Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Religious Societies : The Druze

Prophet Shoaib shrine no.2 at Tiberias
Today the Druze Arab community in Israel is celebrating the feast of Prophet Shoaib/Jethro today , some of them already claim that they are the descendants of Prophet Shoaib where they visit what they believe to be his shrine near Tiberias lake despite there is another shrine in Jordan.
It is not easy to speak about the Druze sect because simply since its founding in the middle ages in Egypt it considered secrecy as part of system becoming one of the most secret societies in history thanks to the rejection of other societies to them through time and also if we are speaking from a theological point of view , secrecy is taken from Shiite's Taqqiyya. People differ to identity the Druze as Muslim sect or as a separated religion , I believe they are more of sect that sprang from the Ismailism and due to political and geographical reasons it appears as a separate religion. Being supported by the controversial and ambiguous ruler Al-Hakim was enough
I did not know that Druze are different than Muslims or even what they are except when I read a fatwa from Dar El-Fat'a saying that a Muslim should not marry from the Druze sect except if that Druze man or woman converts , since then I tried to find more information about their beliefs and all what I find is either nothing except what it is allowed from the sect itself and what is said about them from another religions. I remember that I once read an article at Al Akhbar newspaper last year that claimed that the Ad-Darazi was the notorious tailor of crazy Al-Hakim who came from Persia and claimed the divinity of Al-Hakim leading a group of followers in to orgies !! The writer goes on says that the Egyptians were angry from both Ad-Darazi and Al-Hakim who was later by his sister's order and became the Druze's messiah where as Ad-Darazi escaped and his followers to Levant.The man claimed that Ad-Darazi comes from the word "El-Tarazi" which means a tailor !! Of course historically this story is totally proven to be wrong. 
Between myth and reality , between the history and present and between religion and politics it seems that the truth about Druze can't fully be discovered easily. Al Jazeera a wonderful and rare documentary that we all should admire about about the Druze in one hour despite there is no much said about the beliefs of the sect but at least they managed to film for the first time in the world : The Druze holy book El- Mithaq.By the way El-Mithaq can't be found in libraries and even if you find it you will not understand it because it is encoded and you need to be from the Uqqal in order to decode it.
I respect and admire the Druze whether in Syria or in Lebanon but honestly I do have mixed feelings towards the Druze of Arab 48 especially that Azzam Azzam is from them.
The Religious Societies : The Druze

I also found this very old documentary about the Druze from 1970s, it is called ' Life of the Bees'  , of course its quality is not good at all but its sound quality is great.

PBS also produced a documentary episode called "Contestant No.2" in its series Wide Angle last year about an Arab Druze girl who wants to join Miss Israel beauty pageant. Of course this time you will not find neutrality like the previous two documentaries , this is the traditional progressiveness against conservatism.
It is important to know each other now and respect our differences because minorities game is still there.


  1. There was a book chapter in Dr. Abdel-Rahman Badawi's book "The Doctrines of Muslims - مذاهب الاسلاميين" dedicated to The Druze. He based the chapter solely on manuscripts he found in European libraries and didn't depend on what their enemies say about them. However, that section has been taken out from latest editions of the book after receiving lots of complaints from the Druze. It is still available on the internet for anyone who looks for it.

  2. Very interesting post! I was once invited to a Druze wedding in Syria, it was strange, they had a five pointed star with the same colours you see in that top picture, everywhere. was uneasy, they all welcomed us, but we were clearly "outsiders". I would love to know more, but even Druze youngsters are not allowed to be initiated until they reach the age of forty.

  3. Very Useful and informative post. I've always wondered about them. Still the picture is not clear, I couldn't really figure out their origins, but still now I know much better about their life and traditions. Thank u for the post. :))

  4. The idea that Druze will only know their religion or can be initiated at the age of 40 is completely wrong! As a Druze person I hear this a lot but it is completely untrue. Also the religious book is called Al Hikma not El- Mithaq. And this 'Strange' five pointed star is not strange but the religious symbol.


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