THE POOR BLIND CANDIDATE: FREEMASONRY'S CHALLENGE TO GIVE THEM KNOWLEDGE
by Fahim A. Knight-EL
This writer, was recently in a deep conversation with some brothers of the Freemasonic Order, three of them were Ancient Free and Accepted Masons (AF&AM) and the other four, had been raised in Prince Hall Lodges (F&AM). Thus, two of these Masonic brothers had received the conferred or honorary degree of 33rd, which is granted by the United Supreme Councils representing the Southern and/or Northern Masonic Jurisdictions in the United States (this Order has elevated presidents, kings, billionaires, prime ministers, popes, sheiks, mullahs, etc,) and for those who do not know, this is the only degree that can not be petitioned for membership by a brother Mason and it terminates the formal Masonic degree travel, at least in theory. Let's be clear knowledge is 360 degrees (33 degrees only gives us a small portion of the knowledge), knowledge is an eternal quest, anything less than that falls short of being able to truly connect all the dots.
This was the challenge that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad posed to Freemasonry in his book titled, "The Secrets of Freemasonry" Muhammad gave Masons and non-Masons a better understanding of what the symbolism meant beyond the obvious and he pointed out who the order was originally for and he decoded some of the symbolism and demystified the true meaning of the Widow's Son (this is the world's best kept secret). Freemasons can learn a lot from the teachings and writings of Mr. Muhammad relative to increasing their understanding, in particular about Masonry as a science and Shrine Masonry as a secular pseudo Islamic organization in general. (Reference: Elijah Muhammad; "The Secrets of Freemasonry" edited by Nasir Makr Hakim).
The topic of Islam and Freemasonry, is a very sensitive and complex topic, in particular for Muslims, but there is no doubt that higher degree Freemasonry (Orders of the Mystic Shrine) has a direct link and connection to Islam. Shrine Masonry could not exist without the overwhelmingly Islamic historical themes and history. Many scholars and social scientist have overlooked this topic and scholarly research in this area is almost non-existent. There are many scattered pieces of research and it becomes like putting a puzzle together. The Nation of Islam for many years has always known this connection between Islam and Freemasonry and has always taught it publicly. The Student Enrollment lessons teaches us: "Why does Muhammad make the devil study from thirty-five to fifty years before he can call himself a Muslim Son? And wear the greatest and only flag of the Universe? And he must add a sword on the upper part of the Holy and Greatest Universe Flag of Islam (Reference: Fahim A. Knight; "Freemasonry (Moslem Sons) and Islam: What Do They Share?"; Internet published Fahim Knight Blog).
Moreover, since the Freemasonry is an oath based organization, it is prohibited for them to reveal their theories to non-Masons and, therefore, there is not much written by Masonic scholars relative to Masonry and Islam. Perhaps the pioneer on the subject of Islam and Freemasonry is Mustafa El-Amin who authored two of the best books on the subject: "Freemasonry: Ancient Egypt and the Islamic Destiny" and "Al-Islam, Christianity and Freemasonry."
John Rice in a book titled, "Lodges Examined By The Bible" stated: that in the Entered Apprentice (First Degree of Freemasonry) requires each initiate to oath themselves by stating, "that I will always hail, ever conceal and never reveal any of the secret arts, parts or points of the hidden mysteries of ancient Freemasonry…I furthermore solemnly promise and swear that I will not write, print, paint, stamp, stain, cut, carve, mark or engrave them, or cause the same to be done, upon anything movable or immovable capable of receiving the last impression of a word, syllable, letter or character, whereby the same may become legible or intelligible to myself or to any person under the whole canopy of heaven, and the secrets of Freemasonry be thereby unlawfully obtained through my unworthiness."
