-I- From the Templars to Ancient Egypt
The common perception of the majority of historians of Freemasonry is that the origin of the organization goes back to the Crusades. In fact, though Masonry was only officially established and recognized in England in the early eighteenth century, the roots of the organization do reach back to the Crusades in the twelfth century. At the center of this familiar tale is an order of crusaders called the Knights Templar or the Templars.
Six years before this present work, our book, entitled The New Masonic Order, examined the history of the Templars in great detail. For that reason, we will now offer just a summary. For, as we analyze the roots of Masonry, and the influence that it has had on the world, we discover the meaning of "Global Freemasonry."
No matter how much some may insist that the Crusades were military expeditions carried out in the name of the Christian faith, fundamentally, they were undertaken for material gain. In a period when Europe was experiencing great poverty and misery, the prosperity and wealth of the East, especially of the Muslim in the Middle East, attracted the Europeans. This inclination took on a religious facade, and was ornamented with the symbols of Christianity, though, in actuality, the idea of the Crusades was born out of a desire for worldly gain. This was the reason for the sudden change among Christians of Europe from their former pacifist policies, in earlier periods of their history, towards military aggression.
The roots of Masonry date back to the Crusades against Muslims initiated by Pope Urban II
The founder of the Crusades was Pope Urban II. He summoned the Council of Clermont, in 1095, in which the former pacifist doctrine of the Christians was abandoned. A holy war was called for, with the intent to wrest the holy lands from the hands of the Muslims. Following the council, a huge army of Crusaders was formed, composed both of professional soldiers, and tens of thousands of ordinary people.
Historians believe Urban II's venture was prompted by his desire to thwart the candidacy of a rival to the papacy. Furthermore, while European kings, princes, aristocrats and others greeted the pope's call with excitement, their intentions were basically mundane. As Donald Queller of the University of Illinois put it, "the French knights wanted more land. Italian merchants hoped to expand trade in Middle Eastern ports... Large numbers of poor people joined the expeditions simply to escape the hardships of their normal lives."1 Along the way, this greedy mass slaughtered many Muslims, and even Jews, in hopes of finding gold and jewels. The crusaders even cut open the stomachs of those they had killed to find gold and precious stones they may have swallowed before they died. So great was the material greed of the crusaders that they felt no qualms in sacking the Christian city of Constantinople (Istanbul) during the Fourth Crusade, when they stripped off the gold leaf from the Christian frescoes in the Hagia Sophia.
The Crusaders wreaked havoc in Jerusalem. The Mediaeval engraving shown above depicts certain scenes of the horror.
After a long and difficult journey, and much plunder and slaughter of Muslims, this motley band called Crusaders reached Jerusalem in 1099. When the city fell after a siege of nearly five weeks, the Crusaders moved in. They carried out a level of savagery the like of which the world has seldom seen. All Muslims and Jews in the city were put to the sword. In the words of one historian, "They killed all the Saracens and the Turks they found... whether male of female."2 One of the Crusaders, Raymond of Aguiles, boasted of this violence:
Wonderful sights were to be seen. Some of our men (and this was more merciful) cut off the heads of their enemies; others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into flames. Piles of heads, hands and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one's way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small matters compared to what happened at the Temple of Solomon, a place where religious services are normally chanted ... in the Temple and the porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins.3
The Crusaders put to sword all those living in the lands they conquered.
In two days, the Crusader army killed some 40,000 Muslims in the most barbaric manner.4 The crusaders then made Jerusalem their capital, and founded a Latin Kingdom stretching from the borders of Palestine to Antioch.
Later, the crusaders initiated a struggle to maintain their position in the Middle East. In order to sustain the state they had founded, it was necessary to organize it. To this end, they established military orders, the alike of which had never existed before. Members of these orders came from Europe to Palestine, and lived in a type of monastery where they received military training to fight against Muslims.
One of these orders, in particular, was different from the others. It underwent a transformation that would influence the course of history. This order was the Templars.
The Templars, or, their full name, The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, was formed in 1119, that is, some 20 years after the crusaders took Jerusalem. The founders of the order were two French knights, Hugues (Hugh) de Payens and Godfrey de Saint-Omer. At first there were 9 members, but the order steadily grew. The reason they named themselves after the temple of Solomon was because the place they had chosen as a base was the temple mount where the temple the Prophet Solomon (pbuh) had built is believed to have been located. This same location was where the Dome of the Rock (Qubbet as-Sakhrah) stood.
he Templars called themselves "poor soldiers," but within a short time they became very wealthy. Christian pilgrims, coming from Europe to Palestine, were under the complete control of this order, and by whose money they became very rich. In addition, for the first time they set up a cheque and credit system, similar to that of a bank. According to the British authors, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, they established a kind of Medieval capitalism, and led the way to modern banking through their interest-based transactions, even though it was against their faith.5
Templars developed a pagan faith in Christian guise.
