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 gods and to be worshipped by the people.
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 Moses, 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:
Moses said, “Pharaoh! I am truly a Messenger from the Lord of all the worlds, duty bound to say nothing about God 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.” (Qur’an, 7: 104-112)
It should be noticed that mention here is made of a council that advises Pharaoh, that incites him against Moses, 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 army and the priests.
There is no need to explain the importance of the army; it constituted the basic military power of the regimes of the pharaohs. But, 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.
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. 
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.
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 that of a universe existing by and of itself, and evolving by chance. They explain this interesting notion in these words:
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 disorderéThis chaotic state was called Nun, and like the Sumerian édescription é, 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. 
It will be noticed that the beliefs described here are in harmony with the 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. 
Knight and Lomas claim that there is a harmony between Ancient Egyptian beliefs and modern science, but what they mean by modern science, as we have stressed, is materialist concepts, such as the theory of evolution or chaos theory. Despite the fact that these 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. (For further reading, see “Global Freemasonry” by Harun Yahya)
 20 Mason Dergisi (The Journal of Freemasonry), No. 48-49, p.67
Harun Yahya is a prominent Turkish intellectual.
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