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Megan
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« on: May 05, 2007, 03:06:18 am »



Druze star


The Druze (Arabic: درزي, derzī or durzī, plural دروز, durūz; Hebrew: דרוזים, Druzim; also transliterated Druz or Druse) are a Middle Eastern religious community whose traditional religion began as an offshoot of the Ismaili sect of Islam, but is unique in its incorporation of Gnostic, neo-Platonic and other philosophies. Druze consider themselves theologically as "an Islamic Unist, reformatory sect",[1] although they may or may not be recognized as Muslim by some Muslim groups[citation needed]. The Druze call themselves Ahl al-Tawhid ("People of Monotheism") or al-Muwahhidūn ("Monotheists"). The origin of the name Druze is traced to Nashtakin ad-Darazi, one of the first preachers of the religion.

Location

The Druze reside primarily in Syria and Lebanon, with smaller communities in Israel and Jordan.

Large communities of expatriate Druze also live outside the Middle East, in the United States, Canada, Latin America, West Africa, Australia and Europe. They use the Arabic language and follow a social pattern very similar to the East Mediterraneans of the region. While most Druze consider themselves Arabs, some living in Israel do not.[2]

There are thought to be as many as 1 million Druze worldwide, the vast majority in the Levant or East Mediterranean.[3] However, some estimates of the total Druze population have been as low as 450,000.
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Megan
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2007, 03:07:59 am »

History

Druze history goes back to the middle ages when the Druze religion began to develop. A noted traveler Benjamin of Tudela wrote about the Druze in his diary in 1167. He describes the Druze as "Mountain dwellers, monotheists, [who] believe in soul transfigurations and are good friends with the Jews".

In the 11th century AD, Druze religious thought further developed through the Ismaili sect, a sub group of Shia Islam. The religion did not attempt to change mainstream Islam but to create a whole new religious body influenced by Greek philosophy and Gnosticism, including a form of reincarnation, where Druze reincarnate as future descendents.[citation needed] They keep their theology secretive, although it is known that they believe in one God and seven prophets - Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and Muhammad bin Ismail Nashtakin ad-Darazi. They revere Jethro and make an annual pilgrimage to his tomb at the Horns of Hittin.

Druzes believe the Fātimid caliph al-Hakim, who ruled over Egypt (985–1021), to be an actual incarnation of God. The first to hold that view was a man called Hasan ibn Haidara al-Ahram, an Ismaili Da'i and courtier of al-Hakim. After his assassination, his cause was taken up by the Persian immigrant Hamza ibn ˤAlī ibn Aḥmad, who in a 1017 letter demanded that all officers and courtiers should acknowledge divinity of al-Hakim and the previous Fatimid Caliphs and Ismaili Imams. Hamza became the actual architect of the group.

It remains unclear whether al-Hakim shared these views, but he at least tolerated Hamza's activities. However, Hakim disappeared one night in 1021 under still unclear circumstances. According to historical research, he was most probably assassinated on orders of his older sister. The Druze however believe that Hakim went into occultation and will return in the end of days as the Qā'im "Ariser" or Mahdi "Guider".

After Hakim's disappearance, the Druze were forced to take to taqiyya, the practice of concealing their true beliefs common among Ismailis. They outwardly accepted the religious beliefs of those amongst whom they lived even as they secretly retained their true convictions.

Hamza was succeeded as leader by a young Turk called Nashtakin ad-Darazi, after whom the Druzes take their name.

The Druze have played major roles in the history of the Levant. They were mostly scattered in the Chouf Mountains, which are part of Mount Lebanon (known for some time as the Mount of the Druzes), and later the eponymous Jabal al-Durūz (Mount of the Druzes) in Syria. In 1860, Druzes committed massacres of Maronite Christians.

The Druze also played a major role in the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990). They organized a militia under the leadership of Walid Jumblatt (son of Kamal Jumblatt), in opposition to the Maronite Christian Phalangist militia of Bachir Gemayel in the Mount Lebanon area (especially the Chouf) where the Druze militia were successful in winning the war. A peace treaty was then signed between the Druze and Maronite leaders which has enabled them to live peacefully together and later become allies.
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Megan
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2007, 03:10:42 am »

Genetic testing

According to DNA testing, Druze are remarkable for their high frequency (35%) of males who carry the Y-chromosomal haplogroup L, which is very rare in the Mideast. (Shen et al 2004) [1]. This haplogroup originates from around prehistoric India.


The Druze today

In Lebanon, Syria and Israel, the Druze have official recognition as a separate religious community with its own religious court system. Their symbol is an array of five colors: green, red, yellow, blue and white. Each color pertains to a symbol defining its principles: green for ˤAql "the Universal Mind", red for Rūħ "the Universal Soul", yellow for Kalima "the Truth/Word", blue for Sabq "the Antagonist/Cause" and white for Talī "the Protagonist/Effect". These principles are why the number five has special considerations among the religious community; it is usually represented symbolically as a five-pointed star.


