- Published: Friday, 09 December 2016 05:01
Druze;Anglicized forms of Arabic Durüz). The name of a community of hill people that live in Southern Lebanon, Syria and Israel. The outstanding feature of these people has been their ability to preserve their closed culture and religious beliefs for a thousand years; never big in number (probably about 250,000), they have survived the Crusades and local persecution.
The Druzes permit no intermarriage or conversion to other faiths, nor do they admit any who are not born into the community. Most commentators suggest that the religion was first taught in Cairo, about 1017 CE, by a tribal chief named Hamza ibn ‘Ali ibn Ahmad and a follower named Darazi, from whom the Druzes derived their name. The Druzes believe that al-Hakim, as he was called, did not die, but vanished, and will one day return to begin a new golden age.
The Druze religion is kept secret from all outsiders and detailed descriptions are not available, but it appears that they have close affinity with early Gnosticism and teach reincarnation.