In This Article Druze

  • Introduction
  • General Overviews
  • Bibliographies and Reference Works
  • Customs and Traditions
  • Family and Personal Law
  • Gender Roles
  • Education
  • Druze Leaders and Druze-Related Figures
  • Fundamental Beliefs and Practices
  • Theosophy
  • Doctrine of Reincarnation
  • Manuscripts
  • Sages and Shrines

Islamic Studies Druze
by
Hussam Timani
  • LAST REVIEWED: 10 May 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 May 2011
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195390155-0104

Introduction

The emergence of the Druze faith occurred in 1017 CE when the Fatimid ruler al-Hakim bi Amrillah (r. 996–1021 CE) instructed missionaries to propagate for a new era of Tawhid (Unitarianism). Although the call (daʿwa) to the new faith had originated in Fatimid Cairo, the Druzes can be found today in Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and Jordan, in addition to a few thousand members in Europe, North America, and Latin America. Their total number ranges between 1.5 and 2 million. The Druzes have a distinct set of beliefs and practices, and their manuscripts, kutub al-hikma (wisdom books), are a collection of epistles and correspondence between luminaries. The influence of the Qurʾan and Greek, Persian, and Indian philosophies are apparent in the Druze manuscripts and faith. Among the Druze manuscripts is a collection entitled the Epistles of India, suggesting that some of these luminaries had visited India. Based on these philosophies, the Druzes explain their worldview of the absolute, the human attitude toward nature, and life after death.

General Overviews

Bouron 1952 and Silvestre de Sacy 1964 provide a comprehensive overview of the Druze sect and history. Because of the secretive nature of the sect, Western scholars lacked access to primary sources, especially Druze manuscripts that were inaccessible to non-Druzes. Therefore, misconceptions and confusions caused by Orientalist scholars gave rise to a more recent and Druze-oriented scholarship to correct and clarify these misconceptions. For instance, Abu Izzeddin 1993 and Firro 1999 are given credit for their attempts to correct the misconceptions. Betts 1988 is a fair and balanced work on the Druze history and political significance in the region, Hitti 2008 provides a controversial account of the origin of the sect, Khuri 2004 offers an account on the hierarchy of religious and political leaders, and Salibi 2005 compiles the works of different scholars on the Druzes.

  • Abu Izzeddin, Nejla M. The Druzes: A New Study of their History, Faith, and Society. Leiden, The Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1993.

    E-mail Citation »

    Deals primarily with the history, faith, ethics, and society of the Druzes. Issues such as racial origins, Druze habitats, Druze society, and Druze women are also addressed. Also included are biographies and synopses of leading Druze religious and political figures.

  • Betts, Robert Benton. The Druze. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988.

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    Provides a brief history of the Druze faith, traditions, and society and a wealth of primary and secondary sources on the Druze’s history and their political significance in the Middle East. This book also provides valuable demographic data on the Druze in the region.

  • Bouron, Narcisse. Translated by Fred Massey. Druze History. Detroit: Massoud, 1952.

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    A translation into English from the Arabic version of the original French text. The book discusses the Druze origin with a foreword by the translator F. I. Massey.

  • Firro, Kais. A History of the Druzes. Leiden, The Netherlands: E.J. Brill, 1999.

    E-mail Citation »

    Discusses the early history of the Druzes, with emphasis on the religious, political, and social features that shaped the subsequent manifestation of the Druze community. It also examines the interaction of the Druze community with its environment and the community’s internal sociopolitical development.

  • Hitti, Philip K. Origins of the Druze People and Religion. Beirut, Lebanon: Saqi Books, 2008.

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    Covers the literature on the origin and history of the Druze and includes a few samples of their sacred literature. Also gives a brief overview of the principal articles of Druze belief and some interesting accounts on their social and historical development and folklore.

  • Khuri, Fuad Ishaq. Being a Druze. London: Druze Heritage Foundation, 2004.

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    Discusses the Druze faith and its influence on its adherents and describes the strong in-group feeling within the Druze community. Also provides a map designating Druze settlements in the Middle East and describes the hierarchy of religious and political leaders within the Druze community.

  • Salibi, Kamal S. The Druze: Realities and Perceptions. London: Druze Heritage Foundation, 2005.

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    Compiles the works of an array of scholars from different parts of the world who join in a multidisciplinary effort to study and integrate available knowledge and perceptions regarding the Druze as a religious community and historical society.

  • Silvestre de Sacy, Antoine Isaac. Expose de la Religion des Druzes. 2 vols. Paris: Librairie-Orient-Edition, 1964.

    E-mail Citation »

    (Exposition of the religion of the Druzes.) Examines the origins of the Druze faith and provides interesting interpretations of the doctrine of the sect’s founders. Originally published in 1838.

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