Sunday, June 12, 2005

Keeping the Druze Secrets


Blogger The "B" Team said...

This Sheik lives in Daliat al Carmel village in Haifa. The Druse are a fiercely independent group concentrated in Lebanon around the base of Mount Hermon, and in the mountains behind Beirut and Sidon. A few villages are also located on the Golan Heights, in Syria and just inside the Northern border of Israel. I served in a Druze dominated Border Police unit in 2002.

Very little information is known about the Druse religion. It started in the 9th Century CE as a break-away group from Islam. Darazi (a preacher) and Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad (a Persian mystic) were instrumental in popularizing the religion. Darazi announced that God had manifested himself in human form as al-Hakim Bi-amr Allah, (985 or 996-1021 CE), a Muslim caliph from Cairo Egypt. The Druse now believe that Darazi distorted the message; he was, in essence, excommunicated and later executed. His writings are now considered blasphemous.

The Druse refer to themselves as Mowahhidoon (plural) or Mowahhid (singular) which means "monotheistic". Unfortunately, the rest of the world tends to refer to them as "Druze" or "Druse", a name derived from their fallen preacher Darazi.

After the death of their leader Baha al-Din in 1031 CE, their religion became exclusive: they do not accept converts; they do not marry outside their faith. They do not leave the faith. They currently total about 200 to 300 thousand members. The Druse keep their religion secret, and often pose as members of the locally dominant religion

June 13, 2005 at 9:32 PM  
Blogger Shira said...

Thanks for an excellent thumbnail summary of this little-known religion. It should help prevent a lot of confusion! The vow of secrecy taken by Mowahhidoon in an attempt to prevent persecution has led to the dissemination of much misinformation.


March 22, 2006 at 11:26 AM  

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