I think Prophet Noble Drew Ali gave us a model in which to claim a nationality. He understood back in the early 1900s that African people were robbed of the knowledge of self--we were systematically stripped of a homeland, religion, language, names and culture. Thus, Prophet Noble Drew Ali established the Moorish Science Temple of America (MSTA) to address these unique issues facing our people. Ali gave us a nationality-- Moorish American and received a legitimate charter from the U.S. Government recognizing MSTA as a sovereign nation with certain legal rights and privileges (this legal sovereign status could benefit our cause in North America). Prophet Ali felt an oriental style mystic Islam was the original religion of the Asiatic black man. It is believed that he traveled to North Africa where he was initiated into Kemetic mystery systems of so-called Egypt and received support from Morocco to go back to America to teach those who were cut off from their nationality and religion. However, some would argue that Prophet Ali was initiated into high degree Freemasonry, in particular joining the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (better known as the Shriners) and this was where he delved into esoteric, Gnostic, occult, etc. (Reference: Zachary P. Gremillion; "African Origins of Freemasonry").
But many members of the Moorish Science Temple would refute this argument (they would argue that their theological and philosophical foundation predates the Masonic reality). But I believe there is enough historical evidence to suggest and support that Prophet Ali had some involvement and association with Freemasonry. But I also believe that he borrowed from other worldviews. For example, from Sufi Islam, Kaballah, Shia Islam, Christianity, Torah and the teachings of the Egyptian Mysteries. He appeared to have been a student of many disciplines and he incorporated all this within Moorish Science philosophical paradigm. He was the first Islamic leader to formalize an Islamic movement in America in 1913. There are some who believe that Prophet Ali plagiarized the Holy Koran-Circle-7 from an older source titled, "The Aquarium Gospel". Perhaps the MSTA would find some things that I have written as being debatable. (Reference: Peter Lamborn Wilson; Sacred Drifts: Essay on the Margins of Islam").
This High Degree Masonic House is only granted to 32nd degree Masons (those who have attained the degree of Master of the Royal Secret and/or Knights Templar degree (which is the highest degree on the York Rite side); however, membership has to be at the recommendation of another 33rd degree Mason (often this conferred degree is bestowed to Masons for their fraternal longevity and contribution to the Masonic Order, as well as their life body of work) at least, that is the intent of the degree relative to Prince Hall Craft Masonry. Some high profile persons have become members of the Sovereign Grand Inspector General degree via honorary membership. (Reference: A. Ralph Epperson; "The New World Order').
Also, this writer recently met another brother Mason who was less than 30 years old and he told me that he had just received his 33rd degree; I looked at him with amazement and first thought, was that he hasn't been on the planet long enough to have acquired the intellectual experience and the ancient wisdom that is associated with the order. My next, thought was that he was still too young to have acquired a true life body of Masonic work, which would have made him deserving and eligible for the highest Masonic degree.
He told me that he had entered, passed and was raised (Blue Lodge Degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master Mason) all in one night (this practice is an exception in Prince Hall Masonry, but some military dispensation lodges might exercise this practice which could be consistent with their Masonic Code or constitutions and the jurisprudence intent of such regulation, but is not a customary practice. This practice compromises the integrity of making a man a Mason, in particular if he was in possession of all necessary qualifications. Let him enter this most Worshipful Lodge in due and Ancient Form. The very next day he told me that he was raised all the way up to 33rd degree level in one ceremony. This writer does understand that the grand masters within their jurisdictions have the power and authority to make a Mason on sight.
I immediately thought about, what the study process or curriculum may have been like, for the neophytes who were accepted to study in the Egyptian Mystery Schools and the amount of study time that was mandated in order to show yourself approved. (Reference: Anthony Browder: "Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization"). I said, wow! But it was quite evident that this was the doing of a clandestine and irregular Masonic entity that had bestowed this young brother with all these fictitious degrees and essentially it was a financial scam (it is every Mason's duty to be vigilant and on guard to readily to expose and denounce these clandestine Masonic groups). Prince Hall Masons don't use "Duncan Ritual" or "Look to the East; A Revised Ritual of the First Three Degrees of Freemasonry" by Ralph Lester as instruction manuals; these monitors can be purchased over the counter and are not considered authentic Masonic monitor guides (the Ecci should be taught in code and lessons are committed to memory). It is instances, like have described above that gives Freemasonry a bad name (A so-called Masonic order or jurisdiction that is not properly Masonic sanctioned and has no recognized legal charter).
