THE RASTAFARI CODE OF CONDUCT
Greetings and love in the Names of His and Her Imperial Majesties Emperor Haile Selassie 1stand Empress Menen Asfaw
Bredren and Sistren, Rastafari Administrators, Houses and Organizations
This code is intended for the Rastafari Nation to be observed as a moral guide to the integrity and steadfastness of the Nation. Though many may not consider it to be a part of their daily livity, it is however just a guide
The framing of this code was five years in the making, and many things were taken into consideration. The framers have listed and debated the different aspects and opinions of everyone who contributed to its development, whether they were done via e-mail or internet web forums or the telephone and meetings
The recommended Rastafari Code of Conduct was ratified in July–August 2008 at the Global Nyah Binghi Consultation held at the Nyah Binghi Grounds, Scotts Pass, Clarendon, Jamaica, by the Nyah Binghi Ancient Council and the Nyah Binghi Delegations from across the Caribbean, Africa and the USA. Further collective input was made by the Nyah Binghi National Council UK in 2010
“He who would be a leader must pay the price of self –discipline and moral restraint .This entails the correction and improvement of his personal character, the checking of passions and desires and an exemplary control of one’s bodily needs and desires.” Qadamawi Haile Selassie
The following Administrators and Delegates along with members of the Rastafari Family approved the Ras Tafari Code of Conduct at the Global Nyah Binghi Consultation July 22nd-30th2008 at the Scotts Pass Nyah Binghi Centre, Clarendon Jamaica.
Priest George Irons Bongo Jack (Trinidad)
Bongo Ken Bongo Italo Tafari (Barbados)
Bongo Roy Bongo Grease (Trinidad House)
Bongo Tawney Bongo Iyan(Barbados)
Priest Bongo Shephan Sis Irene (Barbados)
Sister Yanzie Ras Bakarai Holder (Barbados)
Priest Bongo Zato Mama Kafe’ (West Africa-Ivory Coast)
Ras Balewa Sister Lyris Walker (Trinidad)
Ras Iya-V Dawta InI (Maryland)
Mama Fiya Sister Eleen (Barbados)
Ras Irie Lion Ras Kayode (Barbados)
Ras Mabrack Ras Tafari Tzaddi (St Criox)
Bongo Wake I Prince Nan Nan (Grenada)
Bongo Job Ras Raffiki (Barbados)
Ras Ivi James Morrell (Barbados)
Ras Garth Ras Caver
Bongo Joe Ras Muggy Roy
Bongo Manie Junior Negus
Ras Sasse Dawta Norma
Ras Flako Ras Ista J
Special thanks to Qadamawi Haile Selassie and Empress Menen for inspiration, wise mind, knowledge, and overstanding so that InI can magnify Jah works in all the earth with good behaviour, Itegrity, honesty, and love.
Extended gratitude to:
Ethiopia-Het-Heru. Binghi Haiasi, Ras Jahaziel, Sister Mary Dread.
To The Ancient and Administrative Council of the Nyah Binghi along with all participants on the Code of Conduct Message Board. To the NNC (UK) and to all others who have made their valuable contribution –Thank you very much.
A strong nation and free nation can only base itself upon education.
In order to make life worthwhile it is necessary to acquire other things that can only come about after acquisition of learning. Learning and technical training must be nurtured by faith in God, reverence for the human soul, and respect for the reasoning mind –Qadamawi Haile Selassie.
The people themselves must come to realize their own difficulties in the development of their community and try to solve them by collective participation following an order of priority and taking their potentiality into account-Qadamawi Haile Selassie.
The very diversity of the world’s people today constitutes one of mankind’s greatest resources; the different philosophies with which nations approach their problems lead inevitably to a vast array of methods and techniques. These variations are necessary, for each people mustfind solutions which are responsive to its particular needs …each nation must inevitably pursue that course best suited to its own unique characteristics…
We seek Africa’s economic growth and development, the betterment of the way of life of Africans and all men-Qadamawi Haile Selassie
The Rastafari Code of Conduct is a general Guideline of acceptable practice, covering a broad spectrum of thought within the movement. As such it outlines the tenets of a unique lifestyle or ‘livity’ which has evolved organically from the teachings and examples of the Elders. This ‘livity’ has been passed on through successive generations of Rastafari since the inception of the movement in the 1930s.
Today this evolution of practice continues alongside the worldwide spread of the movement. Though the central tenets of the movement remain immutable and unchanging, revisions and updates are meant to keep ‘livity’ alive and functional, rather than dogmatic and doctrinaire.
The very spread and maturity of the movement demands a level of documentation that would hitherto have seemed unnecessary – both for adherents of the faith, converts and sympathizers, as well as the growing numbers of students, scholars, academics, religious individuals and groups, and ordinary everyday people who seek to know more about the Rastafari way of life.
