Druze

Druze

Overview
The Druze are an esoteric
Esotericism
Esotericism or Esoterism signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest. The term derives from the Greek , a compound of : "within", thus "pertaining to the more inward",...

, monotheistic
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 religious community, found primarily in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, and Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faiths emphasizing and tracing their common origin to Abraham or recognizing a spiritual tradition identified with him...

, Gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

, Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism , is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists, with its earliest contributor believed to be Plotinus, and his teacher Ammonius Saccas...

 and other philosophies. The Druze call themselves Ahl al-Tawhid
Tawhid
Tawhid is the concept of monotheism in Islam. It is the religion's most fundamental concept and holds God is one and unique ....

 (People of Unitarianism or Monotheism) or al-Muwaḥḥidūn (Unitarians, Monotheists) – the official name of the sect is al-Muwaḥḥidūn al Durūz (The Unitarian Druze).

The Druze people reside primarily in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.
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Encyclopedia
The Druze are an esoteric
Esotericism
Esotericism or Esoterism signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest. The term derives from the Greek , a compound of : "within", thus "pertaining to the more inward",...

, monotheistic
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

 religious community, found primarily in Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, and Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions
Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faiths emphasizing and tracing their common origin to Abraham or recognizing a spiritual tradition identified with him...

, Gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

, Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism
Neoplatonism , is the modern term for a school of religious and mystical philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists, with its earliest contributor believed to be Plotinus, and his teacher Ammonius Saccas...

 and other philosophies. The Druze call themselves Ahl al-Tawhid
Tawhid
Tawhid is the concept of monotheism in Islam. It is the religion's most fundamental concept and holds God is one and unique ....

 (People of Unitarianism or Monotheism) or al-Muwaḥḥidūn (Unitarians, Monotheists) – the official name of the sect is al-Muwaḥḥidūn al Durūz (The Unitarian Druze).

Location


The Druze people reside primarily in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. The Israeli Druze are mostly in Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

 (81%), around Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 (19%), and in the Golan Heights, which is home to about 20,000 Druze. The Institute of Druze Studies estimates that 40%–50% of Druze live in Syria, 30%–40% in Lebanon, 6%–7% in Israel, and 1%–2% in Jordan.

Large communities of expatriate Druze also live outside the Middle East in Australia, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the United States, and West Africa. They use the Arabic language
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 and follow a social pattern very similar to those of the other peoples of the eastern Mediterranean region
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

.

The number of Druze people worldwide exceeds one million, with the vast majority residing in the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 or East Mediterranean.

Origin of the name


The name Druze is derived from the name of Anushtakīn ad-Darazī (from Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, darzi, "seamster") who was an early preacher. Although the Druze consider ad-Darazī a heretic the name had been used to identify them.

Before becoming public, the movement was secretive and held closed meetings in what was known as Sessions of Wisdom. During this stage a dispute occurred between ad-Darazi and Hamza bin Ali mainly concerning ad-Darazi's ghuluww
Ghulat
Ghulāt , is a term used in the theology of Shia Islam to describe some minority Muslim groups who either ascribe divine characteristics to a member of Muhammad's family , or hold beliefs deemed deviant by mainstream Shi'i theology...

 (Arabic, "exaggeration"), which refers to the belief that God was incarnated
Incarnation
Incarnation literally means embodied in flesh or taking on flesh. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient creature who is the material manifestation of an entity, god or force whose original nature is immaterial....

 in human beings, especially 'Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

 and his descendants, including Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Abu ‘Ali Mansur Tāriqu l-Ḥākim, called Al-Hakim bi Amr al-Lāh , was the sixth Fatimid caliph and 16th Ismaili imam .- History :...

 who was the current Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

, and ad-Darazi naming himself "The Sword of the Faith" which led Hamza to write an epistle refuting the need for the sword to spread the faith and several epistles refuting the beliefs of the ghulat
Ghulat
Ghulāt , is a term used in the theology of Shia Islam to describe some minority Muslim groups who either ascribe divine characteristics to a member of Muhammad's family , or hold beliefs deemed deviant by mainstream Shi'i theology...

.

In 1016 ad-Darazi and his followers openly proclaimed their beliefs and called people to join them, causing riots in Cairo against the Unitarian movement including Hamza bin Ali and his followers which led to the suspension of the movement for one year and the expulsion of ad-Darazi and his supporters.

Although the Druze religious books describe ad-Darazi as the "insolent one" and as the "Calf" who is narrow minded and hasty, the name "Druze" is still used for identification and for historical reasons. In 1018 ad-Darazi was assassinated for his teachings, some sources claim to be executed by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah.

Some authorities see in the name "Druze" a descriptive epithet, derived from Arabic dâresah ("those who study"). Others have speculated that the word comes from the Arabic-Persian word Darazo ( "bliss") or from Shaykh Hussayn ad-Darazī, who was one of the early converts to the faith. In the early stages of the movement, the word "Druze" is rarely mentioned by historians, and in Druze religious texts only the word Muwaḥḥidūn ("Unitarian") appears. The only early Arab historian who mentions the Druze is the 11th century Christian scholar Yahya of Antioch
Yahya of Antioch
Yahya of Antioch, full name Yaḥya ibn Saʿīd al-Anṭākī , was a Melkite Christian physician and historian of the 11th century....

, who clearly refers to the heretical group created by ad-Darazī rather than the followers of Hamza ibn 'Alī. As for Western sources, Benjamin of Tudela
Benjamin of Tudela
Benjamin of Tudela was a medieval Jewish traveler who visited Europe, Asia, and Africa in the 12th century. His vivid descriptions of western Asia preceded those of Marco Polo by a hundred years...

, the Jewish traveler who passed through Lebanon in or about 1165, was one of the first European writers to refer to the Druzes by name. The word Dogziyin ("Druzes") occurs in an early Hebrew edition of his travels, but it is clear that this is a scribal error. Be that as it may, he described the Druze as "mountain dwellers, monotheists, who believe in 'soul eternity' and reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

."

Early history


The Druze faith began as a movement in Ismailism, that was mainly influenced by Greek philosophy
Greek philosophy
Ancient Greek philosophy arose in the 6th century BCE and continued through the Hellenistic period, at which point Ancient Greece was incorporated in the Roman Empire...

 and gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

 and opposed certain religious and philosophical ideologies that were present during that epoch.

The faith was preached by Hamza ibn 'Alī ibn Ahmad
Hamza ibn-'Ali ibn-Ahmad
Hamza ibn ‘Alī ibn Aḥmad was an 11th century Ismaili and founding leader of the Druze sect. He was born in Zozan in Greater Khorasan in Samanid-ruled Persia ....

, a Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 Ismaili
Ismaili
' is a branch of Shia Islam. It is the second largest branch of Shia Islam, after the Twelvers...

 mystic and scholar. He came to Egypt in 1014 and assembled a group of scholars and leaders from across the world to establish the Unitarian movement. The order's meetings were held in the Raydan Mosque, near the Al-Hakim Mosque
Al-Hakim Mosque
The al-Hakim Mosque is a major Islamic religious site in Cairo, Egypt. It is located in "Islamic Cairo", on the east side of Muizz Street, just south of Bab Al-Futuh...

.

In 1017, Hamza officially revealed the Druze faith and began to preach the Unitarian doctrine. Hamza gained the support of the Fātimid Caliph al-Hakim
Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Abu ‘Ali Mansur Tāriqu l-Ḥākim, called Al-Hakim bi Amr al-Lāh , was the sixth Fatimid caliph and 16th Ismaili imam .- History :...

, who issued a decree promoting religious freedom prior to the declaration of the divine call. Al-Hakim became a central figure in the Druze faith even though his own religious position was disputed among scholars. John Esposito
John Esposito
John Louis Esposito is a professor of International Affairs and Islamic Studies at Georgetown University...

 states that al-Hakim believed that "he was not only the divinely appointed religio-political leader but also the cosmic intellect
Nous
Nous , also called intellect or intelligence, is a philosophical term for the faculty of the human mind which is described in classical philosophy as necessary for understanding what is true or real, very close in meaning to intuition...

 linking God with creation.", while others like Nissim Dana and Mordechai Nisan
Mordechai Nisan
Mordechai Nisan is an Israeli professor and scholar of Middle East Studies at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. His most recent book, Only Israel West of the River: The Jewish State and the Palestinian Question, appeared in July, 2011...

 state that he is perceived as the manifestation and the reincarnation of God or presumably the image of God.

