Druze Religion

This religion also known as the Unitarium Druze religion and has approximately 2 million adherents throughout Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan with a small number outside the Middle East.

It is practiced within the Arabic, Hebrew and French languages.

It is said to have started as an offshoot to Islam and is somewhat similar to Shia beliefs incorporating Gnostic, neo-Platonic and other philosophies.

The main scriptures for the religion are Rasa’il al-hikman (Epistles of Wisdom) and the Qur’an.

The religion was founded by a Persian Ismailic mystic and scholaer Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad in 1014.

However, in 1021 to 1026 there was a massacre of tens of thousands of Druze.

The Druze were one of the main combatants that the Crusaders had to deal with and were a reason that the crusades failed.

Once again in 1305 a fatwa was issued by the Mamluk Sultans of Egypt against the Druze.

The Druze and Christians lived together harmoniously for centuries but there was social disturbance in 1840 which resulted in a civil war of 1860. This civil war was provoked by the Ottoman Sultan in an attempt to divide and conquer.

As noted in Wikipedia, 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 which is concealing or disguising their beliefs when necessary. This they adopted from Shia Islam, also 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 faith is said to abide by Islamic principles, but they tend to be separatist and their religion differs from mainstream Islam on a number of fundamental points.

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