In Israel
 


Daliyat Al-Karmel, Israeli Memorial to 355 Druze killed while fighting for Israel

In Israel, Druze usually identify themselves as Arabs (but not as Palestinians).[5] In 1996, Azzam Azzam, a Druze Israeli businessman, was accused by Egypt of spying for Israel and was imprisoned for eight years. The Israeli government denied this accusation.

However, many Druze living in the Golan Heights consider themselves Syrian and refuse Israeli citizenship, while the remainder consider themselves Israeli. In general elections, the majority of Druze villages have similar voting patterns as the general public.

Israeli Druze also serve in the Israeli army, voluntarily since 1948, and—at the community's request[citation needed]—compulsorily since 1956. Their privileges and responsibilities are the same as those of Israeli Jews; thus, all Druze are drafted, but exemptions are given for religious students and for various other reasons. Most recently in the 2006 Lebanon War, the all-Druze Herev [sword] Battalion, through their knowledge of the Lebanese terrain, suffered no casualties and are reported to have killed 20 Hezbollah fighters, triggering suggestions that the battalion will be transformed into an elite unit[6].

In January 2004, the spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel, Shaykh Mowafak Tarif, signed a declaration calling on all non-Jews in Israel to observe the Seven Noahide Laws as laid down in the Bible and expounded upon in Jewish tradition. The mayor of the Galilean city of Shfaram also signed the document.[citation needed] The declaration includes the commitment to make a "...better humane world based on the Seven Noahide Commandments and the values they represent commanded by the Creator to all mankind through Moses on Mount Sinai."[citation needed]

Support for the spread of the Seven Noahide Commandments by the Druze leaders reflects the biblical narrative itself. The Druze community reveres the non-Jewish father-in-law of Moses, Jethro, whom Muslims call Shuˤayb. According to the biblical narrative, Jethro joined and assisted the Jewish people in the desert during the Exodus, accepted monotheism, but ultimately rejoined his own people. In fact, the tomb of Jethro near Tiberias is the most important religious site for the Druze community.[7] It has been claimed that the Druze are actually descendents of Jethro.
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Megan
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2007, 03:15:00 am »

List of Druze

The list of Druze includes Druze persons who are notable in their areas of expertise.
•   
Arts
•   Ovadia Alkara - Israeli-American painter
Literature
•   Shakib Arslan
•   Yussef Abdul-Samad - Lebanese-American poet
•   Naim Araidi - Israeli poet and literary scientist
•   Nadia Hamadeh-Tueni - French poet, sister to Marwan Hamadeh, mother of Gebran Tueni
Media
•   Rafik Halabi - Israeli media manager
•   Casey Kasem (Kamal Amin Kasem) - Lebanese-American radio presenter
•   Grand Master Sensei Harry Hamzy - Ketsu-ka style Martial arts
Music
•   Asmahan (Amal Al Atrache) - Syrian-Egyptian female vocalist
•   Farid Al Attrach - Syrian-Egyptian male vocalist
•   Bahjat Hamadeh - Lebanese male vocalist and oudist, discovered Fairuz
•   Sharif - Israeli male vocalist
•   fahed balan - Syrian male
•   rami ayash - Lebanese male
•   asala yousef - Israeli female
•   talea hamdan - Lebanese poet

Politics
•   Sultan Pasha al-Atrash (1885-1982), Commander of the Syrian Revolt of 1925-1927
•   Shakib Arslan
•   Ghazi Aridi - Lebanese minister
•   Emir Magid Arslan - Lebanese politician
•   Emir Faysal Arslan - Lebanese politician
•   Emir Talal Arslan - Lebanese member of parliament
•   Asaad Asaad - Israeli member of parliament and army colonel
•   Shafik Asaad - Israeli member of parliament
•   Zeidan Atashi - Israeli member of parliament and diplomat
•   Fakhreddin II (1572-1635) - Lebanese regent
•   Salah-Hassan Hanifes - Israeli member of parliament
•   Farid Hamadeh - Popular Druze Leader exiled to Paris with General Michael Aoun
•   Mahmoud Hamadeh - Assassinated Prosecutor General
•   Marwan Hamadeh - Lebanese Member of Parliament
•   Kamal Jumblatt - Lebanese minister
•   Walid Jumblatt - Lebanese member of parliament
•   Ayoob Kara - Israeli vice-speaker of the Knesset
•   Laviv-Hussein Abu-Rochan - Israeli member of parliament
•   Jabr Moade - Israeli vice-minister
•   Mohamed Naffa - Israeli member of parliament
•   Amal Nasereldeen - Israeli member of parliament
•   Salah Tarif - Israeli minister and army captain
•   Majalli Whbee - Israeli member of parliament and lieutenant-colonel in the army
•   Reda Mansour - Israeli diplomat
•   Wiaam Wahab - A Lebanese Politician and Former-Minister.
Religion
•   Hamza ibn-'Ali ibn-Ahmad - Early Druze leader
•   Bahjat Ghayth - Lebanese religious leader
•   Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah - Early Druze leader
•   Abu Hassan Aref Halalwi - Lebanese religious leader
•   Bahjat Hamadeh - Evangelical religious leader
•   Amin Tarif - Israeli religious leader
•   Mowafak Tarif - Israeli religious leader

