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Origins of the Druze People and Religion, by Philip K. Hitti, [1924], at

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Various Hypotheses:—As in the case of determining the racial origins of the Druze people, so in the case of ascertaining the origin of their religion, all kinds of theories, some curious and amusing, others fantastic and naïve, have been proposed. By different authors at different times the Druze religion was thought to be related to ancient Judaism, Samaritanism and Mandaeism. 1 Madame Blavatsky, the founder of theosophy, traces, in an early issue of The Theosophist, the Druze religion back to Tibetan Lamaism. 2 Others have declared the whole thing an "enigma hardly possible to explain." 3

Period of Concealment:—The difficulties in the way of reaching a thorough and scientific appreciation of the Druze religion are due to the scarcity of outside sources, to the secrecy with which the Druzes themselves practice their religious rites and mystic ceremonies, to the carefulness with which they guard their sacred writings against the profane, to the allegorical and esoteric character of the Arabic style of the few manuscripts which have fallen into our hands, and to the legitimate practice of taqiyyah, or dissimulation (according to which a member of this religion is free to profess publicly any other dogma or creed if therein lies the path of safety)—all these conspire to make the Druze riddle

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one of the most baffling in the history of religious thought. 1 According to Druze teaching, they are now, pending the "absence" of al-Ḥakīm, in a "period of concealment" (zamān al-sitr) and nothing of their religion should be divulged or promulgated.

Manuscripts:—Almost the only sources, therefore, consist o the manuscripts of a hundred or so texts, many of which are didactic and polemic treatises, which as a result of local disturbances in the Druze region, particularly the invasion of Ibrāhīm Pasha, 1831-1838, and the civil war of 1860, found their way into the hands of scholars. One of the first manuscripts to be carried into Europe was presented in 1700 to Louis XIV by a Syrian physician, and is now deposited in the Bibliothèque Nationale. Most of these manuscripts are written in a language which from the standpoint of diction, grammar and style is quite far from the language of the Koran and bristles with contradictory and obscure passages, cryptic phrases, and ambiguous words. The present study is based on twenty or more original manuscripts, many of which are in the Robert Garrett collection at Princeton University.

The Historical Setting:—Viewed as a distinct religious phenomenon, as an independent sphere of thought detached from its historical setting and background, Druzism does present somewhat of an enigma; but considered as an outgrowth of the Ismā‘īliyyah sect, which itself belonged to the ultra group of the Shī‘ah heterodoxies of Islam, and properly envisaged in the Moslem milieu out of which it arose and in which it developed, the Druze religion yields to analytical treatment and becomes comparatively easy of explanation.

Silvestre de Sacy, the father of Arabic scholarship in Europe, whose monumental work Exposé de la religion des Druzes (2 vols., Paris, 1838) has not yet been superseded though it appeared some

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ninety years ago and before many original sources were brought to light, gives us an excellent internal interpretation of the Druze religion but does not go far in disentangling the different fibers in the intricate and complex web of the system and in tracing them back to the remote origins in the various religions or philosophical and metaphysical schools of thought. And whereas many eminent scholars in recent times, chief among whom stands the late Ignacz Goldziher of the University of Budapest, have addressed themselves to the task of analyzing the component elements that entered into the composition of Sunni (orthodox) and Shī‘ite Islam, the Druze sect still remains without an interpreter in the field of the history of religion.


Whimsical Character of al-Ḥakīm:—The basic and distinctive dogma of Druze theology is the deification of the young Fāṭimite Caliph (996-1020).

Sunni Moslem historians, such as al-Dhahabi, ibn-al-Athīr, abu-al-Fida, ibn-al-Qalānisi, 1 al-Rūdhrāwari 2 and ibn-Khallikān, 3 remembering him as the heretic who abolished the five pillars of Islam and ordered the names of the early Caliphs associated with a curse in the public prayer, have portrayed him in terms of a medieval Nero, tyrannical and unbalanced to the point of mental derangement. The Christian historians, such as Yaḥya ibn-Sa‘īd, 4 al-Makīn 5 and Bar-Hebraeus, 6 associating his memory with the destruction of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem "leaving not one stone upon another" 7 and the revival of the old regulations,

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first enacted by the ‘Abbāsid al-Mutawakkil, which made it incumbent upon all Christians to wear distinctively colored clothes with heavy wooden crosses dangling from their necks, were equally merciless in his condemnation. Through Gibbon, 1 who paints quite a dark picture of al-Ḥakīm, the English-speaking world has become acquainted with him as a bizarre and whimsical character. What we have from the pen of these writers is not a portrait but a caricature.

The Druze writers, while not denying some of his excesses, interpret them allegorically and symbolically. 2 His freakishness only serves to intensify the belief in his superhuman character. His extraordinary conduct proves his divine nature.

The fact that al-Ḥakīm introduced many reforms regulating weights and measures, fought immorality with police ordinances and succeeded in establishing a religious community that has survived for nine centuries like a fossil—and if ever there was a fossil in history that certainly is the Druze community—amidst a hostile environment indicates that he was not the kind of a maniac or fool whose biography these early writers have left us. (See Appendix B.)