The Code is the result of widespread consultation with individuals and groups within the movement to arrive at a summary statement on Rastafari morals, values and the overarching principles of a ‘decent way of life’.
Whereas the people of the Rastafari Nation worldwide:
Have affirmed that the Nation of Rastafari is founded on Principles that acknowledge the Divinity of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God and Light of this World;
Recognize that people remain free only when freedom is founded upon respect foridentifiable spiritual and cultural values, faith in fundamental human rights and freedoms, in a world of free people, where the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator are respected and maintained;
Recognize that African liberation must be the primary concern of all Rastafari people;
Desire that the Rastafari Code of Conduct should enshrine the above-mentioned principles for ensuring the protection of InI fundamental practices, lifestyle, and freedoms;
InI (We) declare that the following provisions shall outline the Code of Conduct of the Rastafari Nation.
The Rastafari Family and Nation:
Accept the Divinity of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I as the cornerstone and foundation of InI faith and being, in Whose Holy Name Ras Tafari InI are called;
Defend the sovereign rights of Africans at home and abroad;
Abide by the laws and teachings of H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I, the principles and practices of the Elders and Patriarchs of Rastafari, and the laws of Nature written in the hearts of humankind;
Hence InI know and accept that the collective words of Emperor Haile Selassie are the true and divine foundation of righteous governance.
InI uphold the principles of African Unity, Justice, Peace, Love, Truth and Right, along with Freedom, and commit InI-selves whole-heartedly to strive for the cause of African liberation, Repatriation and Reparation, and to labour unceasingly towards the achievement of these goals.
InI also seek world peace and goodwill among all mankind, working always towards equality in world citizenship, and the upholding of the rule of international morality, collective security, and global fraternity.
InI celebrate and deem sacred the Birthday of H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie I, 23rd July 1892, and the Coronation date of both the Emperor and Empress on 2nd November 1930, these being two major dates in the Rastafari calendar.
At all gatherings of spiritual observance and solemn occasions, the rules and laws of thehost Mansion or House shall apply, and should be observed by all ones in attendance.
Whereas certain exemptions shall be made for visitors to any such gathering according to their individual house or mansion rules, provision should be made to accommodate visitors who do not belong to any house or mansion, e.g. dress codes…etc.
All are advised that Sacred Herb (I-cense) should be burnt in an incense pot/altar, for the cleansing of the tabernacle and for sanctification of the space. A smoking room should be also available for personal use (knowing that not every one smokes).
No drugs are allowed to be imbibed, consumed, or smoked at such events.
All attendees should be modestly attired, adhering to the dress code of the particular House or Mansion. Similarly, conduct should be seemly, peaceable, and solemn as befits such occasions.
Only Brethren are allowed on harps (drums) at Nyah Binghi ceremonial programmes called ”Ises”, whereas the Sistren are allowed to play shakers
and other appropriate hand-held rhythmic instruments.
At non ceremonial programmes the Sisters are permitted to play harps in their own groups, eg: The Empress Menen Liberators in Jamaica.
All are advised and expected to abide by the observances of the officiating priests and elders.
COMMITMENT TO AFRICAN UPLIFTMENT
Domestically, we can build strong and happy and resourceful societies. Internationally, we can force the end of oppression of man by man and nation by nation. We can bring about the security and mutual trust which will open the way to the greater human achievements for which the needs of mankind now cry out. Qadamawi Haile Selassie
RESPONSIBILITY TO GLOBAL FELLOWSHIP AND WORLD PEACE
Let us not bemuse ourselves with the notion that it is any more possible to legislate equality, for these matters concern attitudes and values over which intellect sadly exercises but little control.
Let us not recoil in hatred against those who, even while protecting their freedom from bias and prejudice, reveal by their actions that the poison of discrimination has left its lasting effects, and by this reaction reveal that we, no less than they, are prey to unreasoning emotion, that we, no less than they, are susceptible to that virus which is
called intolerance.-Qadamawi Haile Selassie
Peace and love – the original greeting of the Rastafari elders summarizes the fundamental attitude and motivation of the movement. The ethos of harmonious goodwill towards humankind also extends to all living creatures in the universe.
The Rastafari Family should at all times seek to maintain the discipline of love for InI fellow men and women, knowing that the healing of Africa is the pathway to global peace and the brotherhood of man.
The virtues of tolerance, respect and fraternity should always be hallmarks of InI interaction with each other, with Africans, and with the global community of nations. Rastafari is a nation scattered among nations, and by our orderly conduct and behaviour InI become a light to the entire world.