Sovereign Grand Commander Henry Claussen stated: "It must be apparent that the Blue Lodge. . .degrees can not explain the whole of Masonry. They are the foundation. . .An initiate may imagine he understands the ethics, symbols and enigmas, whereas a true explanation of these is reserved for the more adept." (Reference: Henry Claussen; "Claussen's Commentaries on Morals and Dogmas, The Supreme Council, 33rd Degree, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, Southern Jurisdiction; P. 148).
This writer is not necessarily of the understanding that high degree Masonry is an indication or representation that a Masonic brother has acquired a deeper degree of Freemasonic knowledge and understanding of the ancient wisdom, or has completed a course that would have qualified him to be considered in depth in the esoteric, Gnostic, and Occult wisdom (in which Freemasonry has to be seen from this perspective and interpreted in order to grasp the essences of its inner most meaning). This ordinarily, only means that a brother has petitioned the various Masonic Houses (Seen in Scottish Rite and/or York Rite ladders) and had taken further obligations (oaths) to protect and conceal the ancient mysterious.
Many of them including the group that this writer was talking to were mere ritual Masons (I am even using this term loosely because they had only committed a portion of the ritual knowledge to memory), which made their Masonic knowledge limited and shallow relative to pursing the larger science of Speculative Freemasonry (the theoretical and philosophical working of the signs, symbols and words) is not about Operative Masonry anymore, the workings tools are emblematic, conveyed only which to give Freemasons a tangible visual that is rooted in a physical reality and these symbolic working tools represents symbolic instruments of perfection (given to point you to something greater) which is designed to transition us to a spiritual reality. This is where right angles, horizontals and perpendiculars are best used to square us up with the Supreme Being and to remind us, that our lives and conduct should be plumb, level and square which to serve as examples for all of humanity. (Reference: Edgar J. Ridley; "Symbolism Revisited").
Charles H. Mertz in his work titled, "Ask Me Brother" stated: "In speculative Masonry, a master builder is one who is qualified in heart and mind, by skill in moral and spiritual science, and by holy consecration to erect temples of immortal characters. Under the stroke of his masters hand, men are taught strict rectitude and justice in relation to others, courtsey and kindliness according to the symbolism of the level, uprightness of heart and integrity of action following the symbolism of the plumb. Guided by the movable jewels of Masonry." (Reference: Charles H. Mertz; "Ask Me Brother"; published by MaCoy Publishing Company; arranged by S.J. Pridgen and quoted by this author from the Masonic Holy Bible; pp. 72-73).
The Prophet Jesus said he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone; thus, just as the Disciples of Christ and the people of 2,000 years ago were unable to cast that stone, it was an indication of the imperfection in those to judge--because in reality, all of us are plagued with sin. But we are taught to love the sinner and hate the sin and our challenge as leaders should be based on how well we demonstrate human compassion.
It is a Mason's job, duty and responsibility to always demonstrate brotherly love, relief and truth (this is the ultimate challenge to the length and strength of ones cable tow). The symbolism associated with Masonry is designed to create a mental allusion, but it is through allegory where great lessons and truths are taught. For example, the story of the Egyptian Sun God Asur (Osiris) who was murdered by his jealous brother Seth and was cut into fourtheen pieces, where his body was buried (some scholars places the body in a chest and others gives varying interpretations of this folk lore) was scattered in the Nile River, but his sister Nephthys searched until she was able find Osiris body in order to give him a proper burial. (Reference: R.T. Rundle Clark; "Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt").