His Deification:—Strange as the apotheosis of al-Ḥakīm may seem—especially in view of the black picture left us by his biographies—yet the idea itself was not a novel one in Islam. Prior to the rise of Druzism, different Shī‘ah sects have held different shades of the belief that ‘Ali and his successor Imāms were infallible supernatural beings endowed to some degree with the divine essence. The Ismā‘īliyyah sect, from whose bosom Druzism sprang as did also the Assassins of Crusading fame, together with al-Qarāmiṭah, which between the ninth and twelfth centuries swept through Western Asia, had both venerated certain descendants of ‘Ali and hailed them as infallible rulers of the world.

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The step from that position to an incarnational philosophy of theism is not, indeed, a long one; and a few of the extremist (Ghulāt) Shī‘ah sects had taken it. In the polemic literature of Islam, and particularly in the works of al-Baghdādi 1 († 1037 A.D.), ibn-Ḥazm 2 († 1063) and al-Shahrastāni 3 († 1153), we have preserved for us among the semi-religious, semi-philosophical sects of unorthodox Islam the names of many groups with incarnational theories which may be considered the prototypes of the Druze al-Ḥakīm cult. First among these was al-Saba’iyyah, so called after a Jew who declared ‘Ali god. Al-Baghdādi 4 devotes a chapter to the incarnational sects (al-Ḥulūliyyah) and enumerates ten different ones.

The Nuṣayriyyah, who preceded the Druzes and had early contacts with them, as attested by the Druze manuscripts, 5 and who are represented until the present day by three villages 6 in the Druze district at Wādi-al-Taym, deify ‘Ali. 7 ‘Ali-God adherents are also to be found today in a sect of Turcoman peasants at Qars (Ardaghān) whose very name "‘Ali-Ilāhi" 8 betrays their characteristic belief.

Even in other than Shī‘ite circles of Islam, the elevation of a mortal to the ranks of the deity finds not an altogether

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uncommon expression. The case of the Safi al-Ḥallāj, 1 who was crucified in Baghdād in 922 A.D. because he identified himself with God, and his fellow self-deified Ṣūfi, al-Shalmaghāni, 2 who was beheaded also in Baghdād in 934 A.D., may be cited as illustrations.

Al-Ḥākim as the Messiah:—Having determined the antecedents of the Druze incarnational dogma in the preceding Islamic thought, our next task is to push back our query into the intellectual ancestry of that Islamic idea in the pre-Islamic realm of thinking. The influence of the Christian incarnation precedent must have been too widespread and too apparent to have escaped the attention of the early Moslem thinkers. The great ibn-Khaldūn and before him al-Shahrastāni 3 blame the incarnational Moslem heresy on Judaeo-Christian sects. Among modern Western scholars, de Sacy, 4 van Vloten 5 and Goldziher 6 have laid great stress on the Messianic tendencies in early Islam as the main source of Shī‘ism. In the case of the Druzes, Ḥamzah, of course, with an eye upon the Copts of Egypt and other Christians, goes so far as to declare al-Ḥakīm "the Messiah." 7

His argument in defense of deification is clever:—"If ye Christians and Jews believe that God spoke to Moses through a dry tree and, on another occasion, through a mountain . . ., is it not then meet to believe that our Lord [al-Ḥakīm] is a more worthy means through whom God manifests to the world his power and behind whom he conceals himself?" 8

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In the Druze catechism, al-Ḥakīm is repeatedly identified with "the living Messiah." 1 Likewise Bahā’-al-Dīn, in his turn, identifies Ḥamzah with the Messiah. 2 In his many epistles directed to the Christians, Bahā’-al-Dīn often calls the Christians "saints" and "assemblies of saints." (See Appendix D.)

A Series of Divine Incarnations:—The guiding thought of Druze theogony, as it was with the Ismā‘īliyyah, is the belief in a succession of divine manifestations through a progressive series. Hence with the Druzes, al-Ḥakīm is not only the incarnation of God but the final and most perfect manifestation, having been preceded by nine others among whom figure al-Bār (Barkhoda), ‘Ali and the ancestors of al-Ḥakīm in the Fāṭimite Caliphate.

According to a further development of this idea, the divine humanity of God, though it appears under different names in different countries and times, is essentially one and always the same in its diverse manifestations. The human figure serves only as a veil to hide the divine essence behind.

In contrast to the Druze ten successive incarnations, the Nuṣayriyyah believe in seven only, corresponding to the seven heavens and the seven planets. 3

To this same sphere of thought should be consigned the recent Bahā’i theory of divine manifestations which is an outgrowth of Bābi and Sheikhite ideas which in turn flourished in the fertile Shī‘ah soil of Persia. And as in modern Bahā‘ism so in ancient Druzism, resort is had to Pythagorean subtleties and to the occult art of manipulating letters and combinations of letters assigning cabalistic numerical values 4 to them in order to

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determine the periods that elapsed between one manifestation and the other.