Some Druze and non-Druze scholars like Samy Swayd and Sami Makarem
Sami Makarem
Sami Makarem is a Druze Lebanese scholar, writer, poet and artist; he was born in the village of Aitat in Aley district and is best known for his academic contributions in the fields of Islamic studies, Sufism, and Islamic history....

 state that this confusion is due to confusion about the role of the early heretical preacher ad-Darazi, whose teachings the Druze rejected as heretical. These sources assert that al-Hakim rejected ad-Darazi's claims of divinity, and ordered the elimination of his movement while supporting that of Hamza ibn Ali.

Al-Hakim disappeared one night while out on his evening ride - presumably assassinated, perhaps at the behest of his formidable elder sister Sitt al-Mulk
Sitt al-Mulk
Sitt al-Mulk , Ruler of the Fatimids , was the elder sister of Al-Hakim.After the death of her father Ali al-Aziz , she tried with the help of a cousin to force her brother from the throne, but was arrested by the eunuch Barjuwan. However, she became regent for his son and successor Ali az-Zahir...

. The Druze believe he went into Occultation
The Occultation
The Occultation in Shia Islam refers to a belief that the messianic figure, or Mahdi, who in Shi'i thought is an infallible male descendant of the founder of Islam, Muhammad, was born but disappeared, and will one day return and fill the world with justice. Some Shi'is, such as the Zaidi and...

 with Hamza ibn Ali and three other prominent preachers, leaving the care of the "Unitarian missionary movement" to a new leader, Bahā'u d-Dīn.

The closing of the faith


Al-Hakim was replaced by his underage son, 'Alī az-Zahir
Ali az-Zahir
ʻAlī az-Zāhir was the Seventh Caliph of the Fātimids . Az-Zāhir assumed the Caliphate after the disappearance of his father Tāriqu l-Ḥakīm bi Amr al-Lāh...

. The Unitarian Druze movement, which existed in the Fatimid Caliphate, acknowledged az-Zahir as the Caliph, but followed Hamzah as its Imam
Imamah (Shi'a doctrine)
Imāmah is the Shia doctrine of religious, spiritual and political leadership of the Ummah. The Shīa believe that the A'immah are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muḥammad, and further that Imams are possessed of divine knowledge and authority as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt,...

. The young Caliph's regent, Sitt al-Mulk
Sitt al-Mulk
Sitt al-Mulk , Ruler of the Fatimids , was the elder sister of Al-Hakim.After the death of her father Ali al-Aziz , she tried with the help of a cousin to force her brother from the throne, but was arrested by the eunuch Barjuwan. However, she became regent for his son and successor Ali az-Zahir...

, ordered the army to destroy the movement in 1021. At the same time, Bahā'a ad-Dīn as-Samuki was assigned the leadership of the Unitarian Movement by Hamza Bin Ali.

For the next seven years, the Druze faced extreme persecution by the new caliph, al-Zahir, who wanted to eradicate the faith. This was the result of a power struggle inside of the Fatimid empire in which the Druze were viewed with suspicion because of their refusal to recognize the new Caliph, Ali az-Zahir
Ali az-Zahir
ʻAlī az-Zāhir was the Seventh Caliph of the Fātimids . Az-Zāhir assumed the Caliphate after the disappearance of his father Tāriqu l-Ḥakīm bi Amr al-Lāh...

, as their Imam. Many spies, mainly the followers of Ad-Darazi, joined the Unitarian movement in order to infiltrate the Druze community. The spies set about agitating trouble and soiling the reputation of the Druze. This resulted in friction with the new caliph who clashed militarily with the Druze community. The clashes ranged from Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 to Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, where tens of thousands of Druze were slaughtered by the Fatimid army. The largest massacre was at Antioch, where 5000 Druze religious leaders were killed, followed by that of Aleppo
Aleppo
Aleppo is the largest city in Syria and the capital of Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 2,301,570 , expanding to over 2.5 million in the metropolitan area, it is also one of the largest cities in the Levant...

. As a result, the faith went underground in hope of survival, as those captured were either forced to renounce their faith or killed. Druze survivors "were found principally in southern Lebanon and Syria." In 1038, two years after the death of al-Zahir, the Druze movement was able to resume because the new leadership that replaced him had friendly political ties with at least one prominent Druze leader.

In 1043 Bahā'a ad-Dīn declared that the sect would no longer accept new pledges, and since that time proselytization has been prohibited.

During the Crusades


It was during the period of Crusader rule in Syria (1099–1291) that the Druze first emerged into the full light of history in the Gharb region of the Chouf Mountains. As powerful warriors serving the Muslim rulers of Damascus against the Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

, the Druze were given the task of keeping watch over the crusaders in the seaport of Beirut, with the aim of preventing them from making any encroachments inland. Subsequently, the Druze chiefs of the Gharb placed their considerable military experience at the disposal of the Mamluk
Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo)
The Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt was the final independent Egyptian state prior to the establishment of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty in 1805. It lasted from the overthrow of the Ayyubid Dynasty until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517. The sultanate's ruling caste was composed of Mamluks, Arabised...

 rulers of Egypt (1250–1516); first, to assist them in putting an end to what remained of Crusader rule in coastal Syria, and later to help them safeguard the Syrian coast against Crusader retaliation by sea.

In the early period of the Crusader
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 era, the Druze feudal power was in the hands of two families, the Tanukhs and the Arslans
Talal Arslan
-Political career:Arslan was elected to the Lebanese Parliament as a deputy of the Aley District in 1991, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2009. From 1990 to 1992 he was the Lebanese Minister of Tourism, from 1996 to 1998 he was Minister of Emigrants and served as Minister of State twice from 2000 to 2003 and...

. From their fortresses in the Gharb district (modern Aley
Aley
Aley is a picturesque town in Mount Lebanon. It is located 17 km uphill from Beirut, just south of the summer resort of Bhamdoun and north of the strategic town of Souk El Gharb.-Demographics:...

 Province) of southern Mount Lebanon, the Tanukhs led their incursions into the Phoenician coast and finally succeeded in holding Beirut and the marine plain against the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

. Because of their fierce battles with the crusaders
Crusaders
The Crusaders are a New Zealand professional rugby union team based in Christchurch that competes in the Super Rugby competition. They are the most successful team in Super Rugby history with seven titles...

, the Druzes earned the respect of the Sunni Muslim Caliphs and thus gained important political powers. After the middle of the twelfth century, the Ma'an family superseded the Tanukhs in Druze leadership. The origin of the family goes back to a Prince Ma'an who made his appearance in the Lebanon in the days of the 'Abbasid Caliph al-Mustarshid
Al-Mustarshid
Al-Mustarshid was the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad from 1118 to 1135.Son of the preceding Caliph, he achieved more independence as a ruler while the Seljuq sultan Mahmud II was engaged in war in the East....

 (1118 AD-1135 AD). The Ma'ans chose for their abode the Chouf district in the southern part of Western Lebanon, overlooking the maritime plain between Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

 and Sidon
Sidon
Sidon or Saïda is the third-largest city in Lebanon. It is located in the South Governorate of Lebanon, on the Mediterranean coast, about 40 km north of Tyre and 40 km south of the capital Beirut. In Genesis, Sidon is the son of Canaan the grandson of Noah...

, and made their headquarters in Baaqlin, which is still a leading Druze village. They were invested with feudal authority by Sultan Nur-al-Dīn and furnished respectable contingents to the Muslim ranks in their struggle against the Crusaders.

Persecution during the Mamluk and Ottoman period


Having cleared Syria of the Franks, the Mamluk
Mamluk
A Mamluk was a soldier of slave origin, who were predominantly Cumans/Kipchaks The "mamluk phenomenon", as David Ayalon dubbed the creation of the specific warrior...

