Ifá], and the elements that went into [Ifá]. [Ifá] came out of [Black Arabia]. All these great religions [of the Yorùbá] are derivative religions…If I wanted a great religion I would bypass [Ifá] and go to the original…[Ifá is] carbon cop[y] of [Black Arabian] religions. We need to go back and take the original and deal from the original rather than the carbon.

While the first half of this statement is factually true, who will follow the judgment of the second half of this statement? Ifá does derive in part from Black Arabia and in part from Kemet. Is this a good reason to “bypass” it and go back instead to the original Black Arabian religion? I don’t think so. Yet, if we enforce Dr. Clark’s judgment of Islam then we must enforce this judgment on Ifá, lest we are guilty of an unjustifiable double standard.   

Continuing to deny Black Arabia and its products (e.g. Islam) their rightful place within the Africa-centered paradigm has serious consequences. For example it renders our Ifá-practicing Yoruban family a leg short: to deny Black Arabia is to make Ifá stand and hop about on one leg only. 

If Islam is to be denied its Africanity, if you will, because it originated with Black people whose home was east of the Red Sea in Black Arabia, then Ifá’s Africanity is to be similarly denied, for it similarly originated with Black people whose home was east of the Red Sea in Black Arabia. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Join me in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas This Weekend, July 11 - 14, 2013




Wednesday, April 10, 2013

“His Daddy was Black. His Momma was Black. So…” A Look at Prophet Muhammad’s Lineage


By Wesley Muhammad, PhD © 2013



The Prophet Muhammad of Arabia was a pure Arab from the Banū Hāshim clan of the Quraysh tribe. Not only were the original and true Arabs black (aswad, akhar, udma), but the Prophet’s particular tribe and clan were famously black. As Robert F. Spencer remarks: “It is said that the Quraysh explained their short stature and dark skin by the fact that they always carefully adhered to endogamy,”[1] and Henry Lammens took notice of “les Hāśimites, famille où dominait le sang nègre” (“the Hashimites, the family where Black blood dominated”), remarking further that the Banū Hāshim are “généralement qualifies de ﺁﺪﻢ = couleur foncée” (“generally described as ādam = dark colored”).[2]

These Western observations are in complete accord with the confessions found in Classical Arabic/Islamic literature. Ibn Manūr (d. 1311), author of the most authoritative classical Arabic lexicon, Lisān al-‘arab, notes the opinion that the phrase aswad al-jilda, ‘black-skinned,’ idiomatically meant khāli al-‘arab, “the pure Arabs,” “because the color of most of the Arabs is dark (al-udma).”[3] In other words, blackness of skin among the Arabs indicated purity of Arab ethnicity. Likewise, the famous grammarian from the century prior, Muhammad b. Barrī al-‘Adawī (d. 1193) noted that an Akhar or black-skinned Arab was “a pure Arab (‘arabī maḥḍ)” with a pure genealogy, “because Arabs describe their color as black (al-aswad)”[4] Al-Jai (d. 869), in his Fakhr al-sūdān ‘alā l-bidan, declared: “The Arabs pride themselves in (their) black color, تفخر بسواد اللون العرب (al-‘arab tafkhar bi-sawād al-lawn)”[5] Finally Al-Mubarrad (d. 898), the leading figure in the Basran grammatical tradition, took this a step further when he claimed:

“The Arabs used to take pride in their brown and black complexion (al-sumra wa al-sawād) and they had a distaste for a white and fair complexion (al-umra wa al-shaqra), and they used to say that such was the complexion of the non-Arabs.”[6]

If Muhammad was in fact a pure Arab, how could he have been Caucasian or pale complexioned, the characteristic trait of non-Arabs within the Hejaz? This question is the more urgent when we consider that, not only was his Arab tribe and clan notably black-skinned, but so too was his immediate and extended family.