The Disappearance and Triumphal Return of al-Ḥākim:—Closely allied to the incarnational theory, and working out as a corollary from it, was the belief in the immortal character of the Imām in whose case "disappearance" (ghaybah) takes the place of death and whose final "return" (raj‘ah) is expected so that he may lead his people in triumph to a new and happy age. When, therefore, al-Ḥakīm, on that fateful day in 1020 A.D., went on his usual promenade to the Muqaṭṭam hill just outside of the city of Cairo never to return—probably because he fell a victim to a plot prearranged by his sister Sitt-al-Mulk 1—his "admirers refused to believe in his death and began to expect his return." 2 They still hold that he is in a state of temporary occultation. History has preserved for us the names of few who on different occasions tried to impersonate the returned al-Ḥakīm. In his dramatic work entitled "The Return of the Druzes," Browning tells the story of one of these impostors.

This "hidden Imām" idea was carefully worked out by many of the extreme Shī‘ah sects prior to Druzism, and reached its most elaborate expression as a doctrine in the Ismā‘īliyyah group. Its psychological basis should surely be sought in the strong but unfulfilled desires and hopes of a persecuted and depressed people (as the Shī‘ah were under the Umayyads and ‘Abbāsids) with the supreme ambition for a saviour-leader whose coming shall usher in for them a new era of liberty and prosperity.

This Moslem Mahdi idea was subjected to Semitic Judaeo-Christian Messianic influences on the one hand, and, in its later development, to Iranian-Mandaean influences. The case of the prophet Elijah, called throughout the Christian East "the Living One" (al-Ḥay), was a prototype of the ever-living Imām. The stories of the assumption of Moses and the ascension of Isaiah in the non-canonical literature of the Bible might have served

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as stimuli. The expression of the "hidden Imām" Shī‘ite doctrine 1 was a reflex of Isaiah, chapter XI. The second advent of Christ was paralleled by the "return" of the Mahdi bringing politico-religious restoration. 2

Indo-Iranian Influences:—The problem of disentangling and sorting the different elements—labelling each Judaeo-Christian, Hellenistic or Zoroastrian—which went into the make-up of the historic Shī‘ah schisms is one bristling with difficulties and uncertainties. How much did Shī‘ah owe to western Neo-Platonic philosophies on the one hand, and how much to eastern Persian and Indian systems of thought on the other, is not always easy to ascertain at the present stage of research.

Modern European Semitic scholars, led by Ignacz Goldziher, have, however, been inclined to underrate the eastern influence. Certain French Persian scholars, on the other hand, such as E. Blochet and Baron Carra de Vaux 3 have tried to attribute to Persianizing influences a great many of the cardinal Shī‘ah beliefs. The former scholar traces the origin of the incarnational and Mahdi idea to Zoroastrian sources, Barham Amavand being the Iranian Messiah. 4

Further investigation will probably reveal that the Indo-Iranian influence on the rise and the development of the Shī‘ah sects was greater than we now realize. That such influence was clearly recognized by early Moslem scholars is evinced by the fact that al-Baghdādi, 5 for instance, goes so far as to exclude the Bāṭiniyyah, including the Qarāmiṭah and Ismā‘īliyyah, from the list of Moslem sects and to classify them under Majūs (Magians), i.e., Zoroastrians. A tradition (ḥadīth) puts in the mouth of the Prophet himself the following words: "The Qadarites are the Magians of my people." 6 Besides, there is no gainsaying the fact

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that Shī‘ah sprang up on Persian ‘Irāqi soil, that its chief protagonists have been mostly Persian, and that until the present day it constitutes the state religion of the kingdom of Persia.

In its further development the "return" doctrine (parousia) gave rise to interesting eschatological ideas to which unbridled human fancies contributed their fantastic share. According to Druze doctrine the "return" of al-Ḥakīm will result in the triumph of the Unitarian religion and the worldly reward of its adherents, who will thus become high office-holders, to the discomfiture and affliction of all infidels and apostates who are then metamorphosed into menial servants, swine and dogs. 1 This corresponds in general to the resurrection day.

Unitarians:—The Druze conception of the deity is declared by them to be one of strict and uncompromising unity. In their desire to maintain a rigid confession of unity they stripped from God all attributes (tanzīh) which may savor of, or lead into, polytheism (shirk). In Allah there are no attributes distinct from his essence. He is wise, mighty, just, &c., not by wisdom, might, justice, &c., but by his own essence. There is neither "how," "when" nor "where" about him: he is incomprehensible.

In this dogma, as in the others, the Druzes were no originators. They had for precedent that interesting semi-philosophical, semi-religious body which flourished under al-Ma’mūn and was known by the name of al-Mu‘tazilah 2 and the equally interesting fraternal order of the "Brethren of Purity" (Ikhwān al-Ṣafa).

The Druze favorite name for themselves is Muwaḥḥidūn 3—Unitarians—believers in one and only one God. In this they

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follow the precedent of the Mu‘tazilah who insisted on calling themselves "The People of Justice and Unity" (Ahl al-‘Adl w-al-Tawḥīd).


The Process of Emanation:—Having accepted the Allah of the Mu‘tazilah and "Brethren of Purity," already reduced to a flimsy abstraction, the Druze mind could not rest until it had personified God's mind, will, word, &c., and made separate beings out of each of them, constituting the five supreme ministers (Ḥudūd, literally, bounds or precepts).