Thus, she resurrected him from the dead (this resurrection story predated Jesus or Yeshua Ben Josef), but she was not able to find his phallic (symbolic of life and regeneration).This allegorical story gave us lessons in a good and evil, but all other cultures and societies including Shrine Masonry whether it be the the Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine or the Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine have adopted these lessons in order to teach morality. (Reference: Jacob Boehme; Concerning The Three Principles of The Divine Essence").
The Greek philosophers from Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and Pythagoras actually borrowed these principles from the original people of Kemet (Egypt), but other cultures erected similar prototypes such as Adonis, Mithra, Buddha,Quetzalcoatl, Apollo etc., emulated the agriculture rites (and/or the Sun Rites) of Ancient Kemet. Masonry is truly a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. (Reference: Keith Moore;"Freemasonry, Greek Philosophy, The Prince Hall Fraternity And The Egyptian (Arican) World Connection").
The true Mason is forever working to avenge the death of Hiram Abiff (not to impose physical justice but by pursuing moral excellence) would put us on a course to confront those intrinsic demons, which are greed, ego, jealousy, envy and failing to view human compassion as the greatest attribute one human being can offer another human being. The three Ruffians or conspirators committed that horrid act against the Grand Master Hiram Abiff, they were desirous of taking his place as the chief architect. If those symbolic individuals that conspired to murder our Grand Master Hiram Abiff would have just demonstrated patience there would not have been a need for a Subsitute Word. If we can not find truth and righteous principles in the ritualism and practice them as tenets of morality then our knowledge will mean little to this institution. Every phase of Craft Masonry will continue to lose its intent and purpose, if the objective tends to be just raising group after group of Masons, but who have failed to internalize true Masonic principles, which is ultimately rooted in spirituality. (Reference: Alauddin Shabazz; "Symbolism, Holidays, Myths and Signs").
The building of King Solomon Temple has a duality in interpretation, the real building and construction is not based on brick and mortar, timber or steel, etc., it is not based on gold and silver or any other ornaments of precious metals and materials. Hiram Abiff, the Master Builder used all the worldly things to beautify this magnificent external edifice, but the real building can not be manifest on the physical level; it takes place internally. The working tools definitely had a more noble and glorious purpose than just perfecting the physical vocation as skilled artisans, Speculative Masonry went far beyond the intellectual scope of the Guild Workers. However by 1717 Freemasonry had formalized itself in Europe into a body of Accepted Masons that was armed with Speculative Masonic knowledge (they became that 10 percent) the first begotten of the uncivilized man who would use the ancient knowledge to alter the world paradigm and ultimately confine the 85% those who were made blind, deaf and dumb to the knowledge of self. (Reference: Elijah Muhammad; "The True History of Master Fard Muhammad"; Edited by Nasir Makr Hakim).
But let's not get confused, European Masonry borrowed heavily from more ancient sources--Kemet (Egypt), Cush (Ethiopia), China, India, Persia (Iran), Hijaz (Saudi Arabia), Babylon (Iraq); these sources are part of that due and ancient form. The original man who master minded the construction of Kemet (Ancient Egypt), perhaps was the most discipline civilization ever record in the annals of time. They had mastered many sciences, but a few of these disciplines stood-out--Architecture, Astrology, Geometry, Physics, etc. The ritual of Freemasonry comes to life only when the neophyte (you will be student of this discipline for the rest of your life, the study process is eternal) learns that the ritual becomes mundane and meaningless, if one does not go on the infinite path. Moreover, which is the long journey of research and study to discover for yourself the inner mysteries and the layered mythological wisdom that have now been shrouded in the duplicity of religion and philosophy (both of these disciplines are necessary to decode the theoretical basis of this system of morality in order to continue justifying its existence within the modern context. (Manly P. Hall; "Secret Teachings of All Ages").