I.                    Paternal Blackness

‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib (d. 578) was the Prophet’s paternal grandfather and, as an Hāshimī Arab, he was (as expected) black-skinned. Muhammad b. ‘Umar Bahriq al-Hadramī, in his book al-Anwār wa matāli’i al-asrār fī sīrat al-Nabī al-Mukhtar, reports: “Concerning ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib…he was [dark] brown (asmar) complexioned.” This dark brown Arab fathered sons with Arab women from clans who were even blacker than his own clan and these sons will be even blacker than he. Al-Jāi noted:

“The ten lordly sons of ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib were deep black (dalham) in color and big/tall (ukhm). When Amir b. al-ufayl saw them circumambulating (the Ka’ba) like dark camels, he said, ‘With such men as these is the custody of the Ka’ba preserved.”  ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbās was very black and tall. Those of Abū ālib’s family, who are the most noble of men, are black (sūd).”[7]
    
 Dalham is a very deep black or ‘jet black.’ ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib’s ten dalham sons were: ārith, ‘Abd al-‘Uzzā (Abū Lahab), Abū ālib, al-Zubayr, ‘Abd Allah, amza, Muqūm, al-‘Abbās, Hijl, and Zarrar. All ten were black Arabs of the Banū Hāshim, including ‘Abd Allah, the Prophet’s father.  Yes, the Holy Prophet’s father was a jet black Arab! So too were the Prophet’s uncles and cousins.

Uncles and Cousins

1. Hamza b. ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib. The Prophet’s famous paternal uncle, Hamza (d. 625), famously called “The Lion of God,” was black-skinned. Abū Dā’ūd (d. 819), in his text Musnad al-Tayālisī, reports: “(The Ethiopian slave) Wahsi (b. Harb) said: ‘…I saw Hamza as if he were an awraq (colored) camel…” According to Ibn Manūr (s.v.) awraq, from wurqa, means an asmar or (dark) brown complexion.      

2. ‘Abd al-‘Uzzā b. ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib and Descendants. More popularly known as Abū Lahab or “Father of the Flame” (d. 624), this was the uncle infamously hostile to the Prophet. He too was dalham “jet black” according to al-Jai and others. According to a report found in the Musnad of Imam Amad b. anbal (d. 855), Abū Lahab’s appearance was “luminous, with two braids; the most abya and the most handsome of the people (#16020).” Abya used here to describe Abū Lahab’s complexion does not mean white or fair-skinned. According to the Classical Arabic linguistic phenomenon called al-addad (“Opposites”), it means “black (aswad) but free of blemish (al-kalaf) and giving off a luminous glow (a-hintī al-lawn).”[8]

This is demonstrated further by the example of Abū Lahab’s great grandson, the seventh century CE Qurayshī poet, al-Fal b. al-‘Abbās (d. 714). Al-Fal himself and his mother, Amīna, were cousins of the Prophet.  Called al-Akhar al-Lahabī “The Flaming Black,” Al-Fal is well-known for both his blackness and his genealogical purity. He recited these famous words:

I am the black-skinned one (al-Akhar). I am well-known.
My complexion is black. I am from the noble house of the Arabs.[9]

This black-skinnedness of al-Fal is due to his Arab genealogy, not to some ‘negro admixture’ as some deniers would have us think. Ibn Manūr notes the opinion that al-Fal is al-Akhar or aswad al-jilda, ‘Black-skinned’, because he is from khāli al-‘arab, the pure Arabs, “because the color of most of the Arabs is dark (al-udma).”[10] Similarly Ibn Barrī (d. 1193) said: “He (al- Fal) means by this that his genealogy is pure and that he is a pure Arab (‘arabī maḥḍ) because Arabs describe their color as black (al-aswad).”[11] Thus, according to these Classical Arabic/Islamic scholars, al-Fal’s blackness (akhar) is the visual mark of his pure, Qurayshī background. This is the cousin to the Qurayshī prophet, Muhammad.

