Chapter Two (The Spirit and The Soul )
Ancient Egyptians and the Greek Philosophers
Man’s idea regarding the spirit or the soul is vague and unclear. The pharaohs were the first to deal with these issues, yet their concepts in this respect is of no help. They were the first people to believe in the immortality of the soul, with the human body acting as its container. Thus, the immortality of the soul depends on its remaining inside the casket or coffin. To them, the soul is part of three sections that form the human character. They are the physical body, the soul that hovers in the cemetery to visit its body, and the Alka. The Alka is an independent spiritual mate that lives inside the human body and provides it with protection, life, security, luck, health, and happiness. This mate is loyal, constantly living with man, and also grows with him knowing every thing about him.
The idea of the intimate companion is known in Islam and it refers to the jinni that accompany man, knowing his secrets and his hidden things. If he is a good jinni, he will keep man’s secrets but if he is a bad one, he will reveal them. These jinn can be summoned to reveal these secrets and tell hidden things that might mislead the naïve and simple minded people. This is mentioned in Allah’s saying: ”If anyone withdraws himself from remembrance of (God) Most Gracious, We appointed for him an evil one, to be an intimate companion to him”.
The ancient Egyptians believed that this Alka takes trips after death, leaving the graveyard and returning through secret vaults and hidden tunnels. The Alka feeds on different kinds of stuffed food which are preserved in the walls’ inscriptions in case the stored food was stolen. With the help of gods, theses drawings of food turn into real and actual food substitutes for the Alka.
For theses reasons, the ancient Egyptians mastered the art of mummification where their genius in this respect greatly astonished modern scientists. Their miracles in this field bewilder researchers who are unable to uncover the secrets of this art despite their long and thorough research.
Their belief also made them excel in another art which is agriculture; they managed to build fine domes, huge temples, and great pyramids. They painted on their walls wonderfully colorful pictures that still remain beautifully bright as if they were just drawn yesterday. Most of their tombs were buried underground to keep them away from man and the traces of time. Due to their spiritual creed, they thus became creative in the various arts, sciences, and branches of knowledge. They were able to establish the most outstanding civilization ever known to man kind.
Their inscriptions indicate their belief that the soul is the immortal secret of the human body which can be pure or disturbed, a good or an evil one. They also inscribed on the temples and papyrus paper their morals, psychological beliefs, and spiritual teachings. Such heliographic writings remained just scribbles until they were translated by the French scientist Chameleon who deciphered their symbols. Their testaments were food for the soul to purify man from the evils of life and connect him to the other world. However, they did not differentiate between the soul and the spirit, for their testaments were for both of them.