The Tenth Berth: The Sumerians and the Supremacy of God (The Atheism Delusion by Ahmed Al Hasan)

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This is an excerpt from The Atheism Delusion, Chapter 5, in which the divine nature of the Sumerians is discussed and evidence is presented.

The Sumerians and the Supremacy of God

Regarding the government, Dr. Kramer says:

The Government, The First Bicameral Congress:

Man’s social and spiritual development is often slow, devious, and hard to trace. The full-grown tree may well be separated from its original seed by thousands of miles and years. Take, for example, the way of life known as democracy and its fundamental institution, the political assembly. On the surface it seems to be practically a monopoly of our Western civilization and an outgrowth of recent centuries. Who could imagine that there were political congresses thousands and thousands of years ago, and in parts of the world rarely associated with democratic institutions? But the patient archaeologist digs deep and wide, and he never knows what he will come up with. As a result of the efforts of the “pick and spade” brigade, we can now read the record of a political assembly that took place some five thousand years ago in—of all places—the Near East.

The first political “congress” in man’s recorded history met in solemn session about 3000 B.C. It consisted, not unlike our own congress, of two “houses”: a “senate,” or an assembly of elders; and a “lower house,” or an assembly of arms-bearing male citizens. It was a “war congress,” called together to take a stand on the momentous question of war and peace; it had to choose between what we would describe as “peace at any price” or war and independence. The “senate,” with its conservative elders, declared for peace at all cost, but its decision was “vetoed” by the king, who then brought the matter before the “lower house.” This body declared for war and freedom, and the king approved.

In what part of the world did the first “congress” known to man meet? Not, as you might surmise, somewhere in the West, on the continent of Europe (the political assemblies in “democratic” Greece and republican Rome came much later). Our hoary congress met, surprising as it may seem, in that part of Asia now generally designated as the Near East, the traditional home of tyrants and despots, a part of the world where political assemblies were thought to be practically unknown. It was in the land known in ancient days as Sumer, situated north of the Persian Gulf between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, that the oldest known political assembly was convened. And when did this “congress” meet? In the third millennium BC. In those days, this Near Eastern land Sumer (it corresponds roughly to the lower half of modern Iraq) was inhabited by a people who developed what was probably the highest civilization in the then known world (Kramer 1981, 30-31).

The Sumerians’ connection to the supremacy of God is something that could not have been recognized by Kramer or most other archaeologists. This is because they either do not believe in the supremacy of God, or they are atheists who think that religion was invented by the Sumerians, and that the Torah and the Quran are just the result of copying (in their eyes) fictitious Sumerian stories, such as the story of the Deluge. That is why, when they discovered that the Sumerian king presented the issue of war to two councils, they concluded that the Sumerians were practicing a democracy similar to today’s Western democracy. On the contrary, the Sumerians were not practicing Western democracy at all. What they practiced had nothing in common with it, since there are many Sumerian texts that confirm that the ruler took his authority by divine appointment.

The Sumerian form of government was inherited from Noah pbuh and the prophets, just as they inherited the divine religion. However, the Sumerians had a distorted divine form of government, just as they had a distorted divine religion. As such, their form of government was neither a dictatorship nor a democracy in today’s Western democratic sense.

In the Sumerian form of government, there is a king assigned by the gods, just as a king or ruler is assigned by God in the divine form of government. The mission of this ruler is to fulfil the will of God, apply the law of God, and be just toward the oppressed. Thus, there is a purpose behind the assignment of the divine ruler, which is not the rule itself. That is why the divine form of government can be achieved even in the case where the assigned ruler of God supervises and monitors the application, and intervenes to correct any movement toward error. It is not necessary that he himself rule in order for the purpose of his assignment to be fulfilled.

We find this or something very similar in the Sumerian example mentioned by Kramer, where a dispute about authority took place between Uruk and Kish. The ruler of Uruk requested the people’s opinion on whether to choose war or peace, but it was not an opinion he was obligated to follow, as is clear from the above example.
The political situation that brought about the convening of the oldest “congress” recorded in history may be described as follows: Like Greece of a much later day, Sumer, in the third millennium B.C., consisted of a number of city-states vying for supremacy over the land as a whole. One of the most important of these was Kish, which, according to Sumerian legendary lore, had received the “kingship” from heaven immediately after the “flood.” But in time another city-state, Erech, which lay far to the south of Kish, kept gaining in power and influence until it seriously threatened Kish’s supremacy in Sumer. The king of Kish at last realized the danger and threatened the Erechites with war unless they recognized him as their overlord. It was at this crucial moment that Erech’s two assemblies were convened—the elders and the arms-bearing males—in order to decide which course to follow, whether to submit to Kish and enjoy peace or to take to arms and fight for independence (Kramer 1981, 31-32).

It is true that some of the kings of Sumer were no more than kings claiming to be divinely appointed. However, what matters to us is that the Sumerians in general believed in divine appointment. This is confirmed by what we often see in the clay tablets, namely that the kings were from the lineage of the gods, and that the gods assign them. The Quran narrates a story which depicts a dispute that occurred in Sumer or Mesopotamia between one of the kings claiming kingship and Abraham, the Beloved of God pbuh, the king appointed by God:

{Have you not considered the one who argued with Abraham about his Lord because God had given him kingship? When Abraham said, “My Lord is the one who gives life and causes death,” he said, “I give life and cause death.” Abraham said, “Indeed, God brings up the Sun from the east, so bring it up from the west.” The disbeliever was overwhelmed [by astonishment], and God does not guide the wrongdoing people.} Quran Chapter “The Cow” 2:258.

Generally speaking, one can refer to the Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian texts in order to see that this matter is clear in many passages, as is their belief that kingship is a divine appointment. It is just like the true ideology of divine religion in the Torah, Gospel and Quran. This clearly shows that the Sumerians inherited the old divine religion and were committed to its teachings, most importantly the divine laws and the one who implements them. As time passed, however, what always happens (in religion) occurred in this case too: the usurping of divine kingship and the persecution of the king appointed by God. This was the case with Abraham pbuh, who eventually had to leave the land of his forefathers, until God wished for his children to later return. This manifested in the return of his son Ali Ibn Abi Talib pbuh to the land of Sumer and Akkad or Semeru, Shinar or Mesopotamia (Iraq).

The following is a text relayed by Dr. Kramer about the Sumerian tablets. It shows that the Sumerians believed in the divine religion and the divine appointment of the king or ruler:

“O Sumer, great land, of the lands of the universe,

Filled with steadfast light, dispensing from Sunrise to Sunset the divine laws to

   (all) the people,
Your divine laws are exalted laws, unreachable,
Your heart is profound, unfathomable,
The true learning which you bring . . . , like heaven is untouchable,
The king to whom you give birth is adorned with the everlasting diadem,
The lord to whom you give birth sets ever crown on head,
Your lord is an honored lord; with An, the king, he sits on the heavenly dais,

Your king is the great mountain, . . . (Kramer 1981, 93).