3. Al-‘Abbās b. ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib and Descendants.  Al-‘Abbās (d. 652) is the patronym and root of the Banū ‘Abbās, after which the ‘Abbāsid dynasty was named. He was a dalham uncle of the Prophet and fathered an important first cousin of the Prophet also noted for his deep blackness: ‘Abd Allāh b. ‘Abbās (d. 687), famed for being Tarjuman al-Qur’an, “THE Interpreter of the Qur’an.” Al-Jāi describes him as “very black and tall.” The Syrian scholar and historian al-Dhahabī (d. 1348) too reported that ‘Abd Allāh b. ‘Abbās and his son, ‘Alī b. ‘Abd Allāh, were “very dark-skinned.”[12] When al-Dhahabī reports also that ‘Abd Allāh b. ‘Abbās “was abya, imbued with sufra (yellowish black), tall and bulky, handsome,”[13] we know there is no contradiction here. Abya as a human complexion means “black (aswad) but free of blemish (al-kalaf) and giving off a luminous glow (a-hintī al-lawn).”

4. Abū ālib b. ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib and Descendants. Abū ālib (d. 619), brother of the Prophet’s father ‘Abd Allāh and stalwart of the Prophet until his death in 619, was dalham or jet black like his brother.  Al-Jāi confirms further that “those of Abū ālib’s family, who are the most noble (genealogically pure) of men, are black (sūd).” This fact is further confirmed for Abū ālib’s famous son, ‘Alī b. Abū ālib (d. 661), the first cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, and also the father of the Prophet’s only grandsons al-Hasan and al-Husayn.  ‘Alī, the fourth of the Rightly Guided Caliphs (Khulafā’ Rāshidūn) is the central figure of Shiite Islam. For the latter, ‘Alī is considered the first Imam and he and his descendants are considered the legitimate successors of the Prophet. That ‘Alī b. Abū ālib was a black-skinned Arab is pointed out by al-Suyūī, who describes him as “husky, bald…pot-bellied, large-bearded…and jet-black (ādam shadīd al-udma).”[14] ‘Alī’s own son, Abū Ja’far Muhammad, according to Ibn Sa’d (d. 845), described ‘Alī thusly: “He was a black-skinned man with big, heavy eyes, pot-bellied, bald, and kind of short.”[15] ‘Alī’s descendents, the sharīfs/sayyids, were similarly described as black-skinned.[16] This ‘family blackness’ of Abū ālib is very significant for our discussion of the appearance of the Prophet because Abū ālib’s son Ja‘far, who is the elder brother of ‘Alī and is known as al-Hāshimī, “The Hāshimite.” Ja’far is “one of Muhammad’s kinsmen who most closely resembled him.”[17] Indeed, Muhammad himself is reported to have said to his black-skinned cousin: “You resemble me both in appearance and character (ashbahta khalqī wa khuluqī).”[18]      

  
Descendants

Muhammad b. ‘Abd Allāh (d. 762), known also as al-Nafs al-Zakiyya (“The Pure Soul”), was a pure descendant of the Prophet himself through the latter’s daughter Fāimah, wife of ‘Alī b. Abū ālib.  Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya “prided himself on being a Qurayshi of pure lineage…[with] a pure descent from the Prophet,”[19]and could boast: “I am at the very center of the Banū Hāshim’s (genealogical) lines. My paternity is purest among them, undiluted with non-Arab blood, and no concubines dispute over me.”[20] What did this pure Arab descendent of the pure Arab Prophet look like? “Muhammad (Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya) is described as tall and strong with very dark skin”.[21]  Indeed, al-Dhahabī describes him as “black-skinned and huge.”[22] But it is al-abarī’s description that is most informative:

“Muhammad (Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya) was black, exceedingly black, jet black (ādam shadīd al-udma adlam) and huge. He was nicknamed “Tar Face” (al-qārī) because of his black complexion (udmatihi), such that Abū Ja’far used to call him “Charcoal Face” (al-muammam).”[23]

Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya was a Qurayshī Arab whose pure lineage on both his father’s and his mother’s side put him “at the center” of the genealogical lines of the Banū Hāshim, the Prophet’s kinsfolk; indeed he was famously of pure descent from the Prophet himself. The fact that he was so black he was called ‘Tar face’ and ‘Charcoal face’ is of significance for our discussion of the ethnicity of the Prophet himself.