Sheikh Ameer Tareef
Sheikh Ameen Tareef was born in 1898 in the village of Julis, located in the Upper Western Galilee in Israel. Ameen was the youngest son in his religious family, which had four sons and two daughters. Ameen graduated his studies after the fourth grade (the highest grade of the elementary school at that time). In 1911, at the age of 31, he went to Hilwat El Biada, the regional center for studies of the Druze religion, near the town of Hatzbaya, at the feet of Mount Hermon in Lebanon. There he studied the basics of the religion until the year 1918.
After his return to his village Julis, the Sheikh adapted a life of abstinence from luxury and lived modestly from growing grains for his own needs. In 1928, after the death of his father, Sheikh Muhammad Tareef, of blessed memory, who has been sending as the leader of the Druze community for 40 years, it was decided to appoint Ameen as the successor to his father. This was in spite of his refusal and the refusal of a minority from the community.
Sheikh Ameen led the Druze people as their religious and spiritual leader until the day of his death, on 2/10/1993. His death was a great loss to the Druze community in Israel, the Middle East and in the rest of the world. A unique funeral with over 150 thousand participants, Druze and others, took place on 4/10/1993. Among others, present in the funeral were the President of the State of Israel, Mr. Ezer Weitzman, the late Prime Minister, Mr. Yitzchak Rabin, the Chairman of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) and other Members of the Knesset. Simultaneously, additional ceremonies took place in different places in Syria and Lebanon in the presence of tens of thousands Druze.
Others
•   Azzam Azzam - Israeli textile worker, convicted for espionage in Egypt
•   Bader Hassan - Lebanese Guitarist
[/color]
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Megan
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2007, 03:16:51 am »

Beliefs of the Druze

The Druze faith keeps its tenets secret. They are publicly open about very few details of their faith (they practice taqiyya) and they do not accept converts and strongly discourage conversion from their religion to another. This is due to many religious, political, and historical reasons: the Druze were violently and brutally persecuted for centuries by other religious communities.

The Druze believe in the unity of God, hence their preference for the name "People of Monotheism" or "Monotheists". Their theology has a Neo-Platonic view about how God interacts with the world through emanations and is similar to some gnostic and other esoteric sects. They are not, however, influenced by the Sufi philosophy, as many believe. The Druze believe in reincarnation and are pantheistic.

The principles of the Druze faith are: guarding one's tongue (honesty), protecting one's brother, respecting the elderly, helping others, protecting one's homeland, and belief in one God. Another well-known feature of the Druze religion is a fervent belief in human-only reincarnation for all the members of the community. They reject polygamy, tobacco smoking, alcohol, or consumption of pork, although pork and alcohol may be consumed in many non-religious and/or al-Juhhāl households.

Druze religion does not allow them to intermarry with Muslims, Jews, or members of any other religions.

It is also known that Druze believe in five cosmic principles, represented by the five colored Druze star: intelligence/reason (green), soul (red), word (yellow), precedent (blue), and immanence (white). These virtues take the shape of five different spirits which, until recently, have been continuously reincarnated on Earth as prophets and philosophers including Adam, the ancient Greek mathematician and astronomer Pythagoras, and the ancient Pharaoh of Egypt Akhenaten, and many others. The Druze believe that, in every time period, these five principles were personified in five different people who came down together to Earth to teach humans the true path to God and nirvana, but that with them came five other individuals who would lead people away from the right path into "darkness".

The Druze believe in prophets like Adam, Muhammed (mohamad), Noah (Nūħ), Abraham (Ibrāhīm), Sarah, Jacob (Yaˤqub), Moses (Mūsā), Solomon (Sulaymān), John the Baptist (Yahya), and Jesus (Isā) and Jethro, or Shuayb. They also believe in the wisdom of classical Greek philosophers such as Plato and Pythagoras, who have the same stature as other prophets. In addition, they have an array of "wise men" that founded the religion in the 11th century.