 Sultans of Egypt turned their attention to the schismatic Muslims of Syria. In 1305, after the issuing of a fatwa
Fatwa
A fatwā in the Islamic faith is a juristic ruling concerning Islamic law issued by an Islamic scholar. In Sunni Islam any fatwā is non-binding, whereas in Shia Islam it could be considered by an individual as binding, depending on his or her relation to the scholar. The person who issues a fatwā...

 by the Hanbali Sunni scholar Ibn Taymiyyah calling for jihad
Jihad
Jihad , an Islamic term, is a religious duty of Muslims. In Arabic, the word jihād translates as a noun meaning "struggle". Jihad appears 41 times in the Quran and frequently in the idiomatic expression "striving in the way of God ". A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid; the plural is...

 against all non-Sunni Muslims like the Druze, Alawites, Ismaili
Ismaili
' is a branch of Shia Islam. It is the second largest branch of Shia Islam, after the Twelvers...

, and twelver Shiites. al-Malik al-Nasir
Al-Nasir Muhammad
Al-Nasir Muhammad b. Cairo 1285, d...

 inflicted a disastrous defeat on the Druze at Keserwan
Keserwan District
Keserwan is a district in the Mount Lebanon Governorate , Lebanon, to the northeast of the Lebanon's capital Beirut...

 and forced outward compliance on their part to orthodox Sunni Islam. Later, under the Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 Turks, they were severely attacked at Ayn-Ṣawfar in 1585 after the Ottomans claimed that they assaulted their caravans near Tripoli
Tripoli
Tripoli is the capital and largest city in Libya. It is also known as Western Tripoli , to distinguish it from Tripoli, Lebanon. It is affectionately called The Mermaid of the Mediterranean , describing its turquoise waters and its whitewashed buildings. Tripoli is a Greek name that means "Three...

.

Consequently, the 16th and 17th centuries were to witness a succession of armed Druze rebellions against the Ottomans, countered by repeated Ottoman punitive expeditions against the Chouf, in which the Druze population of the area was severely depleted and many villages destroyed. These military measures, severe as they were, did not succeed in reducing the local Druze to the required degree of subordination. This led the Ottoman government to agree to an arrangement whereby the different nahiyes (districts) of the Chouf would be granted in iltizam ("fiscal concession") to one of the region's amirs, or leading chiefs, leaving the maintenance of law and order and the collection of its taxes in the area in the hands of the appointed amir. This arrangement was to provide the cornerstone for the privileged status which ultimately came to be enjoyed by the whole of Mount Lebanon in Ottoman Syria, Druze and Christian areas alike.

Ma'an dynasty



With the advent of the Ottoman Turks and the conquest of Syria by Sultan Selim I
Selim I
Selim I, Yavuz Sultân Selim Khan, Hâdim-ül Haramain-ish Sharifain , nicknamed Yavuz "the Stern" or "the Steadfast", but often rendered in English as "the Grim" , was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to...

 in 1516, the Ma'ans were acknowledged by the new rulers as the feudal lords of southern Lebanon. Druze villages spread and prospered in that region, which under Ma'an leadership so flourished that it acquired the generic term of Jabal Bayt-Ma'an (the mountain of the Ma'an family) or Jabal al-Druze. The latter title has since been usurped by the Hawran region, which since the middle of the 19th century has proven a haven of refuge to Druze emigrants from Lebanon and has become the headquarters of Druze power.

Under Fakhreddin II, the Druze dominion increased until it included almost all Syria, extending from the edge of the Antioch plain in the north to Safad in the south, with a part of the Syrian desert dominated by Fakhreddin's castle
Fakhreddin Almaani Castle
Fakhr-al-Din al-Ma'ani Castle or Palmyra Castle is a castle on a high hill overlooking the site of Palmyra, and named for the Druze emir Fakhr-al-Din II, who extended the Druze domains to the region of Palmyra during the 16th century....

 at Tadmur (Palmyra
Palmyra
Palmyra was an ancient city in Syria. In the age of antiquity, it was an important city of central Syria, located in an oasis 215 km northeast of Damascus and 180 km southwest of the Euphrates at Deir ez-Zor. It had long been a vital caravan city for travellers crossing the Syrian desert...

), the ancient capital of Zenobia
Zenobia
Zenobia was a 3rd-century Queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Roman Syria. She led a famous revolt against the Roman Empire. The second wife of King Septimius Odaenathus, Zenobia became queen of the Palmyrene Empire following Odaenathus' death in 267...

. The ruins of this castle still stand on a steep hill overlooking the town. Fakhr-al-Dīn became too strong for his Turkish sovereign in Constantinople. He went so far in 1608 as to sign a commercial treaty with Duke Ferdinand I of Tuscany
Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany
Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany was Grand Duke of Tuscany from 1587 to 1609, having succeeded his older brother Francesco I.-Biography:...

 containing secret military clauses. The Sultan then sent a force against him, and he was compelled to flee the land and seek refuge in the courts of Tuscany
Tuscany
Tuscany is a region in Italy. It has an area of about 23,000 square kilometres and a population of about 3.75 million inhabitants. The regional capital is Florence ....

 and Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

 in 1614.

In 1618 political changes in the Ottoman sultanate had resulted in the removal of many enemies of Fakhr-al-Din from power, signaling the prince's triumphant return to Lebanon soon afterwards.

In 1632 Ahmad Koujak was named Lord of Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

. Koujak was a rival of Fakhr-al-Din and a friend of the sultan Murad IV
Murad IV
Murad IV Ghazi was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1623 to 1640, known both for restoring the authority of the state and for the brutality of his methods...

, who ordered Koujak and the sultanat navy to attack Lebanon and depose Fakhr-El-Din.

This time the prince decided to remain in Lebanon and resist the offensive, but the death of his son Ali in Wadi el-Taym was the beginning of his defeat. He later took refuge in Jezzine
Jezzine
Jezzine is a town in Lebanon, located from Sidon and south of Beirut. Surrounded by mountain peaks, pine forests, and at an average altitude of 950 m , it is the main summer resort and tourist destination of South Lebanon...

's grotto, closely followed by Koujak who eventually caught up with him and his family.

Fakhr-al-Din finally traveled to Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, appearing before the sultan, defending himself so skillfully that the sultan gave him permission to return to Lebanon.

Later, however, the sultan changed his orders and had Fakhr-al-Din and his family killed on 13 April 1635 in Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, the capital city of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, bringing an end to an era in the history of Lebanon, a country which would not regain its current boundaries, which Fakhr-al-Din once ruled, until Lebanon was proclaimed a republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 in 1920.

Fakhr-al-Din was the first ruler in modern Lebanon to open the doors of his country to foreign Western influences. Under his auspices the French established a khān (hostel) in Sidon, the Florentines a consulate, and Christian missionaries were admitted into the country. Beirut and Sidon, which Fakhr-al-Dīn beautified, still bear traces of his benign rule.

Shihab Dynasty



As early as the days of Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

, and while the Ma'ans were still in complete control over southern Lebanon, the Shihab tribe, originally Hijaz Arabs but later settled in Ḥawran, advanced from Ḥawran, in 1172, and settled in Wadi-al-Taym at the foot of Mt. Hermon. They soon made an alliance with the Ma'ans and were acknowledged as the Druze chiefs in Wadi-al-Taym. At the end of the 17th century (1697) the Shihabs succeeded the Ma'ans in the feudal leadership of Druze southern Lebanon, although they reportedly professed Sunni Islam, they showed sympathy with Druzism, the religion of the majority of their subjects.

The Shihab leadership continued until the middle of the 19th century and culminated in the illustrious governorship of Amir Bashir Shihab II
Bashir Shihab II
Bashir Chehab II was a Lebanese emir who ruled Lebanon in the first half of the 19th century.-Life:Bashir was born 2 January 1767 , son of Emir Qasim ibn Umar Chehab of the noble Chehab family which had came to power in 1697...

 (1788–1840) who, after Fakhr-al-Din, was the most powerful feudal lord Lebanon produced. Though governor of the Druze Mountain, Bashir was a crypto-Christian, and it was he whose aid Napoleon solicited in 1799 during his campaign against Syria.