It was the Templars who were mainly responsible for the crusaders' attacks of and murder of Muslims. For this reason, the great Islamic commander Saladin, who defeated the crusaders' army in 1187, in the Battle of Hattin, and afterwards rescued Jerusalem, put the Templars to death for the murders they had committed, even though he had otherwise pardoned a large number of Christians. Although they lost Jerusalem, and suffered heavy casualties, the Templars continued to exist. And, despite the continual diminution of the Christian presence in Palestine, they increased their power in Europe and, first inFrance, and then in other countries, became a state within a state.
There is no doubt that their political power made the monarchs of Europe uneasy. But there was another aspect of the Templars that also made the clergy ill at ease: the order had gradually apostatized from the Christian faith, and while in Jerusalem, had adopted a number of strange mystical doctrines. There were also rumors that they were organizing strange rites to give form to these doctrines.
Templars fleeing the Church were given refuge by the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce.
Finally, in 1307, the French king Philippe le Bel decided to arrest the members of the order. Some of them managed to escape but most of them were caught. Pope Clement V also joined the purge. Following a long period of interrogation and trial, many of the Templars admitted to heretical beliefs, that they had rejected the Christian faith and insulted the Prophet Jesus (pbuh) in their masses. Finally, the leaders of the Templars, who were called "grand masters," beginning with the most important of them, Jacques de Molay, were executed in 1314 by order of the Church and the King. The majority of them were put into prison, and the order dispersed and officially disappeared.
Some historians have a tendency to portray the trial of the Templars as a conspiracy on the part of the King of France, and depict the knights as innocent of the charges. But, this manner of interpretation fails in several aspects. Nesta H. Webster, the famous British historian with a great deal of knowledge on occult history, analyzes these aspects in her book, Secret Societies and Subversive Movements. According to Webster, the tendency to absolve the Templars of the heresies they confessed to during the trial period is unjustified. First, during the interrogations, despite the standard claim, not all the Templars were tortured;
Moreover, do the confessions of the Knights appear to be the outcome of pure imagination such as men under the influence of torture might devise? It is certainly difficult to believe that the accounts of the ceremony of initiation given in detail by men in different countries, all closely resembling each other, yet related in different phraseology, could be pure inventions. Had the victims been driven to invent they would surely have contradicted each other, have cried out in their agony that all kinds of wild and fantastic rites had taken place in order to satisfy the demands of their interlocutors. But no, each appears to be describing the same ceremony more or less completely, with characteristic touches that indicate the personality of the speaker, and in the main all the stories tally.6
The Warriors and the Bankers: A book about the Templars
Anyhow, the trial of the Templars ended with the termination of the order. But, although the order "officially" ceased to exist, it did not actually disappear. During the sudden arrest in 1307, some Templars escaped, managing to cover their tracks. According to a thesis based on various historical documents, a significant number of them took refuge in the only kingdom in Europe that did not recognize the authority of the Catholic Church in the fourteenth century, Scotland. There, they reorganized under the protection of the Scottish King, Robert the Bruce. Some time later, they found a convenient method of disguise by which to continue their clandestine existence: they infiltrated the most important guild in the medieval British Isles—the wall builders' lodge, and eventually, they fully seized control of these lodges.7
The wall-builders' lodge changed its name, at the beginning of the modern era, calling itself the "Masonic lodge." The Scottish Rite is the oldest branch of Masonry, and dates back to the beginning of the fourteenth century, to those Templars who took refuge in Scotland. And, the names given to the highest degrees in Scottish Rite are titles attributed centuries earlier to knights in the order of Templars. These are still employed to this day.
In short, the Templars did not disappear, but their deviant philosophy, beliefs and rituals still persist under the guise of Freemasonry. This thesis is supported by much historical evidence, and is also accepted today by a large number of Western historians, whether they are Freemasons or not. In our book, The New Masonic Order, we examined this evidence in detail.