The first one whom the primeval God created, and that by a process of emanation from himself, 1 was the "Universal Mind," Ḥamzah himself, the real founder of the Druze religion and its supreme pontiff who thus becomes the ruler of the universe. Even on the day of judgment he promotes and demotes whomsoever he pleases, a sort of proxy or demiurge for the divine Ḥākim. In the meantime an "Opposer" (Ḍudd2 is created by the same process of emanation, a kind of antagonist to the "Universal Mind," whose object it is to nullify the work of the Mind. This makes it necessary for God to create, by emanation from the "Universal Mind," a second minister—the "Universal Soul." This "Universal Soul" is in the position of a wife to the "Universal Mind," and from it emanates the "Word." By similar processes the "Right Wing" or "Precedent" and the "Left Wing" or "Follower" are brought into existence, the "Left Wing" being none other than al-Muqtana Bahā’-al-Dīn, the fifth and last supreme minister who stands at the head of a lower hierarchy 3 and whose multitudinous treatises and epistles, together

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with those of Ḥamzah, form the Druze sacred literature. This Bahā’-al-Dīn may have been of Christian origin 1 as his writings reveal unusual familiarity with the New Testament and Christian liturgy. (See Appendix E.)

The Neo-Platonic Source:—We are evidently here in the atmosphere of the "emanation" theory which characterizes both Neo-Platonic 2 and Gnostic schools of philosophy and which must have filtered into the Druze system through Qarāmiṭah and "Brethren of Purity" channels. According to Professor Scott in Hastings' Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, 3 "The first characteristic feature of Gnosticism is that at the head of the Universe stands a supreme God who is not so much a personal Deity as the abstract ground of all existence. From the supreme God there proceed a number of beings in a descending scale of dignity who are arranged in pairs, male and female."

The third minister, the "Word," is presumably an echo of the Christian Alexandrian Logos.

The doctrine of "Opposers," or the simultaneous revelation of the Deity in a good principle and an evil principle, parallels the Zoroastrian dualistic doctrine and reminds us of the Syzygy theory in the pseudo-Clementines. 4 The Zoroastrian influence is further shown by the reference to God as the "light" with the opposing principle as the "darkness." 5 A further working out of this same principle in the Druze system is in the case of the

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creation of the prophets where many of them have "Opposers." Adam for instance has Ḥārith ibn-Tarmāḥ against him. 1

Like Neo-Platonism and Gnosticism, the Nuṣayriyyah assume an agent of creation, a demiurge, in the person of ‘Ali. The Mufawwaḍiyyah 2 (the Believers in Entrusting) taught that God had entrusted Muḥammad with the creation and management of the universe, but Muḥammad in turn entrusted ‘Ali with the task. But the "Brethren of Purity" have perhaps contributed more than any one else towards the introduction into and the formulation of the emanation-demiurge idea in Islam, and that because through their religious philosophic works, 3 which were encyclopaedic in their character, they not only gave technical expression in Arabic to the foreign concepts involved but popularized the concepts and gave the expressions currency.

Inferior Ministers:—Below the five superior ministers and standing in a subordinate position to them are three orders of minor ministers which we may term: "Propagator" (Dā‘ī), "Licensed" (Ma’dhūn), and "Pioneer" (Mukāsir or Naqīb). 4 Their functions are not clearly defined in the Druze manuscripts, but seem to be of the missionary type. This can be ascertained from the meaning of the Arabic names applied to them and from a study of corresponding officials in the Bāṭiniyyah system, which was one of the best and most efficiently organized systems of religious propaganda that Islam ever developed.

The "Propagator" assumes the rōle of the chief agent for the spreading of the faith. The "Licensed" has authority to preach, but is subject to the direction and guidance of the "Propagator." The "Pioneer" assumes responsibility for arousing the doubts of the would-be convert regarding his old beliefs, thus preparing him for the reception of the novel religion as soon as it is

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preached to him by a "Licensed" or a "Propagator." His office, as the Arabic name indicates, is one of breaking up and destroying.

Here again the male and female principles are represented in these ministers in their relation one to the other, and to the upper hierarchy. The "Propagator" is in the position of a wife with respect to the "Ḥujjah", and of a husband with respect to the "Licensed." The "Licensed" is in the position of a wife to the "Propagator," and a husband to the "Pioneer." The same double status applies to the "Pioneer." 1

Below these inferior ministers stand the rank and file of Druze believers.


Seven Major Prophets:—Next in rank to the divine ministers in the Druze hierarchy stand the prophets. The prophetic succession tallies in general with the preceding Ismā'īliyyah series of seven. 2 Adam heads the list which includes Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus (‘Īsa ibn-Yūsuf), Muḥammad, and Muḥammad ibn-Ismā‘il. Each one of these legislating prophets (Nāṭiq) has by his side a minor prophet (Asās) acting as a lieutenant or substitute and having under him twelve disciples (Ḥujjah). The substitute, also called "silent" (Ṣāmit), utters no new doctrine but merely teaches and develops that which he has received from his chief, the legislative prophet. The substitute represents the female and the legislator the male principles. 3 The list of substitutes includes Ishmael, Aaron, Simon and ‘Ali, and that of disciples, Enoch, Daniel, Plato and other biblical and Greek characters. 4 Each "period" or "cycle" is introduced by a legislative prophet. Between one legislative prophet and the other are seven intervening Imāms of whom the first is in each case the trusted and intimate substitute (Asās, Ṣāmit) of his chief, the legislating prophet (Nāṭiq).