Having consolidated his conquests in Syria (1831–1838), Ibrahim Pasha
Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt
Ibrahim Pasha was the eldest son of Muhammad Ali, the Wāli and unrecognised Khedive of Egypt and Sudan. He served as a general in the Egyptian army that his father established during his reign, taking his first command of Egyptian forces was when he was merely a teenager...

, son of the viceroy of Egypt, Muhammad Ali Pasha, made the fatal mistake of trying to disarm the Christians and Druzes of the Lebanon and to draft the latter into his army. This was contrary to the principles of the life of independence which these mountaineers had always lived, and resulted in a general uprising against Egyptian rule. The uprising was encouraged, for political reasons, by the British. The Druzes of Wadi-al-Taym and Ḥawran, under the leadership of Shibli al-Aryan, distinguished themselves in their stubborn resistance at their inaccessible headquarters, al-Laja, lying southeast of Damascus.

Qaysites and the Yemenites



The conquest of Syria by the Muslim Arabs in the middle of the seventh century introduced into the land two political factions later called the Qaysites and the Yemenites
Yemenites
Yemenites can be either:* Citizens of Yemen or persons residing in Yemen* Yemenite Jews, a minority group within Israel...

. The Qaysite party represented the Ḥijaz and Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 Arabs who were regarded as inferior by the Yemenites who were earlier and more cultured emigrants into Syria from southern Arabia. Druzes and Christians grouped in political rather than religious parties so the party lines in Lebanon obliterated racial and religious lines and the people grouped themselves regardless of their religious affiliations, into one or the other of these two parties. The sanguinary feuds between these two factions depleted, in course of time, the manhood of the Lebanon and ended in the decisive battle of Ain Dara in 1711, which resulted in the utter defeat of the Yemenite party. Many Yemenite Druzes thereupon immigrated to the Hawran region and thus laid the foundation of Druze power there.

Civil War of 1860


The Druzes and their Christian Maronite neighbors, who had thus far lived as religious communities on friendly terms, entered a period of social disturbance in the year 1840, which culminated in the civil war of 1860
1860 Lebanon conflict
The 1860 Lebanon conflict was the culmination of a peasant uprising which began in the north of Lebanon as a rebellion of Maronite peasants against their Druze overlords. It soon spread to the south of the country where the rebellion changed its character, with Druze turning against the Maronite...

.

After the Shehab dynasty converted to Christianity, the Druze community and feudal leaders came under attack from the regime with the collaboration of the Catholic Church, and the Druze lost most of their political and feudal powers. Also, the Druze formed an alliance with Britain
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 and allowed Protestant missionaries to enter Mount Lebanon, creating tension between them and the Catholic Maronites, who were supported by the French.

The Maronite-Druze conflict in 1840–60 was an outgrowth of the Maronite Christian independence movement, directed against the Druze, Druze feudalism and the Ottoman-Turks. The civil war was not therefore a religious war, except in Damascus, where it spread and where the vastly non-Druze population was anti-Christian. The movement culminated with the 1859–60 massacre and defeat of the Christians by the Druzes. The civil war of 1860 cost the Christians some ten thousand lives in Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, Zahlé
Zahlé
Zahlé is the capital and largest city of Beqaa Governorate, Lebanon. With around 50,000 inhabitants, it is the fourth largest city in Lebanon, after Beirut, Tripoli and Jounieh...

, Deir al-Qamar, Hasbaya
Hasbaya
Hasbeya or Hasbeiya is a town in Lebanon, situated about 36 miles to the west of Damascus, at the foot of Mount Hermon, overlooking a deep amphitheatre from which a brook flows to the Hasbani. In 1911, the population was about 5000....

 and other towns of Lebanon.

The European powers then determined to intervene, and authorized the landing in Beirut of a body of French troops under General Beaufort d'Hautpoul
Charles-Marie-Napoléon de Beaufort d'Hautpoul
Charles-Marie-Napoléon de Beaufort d'Hautpoul was a French general of the 19th century. He was born in Naples, Italy, where his father for a Colonel in the Génie...

, whose inscription can still be seen on the historic rock at the mouth of Nahr al-Kalb
Nahr al-Kalb
The Nahr al-Kalb is a river in Lebanon. It runs for from a spring in Jeita near the Jeita Grotto to the Mediterranean Sea.-Historical significance:...

. French intervention on behalf of the Maronites did not help the Maronite national movement, since France was restricted in 1860 by Britain, which did not want the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 dismembered. But European intervention pressured the Turks to treat the Maronites more justly. Following the recommendations of the powers, the Ottoman Porte granted Lebanon local autonomy, guaranteed by the powers, under a Christian governor. This autonomy was maintained until World War I.

Rebellion in Hauran



The Hauran rebellion was a violent Druze uprising against Ottoman authority in the Syrian province, which erupted in 1909. The rebellion was led by al-Atrash family in an aim to gain independence, but ended in brutal suppression of the Druze, significant depopulation of the Hauran region and execution of the Druze leaders in 1910.

Modern history


In Lebanon, Syria, and Israel, the Druze have official recognition as a separate religious community with its own religious court system. Druze are known for their loyalty to the countries they reside in, though they have a strong community feeling, in which they identify themselves as related even across borders of countries.

Despite their practice of blending with dominant groups in order to avoid persecution and because the Druze religion doesn't endorse separatist sentiments, urging the Druze to blend with the communities they reside in, nevertheless the Druze have had a history of brave resistance to occupying powers, and they have at times enjoyed more freedom than most other groups living in the Levant.

In Syria


In Syria, most Druze live in the Jebel al-Druze, a rugged and mountainous region in the southwest of the country, which is more than 90 percent Druze inhabited; some 120 villages are exclusively so.

The Druze always played a far more important role in Syrian politics than its comparatively small population would suggest. With a community of little more than 100,000 in 1949, or roughly three percent of the Syrian population, the Druze of Syria's southeastern mountains constituted a potent force in Syrian politics and played a leading role in the nationalist struggle against the French. Under the military leadership of Sultan Pasha al-Atrash, the Druze provided much of the military force behind the Syrian Revolution of 1925–1927. In 1945, Amir Hasan al-Atrash, the paramount political leader of the Jebel al-Druze, led the Druze military units in a successful revolt against the French, making the Jebel al-Druze the first and only region in Syria to liberate itself from French rule without British assistance. At independence the Druze, made confident by their successes, expected that Damascus would reward them for their many sacrifices on the battlefield. They demanded to keep their autonomous administration and many political privileges accorded them by the French and sought generous economic assistance from the newly independent government.

Well-led by the Atrash household and jealous of their reputation as Arab nationalists and proud warriors, the Druze leaders refused to be beaten into submission by Damascus or cowed by threats. When a local paper in 1945 reported that President Shukri al-Quwatli (1943–1949) had called the Druzes a "dangerous minority", Sultan Pasha al-Atrash flew into a rage and demanded a public retraction. If it were not forthcoming, he announced, the Druzes would indeed become "dangerous" and a force of 4,000 Druze warriors would "occupy the city of Damascus." Quwwatli could not dismiss Sultan Pasha's threat. The military balance of power in Syria was tilted in favor of the Druzes, at least until the military build up during the 1948 War in Palestine. One advisor to the Syrian Defense Department warned in 1946 that the Syrian army was "useless", and that the Druzes could "take Damascus and capture the present leaders in a breeze."

During the four years of Adib Shishakli
Adib Shishakli
Adib ibn Hasan Shishakli was a Syrian military leader and President of Syria .Born into a notable Syrian-Kurdish family of Hama, Shishakli served with the French Army during the mandate era...

's rule in Syria (December 1949 to February 1954) (on August 25, 1952: Adib al-Shishakli created the Arab Liberation Movement (ALM), a progressive party with pan-Arabist and socialist views), the Druze community was subjected to a heavy attack by the Syrian regime. Shishakli believed that among his many opponents in Syria, the Druzes were the most potentially dangerous, and he was determined to crush them. He frequently proclaimed: "My enemies are like a serpent: the head is the Jebel al-Druze, the stomach Homs
Homs
Homs , previously known as Emesa , is a city in western Syria and the capital of the Homs Governorate. It is above sea level and is located north of Damascus...

