Dr. Maulana Karenga following the teachings of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, George G. M. James and Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop, has made a distinct contribution to an honorable tradition. The Husia is an outstanding compilation and rendition of selections from the most important sacred literature of all time. The need for such works is long past due, and Dr. Karenga should be commended for his pioneering effort in this direction.
The quest of spiritual enrichment among Black people in the physical and cultural Diaspora has led to the adoption of the Holy Books of other peoples; the Torah, the Bible and the Quran. Ironically, the sacred literature of ancient Egypt which predates those texts by thousands of years is the source of much of the wisdom in those Holly Books, as Dr. Karenga points out. The fact that Black people could find spiritual comfort in those alien scriptures speaks both to the African contributions to those religions and the intensity of the African spiritual quest. With all due regard to the Black tradition within the so-called great religions, it is now time to "return to the source".
The Husia is thus a vital step toward the re- creation and restoration of our spiritual foundation. The texts selected by Dr. Karenga are from the truly great books of ancient Egypt. These selections as well as the creative arragement into seven sections provide a suggested framework for the development of a larger and more definitive Holy Book for African people.
The restranslations done by Dr. Karenga are greatly enhanced by his wide familiarity with African languages, as well as his talent as a poet. He has not only rescued the texts from the "literal" and stilted translations of the egyptologists, but in my opinion, he has also rendered them in spirit much more akin to the true meaning of the ancient scribes. In a typically egyptian sense, he has breathed life into them. The result is a thoroughly readable, enjoyable and inspiring volume of spiritual literature.
The commentaries at the beginning of each of the seven sections are very insightful in helping the reader put the text in the proper context. Dr. Karenga demonstrates a proufound profound grasp of the inner meaning of the various concepts as well as the arrogance of the egyptologists in these commentaries as well as in his introduction is a good argument for the task he has undertaken.
The artwork done by Kweli is superb. The illustrations are clear and authentic and very appropriately selected in accordance with the theme of the work.
Thus, all of the these elements: the appropriate selections; the creative arrangement; the poetic and contextual retranslations; the insightful commentaries; and the superb artwork result in a book that will be immensely useful to millions of Black people seeking spiritual enrichment and cultural renewal. The is especially true of those who have recently founded temples based upon ancient Egyptian spirituality. The work will also be useful to Black scholars in theier efforts to chart new directions in our intellectual development.
To the ancient Black people of the Nile Valley, Maat was the highest ethical commitment. The social formula for Maat is reciprocity: the creator "Di. fAnkh"(He give live). Human beings in turn must give that which sustains life - both mental and physical. In that regard, The Husia is an outstanding model of Maat.
*Dr. Jacob H. Carruthers, Jedi Shemsu Jehewty[1930 - 2004] was the director of The Kemetic Institute in Chicago