Individual prayer does not exist. Druze are not required to follow the Muslim duties of prayer, fasting, or pilgrimage to Mecca. However, they may have to be inclined to.

One of the faith's holy books is called the Kitābu l-Ħikma or "Book of Wisdom", largely compiled by a mysterious figure called al-Muqtana. It has six volumes and is compiled in chapters, each covering a specific issue. The teachings denounce materialism, especially materialism relative to religion. The sacred books of the Druzes, successfully hidden from the world for eight centuries, have since the middle of the 19th century found their way into European libraries. [8]

As the religion is surrounded in secrecy (Arabic: باطنية i.e. internal 'not to be declared') a strict system is followed to hide the articles and sacred books of Druze.
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Megan
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2007, 03:18:06 am »

ˤUqqāl and Juhhāl

The Druze are split into two groups. The outer group, called al-Juhhāl (جهال), "the Ignorant", are not granted access to the secret Druze holy literature. They form the Druze political and military leadership and generally distance themselves from religious issues. They comprise perhaps 90% of the Druze.

The inner group are called al-ˤUqqāl (عقال), "the Knowledgeable Initiates". Women are considered especially suitable to become ˤUqqāl; they are regarded to be spiritually superior to men.

Druze women who are ˤuqqāl can opt to wear al-mandīl, a transparent loose white veil, especially in the presence of religious figures. They wear al-mandīl on their head to cover their hair and wrap it around their mouth and sometimes over their nose as well. They wear black shirts and long skirts covering their legs to their ankles. Male ˤuqqāl grow moustaches, shave their heads, and wear dark clothing with white turbans.

The ˤuqqāl themselves are also divided into two groups; about 10% are al-Ajawīd, a term that means "The Good Ones (diminutive)". They are the leaders of the spiritual life of the Druze.

Druze places of worship are usually very modest and the Ajawīd lead very modest lifestyles. Prayer is usually conducted discreetly, among family and friends. There is little official hierarchy in the religious community except for the Shaykh al-ˤAql, whose role is more political and social than religious. A religious figure is admired for his wisdom and lifestyle.

Contradictory literature surrounds the Druze mainly due to adopted beliefs that were used to protect them from persecutors and due to the rumors and stories of outsiders. For example, it is still unclear to most outsiders whether the Druze follow the same traditions of fasting as Muslims in the month of Ramadan. This is because the Druze have followed these traditions for centuries in order to protect themselves. Many orthodox Druze hold that they should not follow these traditions, but should follow a different fasting tradition still practiced by religious figures instead. The Druze have other fasting traditions, such as fasting during the ten days before Eid ul-Adha, the last night of which is spent in prayer. The Druze fast is more difficult than the traditional Ramadan fast in that only one light meal is allowed in the evening.
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Mark of Australia
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2007, 01:55:36 pm »

Hi Megan

Great info on the Druze ,are you a Druze or something ?  Tongue
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Megan
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2007, 07:49:14 pm »

Hi Mark,

No, I'm Jewish.  I do have some Druze friends, though, and have always been curious about their beliefs.  To me, they are a lot more palatable than the beliefs of your typical Muslim.
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Mark of Australia
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« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2007, 08:34:15 am »

Hi Megan ,

Jewish? cool,  there are a few Jews here I have noticed. Do you say Jew  and Jewess ?? I have heard that said.

I am Australian with British and Italian heritage.

That is an interesting feature of the Druze religion - that not only do they not try to convert others,you can't get in even if you wanted to!  Smiley
« Last Edit: May 12, 2007, 08:35:56 am by Mark Ponta » Report Spam   Logged
julia
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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2007, 09:41:26 pm »

Dear Megan:
How do you know typical muslims??I know alot of muslims(my friends) who have nothing to do with any terorism or they even dont cover their heads.there are aBillion muslims in the world and couple of them terorists dont make all of the muslimsterorist.dont be prejudgemental..and prejudicial..
You have to know peopleto tell them"typical "muslim..I am orthodox christian and I know lots of people who are muslims and they are very peaceful..
With Love and Peace.-julia
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Megan
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« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2007, 10:07:36 pm »

Julia,

I never said all Muslims are terrorists, I said:

Quote
I do have some Druze friends, though, and have always been curious about their beliefs.  To me, they are a lot more palatable than the beliefs of your typical Muslim.

I was talking about Druze beliefs as opposed to Islamic beliefs. And I still stand by it.

If you think it's prejudicial to have an opinion on other people'e beliefs, then you will be lecturing half the world and good luck to you.

And yes, I do know many, many Muslims, too.  Some cover their heads and some don't.  If you only know westernized Muslims, perhaps you are the one who should broaden your experience.


Megan
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