, and the tail Aleppo. If I crush the head the serpent will die." Shishakli dispatched 10,000 regular troops to occupy the Jebel al-Druze. Several towns were bombarded with heavy weapons, killing scores of civilians and destroying many houses. According to Druze accounts, Shishakli encouraged neighboring bedouin tribes to plunder the defenseless population and allowed his own troops to run amok.

Shishakli launched a brutal campaign to defame the Druzes for their religion and politics. He accused the entire community of treason, at times claiming they were agents of the British and Hashimites
Hashemite
Hashemite is the Latinate version of the , transliteration: Hāšimī, and traditionally refers to those belonging to the Banu Hashim, or "clan of Hashim", a clan within the larger Quraish tribe...

, at others that they were fighting for Israel against the Arabs. He even produced a cache of Israeli weapons allegedly discovered in the Jabal. Even more painful for the Druze community was his publication of "falsified Druze religious texts" and false testimonials ascribed to leading Druze sheikhs designed to stir up sectarian hatred. This propaganda also was broadcast in the Arab world, mainly Egypt. Shishakli was assassinated in Brazil on September 27, 1964 by a Druze seeking revenge for Shishakli's bombardment of the Jebel al-Druze.

He forcibly integrated minorities into the national Syrian social structure, his "Syrianization" of Alawite
Alawite
The Alawis, also known as Alawites, Nusayris and Ansaris are a prominent mystical and syncretic religious group centred in Syria who are a branch of Shia Islam.-Etymology:...

 and Druze territories had to be accomplished in part using violence, he declared: "My enemies are like serpent. The head is the Jabal Druze, If I crush the head the serpent will die" (Seale 1963:132).
To this end, al-Shishakli encouraged the stigmatization of minorities. He saw minority demands as tantamount to treason. His increasingly chauvinistic notions of Arab nationalism were predicated on the denial that "minorities" existed in Syria.
After the Shishakli's military campaign, the Druze community lost a lot of its political influence, but many Druze military officers played an important role when it comes to the Baathist
Baath Party
The Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party was a political party mixing Arab nationalist and Arab socialist interests, opposed to Western imperialism, and calling for the renaissance or resurrection and unification of the Arab world into a single state. Ba'ath is also spelled Ba'th or Baath and means...

 regime currently ruling Syria.

In Lebanon


The Druze community played an important role in the formation of the modern state of Lebanon, and even though they are a minority they played an important role in the Lebanese political scene. Before and during the Lebanese Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

 (1975–1990), the Druze were in favor of Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification--or, sometimes, close cooperation and solidarity against perceived enemies of the Arabs--of the countries of the Arab world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism, which asserts that the Arabs...

 and Palestinian resistance represented by the PLO. Most of the community supported the Progressive Socialist Party
Progressive Socialist Party
The Progressive Socialist Party or PSP , also known as Parti Socialiste Progressiste in French, is a political party in Lebanon. Its current leader is Walid Jumblatt...

 formed by the Lebanese leader Kamal Jumblatt
Kamal Jumblatt
Kamal Jumblatt ; was an important Lebanese politician. He was the main leader of the anti-government forces in the Lebanese Civil War until his assassination in 1977. He is the father of the present Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt.-Family background and education:Kamal Jumblatt was born in...

 and they fought alongside other leftist and Palestinian parties against the Lebanese Front
Lebanese Front
The Lebanese Front or Front libanais in French, also known as the "Kufur Front", was a coalition of mainly Christian parties formed in 1976, during the Lebanese Civil War...

 that was mainly constituted of Christians. After the assassination of Kamal Jumblatt on March 16, 1977, his son Walid Jumblatt
Walid Jumblatt
Walid Jumblatt is a Lebanese politician and the current leader of the Progressive Socialist Party . He is the most prominent leader of Lebanon's Druze community.-Family:...

 took the leadership of the party and played an important role in preserving his father's legacy and sustained the existence of the Druze community during the sectarian bloodshed that lasted until 1990.

In August 2001, Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir toured the predominantly Druze Chouf region of Mount Lebanon and visited Mukhtara, the ancestral stronghold of Druze leader Walid Jumblatt. The tumultuous reception that Sfeir received not only signified a historic reconciliation between Maronites and Druze, who fought a bloody war in 1983-1984, but underscored the fact that the banner of Lebanese sovereignty had broad multi-confessional appeal and was a cornerstone for the Cedar Revolution
Cedar Revolution
The Cedar Revolution or Independence Intifada was a chain of demonstrations in Lebanon triggered by the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri on February 14, 2005.The primary goals of the original activists were the...

.
The second largest political party supported by Druze is the Lebanese Democratic Party
Lebanese Democratic Party
The Lebanese Democratic Party is a political party in Lebanon established by Prince Talal Arslan in 2001...

 led by Prince Talal Arslan
Talal Arslan
-Political career:Arslan was elected to the Lebanese Parliament as a deputy of the Aley District in 1991, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2009. From 1990 to 1992 he was the Lebanese Minister of Tourism, from 1996 to 1998 he was Minister of Emigrants and served as Minister of State twice from 2000 to 2003 and...

 the son of Lebanese independence hero Prince Magid Arslan. Many Druze also support the Syrian Social Nationalist Party
Syrian Social Nationalist Party
The Syrian Social Nationalist Party , is a secular nationalist political party in Lebanon and Syria. It advocates the establishment of a Syrian nation state spanning the Fertile Crescent, including present day Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, the Palestinian Territories, Israel, Cyprus, Kuwait,...

.

Beliefs of the Druze


The Druze are considered to be a social group as well as a religious sect, but not a distinct ethnic group. Also complicating their identity is the custom of Taqiya—concealing or disguising their beliefs when necessary—that they adopted from Shia Islam and the esoteric nature of the faith, in which many teachings are kept secretive. Druze in different states can have radically different lifestyles. Some claim to be Muslim, some do not. The Druze faith is said to abide by Islamic principles, but they tend to be separatist in their treatment of Druze-hood, and their religion differs from mainstream Islam on a number of fundamental points.

Druze does not allow conversion to the religion. Marriage between Druze and non-Druze is strongly discouraged for religious, political and historical reasons.

God in the Druze faith


The Druze conception of the deity is declared by them to be one of strict and uncompromising unity. The main Druze doctrine states that God is both transcendent
Transcendence (religion)
In religion transcendence refers to the aspect of God's nature which is wholly independent of the physical universe. This is contrasted with immanence where God is fully present in the physical world and thus accessible to creatures in various ways...

 and immanent
Immanence
Immanence refers to philosophical and metaphysical theories of divine presence, in which the divine is seen to be manifested in or encompassing of the material world. It is often contrasted with theories of transcendence, in which the divine is seen to be outside the material world...

, in which he is above all attributes but at the same time he is present.

In their desire to maintain a rigid confession of unity, they stripped from God all attributes (tanzīh
Tanzih
Tanzih is an Islamic religious concept meaning transcendence. In Islamic theology, two opposite terms are attributed to Allah: tanzih and tashbih.The latter means 'nearness, closeness, accessibility'....

) which may lead to polytheism
Polytheism
Polytheism is the belief of multiple deities also usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own mythologies and rituals....

  (shirk). In God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

, there are no attributes distinct from his essence. He is wise, mighty, and just, not by wisdom, might and justice, but by his own essence. God is "the whole of existence", rather than "above existence" or on his throne, which would make him "limited." There is neither "how", "when", nor "where" about him; he is incomprehensible.

In this dogma, they are similar to the semi-philosophical, semi-religious body which flourished under Al-Ma'mun
Al-Ma'mun
Abū Jaʿfar Abdullāh al-Māʾmūn ibn Harūn was an Abbasid caliph who reigned from 813 until his death in 833...

 and was known by the name of Mu'tazila and the fraternal order of the Brethren of Purity
Brethren of Purity
The Brethren of Purity were a secret society of Muslim philosophers in Basra, Iraq, in the 10th century CE....

 (Ikhwan al-Ṣafa).