II.                 Maternal Blackness

Amīna bt. Wahb, the mother of the Prophet Muhammad, hailed from the Banū Zuhra, a black sub-clan of the black Quraysh tribe.[24]  Amīna is the daughter of Wahb b. ‘Abd Manāf b. Zuhra whose mother (Amīna’s grandmother) is said to be ‘Ātika bt. al-Awqa from the exceptionally black Banū Sulaym.[25] The black Sulaym are thus considered the maternal uncles of the prophet and he is therefore reported to have said: “I am the son of the many ‘Ātikas of Sulaym.”[26] In other words, Amīna’s paternal grandmother is from the black Sulaym tribe, and her grandfather ‘Abd Manāf was from the Zuhra tribe. Banū Zuhra tribesmen were frequently noted for their blackness, especially the maternal relatives of the Prophet Muhammad. See for example the famous Sa’d b. Abī Waqqās (d. 646), cousin of Amīna and uncle of the prophet Muhammad. He is described as very dark or black (ādam), tall and flat-nosed.[27] Muhammad, it should be noted, was quite proud of his uncle Sa’d. We are told that once Muhammad was sitting with some of his companions and Sa’d walked by. The prophet stopped and taunted: “That’s my uncle. Let any man show me his uncle.”[28] Relevant too is al-Aswad b. ‘Abd Yaghūth of the Banū Zuhra, Amīna’s nephew and thus the Prophet’s maternal cousin. He is called in later literature al-Aswad, “The Black,” because he was black-skinned (aswad al-lawn).[29]  

III.               Pan-Arab Blackness

Muhammad had more than just Qurayshī blackness running through his paternal veins as well. His great, great grandfather was ‘Abd Manāf who bore with ‘Ātika bt. Murra al-Sulaymī the prophet’s great grandfather āshim. That is to say that the prophet’s great, great grandmother was from the jet-black Banū Sulaym. āshim, the great grandfather, bore with Salmā bt. ‘Amrū ’l-Khazrajī the prophet’s grandfather, ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib. This means that his paternal great grandmother was from the black Medinese tribe Banū Khazraj.[30]

I will leave it to persons much smarter than I to tell us how a black-skinned Arab clan from a black-skinned Arab tribe can produce a family of black-skinned Arab uncles, cousins, father and mother, who in turn gave birth to a Caucasian or white skinned non-albino boy. 