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Seven a Sacred Number:—As in the case of the "periods" between the successive incarnations, so in the case of the prophetic successions, the "periods" or, "cycles" are all nicely arranged and determined by cabalistic figuring in which the numbers seven and seventy, 1 as is to be expected, take a prominent place. The Pythagorean origin of this system of computation is not difficult to detect. Regarding the mystic nature of the number seven, Bahā’-al-Dīn reasons thus: "Everything when it gets to be seven ends and should be replaced by another. For example the seven days, when they end they begin over again. . . Also the heavens are seven, the earths are seven, the climates are seven, the height of man by his own span is seven, and the orifices in his face are seven. Likewise the legislative prophets are seven, their substitutes are seven and the intervening Imāms between one legislator and the other are seven." 2

Following their spiritual ancestors, the Ismā‘īliyyah, the Druzes also believe in seven heavens, seven seas, seven earths and seven hidden Imāms. The identification of the Imāms with the heavens becomes an easy step and betrays ancient Babylonian and Chaldaean astrological influences. Ismā‘il ibn-Muḥammad is identified with the first heaven; Muḥammad ibn ‘Abdullāh, with the fourth; al-Ḥusayn ibn-Muḥammad, with the fifth and ‘Abdullāh ibn-al-Mahdi with the seventh. 3

Excellence of Druze System:—Each one of the Druze legislator-prophets abrogates in his turn the law of the preceding one. So did the Ismā‘īliyyah prophets. The antecedent of this general idea should be sought in the abrogation by Muḥammad of the Jewish law 4 and is in harmony, though not identical, with the Marcionite Gnostic theories. As a corollary to that, the Druzes consider all former religions, including Christianity, Judaism and

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[paragraph continues] Islam as forerunners and varied types of Druzism, which supersedes and excels them all.

Adam:—Of special interest to us are Adam and Jesus who seem to stand above the other prophets and share in the divine essence. A number of Jewish Christian sects, such as the Essenes and Nazarenes, adopted this gnostic view, which, combined with Persian and old Babylonian mythology, furnished Mani with the doctrine of the original man. The Adam of the Druze theology, therefore, is not exactly the Adam of Genesis but the "original man" 1 of the Manichaeans, the Adam Kadmon 2 of the Jewish cabala.

Certain Moslem sects, like the Muḥammadiyyah, went so far as to declare the divinity of Adam.

Jesus:—The Jesus (‘Īsa ibn-Yūsuf) of the Druze manuscripts is also somewhat different from the Jesus of the New Testament. He is rather the Moslem Jesus patterned after the conception of him by the ancient heretic sect of the Docetae who held that Christ suffered only in appearance. This doctrine was handed down to the Moslems probably through Manichaean channels. 3 The Manichaean movement, which arose in close connection with Mandaeanism in ‘Irāq or southern Babylonia, about the middle of the third century A.D., and which, as al-Fihrist declares, was a blend of the old Magian cult with Christianity, 4 was Iranian in its mythology and cosmological beliefs. It exercised a great influence over the Moslem sects in al-‘Iraq, which was also rich in Jewish and Christian sects and heresies.

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The Bāṭiniyyah:—Having deviated from the letter as well as from the word of Allah as revealed in the Koran, and without seeming to abrogate altogether its legislative precepts, certain schools of thought, designated by orthodox theologians Bāṭiniyyah, found it expedient to resort to a new and ingenious device—that of interpreting the religious facts esoterically or allegorically. Though classified by al-Baghdādi, al-Shahrastāni and ibn-Ḥazm as "sects," the Bāṭiniyyah were rather unorganized philosophical schools of thought. They belonged in the main to the Qarāmiṭah and Ismā‘īliyyah sects, from which Druzism sprang, and to certain Ṣūfi fraternities. Truth, according to the cardinal Bāṭiniyyah concept, is to be ascertained by the discovery of an inner meaning (bāṭin, hence the appellation Bāṭiniyyah = Innerites) of which the outer form is a mere veil intended to keep the truth from the eyes of the uninitiate.

This device put at once into the hands of the Shī‘ah schismatic sects a powerful weapon which dealt deadly blows to the core of Islam leaving only its outside shell. The shadow was there but the substance had gone. Meanwhile it enabled its adepts to appropriate from non-Moslem sources whatever suited their own convenience.

Thus through Ṣūfi and Shī‘ah channels, Druzism was made to enter into the inheritance of Philo and early esoteric exegetes.