Unlike the Mu'tazilla, however, and similar to some branches of Sufism
Sufism
Sufism or ' is defined by its adherents as the inner, mystical dimension of Islam. A practitioner of this tradition is generally known as a '...

, the Druze believe in the concept of Tajalli (meaning "theophany
Theophany
Theophany, from the Ancient Greek , meaning "appearance of God"), refers to the appearance of a deity to a human or other being, or to a divine disclosure....

"). Tajalli, which is more often misunderstood by scholars and writers and is usually confused with the concept of incarnation
Incarnation
Incarnation literally means embodied in flesh or taking on flesh. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient creature who is the material manifestation of an entity, god or force whose original nature is immaterial....

,

...is the core spiritual beliefs [sic] in the Druze and some other intellectual and spiritual traditions.... In a mystical sense, it refers to the light of God experienced by certain mystics who have reached a high level of purity in their spiritual journey. Thus, God is perceived as the Lahut [the divine] who manifests His Light in the Station (Maqaam
Maqaam
Maqaam or maqaamat , translating to "stations" in arabic, is a term that references the various stages a Sufi's soul must attain in its search for God. The stations are derived from the most routine considerations a Sufi must deal with on a day to day basis and is essentially an embodiment of both...

) of the Nasut [material realm] without the Nasut becoming Lahut. This is like one's image in the mirror: one is in the mirror but does not become the mirror. The Druze manuscripts are emphatic and warn against the belief that the Nasut is God.... Neglecting this warning, individual seekers, scholars, and other spectators have considered al-Hakim and other figures divine.



...In the Druze scriptural view, Tajalli 'takes a central stage.' One author comments that Tajalli occurs when the seeker's humanity is annihilated so that divine attributes and light are experienced by the person."


The concept of God incarnating either as or in a human seems "to contradict with what the Druze scriptural view has to teach about the Oneness of God, while tajalli [sic] is at the center of the Druze and some other, often mystical, traditions."

Esotericism


The Druze believe that many teachings given by prophets, religious leaders and holy books have esoteric meanings preserved for those of intellect, in which some teachings are symbolic
Symbolism
Symbolism is the applied use of symbols. It is a representation that carries a particular meaning. It is a device in literature where an object represents an idea.A symbol is an object, action, or idea that represents something other than itself....

 and allegorical
Allegory
Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

 in nature, and divide the understanding of holy books and teachings into three layers.
These layers, according to the Druze, are:
  • The obvious or exoteric
    Exoteric
    Exoteric refers to knowledge that is outside of and independent from anyone's experience and can be ascertained by anyone. Compare Common sense. It is distinguished from internal esoteric knowledge. Exoteric relates to "external reality" as opposed to one's own thoughts or feelings. It is knowledge...

     (zahir
    Zahir (Islam)
    According to some Muslim groups, zahir is the exoteric or apparent meaning of the Quran. In other words, this refers to interpretations of Quranic doctrine that are conducted by normal human beings...

    ), accessible to anyone who can read or hear;
  • The hidden or esoteric (batin
    Batin (Islam)
    Batin is defined as the interior or hidden meaning of the Quran. This is in contrast to the Quran's exterior or apparent meaning . Some Muslim groups believe that the Batin can only be fully understood and interpreted by a figure with esoteric knowledge, who for Shi'a Muslims is the Imam of the...

    ), accessible to those who are willing to search and learn through the concept of (exegesis
    Exegesis
    Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

    ); and
  • The hidden of the hidden, a concept known as anagoge
    Anagoge
    Anagoge is a Greek word suggesting a "climb" or "ascent" upwards. The anagogical is a method of spiritual interpretation of literal statements or events, especially the Scriptures....

    , inaccessible to all but a few really enlightened individuals who truly understand the nature of the universe.


Unlike some Islamic esoteric movements, known as the batinids
Batiniyya
Batiniyya is a pejorative term to refer to those groups, such as Alevism, Ismailism, and often Sufism, which distinguish between an inner, esoteric level of meaning in the Qur'an, in addition to the outer, exoteric level of meaning Zahiri...

 at that time, the Druzes don't believe that the esoteric meaning abrogates or necessarily abolishes the exoteric one. Hamza bin Ali refutes such claims by stating that if the esoteric interpretation of taharah (purity) is purity of the heart and soul, it doesn't mean that a person can discard his physical purity, as salah (prayer) is useless if a person is untruthful in his speech and that the esoteric and exoteric meanings complement each other.

Precepts of the Druze faith


The Druze follow seven precepts that are considered the core of the faith, and are perceived by them as the essence of the pillars of Islam.
The Seven Druze precepts are:
  1. Veracity in speech and the truthfulness of the tongue.
  2. Protection and mutual aid to the brethren in faith.
  3. Renunciation of all forms of former worship (specifically, invalid creeds) and false belief.
  4. Repudiation of the devil (Iblis), and all forces of evil (translated from Arabic Toghyan meaning "despotism
    Despotism
    Despotism is a form of government in which a single entity rules with absolute power. That entity may be an individual, as in an autocracy, or it may be a group, as in an oligarchy...

    ").
  5. Confession of God's unity.
  6. Acquiescence in God's acts no matter what they be.
  7. Absolute submission and resignation to God's divine will in both secret and public.

Religious symbol


The Druze strictly avoid iconography
Iconography
Iconography is the branch of art history which studies the identification, description, and the interpretation of the content of images. The word iconography literally means "image writing", and comes from the Greek "image" and "to write". A secondary meaning is the painting of icons in the...

 but use five colors as a religious symbol: green, red, yellow, blue, and white. Each color pertains to a metaphysical power called , literally meaning a limit, as in the limits that separate humans from animals, or the powers that makes the animal body human. Each is color coded in the following manner: green for "the Universal Mind/Nous
Nous
Nous , also called intellect or intelligence, is a philosophical term for the faculty of the human mind which is described in classical philosophy as necessary for understanding what is true or real, very close in meaning to intuition...

", red for "the Universal Soul/Anima mundi
Anima Mundi
Anima mundī is Latin meaning "the soul of the world" which can refer to:*Anima mundi, the soul of the world*Anima Mundi , a 1991 documentary film directed by Godfrey Reggio*Anima Mundi , a Brazilian video and film festival...

", yellow for "the Word/Logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

", blue for "the Potentiality/Cause/Precedent", and white for "the Future/Effect/Immanence
Immanence
Immanence refers to philosophical and metaphysical theories of divine presence, in which the divine is seen to be manifested in or encompassing of the material world. It is often contrasted with theories of transcendence, in which the divine is seen to be outside the material world...

". The mind generates qualia
Qualia
Qualia , singular "quale" , from a Latin word meaning for "what sort" or "what kind," is a term used in philosophy to refer to subjective conscious experiences as 'raw feels'. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, the experience of taking a recreational drug, or the...

 and gives consciousness. The soul embodies the mind and is responsible for transmigration and the character of oneself. The word which is the atom of language communicates qualia
Qualia
Qualia , singular "quale" , from a Latin word meaning for "what sort" or "what kind," is a term used in philosophy to refer to subjective conscious experiences as 'raw feels'. Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, the experience of taking a recreational drug, or the...

 between humans and represent the platonic forms in the sensible world. The and is the ability to perceive and learn from the past and plan for the future and predict it.

The colors can be arranged in a vertically descending stripes or a five-pointed star
Five-pointed star
A five-pointed star is a very common ideogram throughout the world. If the colinear edges are joined together a pentagram is produced, which is the simplest of the unicursal star polygons, and a symbol of mystical and magical significance....

. The stripes is a diagrammatic cut of the spheres in neoplatonic philosophy while the five pointed star embodies the golden ratio
Golden ratio
In mathematics and the arts, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.61803398874989...

, phi
Phi
Phi may refer to:In language:*Phi, the Greek letter Φ,φ, the symbol for voiceless bilabial fricativeIn mathematics:*The Golden ratio*Euler's totient function*A statistical measure of association reported with the chi-squared test...