The thesis that traces the roots of Masonry to the Templars is often referred to in magazines published by Masons for its own members. Freemasons are very accepting of the idea. One such magazine is called Mimar Sinan (a publication of Turkish Freemasons), which describes the relationship between the Order of the Templars and Freemasonry in these words:
In 1312, when the French king, under pressure from the Church, closed the Order of Templars and gave their possessions to the Knights of St. John in Jerusalem, the activities of the Templars did not cease. The great majority of the Templars took refuge in Freemasonic lodges that were operating in Europe at that time. The leader of the Templars, Mabeignac, with a few other members, found refuge in Scotland under the guise of a wall builder under the name of Mac Benach. The Scottish King, Robert the Bruce, welcomed them and allowed them to exercise great influence over the Masonic lodges in Scotland. As a result, Scottish lodges gained great importance from the point of view of their craft and their ideas.
The magazine Mimar Sinan, a private Turkish Masonic publication intended for its own members
Today Freemasons use the name Mac Benach with respect. Scottish Masons, who inherited the Templars' heritage, returned it to France many years later and established there the basis of the rite known as the Scottish Rite."8
Again, Mimar Sinan presents a lot of information about the relationship between the Templars and Freemasonry. In an article entitled, "Templars and Freemasons," it states that "the rituals of the initiation ceremony of the Order of Templars are similar to those of present-day Freemasonry."9 According to the same article, as in Masonry, the members of the Order of the Templars called each other "brother."10 Towards the end of the article, we read:
The Order of the Templars and the Masonic organization have influenced each other to a noticeable extent. Even the rituals of the corporations are so similar as to have been copied from the Templars. In this respect, Masons have to a great extent identified themselves with the Templars and it can be said that what is viewed as original Masonic esoterism (secrecy) is to an important extent an inheritance from the Templars. To summarize, as we said in the title of this essay, we can say that the starting point of Freemasonry's royal art and initiatic-esoteric line belonged to Templars and its end-point belonged to Freemasons.11
Finally, we say, it is clear that the roots of Freemasonry stretch back to the Order of Templars, and that the Masons have adopted the philosophy of this order. Masons themselves accept this. But certainly, the important matter for our consideration is the nature of this philosophy. Why did the Templars abandon Christianity and become a heretical order? What led them to this? Why did they undergo such a change in Jerusalem? Through the agency of Masonry, what has been the effect on the world of this philosophy adopted by the Templars?
The Templars and the Kabbalah
A book written by two Masons, Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, entitled The Hiram Key reveals some important facts about the roots of Freemasonry. According to these authors, it is evident that Masonry is a continuation of the Templars. Though, in addition to this, the authors also examined the origins of the Templars.
According to their thesis, the Templars underwent a great change while they were in Jerusalem. In the place of Christianity, they adopted other doctrines. At the root of this lies a secret that they discovered in the temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, whose ruins they had set out to investigate. The writers explain that the Templars used their purported role as protectors of Christian pilgrims visiting Palestine as a pretense, but that their real aim was quite different:
…There is no evidence that these founding Templars ever gave protection to pilgrims, but on the other hand we were soon to find that there is conclusive proof that they did conduct extensive excavations under the ruins of Herod's Temple…12
The Hiram Key: Pharaohs, Freemasons, and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus
The authors of The Hiram Key were not the only ones who found evidences of this. French historian Gaetan Delaforge makes this similar contention:
The real task of the nine knights was to carry out research in the area in order to obtain certain relics and manuscripts which contain the essence of the secret traditions of Judaism and ancient Egypt.13
At the end of the nineteenth century, Charles Wilson of the Royal Engineers, began conducting archeological research in Jerusalem. He arrived at the opinion that the Templars had gone to Jerusalem to study the ruins of the temple. Wilson found traces of digging and excavation under the foundations of the temple, and concluded that these were done by tools that belonged to the Templars. These items are still in the collection of Robert Brydon, who possesses an extensive archive of information concerning the Templars.14
The writers of the Hiram Key argue that these excavations of the Templars were not without result; that the order discovered in Jerusalem certain relics that changed the way they saw the world. In addition, many researchers are of the same opinion. There must have been something that led the Templars, despite the fact that they had previously been Christian and came from a Christian part of the world, to adopt a system of beliefs and a philosophy so completely different from that of Christianity, celebrate heretical masses, and perform rituals of black magic.
According to the common views of many researchers, this "something" was the Kabbalah.