Notes

[1] Robert F. Spencer, “The Arabian Matriarchate: An Old Controversy,” Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 8 (Winter, 1952) 488. See further Muhammad, Black Arabia, 173-178.
[2] Études sur le siècle des Omayyades (Beirut: Imprimerie Calholique, 1930) 44.
[3] Ibn Manūr, Lisān al-‘arab (Beirut: Dar al-Sadir - Dar al-Bayrut, 1955-1956) s.v. اخضر IV:245f; See also Edward William Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon (London: Williams & Norgate 1863) I: 756 s.v. خضر .
[4] Ibn Manūr, Lisān al-‘arab, s.v. اخضر IV:245.
[5] Al-Jāi, Fakhr al-sūdān ‘alā l-bidan, in Risa’il Al-Jahiz, 4 vols. (Cairo, 1964)  I:207. See also the English translation by T. Khalidi, “The Boast of the Blacks Over the Whites,” Islamic Quarterly 25 (1981): 3-26 (17). See further Ignaz Goldziher, Muslim Studies (Muhammedanische Studien) 2 vols. (London, Allen & Unwin, 1967-), 1:268 who notes that, in contrast to the Persians who are described as red or light-skinned (ahmar) the Arabs call themselves black. 
[6] Apud Ibn Abī al-adīd, Shar nahj al-balāghah, V:56.
[7] Al-Jāi, Fakhr al-sūdān ‘alā l-bidan, I:209. 
[8] See Wesley Muhammad, “Abyad and the Black Arabs: Some Clarifications” @ http://drwesleywilliams.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Abyad_and_the_Black_Arabs_Site.4394849.pdf.
[9] Ibn Manūr, Lisān al-‘arab, s.v. اخضر IV:245f.
[10] Ibn Manūr, Lisān al-‘arab,, s.v. اخضر IV:245; Lane, Arabic-English, I: 756 s.v. خضر .
[11] Ibn Manūr, Lisān al-‘arab, s.v. اخضر IV:245.
[12] Al-Dhahabī, Siyar a’lām al-nubalā (Beirut, 1992),V:253
[13] Al-Dhahabī, Siyar, III:336.
[14] Al-Suyūī, Tārikh al-khulafā, 134.
[15] Ibn Sa’d, al-abaqāt al-kubrā (Beirut: Dar Sādir) 8:25. On ‘Alī as short and dark brown see I.M.N. al-Jubouri, History of Islamic Philosophy – With View of Greek Philosophy and Early History of Islam (2004), 155; Philip K Hitti, History of the Arabs, 10th edition (London: Macmillan Education Ltd, 1970) 183.  
[16]Tariq Berry, Unknown Arabs; idem, Tariq Berry, “A True Description of the Prophet Mohamed's Family (SAWS),” http://savethetruearabs.blogspot.com/2009/08/true-description-of-prophet-mohameds_26.html.
[17] EI2 2: 372 s.v. Dja’far b. Abī ālib by L. Veccia Vaglieri. 
[18] The Translation of the Meanings of aī Bukharī, Arabic-English, trans. Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan (Medina: Islamic University, 1985) V:47.
[19] Muhammad Qasim Zaman, “The Nature of Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya’s Mahdiship: A Study of Some Reports in Ibahānī’s Maqātil,” Hamdard Islamicus 13 (1990): 60-61.
[20] Quoted from al-abarī, The History of al-abarī, Vol. XXVIII: ‘Abbāsid Authority Affirmed, trans. annot. Jane Dammen McAuliffe (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985) 167-68.
[21] EI2 7:389 s.v. Muammad b. ‘Abd Allāh by F. Buhl.
[22] Al-‘Ibar fī khabar man ghabar (Kuwait: Turath al-Arabi) 4:198.
[23] Al-abarī, Ta’rīkh al-rusul wa’l-mulūk, 10:203.
[24] See above. On the other hand, Caesar E. Farah suggests that Amīna’s tribal background is the Najjār clan of the Banū Khazraj, a tribe in Medina also noted for its blackness. See Caesar E. Farah, Islam 7th Edition (Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s, 2003) 37; Muhammad, Black Arabia, 178-179; Berry, Unknown, 68.
[25] Michael Lecker, The Banå Sulaym: A Contribution to the Study of Early Islam (Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1989), 114. On the Banū Sulaym see further Muhammad, Black Arabia, 180-181.   
[26] Muhammad b. Yūsuf al-āliī al-Shāmī, Subul al-hudā wa-‘l-rashād fī sīrat khayr al-‘bād (Cairo, 1392/1972) I:384-85; Lecker, Banū Sulaym, 114-115.
[27] Al-Dhahabī, Siyar a’lām al-nubalā (Beirut, 1992), 1:97.
[28] On Sa’d b. Abī Waqqās see ‘Abd al-Ramān Rāfat al-Bāshā, uwar min ayāt al-aābah (Karachi: al-Maktabah al-Ghafūrīya al-‘Āimīyah, 1996 ) 285-292 (287); Berry, Unknown Arabs, 71-72.   
[29] Al-Dhahabī, Siyar, I:385-86.
[30] On the significance of these matrilateral listings in Muhammad’s genealogy see Daniel Martin Varisco, “Metaphors and Sacred History: The Genealogy of Muhammad and the Arab ‘Tribe’,” Anthropological Quarterly 68 (1995): 139-156, esp. 148-150.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Ka'ba (Ka + Ba) and the Black God ATOM (Allah The Original Man)


By Wesley Muhammad, PhD




“The gods, repeat the texts, are made up of a ba, a cult image (=ka), and a body or cadaver (=khat), which correspond to the tripartition of sky, earth, and the netherworld. The constituent elements are no different from those of a human being, and in this sense, there is no ontological difference between deities and humans.”  Françoise Dunand and Christiane Zivie-Coche, Gods and Men in Egypt: 3000 BCE to 395 CE (2004).