, as a symbol of temperance and a life of moderation.
==ʻUqqāl and Juhhāl
The Druze are divided into two groups. The largely secular majority, called al-Juhhāl (جهال) ("the Ignorant") are not granted access to the Druze holy literature or allowed to attend the initiated Uqqals religious meetings. They are around 80% of the Druze population and are not obliged to follow the ascetic traditions of the Uqqal.

The initiated religious group, which includes both men and women (about 20% of the population), is called al-ʻUqqāl (عقال), ("the Knowledgeable Initiates"). They have a special mode of dress designed to comply with Quranic traditions. Women can opt to wear al-mandīl, a loose white veil
Veil
A veil is an article of clothing, worn almost exclusively by women, that is intended to cover some part of the head or face.One view is that as a religious item, it is intended to show honor to an object or space...

, especially in the presence of other people. They wear al-mandīl on their heads to cover their hair and wrap it around their mouths and sometimes over their noses as well. They wear black shirts and long skirts covering their legs to their ankles. Male ʻuqqāl grow mustaches, and wear dark Levantine/Turkish traditional dresses, called the shirwal, with white turbans that vary according to the Uqqals hierarchy.

Al-ʻuqqāl have equal rights to al-Juhhāl, but establish a hierarchy of respect based on religious service.The most influential 5% of Al-ʻuqqāl become Ajawīd, recognized religious leaders, and from this group the spiritual leaders of the Druze are assigned. While the Shaykh al-ʻAql, which is an official position in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel, is elected by the local community and serves as the head of the Druze religious council, judges from the Druze religious courts are usually elected for this position. Unlike the spiritual leaders, the Shaykh al-ʻAql's authority is local to the country he is elected in, though in some instances spiritual leaders are elected to this position.

The Druze believe in the unity of God, and are often known as the "People of Monotheism" or simply "Monotheists". Their theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 has a Neo-Platonic view about how God interacts with the world through emanations and is similar to some gnostic
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

 and other esoteric
Esotericism
Esotericism or Esoterism signifies the holding of esoteric opinions or beliefs, that is, ideas preserved or understood by a small group or those specially initiated, or of rare or unusual interest. The term derives from the Greek , a compound of : "within", thus "pertaining to the more inward",...

 sects. Druze philosophy also shows Sufi influences.

Druze principles focus on honesty, loyalty, filial piety
Filial piety
In Confucian ideals, filial piety is one of the virtues to be held above all else: a respect for the parents and ancestors. The Confucian classic Xiao Jing or Classic of Xiào, thought to be written around 470 BCE, has historically been the authoritative source on the Confucian tenet of xiào /...

, altruism
Altruism
Altruism is a concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of 'others' toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism is the opposite of...

, patriotic sacrifice, and monotheism
Monotheism
Monotheism is the belief in the existence of one and only one god. Monotheism is characteristic of the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Druzism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Samaritanism, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism.While they profess the existence of only one deity, monotheistic religions may still...

. They reject tobacco smoking
Tobacco smoking
Tobacco smoking is the practice where tobacco is burned and the resulting smoke is inhaled. The practice may have begun as early as 5000–3000 BCE. Tobacco was introduced to Eurasia in the late 16th century where it followed common trade routes...

, alcohol
Alcoholic beverage
An alcoholic beverage is a drink containing ethanol, commonly known as alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are divided into three general classes: beers, wines, and spirits. They are legally consumed in most countries, and over 100 countries have laws regulating their production, sale, and consumption...

, consumption of pork
Pork
Pork is the culinary name for meat from the domestic pig , which is eaten in many countries. It is one of the most commonly consumed meats worldwide, with evidence of pig husbandry dating back to 5000 BC....

, and marriage to non-Druze. Also, in contrast to most Islamic sects, the Druze reject polygamy
Polygamy
Polygamy is a marriage which includes more than two partners...

, believe in reincarnation
Reincarnation
Reincarnation best describes the concept where the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, is believed to return to live in a new human body, or, in some traditions, either as a human being, animal or plant...

, and are not obliged to observe most of the religious rituals. The Druze believe that rituals are symbolic and have an individualistic effect on the person, for which reason Druze are free to perform them, or not. The community does celebrate Eid al-Adha, however, considered their most significant holiday.

Ethnic origins


The Druze faith extended to many areas in the Middle East, but most of the surviving modern Druze can trace their origin to the Wadi al-Taymour in South Lebanon, which is named after an Arab tribe Taymour-Allah (formerly Taymour-Allat) which, according to Islamic historian, al-Tabari
Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari
Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari was a prominent and influential Sunni scholar and exegete of the Qur'an from Persia...

, first came from Arabia into the valley of the Euphrates
Euphrates
The Euphrates is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia. Together with the Tigris, it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia...

 where they were Christianized prior to their migration into the Lebanon. Many of the Druze feudal families whose genealogies have been preserved by the two modern Syrian chroniclers Haydar al-Shihabi and al-Shidyaq
Ahmad Faris Shidyaq
Ahmad Faris Shidyaq was an Ottoman scholar, writer and journalist. Maronite by birth, he converted to Protestantism and then to Islam. He is considered to be one of the founding fathers of modern Arabic Literature.-Biography:Mystery shrouds the life of Ahmad Faris Shidyaq...

 seem also to point in the direction of this origin. Arabian tribes emigrated via the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 and stopped in Iraq on the route that was later to lead them to Syria. The first feudal Druze family, the Tanukh family, which made for itself a name in fighting the Crusaders, was, according to Haydar al-Shihabi, an Arab tribe from Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 where it occupied the position of a ruling family and apparently was Christianized.

The Tanukhs must have left Arabia as early as the second or third century A.D. The Ma'an
Ma'an
Ma'an is a town in southern Jordan 218 km away from the capital Amman. It is the capital of Ma'an Governorate. Ma'an has a population of around 50,000. The city had a population of 22,989 in the 1992 census and is estimated as being about 50,000 as of 2007 according to the Ma'an Municipality...

 tribe, which superseded the Tanukhs and produced the greatest Druze hero in history, Fakhr-al-Din, had the same traditional origin. The Talhuq family and 'Abd-al-Malik, who supplied the later Druze leadership, have the same record as the Tanukhs. The Imad family
Imad
While Imad is a common Arabic male name and means in the military sense, the "Chief Commander" respectively "Top-Ranking Officer/General" the addition of "AL" at the beginning indicates clearly the originally Druze Feudal Family IMAD/Al-Imad in the Chouf region of Mount Lebanon.- Ethical Origin...

 is named for al-Imadiyyah--the Kurdish town of Amadiya, northeast of Mosul
Mosul
Mosul , is a city in northern Iraq and the capital of the Ninawa Governorate, some northwest of Baghdad. The original city stands on the west bank of the Tigris River, opposite the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh on the east bank, but the metropolitan area has now grown to encompass substantial...

 inside Kurdistan, and, like the Jumblatts, is thought to be of Kurdish origin. The Arsalan family claims descent from the Hirah Arab kings, but the name Arsalan (Persian and Turkish for lion) suggests Persian influence, if not origin.

The 1911 edition of Encyclopedia Britannica states that the Druzes are "a mixture of refugee stocks, in which the Arab largely predominates, grafted on to an original mountain population of Aramaic blood."

Nevertheless, many scholars formed their own hypotheses: for example, Lamartine (1835) discovered in the modern Druzes the remnants of the Samaritans; Earl of Carnarvon
Henry Herbert, 3rd Earl of Carnarvon
Henry John George Herbert, 3rd Earl of Carnarvon FRS , known as Lord Porchester from 1811 to 1833, was a British writer, traveller and politician....

 (1860), those of the Cuthites
Cuthites
The Cuthites were a people living in Samaria around 500 BC, and were to blame for the postponing of the 2nd temple, in the reign of Cyrus the Great...

 whom Esarhaddon
Esarhaddon
Esarhaddon , was a king of Assyria who reigned 681 – 669 BC. He was the youngest son of Sennacherib and the Aramean queen Naqi'a , Sennacherib's second wife....

 transplanted into Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

; Professor Felix von Luschan
Felix von Luschan
Felix Ritter von Luschan was an Austrian doctor, anthropologist, explorer, archaeologist and ethnographer.Note that the Ritter is not part of the name but a title, equivalent to the English knight or baronet.-Life:...