We must become something we have never been and for which our education and experience have ill prepared us. We must become bigger than we have ever been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community. –
Qadamawi Haile Selassie
HEALTH AND DIETARY PRACTICE
“There is nothing more precious to man than a sound mind and a sound body, and it is essential that the physical well-being of our people merits as much attention as its spiritual welfare.
Good health is not only necessary for the well-being and happiness of man, but is also a fundamental prerequisite for the progress and prosperity of the nation.
Just as education insures protection of man’s knowledge in all fields of endeavour, so does proper medical care help in safe-guarding and promoting his physical and mental growth.
The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality.” - Herbert Spencer
Natural and holistic methods of health care are highly recommended. However, in instances where the circumstances may be so life-threatening that surgery may be necessary, it would be advisable to seek conventional medical help.
It is recommended that the Rastafari people commit to eating healthy natural foods and follow the holistic principles of living, in keeping with Rastafari traditions and customs.
Rastafari who accept a more holistic and nature-oriented lifestyle are the ones living in harmony with the earth.
The highest form of dietary practice is the consumption of naturally grown foods.
Ital diet cleanses and purifies the physical being. It also offers the most life-energizing way of sustaining the physical structure and the inner Irits in their original integrity.
WHAT IS ITAL?
ITAL IS FRESH ORGANIC UNPROCESSED FOODS
Ones should abstain from:
Animal products/by products
Processed foods /Genetically Modified foods
The use of salt-free and natural herb seasonings is recommended.
(In some cultures around the world where seafood is eaten as part of the dietary customs it is a fact that some Rastafari are fishermen and partake of their catch. However, seafood that are scavengers should be avoided)
Also to be avoided are:
Drunkenness – The use of alcoholic beverages (all forms of beer, stouts and wines)
- The use and sale of Drugs (legal or illegal)
Drugs – meaning (and including) crack, cocaine, barbiturates, pills, pharmaceuticals and any other synthetic commercially produced substances of like nature.
Anyone found to be in violation of the above, i.e.
Drunkenness or drug abuse is advised to seek professional counseling and be prepared to stop.
“As we guarantee to each the right to worship as he chooses, so we denounce the policy that set man against man on the issue of religion.” - Qadamawi Haile Selassie
“This is as it should be, for when brothers or sisters quarrel, as it happens from time to time, they come together and discuss the issues concerned in a very open manner and attempt to arrive at a mutually agreed solution. It is natural for forty-one nations to have different problems. It is our duty to trash out our differences, and to reach a solution that will command our united stand. We should be aware, more than before, not to allow discord amongst us. We must close ranks and discharge our obligations in harmony and unity of vision and purpose.” -
(Important Utterance of Qadamawi Haile Selassie)
In the event of disputes, the parties involved should be taken before a Grievance Committee of the organization, or mansion that they belong to.
Evidence that is collected, should then determine the resolution and/or disciplinary action by the Grievance Committee.
Failing resolution from the Grievance Committee, the evidence collected on the matter should be turned over to the executive administration of said organization or mansion.
Rastafari (ones) who do not belong to any organization or mansion are advised to take their disputes to any of the existing mansions or organizations of their choosing.
In an instance where there is no resolution by the Grievance Committee, the following is recommended:
- Suspension for a minimum of 3 months, after which the case will be reviewed.
- After the review a final decision will be taken by the Grievance Committee or administration of said mansion or organization.
- Rastafari (ones) who do not belong to any mansion or organization, should abide by the final decision of the mansion or organization that they have chosen to air their grievance.
- In case of disputes of a violent nature, the matter should be referred to the appropriate local authorities for a resolution.
Note: One should abstain from
- Using the methods of justice of the external system, except in extreme situations where the social law is appropriate to dictate the outcome of the situation.
- Using methods of vigilante justice or any action that would endanger or threaten the security of the Rastafari family.
There should be no partiality in dispute resolution.
The law of the society should be obeyed, unless it conflicts directly with InI fundamental beliefs.
One should not:
Abuse, slander, carry tales, hearsay, or disgrace any Rastafari brethren, sistren, house, mansion, organization, or others, in public places, through Printed Press, Radio, Television, Internet, or any other communication media.
- Always respect the decision of the Council of Elders, I- ancient Guardians of the Faith.
- Acknowledge the contributions of the Patriarchs, Matriarchs, and Founding Fathers of the Faith.
- Never use the ancients to obtain money for personal benefits.
- Always acknowledge the contribution of African Leaders, African Liberators and Freedom Fighters, noting important dates and events in the African Calendar.
RASTAFARI REGGAE MUSICIANS, SINGERS, PROMOTERS, MCs & DJs
- Maintain the roots and cultural lyrics of the music and the standard set by the pioneers who use the music to educate and uplift.