Manly P. Hall in his book titled, "The Secret Destiny of America" stated: "It is certain that the Dionysians practiced secret rites and worshiped the gods under geometric symbolism; and that they possessed a body of lore which included mathematical secrets of proportion and design, certain knowledge concerning the universal dynamics, and a philosophical, religious, moral and political conviction concerning the perfecting of human society. They referred to ignorant and uncultured humans as a rough ashlar, that is, an uncut stone as it comes from the quarry, unsuited to the purpose of building. Through the refinement which resulted from self-discipline and an addiction to the divine arts, man perfected himself; becoming square, upright, and true, thus forming the true ashlar, or the cut stone which could fit with others into a pattern of masonry. In their secret work the Dionysians thus were social and political temple builders, and the temple upon which they labored was the living temple of the Living God, 'built of stone made ready before it was brought thither; so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in the building.' This temple was human society perfected; and each enlightened and perfected human being was a true stone for its building." (Reference: Manly P. Hall; "The Secret Destiny of America"; pp. 75-76).
The failure to do so, have led to Freemasonry ranks to decline in membership and faltered in their ability to retain its membership beyond the day that the neophyte was raised from a dead level to a living perpendicular on the square, ninety degrees up right. They initially were intrigued by the mystique of the ancient order in particular, the symbolism which is mind blowing and most Worshipful Masters and the Grand Lodge Office holders have very little knowledge of epistemology and etymology and the symbolism exceeds their knowledge which to grasp the Higher Language ("symbology") spoken and written by the ancient sages. They can not teach that which they do not understand. (Reference: Albert Mackey; "The History of Freemasonry").
It is they who have contributed to the stagnation of the Masonic Order relative to its inability to grow and retain its membership beyond just being dues paying and card carrying members who have become disenchanted with the overwhelmingly social mission and has witness little commitment to raising a lodge of knowledge seekers and teaching the ancient wisdom as a tool of attracting and retaining those who are part of the diminishing-return (knowledge equals power). It is wisdom and knowledge that are missing in all of the Masonic Lodges and Masons after being raised, find it easy and convenient to creep back into the grave of ignorance, which is symbolic of darkness and they quickly forget their testament to seeking more Light in Masonry (initially their conductors answered for them and as they matriculated upward the Masonic ladder, they answered for themselves).(Reference: W.L. Wilmshurst; The Meaning of Masonry).
Once you have been raised, you are no longer considered the "poor blind candidate", in particular after being brought from darkness to light; it was a symbolic journey that was dramatized to move you from West (darkness) to East (light) in search of more light in Masonry, which was to teach you that, your chosen path should lead you more toward universal truths (this is the acceptance of knowledge without boundaries and with the objective of attaining continued enlightenment). J.S.M Ward in his monumental book titled: "Who is Hiram Abiff?," stated: "But as we follow the path back from darkness to light we shall find new hope and salvation in the evidence we shall gather up as to the way in which, amid the darkness of primitive magic, men have risen, inspired from on high, and seizing the ancient grim magical ceremonies, have transformed and ennobled them into things of beauty, proclaiming to all a message of hope." (Reference: J.S.M Ward; "Who is Hiram Abiff?"; p. 2).
Religion is an extension of philosophy and philosophy is mother of Masonic allegory, which to its members provides a rational and scientific interpretation of the mathematical symbolic language; without symbols language becomes stagnate and nonexistent. Henry Wilson Coil in his work titled,"A Comprehensive History of Freemasonry" stated: "Freemasonry, in its broadest and most comprehensive sense, is a system morality and social ethics, a primitive religion, and a philosophy of life . . .incorporating a broad humanitarianism. . .It is a religion without creed, being of no sect but finding truth in all. . .It seeks truth but does not define truth. . ." (Reference: Henry Wilson Coil;"A Comprehensive History of Freemasonry"; p. 234).