Encyclopedias and dictionaries define the Kabbalah as an esoteric, mystical branch of Jewish religion. According to this definition, the Kabbalah investigates the hidden meaning of the Torah and other Jewish religious writings. But, when we examine the matter more closely, we discover that the facts are quite something else. These facts lead us to the conclusion that teachings rooted in pagan idolatry, that existed before the Torah, and became widespread within Judaism after the Torah was revealed, were included in the Kabbalah.
This interesting fact about the Kabbalah, is explained by just as interesting a source. Murat Ozgen, a Turkish Freemason, maintains the following in his book, Masonluk Nedir ve Nasildir? (What is Freemasonry and What is it Like?):
We don't know clearly where the Kabbalah came from or how it developed. It is the general name for a unique, metaphysically constituted, esoteric and mystical philosophy particularly connected with Jewish religion. It is accepted as Jewish mysticism, but some of the elements it contains show that it was composed much earlier than the Torah.15
The French historian, Gougenot des Mousseaux, explains that some beliefs set out in the Kabbalah are actually much older than Judaism.16
The Jewish historian, Theodore Reinach, says that the Kabbalah is "a subtle poison which enters into the veins of Judaism and wholly infests it."17 Salomon Reinach defines the Kabbalah as "one of the worst aberrations of the human mind."18
The reason for Reinach's contention that the Kabbalah is "one of the worst aberrations of the human mind" is that some of its doctrine is used by some people connected with magic. For thousands of years, the Kabbalah has been one of the foundation-stones of every kind of magic ritual. It is believed that some rabbis who study the Kabbalah possess great magical power. Also, many non-Jews have been influenced by the Kabbalah, and have tried to practice magic by employing its doctrines. The esoteric tendencies that took hold in Europe during the late Middle Ages, especially as practiced by alchemists, have their roots, to a great extent, in the Kabbalah.
The strange thing is that Judaism is a monotheistic religion, incepted with the revelation of the Torah to the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him). But some have attempted to include in this religion a system that adopts the basic practices of magic which are in fact opposed to religious morality. This substantiates what we have presented above, and demonstrates that some statements in the Kabbalah are actually elements that have entered Judaism from the outside.
But, what is the source of this element?
The Jewish historian Fabre d'Olivet says that it came from Ancient Egypt. According to this writer, the roots of some statements in the Kabbalah stretch back to Ancient Egypt. Some part of the Kabbalah's teaching is a tradition learned by some of the leaders of the Israelites in Ancient Egypt, and passed down as a tradition by word of mouth from generation to generation.19
For this reason, we must look to Ancient Egypt in order to find the basic origins of the Kabbalah-Templars-Freemasonry chain.
The Magicians of Ancient Egypt
The Ancient Egypt of the pharaohs was one of the most ancient civilizations of the world. It was also one of the most oppressive. The magnificent monuments that still remain from Ancient Egypt—the pyramids, sphinxes and obelisks—were constructed by hundreds of thousands of slaves, worked to the point of death, under the whip and threat of starvation. The pharaohs, the absolute rulers of Egypt, wanted themselves to be represented as supposed deities and to be worshipped by the people. (Surely Allah is beyond that.)
One of our sources of knowledge about Ancient Egypt is their own inscriptions. These were discovered in the nineteenth century and, after intense labor, the Egyptian alphabet was deciphered, bringing to light much information about the country. But, because these inscriptions were written by official state historians, they are filled with biased accounts designed to praise the state.
For us, of course, the best source of knowledge about this matter is the Qur'an.
In the Qur'an, in the story of the Prophet Moses (pbuh), we are given important information about the Egyptian system. The verses reveal that there were two important focal points of power in Egypt: pharaoh and his inner-council. This council tended to exercise an important influence over pharaoh; Pharaoh would often consult them and, from time to time, follow their suggestions. The verses quoted below show the influence that this council had on Pharaoh and Allah knows the truth:
Moses said, "Pharaoh! I am truly a Messenger from the Lord of all the worlds, duty bound to say nothing about Allah except the truth. I have come to you with a Clear Sign from your Lord. So send the tribe of Israel away with me."
He said, "If you have come with a Clear Sign produce it if you are telling the truth."
So he threw down his staff and there it was, unmistakably a snake.
And he drew out his hand and there it was, pure white to those who looked.
The ruling circle of Pharaoh's people said, "This is certainly a skilled magician who desires to expel you from your land, so what do you recommend?"
