The Druze are an Arabic-speaking people of the Middle East.
There are more than 500,000 Druze. About half of them live in the Hauran districts of Syria. Most of the rest live in Lebanon and about 40,000 live in Israel. Some have emigrated to the United States and Canada.
The Druze practice a religion related to Islam but is more based on philosophy. Al-Hakim, a ruler of Egypt during the 11th century sponsored the religion which was created by Hamza bin Ali.The name Druze probably comes from Darazi, a preacher who was expelled from the druze movement, because he preached that Al-Hakim was literary God.
The Druze are considered to be a social group as well as a religion, 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 and immanent, 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) which may lead to polytheism (shirk). In God, 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 and was known by the name of Mu’tazila and the fraternal order of the Brethren of Purity (Ikhwan al-Ṣafa).
Last updated: September 2, 2014 at 10:15 am
Back to Worldreligions
Back to Home