Let me set the record straight Judaism, Christianity and Islam do not compare to the school of thought of philosophy, yet this writer does not deny that Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad played huge roles in the spiritual development of humanity, which served a purpose and whether you view their purpose as being rooted in some sort of divinity, it must be received on a personal level. Freemasonry is void of dogmatic religious constraints and uses the best in religion without possessing any loyalty to one religious school of thought. All holy books are revered in Freemasonry, but none take precedent over the other and the Masonic alter is open to adapt to the culture and religious tradition of the people belonging to certain lands, if the society is a Muslim country where Islam is the dominant religion, it would not be unusual to seeing the Qur'an on the Freemasonic alter serving as the Great Light. (Reference: Albert Pike; "Morals and Dogmas"),
While the Square and Compass gives us various Geometric angles and yet we do understand that 120 degrees X 3 = 360 degrees, thus the square and compass gives us the most complete symbol in which human life (microcosm) and the universe (macrocosm) vibrates (which is motion and order) these two heavenly bodies are synonymous in forming the circle. It further, teaches us that the two greatest symbols and working tools that exist in Freemasonry is the Square and Compass which symbolic provides for us, the forever unbroken circle of life. The Masonic Rule and Guide is measured in twenty-four hour period, in which there are three periods of eights. How do we divide our time and do we use the twenty-four inch gauge and the common gavel to measure our usefulness and effectiveness within the scheme of life priorities? (Reference: Allen Roberts; “The Craft and its Symbols: Opening the Door of Masonic Symbolism”).
We are merely mathematical equations and Freemasonry is coded in the highest mathematical language which was mastered by those ancients sages and spiritual gurus who built magnificent civilizations in Kemet (Egypt), Sumra, China, India, Persia, Mexico--Aztecs, Incas, Mayans, Native Americans, the Ancient Druids understood the true meaning of birth, death, resurrection and ascension--Sanskrit and Vedas verified these ageless truths. "What is the duty of civilized man?" "To teach the uncivilized person civilization". Father Allah, Clarence 13X and the teachings of the Nation of Gods and Earths has power to transform the Masonic lessons, but will the Order take instructions from the POOR RIGHTEOUS TEACHERS . (Reference: Allah Jihad; "The Immortal Birth").
These ancient civilizations had mastered the connection between mathematical principles and constructing the temple from within, the Freemasonic physical foundation rest upon two support systems Boaz (denoting strength) and Jachin (denoting foundation), these were the left and right Pillars respectively in which King Solomon Temple was built and without these two strong pillars Freemasonry would crumble. But the foundation was erected in accordance to the Grand Architect of the Universe (GAOTU). Strength is "the ability to maintain a moral or intellectual position firmly" and it also defined as to "the state, property, or quality of being strong". (Reference: Albert Churchward; "Origin and Antiquity of Freemasonry").
During your very first step, you were invested with a word that implied strength and it was to teach you that Masonry has stood for thousands of years and it will collaspe if Masons don't stand on moral character and pursue justice and equality and to recognize that their strength emanates from a Deity, in which man and Deity are inseparable (God is man and man is God). The two notable Masonic writers, C. H. Stauffacher and Charles P. Rodney stated: "the science of geometry in the mysteries of Freemasonry. In this twofold symbolism the letter 'G' represents to the Mason unity of heaven with the earth, of the divine with the human, of the temporal with the eternal, of the finite with the infinite." How will you dispose of it?
Fahim A. Knight-EL Chief Researcher for KEEPING IT REAL THINK TANK located in Durham, NC; our mission is to inform African Americans and all people of goodwill, of the pending dangers that lie ahead; as well as decode the symbolism and reinterpreted the hidden meanings behind those who operate as invisible forces, but covertly rules the world. We are of the belief that an enlightened world will be better prepared to throw off the shackles of ignorance and not be willing participants for the slaughter. Our MOTTO is speaking truth to power. Fahim A. Knight-EL can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay Awake Until We Meet Again,
Fahim A. Knight-EL