“The divine statue was provided as a physical form (ka) in which the ba could reside so that human beings could communicate with it…Once filled with and enlivened by the ba of the god, the cult statue became the ka, or physical form of the god.” Emily Teeter, Religion and Ritual in Ancient Egypt (2011).


The statue is not the image of the body, but the body itself (emphasis original).” Jan Assmann. The Search for God in Ancient Egypt (2001)



  

                                               The ka-statue of the god Asar (Osiris)


 “it is known that the Ancient Near Eastern and Indian sacred temple reflected the bod(ies) of the god to whom it is dedicated and that the throne-room was a miniature temple itself. The temple was considered an architectonic icon: an image in stone of the god… In Egypt, the temple functioned specifically as the ka-body of the God, and thus ‘the iconological functions of the temple are analogous to those of the statue.’ The temple architecture symbolically reflects the anthropomorphic body of the god and ‘houses’ the story of how this divine body emerged out of the primordial waters.” Wesley Muhammad, Egyptian Sacred Science and Islam: A Reappraisal (2012).  




 The Prasada Temple of Hindu India


“the temple is, in fact, like a box … The temple is the cultic image … It is the sacred icon of the creator; not merely a beautiful portrait but a living cultic body… The temple is not only the place where the creator appears and in which he lives, but also the form of the living god...the living, material body of the creator. … Ragnhild Bjerre Finnestad, Image of the World and Symbol of the Creator (1985).  



                                                       The Luxor Temple of Kemet


The box-like structure is “the model of the earth and the material world…In these cube statues, there is the powerful sense of the subject emerging from the prison of the cube. Its symbolic significance is that the spiritual principle is emerging from the material world.” Moustafa Gadalla, Egyptian Cosmology: The Animated Universe (2001).   




Cube-statue 


“Islam’s most sacred ‘house of God,’ Bayt Allah, and also its central religious symbol (i.e. the Black Stone or Al-Hajar Al-Aswad) housed therein are both called Ka’ba… The Black Stone in pre-Islamic Arabia served the same purpose as the cult statue did in Kemet… Like the ka-statue of the Kemetic deities a baetyl or bayt illah (Arabic “house of god”) was regarded as ‘the container of the god’… this characteristically Arabian/Semitic tradition of the cultic stone finds its great expression today in the Ka’ba of Mecca.” Wesley Muhammad, Egyptian Sacred Science and Islam: A Reappraisal (2012).  


“In Sufi terms, the Ka’ba’s cube-like form is a crystallization of the cube of man. It is an embodiment of the human as well as cosmic spatial structure and a visible manifestation of the three-dimensional cross. Its four arkan (i.e. four elements – earth, fire, air, water) correspond to the human nature, its six-faces to the human figure, and its three-dimensions of length, breadth and depth to the human body.” Samer Akkach, Cosmology and Architecture in Premodern Islam (2005).  
  



 Bayt Allah ('House of God') or the Ka'ba in Mecca


 “the Black Stone (=Ka’ba)…was thought to be…a part of the body of a great god…(I)n the form of a black meteorite a piece of the deity’s astral body was visible to the congregation at all times…” Hildegard Lewy, “Origin And Significance of the Magen Dawid: A Comparative Study in the Ancient Religions of Jerusalem and Mecca,”  (1950). 





 The Black Stone or Ka'ba in Mecca


 “It is remarkable that many Arabic religious terms can be obtained by a simple combination of the three Egyptian ontological notions, Ba, Ra, Ka. As examples we can cite:

KABAR (a) = The action of raising the arms in prayer
RAKA         = The action of placing the forehead on the ground
KAABA      = The holy place of Mecca”

Cheik Anta Diop, The Cultural Unity of Black Africa (1963/1989). 



 For more discussion on and demonstration of this subject see