Darazi, one of the founders of the Druze system—if system it could be called—was a Bāṭini missionary, as we are told by many of his biographers. 1

The Muḥammadan Law Abrogated:—Between unbridled allegorical interpretation of the law and its virtual suspension lies one short step, and that step was actually taken by Ḥamzah, the real founder of the Druze religion. Following the Ismā‘īliyyah precedent, Ḥamzah, in his Kitāb al-Naqḍ al-Khafi, went so far as to abolish the so-called five pillars of Islam, including fasting,

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pilgrimage and almsgiving, and substituted for them four articles of faith relating to the knowledge of God, of Ḥamzah, the ministers, and the seven moral precepts. 1 These precepts enjoin the love of truth in speech, watching over one another's safety, renouncing other religions, recognizing the existence in all ages of the principle of divine unity in al-Ḥākim and acquiescing in his actions whatever they be. 2

On account of this, orthodox Islam never hesitated to exclude Druzism from its fold. In fact certain conservative canonists, like the puritan ibn-Taymiyyah (1263-1328 A.D.), whose legal system greatly influenced the rise of the Wahhābi movement in Nejd, went so far as to express a religious opinion (fatwa) favoring "warring against the Druzes as a more meritorious duty than warring against the Armenians, because the former are included in the Moslem territory but are not of it." 3

The Mystic Element:—Akin to the esoteric conception of the scriptures is the principle of mysticism which found its highest expression in Islam in the Ṣūfi movement and traces of which are prominent in the Druze initiate view of life. Ṣūfism began as asceticism, became in succession mystical and theosophical, and finally advanced to extreme pantheism. The four principal sources of Ṣūfism are Christianity, Neo-Platonism, Gnosticism and Buddhism. The Neo-Platonic character of Moslem Ṣūfism has been rendered clear by the contributions of two English scholars, E. G. Browne and R. A. Nicholson. It would, however, be a mistake to ignore entirely the influence of the Buddhist view upon the later development of historic Ṣūfism, especially after Islam had spread eastward to the confines of China and brought Indian thought within its horizon. The encyclopaedic author of al-Fihrist 4 († 996) quotes at some length from an archaic version

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of a Buddhist book. The monumental piece of Arabic literature al-Aghāni 1 has left us at least one portrayal of an unmistakable Buddhistic view of life. And the Zindīq monks, described by al Jāḥiẓ, 2 were, according to Goldziher, "Either Indian Sadhus, or Buddhist monks or at least their imitators." 3 Under Indian influence the pantheistic idea in Ṣūfi Islam becomes more apparent.

Sheikhs:—The Druzes share with their intellectual ancestors—the Ṣūfis, Ismā‘īliyyah and Qarāmiṭah—both the esoteric interpretation of the law and the mystical outlook on life. Their community is divided into ‘Uqqāl, initiate, intelligent, spiritual; and Juhhāl, uninitiate, ignorant, worldly. A course ṣūf 4 (wool) outer garment is the distinguishing dress of the former, among whom the most meritorious Ajāwīd lead an almost ascetic life.

The ‘Uqqāl are also called "Sheikhs," 5 an Arabic word connoting old age, seniority and respect. This word has in recent years been introduced into the English language and corrupted in both pronunciation and meaning.

To the high rank of enlightened ‘Uqqāl, no one can aspire whose character has not marked him out as one entirely trustworthy and capable of extreme secrecy. Before admission, however, he must be subjected to a rigorous process of long trial and probation. Then follows the ceremonial rite of induction. This secret ceremony has been witnessed and described by only one or two outsiders throughout the whole history of the Druze religion.

p. 43

Once admitted to the favored rank, the Sheikh begins to wear a heavy white turban, and abstains from gaudy colors, swearing and obscene language. His deportment becomes dignified and reserved. Under no condition is he thereafter to touch alcoholic liquor or to smoke. He may even refrain from eating at the table of a wealthy man or government official lest something of the money used in buying the food might have been illegitimately acquired.


24:1 Court de Gebelin in Monde primitif, t. 8, p. 3, tries to make it a branch of "Sabéisme." Cf. Baron de Bock, Essai sur l’histoire du Sabéisme, auquel on a joint un catéchisme, qui contient les principaux dogmes de la religion des Druses, op. cit., pp. 136 seq.

24:2 Springett, Secret Sects of Syria, pp. 234-247.

24:3 Guys, La Nation Druse, pp. 13-15.

25:1 True to the principle of taqiyyah, Ṣāliḥ ibn-Yaḥya, himself probably a Druze, from whose pen we have the best history of Beirūt (Ta’rīkh, ed. Cheikho, Beirūt, 1902) written in the fifteenth century, does not even mention the Druzes by name.

26:1 Dhayl Ta‘rīkh Dimashq, ed. H. F. Amedroz (Beirūt, 1908). pp. 44-50, 55-7f.

26:2 Dhayl Kitāb Tajārib al-Umam, ed. Amedroz (Oxford, 1921), III, 233 seq., English translation by D. S. Margoliouth, vol. VI, 246-247.

26:3 Wafayāt al-A‘yān (Cairo, 1299 A.H.), III, 4-7, English translation by MacGuckin de Slane (4 vols., Paris, 1842-1871), III, 449 seq.

26:4 Op. cit.

26:5 Op. cit.