 (1911), according to his conclusions from anthropometric measurements, makes the Druze, Maronites
Maronites
Maronites , is an ethnoreligious group in the Middle East that have been historically tied with Lebanon. They derive their name from the Syriac saint Mar Maron whose followers moved to Mount Lebanon from northern Syria establishing the Maronite Church....

, and Alawites of Syria, together with the Bektashis, 'Ali-Ilahis
Ahl-e Haqq
The Ahl-e Haqq or Yârsân , are members of a religion founded by Sultan Sahak in the late 14th century in western Iran. The total number of members is estimated at around 1,000,000, primarily found in western Iran and Iraq, mostly ethnic Kurds and Laks, though there are also smaller groups of Luri,...

, and Yezidis of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and Persia, the modern representatives of the ancient Hittites
Hittites
The Hittites were a Bronze Age people of Anatolia.They established a kingdom centered at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia c. the 18th century BC. The Hittite empire reached its height c...

.

During the 18th century, there were two branches of Druze living in Lebanon: the Yemeni Druze, headed by the Hamdan
Hamdan
Hamdan is a name of Arab origin. Among people named Hamdan include:*Al-Hamdan, famous Druze family*Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Yemeni Guantanamo detainee, driver and bodyguard of Osama bin Laden*Gibran Hamdan, quarterback for the Buffalo Bills...

 and Al-Atrash families; and the Kaysi Druze, headed by the Jumblat and Arsalan families.

The Hamdan
Al-Hamdan
Al-Hamdan or Hamdan is a famous Druze family. They were banished from Lebanon after the Battle of Ain Dara in 1711 and were among the first to migrate to Jabal ad-Duruz in Southern Syria. But half of them stayed in Lebanon, and many where known to be from the government and men of law, and they...

 family was banished from Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon
Mount Lebanon , as a geographic designation, is a Lebanese mountain range, averaging above 2,200 meters in height and receiving a substantial amount of precipitation, including snow, which averages around four meters deep. It extends across the whole country along about , parallel to the...

 following the battle of Ain Dara in 1711. This battle was fought between two Druze factions: the Yemeni and the Kaysi. Following their dramatic defeat, the Yemeni faction migrated to Syria in the Jebel-Druze region and its capital, Soueida. However, it has been argued that these two factions were of political nature rather than ethnic, and had both Christian and Druze supporters.

Genetics


In a 2005 study of ASPM gene variants, Mekel-Bobrov et al. found that the Israeli Druze people of the Carmel region
Mount Carmel
Mount Carmel ; , Kármēlos; , Kurmul or جبل مار إلياس Jabal Mar Elyas 'Mount Saint Elias') is a coastal mountain range in northern Israel stretching from the Mediterranean Sea towards the southeast. Archaeologists have discovered ancient wine and oil presses at various locations on Mt. Carmel...

 have among the highest rate of the newly evolved ASPM haplogroup D
Haplogroup D
Haplogroup D may refer to:* Haplogroup D , a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup* Haplogroup D , a human Y-chromosome haplogroup...

, at 52.2% occurrence of the approximately 6,000-year-old allele. While it is not yet known exactly what selective advantage is provided by this gene variant, the haplogroup D allele is thought to be positively selected in populations and to confer some substantial advantage that has caused its frequency to rapidly increase.

According to DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

 testing, Druze are remarkable for the high frequency (35%) of males who carry the Y-chromosomal haplogroup L
Haplogroup L (Y-DNA)
In human genetics, Haplogroup L is a Y-chromosome DNA haplogroup.-Origins:Haplogroup L is associated with South Asia. It has also been found at low frequencies among populations of Central Asia, Southwest Asia, and Southern Europe along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea...

, which is otherwise uncommon in the Mideast (Shen et al. 2004). This haplogroup originates from prehistoric South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

 and has spread from Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 into southern Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

.

Cruciani in 2007 found E1b1b1a2 (E-V13) [one from Sub Clades of E1b1b1a1 (E-V12)] in high levels (>10% of the male population) in Turkish Cypriot and Druze Arab lineages. Recent genetic clustering analyses of ethnic groups are consistent with the close ancestral relationship between the Druze and Cypriots, and also identified similarity to the general Syrian and Lebanese populations, as well as a variety of Jewish lineages (Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Iraqi, and Moroccan) (Behar et al 2010).

Also, a new study concluded that the Druze harbor a remarkable diversity of mitochondrial DNA lineages that appear to have separated from each other thousands of years ago. But instead of dispersing throughout the world after their separation, the full range of lineages can still be found within the Druze population.

The researchers noted that the Druze villages contained a striking range of high frequency and high diversity of the X haplogroup
Haplogroup X (mtDNA)
In human mitochondrial genetics, Haplogroup X is a human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup. It has a widespread global distribution but no major regions of distinct localization.-Origin:...

, suggesting that this population provides a glimpse into the past genetic landscape of the Near East
Near East
The Near East is a geographical term that covers different countries for geographers, archeologists, and historians, on the one hand, and for political scientists, economists, and journalists, on the other...

 at a time when the X haplogroup was more prevalent.

These findings are consistent with the Druze oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

, that claims that the adherents of the faith came from diverse ancestral lineages stretching back tens of thousands of years.

Israeli Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 member Ayoob Kara
Ayoob Kara
Ayoob Kara is a Druze Israeli politician. He is currently a member of the Knesset for Likud and Deputy Minister for Development of the Negev and Galilee. He lives in Isfiya, Haifa District....

, a Druze himself, speculated that the Druze are descended from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel, probably Zebulun
Tribe of Zebulun
According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Zebulun was one of the Tribes of Israel....

. Kara stated that the Druze share many of the same beliefs as Jews, and that he has genetic evidence to prove that the Druze were descended from Jews.

That was after the Israeli author Tsvi Misinai
Tsvi Misinai
Tsvi Jekhorin Misinai is an Israeli researcher, author, historian, computer scientist and entrepreneur. A former pioneer of the Israeli software industry, he now spends most of his time researching and documenting the common Hebrew roots shared by world Jewry and the Palestinians .-Biography:Tsvi...

 claimed that the cultural and genetic background of Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s living west of the Jordan River, proved that the majority of them descended from the Jewish nation,and that the genetic cluster of Druze coincides closely with those of the Samaritans, and is very close to the genetic clusters of Ashkenazim, Sephardim, and Jews from the Caucasus, but he asserted that such findings do not prove Kara's conclusion since several Jewish villages in Palestine converted to Druze faith which means the samples can be linked to those lineages and not a broad Druze linkage.
Further reading
  • Sakr Abu Fakhr: "Voices from the Golan"; Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 29, No. 4 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 5–36.
  • Jean-Marc Aractingi et Christian Lochon , Secrets initiatiques en Islam et rituels maçonniques-Ismaéliens, Druzes, Alaouites,Confréries soufies; éd. L'Harmattan, Paris, 2008 (ISBN 978-2-296-06536-9 ).
  • Rabih Alameddine: I, the Divine: A Novel in First Chapters, Norton (2002). ISBN 0-393-32356-0.
  • B. Destani, ed.: Minorities in the Middle East: Druze Communities 1840–1974, 4 volumes, Slough: Archive Editions (2006). ISBN 1840971657.
  • R. Scott Kennedy: "The Druze of the Golan: A Case of Non-Violent Resistance"; Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Winter, 1984), pp. 48–6.
  • Dr. Anis Obeid: The Druze & Their Faith in Tawhid, Syracuse University Press (July 2006). ISBN 0815630972.
  • Shmuel Shamai: "Critical Sociology of Education Theory in Practice: The Druze Education in the Golan"; British Journal of Sociology of Education, Vol. 11, No. 4 (1990), pp. 449–463.
  • Samy Swayd: The Druzes: An Annotated Bibliography, Kirkland, Washington: ISES Publications (1998). ISBN 0966293207.
  • Bashar Tarabieh: "Education, Control and Resistance in the Golan Heights"; Middle East Report, No. 194/195, Odds against Peace (May–Aug., 1995), pp. 43–47.

External links
Sources

Communities

Other links