They said, "Detain him and his brother and send out marshals to the cities, to bring you all the skilled magicians." (Surat al-A'raf: 104-112)
An Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic script
It should be noticed that mention here is made of a council that advises Pharaoh, that incites him against the Prophet Moses (pbuh), and recommends to him certain methods. If we look at the records of Egyptian history, we see that the two basic components of this council were the Egyptian army of the time and the priests.
The position occupied by the priesthood, one of these two main power blocs, in the social order of Egypt at the time is of great importance. We should look more closely at the role of the priests. The priests of Ancient Egypt were a class referred to in the Qur'an as magicians. They represented the cult which supported the regime. It was believed that they had special powers and possessed secret knowledge. By this authority they influenced the Egyptian people, and ensured their position within the administration of the pharaohs. This class, known from Egyptian records as the "Priests of Amon," focused their attention on practicing magic and administering their pagan cult; in addition, they also studied various sciences such as astronomy, mathematics and geometry.
The most important supporters of Pharaoh's regime in Ancient Egypt was the priestly class (magicians). Their beliefs later formed the roots of the Kabbalah and were transmitted from there to Masonry.
This class of priests was a closed order possessed (so they thought) of a special knowledge. Such orders are commonly known as esoteric organizations. In a magazine called Mason Dergisi (Masonic Journal), a publication distributed among Turkish Masons, the roots of Freemasonry are stated as going back to this kind of esoteric order, and special mention is made of the Ancient Egyptian priests:
As thought develops in human beings, science advances and as science advances, the number of secrets increases within the lore of an esoteric system. In this development, this esoteric enterprise, which began first in the East, in China and Tibet, and then spread to India, Mesopotamia and Egypt, formed the basis of a priestly knowledge that had been practiced for thousands of years and formed the basis of the power of the priests in Egypt.20
How can there be a relationship between the esoteric philosophy of the priests of Ancient Egypt and present-day Freemasons? Ancient Egypt—a classic example in the Qur'an of a godless political system—disappeared thousands of years ago. Can it have any influence today?
To find the answer to these questions, we must look at the Ancient Egyptian priests' beliefs with regards to the origin of the Universe and of life.
The Ancient Egyptian Belief in Materialist Evolution
In their book The Hiram Key, the English Masonic authors Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas argue that Ancient Egypt has a very important place in regards to the origins of Masonry. According to these authors, the most important idea that has transpired to modern Masonry, from Ancient Egypt, is the mistaken idea of a universe existing by and of itself, and evolving by chance. The false Egyptian belief is described as follows in that book:
The "world-view" of Ancient Egypt did not remain buried with these statues, but was carried down to the present day. By those secret societies that see themselves as the heirs of Ancient Egypt…
The Egyptians believed that matter had always existed; to them it was illogical to think of a god making something out of absolutely nothing. Their view was that the world began when order came out of chaos, and that ever since there has been a battle between the forces of organization and disorder…This chaotic state was called Nun, and like the Sumerian …description …, all was a dark, sunless watery abyss with a power, a creative force within it that commanded order to begin. This latent power which was within the substance of the chaos did not know it existed; it was a probability, a potential that was intertwined within the randomness of disorder.21
It will be noticed that the beliefs described here are in harmony with the erroneous assertions of the present-day materialist establishment, which are promoted by the agenda of the scientific community with such terms as "the theory of evolution," "chaos theory," and the "essential organization of matter." Knight and Lomas continue their foregoing discussion by saying:
Amazingly, this description of creation perfectly describes the view held by modern science, particularly "chaos theory" which has shown intricate designs which evolve and mathematically repeat within completely unstructured events.22
Knight and Lomas claim that there is a harmony between Ancient Egyptian false beliefs and modern science, but what they mean by modern science is mistaken materialist concepts, such as the theory of evolution or chaos theory. Despite the fact that these erroneous theories have no scientific basis, they have been forcibly imposed on the field of science over the past two centuries, and are presented as scientifically justified. (In the following sections we will examine those who have imposed these theories on the scientific world.)
Now, we have come to an important point in this stage of the book. Let us summarize what we have discovered so far:
All this surely paints an interesting picture. Is it by chance that the philosophy of the priests of Ancient Egypt still thrives, and that there exist traces of a chain (Kabbalah-Templars-Masonry) that has been responsible for maintaining the supremacy of this philosophy to the present day?
Is it possible Masons, who have made their mark on the world's history since the eighteenth century, fomenting revolutions, promoting philosophies and political systems, can be the inheritors of the magicians of Ancient Egypt?
In order to make the answer to this question clearer, we must first examine more closely the historical events that we have now only briefly outlined.