26:6 Abu-al-Faraj ibn-al-‘Ibri, Mukhtaṣar al-Duwal (Beirūt, 1890), pp. 312-313.

26:7 Al-Qalānisi, op. cit., p. 67.

27:1 Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. H. H. Milman (a new edition in five volumes, New York, 1845), IV, 173.

27:2 Ḥamzah, Kitāb fīhi Ḥaqā’iq Ma, MS.

28:1 Mukhtaṣar al-Farq bayn al-Firaq, ed. Philip K. Hitti (Cairo, 1924). Al-Baghdādi, al-Farq bayn al-Firaq, ed. Bedr (Cairo, 1910), partly done into English by Kate Chambers Seelye and entitled Moslem Schisms and Sects (New York, 1920).

28:2 Al-Fiṣal fi al-Milal (Cairo, 1317 A.H.).

28:3 Al-Milal w-al-Niḥal, on the margin of ibn-Ḥazm. Translated by T. Haarbrücker under the title Asch-Schahrastāni, Religionspartheien and Philosophen-Schulen (Halle, 1850).

28:4 Ed. Hitti, op. cit., pp. 160-161.

28:5 An early Druze MS. al-Radd ‘ala al-Risālah al-Dāmighah li-al-Fāsiq al-Nuṣayri was written by Ḥamzah to refute the charges of a Nuṣayri.

28:6 These are: ‘Aynfīt, Za‘ūra and Ghajar. They lie not far from Bāniyās, ancient Caesarea Philippi.

28:7 R. Dussaud, Histoire et Religion des Nosairis (Paris, 1904), p. 53.

28:8 Saeed Khan, "The Sect of Ahl-i-Ḥaqq" in The Moslem World (New York), Jan., 1927, pp. 31-42.

29:1 Abu-al-Fida, op. cit., II, 75; ibn-Khallikān, op. cit., I, 261 seq. = de Slane Translation, I, 423 seq.; De Lacy O’Leary, Arab Thought and its Place in History (London, 1922), p. 193; L. Massignon, al-Ḥallāj (Paris, 1922), vol. I, pp. 292-329.

29:2 Yāqūt, Mu‘jam al-Udabā’, ed. Margoliouth (Leyden, 1907), I, 302; Duncan B. Macdonald, op. cit.; p. 185.

29:3 Op. cit., II, 10.

29:4 Exposé, I, XXXI seq.

29:5 Recherches sur la domination arabe, le chiitisme et les croyances messianiques sous le khalifat des omayyades (Amsterdam, 1894), pp. 54 seq.

29:6 Vorlesungen über den Islam (2nd ed., Heidelberg, 1925), pp. 3, 17, 520 and Chap. V, "Das Sektenwesen."

29:7 Ḥamzah, Khabar al-Yahūd w-al-Naṣāra, MS.

29:8 Kashf al-Haqā’iq in C. Seybold, "Die Drusenschrift," Kitāb al-Noqaṭ (Leipzig, 1902), p. 92.

30:1 Adler, op. cit., pp. 121, 132.

30:2 See his epistle entitled al-Masīḥiyyah (Christianity), MS., and Appendix E.

30:3 Dr. Wolff; "Auszüge aus dem Katechismus der Nossairier," Zeitschrift der Deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft (1849), III, 303.

30:4 This science is represented in Islam by the "Ḥurūfi" school and the Bektāshi order of dervishes. See Goldziher, Vorlesungen, pp. 246, 274, 362; E. G. Browne, Persian Literature under Tartar Dominion (Cambridge University Press, 1920), pp. 370-375; Browne, "Literature and Doctrine of the Ḥurūfi Sect," Journal Royal Asiatic Society, Jan., 1898.

31:1 Ḥamzah may have had a hand in the conspiracy. Guys, La Nation Druse, p. 69.

31:2 Al-Qalānisi, op. cit., 79-80; ibn-Khallikān, op. cit., III, 7; Appendix C.

32:1 Cf. e.g. the Karbiyyah doctrine in al-Baghdādi, ed. Hitti, pp. 36-37.

32:2 See G. van Vloten, "Zur Abbasidengeschidite," ZDMG, LII, 218 seq.

32:3 Le mahométisme, le génie sémitique et le génie aryen dans l’Islam (Paris, 1898), p. 112.

32:4 E. Blochet, op. cit., pp. 126 seq.

32:5 Ed. Hitti, pp. 23,170 seq.

32:6 Ibid., p. 16; al-Shahrastāni, op. cit., I, S4.

33:1 See Druze catechism in Adler, op. cit., pp. 122-123; de Bock, op. cit., pp. 147-148; "A Catechism of the Druzes," Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement (London, 1886), pp. 39-40.

33:2 al-Shahrastāni, I, 55; Mas‘ūdi, Murūj al-Dhahab, Texte et Traduction par C. Barbier de Meynard (Paris, 1871), VI, 20.

33:3 The Moorish dynasty which originated with ibn-Tumart in the 12th century and conquered all northern Africa and Moslem Spain bore the same name corrupted through Spanish into "Almohades." The same name is a favorite one with the modern Wahhābis of Nejd.

34:1 For this process of creation, see Mukhtaṣar al-Bayān fi Majra al-Zamān, MS. (translated in part by Guys, Théogonie des Druses, Paris, 1863, pp. 3-84). The theory was first promulgated by Ḥamzah, Kashf al-Haqā’iq and in other MSS.

34:2 Differently translated into "Rival" by de Sacy and Guys, and "Contrast" by Friedlaender.

34:3 There was a hierarchy of missionaries graded into Dā‘i, Ma’dhūn, and Mukāsir.

35:1 De Sacy, Exposé, I, 85, n. I. In his Epistle to Emperor Constantine and in the one entitled "Christianity," Bahā’-al-Dīn confuses John the Evangelist with John the Baptist and John Chrysostom. He identifies Ḥamzah with Christ and finds in the "three days" in which Jesus said he could rebuild the temple direct reference to Ḥamzah. He also uses parables that breathe the same atmosphere as those of the New Testament. See one of his parables in de Sacy, Chrestomathie Arabe (Paris, 1826), I, 304-309.

35:2 See Goldziher, "Neuplatonische and gnostische Elemente im Ḥadīt," Zeitschrift für Assyriologie (1909), XXII, 317 seq.

35:3 Article "Gnosticism."

35:4 Recognitiones, III, S9, 61; Homilies, II, I S.

35:5 Cf. Friedlaender, Journal American Oriental Society, XXIX, I 16.

36:1 Ḥamzah, al-Sirah al-Mustaqīmah, MS.

36:2 Al-Baghdādi, ed. Hitti, p. 157.

36:3 See Rasā’il Ikhwān al-Ṣafa, ed. F. Dieterici (Die Abhandlungen der Ichwān eṣ-Ṣafa, Leipzig, 2883), pp. 3-4.

36:4 Sabab al-Asbāb w-al-Kanz, MS., also in Le Monde Oriental (Uppsala, 2909), vol. III, p. 100.

37:1 Ḥamzah, Mīthāq al-Nisā’, MS.

37:2 E. Blochet, Le Messianisme, op. cit., p. 59.

37:3 Al-Tamīmi, Taqsīm al-‘Ulūm, MS.; Ḥamzah, Mīthāq al-Nisā’, MS.

37:4 Ḥamzah, al-Sīrah al-Mustaqīmah, MS.

38:1 Ḥamzah, Kashf al-Haqā’iq, MS.

38:2 Al-Juz’ al-Awwal, MS.

38:3 Al-Tamīmi, Taqsīm al-‘Ulūm, MS.; ‘Abd-al-Ghaffār, Majra al-Zamān, MS. = Henri Guys, Théogonie des Druses ou Abrégé de leur Système Religieux, traduit de l’Arabe (Paris, 1863), pp. 54-55.

38:4 Koran 2:286, 4:558, 7:156.

39:1 "Insān Qadīm" in al-Fihrist, ed. G. Flügel (Leipzig, 1872), p. 329. See also Flügel, Mani (Leipzig, 1862), pp. 97, 505.

39:2 Louis Ginzberg, article "Adam Kadmon," Jewish Encyclopaedia.

39:3 F. C. Burkitt, The Religion of the Manichees (Cambridge University Press, 1925), pp. 38-40; Flügel, Mani, pp. 337-338.

39:4 Al-Fihrist, p. 328. That Islam knew a great deal about Mani and Manichaeanism is evidenced by the fact that our oldest and most trustworthy sources on that movement are to be found in Arabic-Moslem literature and particularly al-Fihrist. A peculiar sect of Manichaeanism, Mazdakiyyah, seems to have exercised tremendous influence over the Moslem sects. Al-Shahrastāni (II, 29) informs us that the Bāṭiniyyah and Qarāmiṭah in al-‘Irāq were called "Mazdakites."

40:1 Ibn-Taghri-Birdi, op. cit., p. 69.

41:1 See Ḥamzah, Mīthāq al-Nisā’, MS.

41:2 These precepts occur in many Druze MSS. See infra, p. 51. Bahā’-al-Dīn devotes one tract to each one of them. Cf. Guys, Théogonie, op. cit., pp. 77-84.

41:3 Al-‘Umari, al-Ta‘rīf bi-al-Muṣṭalaḥ al-Sharīf (Cairo, 1312 A.H.); Cf. al-Qalqashandi, Ṣubḥ al-A‘sha (Cairo, 1918), XIII, 248-249.

41:4 Op. cit., p. 347.

42:1 Cairo edition (20 vols.), III, 24—Sumniyyah is the term applied to the Indian sects which influenced many Moslems.

42:2 Kitāb al-Ḥayawān (Cairo, 1323 A.H.), IV, 146-147.

42:3 Vorlesungen, op. cit., p. 160.

42:4 For the origin of the word "Ṣūfi" from ṣūf = wool, see Nöldeke in ZDMG, XLVII, 47.f

42:5 The middle vowel is pronounced long like "i" in "bite," and the final "kh" is guttural, something like the German "ch." Cf. "Usi e Credenze dei Drusi" in Oriente Moderno (Rome, 1925), V, pp. 469-472.

Next: Chapter VI. Dogmas and Precepts