- Conduct themselves with integrity while on stage and off, which includes activities while on local or foreign tours.
- Consider making financial contribution to the social and economic development of the Rastafari Nation.
ONES SHOULD REFRAIN FROM:
- Using Qadamawi Haile Selassie and Empress Menen casually or in vain while on or off stage
- Creating music and dance that trivializes a woman’s sexuality or tramples on her I-tegrity and self-worth, or influence ones to consider or commit acts of violence against her.
- Creating music and lyrics that influence anyone to commit crimes against another.
- Promoting music videos with lewd, sexually explicit or immoral behaviour.
CONCERNING RIGHTS OF PASSAGE:
BIRTH (SANTIFICATION OF NEWBORNS) PASSING AND INTERMENT
Within some Houses (e.g. Nyah Binghi) a ceremony has been ritualized to welcome and sanctify newborns in the community. This ceremony is conducted by an authorized Priest at a gathering, where the infant is welcomed with special prayers, and is celebrated as a new member of the community with joyful chants and jubilation.
If the family of the new born is not a member of a house or mansion and request such sanctification, the individual must learn and accept the fundamental teachings of Rastafari livity
A marriage ceremony is also in the process of being established, with the intent that it may be recognized as socially and legally binding within the community as well as the State.
A ceremonial order is now in place for the individual to be laid to rest, and for their earthly contribution to the Rastafari Nation to be remembered and celebrated
Cremation is now being considered as an acceptable final rite for ones who wish.
All ceremonies should be performed by certified Rastafari Priest or Chaplain.
The following practices are forbidden by Rastafari codes of moral behaviour:
Sex with children or animals
ONES SHOULD AVOID
Entering into a relationship knowingly aware that a person is already in an intimate situation with another
Entering into a sexual or intimate relationship that may cause disharmony, grief or strife
Entering into a sexual or intimate relationship involving multiple partners
Displaying any activity in the public that depicts sexual intent
THE NYAH BINGHI CREED
Princes and Princesses must trod out of Egypt
Ithiopians now stretch forth her hands to Jah
O’ Jah of I’thiopia, InI Ivine Majesty
Thy Irits trod unto I to dwell in the path of righteousness. Lead InI
Help InI to forgive, that I must be forgiven
Teach InI love and loyalty on earth as it is in Zion
Endow InI with wise mind, knowledge and over standing to do thy will
Thy blessings O’ Jah
Let the hungry be fed, the naked clothed, the sick nourished, the aged protected and the infants cared for
Deliver InI from the hands of our enemies that InI must prove fruitful in these perilous days
When our enemies are passed and decayed in the depths of the sea, in the depths of the earth, in the belly of the beast
O’ give InI a place in thy Iver living Kingman
Through the powers of the King of Kings
Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah
Ilect of Himself and light of the world
InI Ivine Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie I
First Incient King of Iration and for Iver
Jah art the Alpha and Omega
The beginning without end, the First and Forever
The Protectorate of all human faith and ruler of the Iniverse
Thou art the High Priest of the Order of Melchisedek
Who Liveth and Reigneth for Iver
So InI hail our Jah and King Emperor Haile Selassie Jah Rastafari!!
Almighty I Jah Rastafari!
Great and Thunderable I JahRastafari!!
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER
7th January – Ethiopian Feast of the Nativity of Christ
1st March – Battle of Adowa Victory
3 April (25th Megabit) – Empress Menen Earth Day
The Coral Gardens Atrocity Anniversary Commemoration-Good Friday of every year
18th April 1966 – H.I.M Visit to Trinidad and Tobago
21st April 1966 – H.I.M Visit to Jamaica
25th May – All African Liberation Day
16th June – The First Patriarch Leonard Howell Earth Day
23rd July – H.I.M Emperor Haile Selassie I Earth Day
17th August – Marcus Garvey Earth Day
11th Sept – Ethiopian New year
2nd Nov – H.I.M Coronation
“The tolerance of dissent and criticism within a Government
proceeds from a single essential premise: that the Government exists to serve the people generally. Government servants, whether designated as representatives or
not, have a trust to work for the general welfare.”-
Qadamawi Haile Selassie
“Domestically, we can build strong and happy and resourceful
societies. Internationally, we can force the end of oppression of man by man
and nation by nation. We can bring about the security and mutual trust which will
open the way to the greater human achievements for which the needs of mankind now cry out.”-
Qadamawi Haile Selassie
Liberate the minds of men and ultimately you will liberate the bodies of men - Marcus Garvey
There is no force like success, and that is why the individual
makes all effort to surround himself throughout life
with the evidence of it; as of the individual, so should it be
of the nation – Marcus Garvey
A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots -