Historical Reprints Religion Origins of the Druze People and Religion

Origins of the Druze People and Religion

Origins of the Druze People and Religion
Catalog # SKU1705
Publisher TGS Publishing
Weight 1.00 lbs
Author Name Philip K. Hitti
 
$18.95
Quantity

Description

The Origins of the
Druze People and Religion


With Extracts From
Their Sacred Writings

by
Philip K. Hitti

FOR some nine hundred years, a strange national-religious body has lived in Syria. The Druzes have been the wonder of scholars, and the political opponents of those to whom the country in which they lived belonged. All sorts of theories have been advanced by scholars to account for their peculiar tenets and customs.

All sorts of means have been tried by their overlords to put them down. The scholars have been as unsuccessful as have been the overlords; and the Druzes still remain the great mystery of the Lebanon Mountains.

In the following study, a more serious attempt is made to solve the riddle of whom the Druzes are, why they are, and where they are. Professor Hitti is probably better fitted to make this attempt than is any other scholar. Born in the Lebanon Mountains, Arabic is his native tongue. As a boy, and as a young man, he associated with the Druzes. He has had, and still has, access to their literature. It is likely that he knows more about them than they do about themselves. For this reason, I commend the following pages very highly to the attention of all who are concerned about Syria, and who are interested in the history of religion.

EXCERPT

Two Historical Fossils:-The Druzes of Syria and the Samaritans of Palestine are two unique communities not to be found elsewhere in the whole world. Like social fossils in an alien environment, these two peoples have survived for hundreds of years in that land rightly described as a "Babel of tongues" and a "museum of nationalities." The Samaritans are the remnants of the tribes from Assyria and Persia who were transplanted by Sargon some seven hundred years before Christ to take the place of the "ten tribes" who were carried into captivity.

They figured in the life of Christ as is illustrated by the case of the "Samaritan woman" and the story of the "good Samaritan." Today they are represented by about one hundred and eighty persons who intermarry among themselves and are becoming rapidly extinct. Their habitat is modern Nablus (biblical Shechem), and their religion is ancient Judaism mixed with pagan survivals.

The Druzes have no such clear record to show regarding their origin as a people and as a sect. Their ethnographical origins, no less than their ritual practices and religious beliefs, are shrouded in mystery. Appearing for the first time on the pages of history at Wadi-al-Taym near Mt. Hermon in anti-Lebanon, as professors of the divinity of the sixth Fatimite Caliph in Cairo (996-1020 A.D.), the Druzes have lived their semi-independent lives secluded in their mountain fastnesses of Lebanon, unmindful of the progress of the world around them, and almost entirely forgotten by the outside world.

Relation to World Events:-The few occasions throughout their history in which the Druzes attracted international attention were first at the time of the Crusades, when they were entrusted by the Moslems with the military task of guarding the maritime plain against the Franks.

They then fought under the banner of Islam and took part in the attacks against the garrisons of Belfort (Qal'at al-Shaqif) and of Montfort (Qal'at Qurayn) in Galilee. Secondly, in the early seventeenth century when their great leader, Fakhr-al-Din II (1585-1635), under whom the Druze power reached its zenith, appeared as a refugee from the Sultan of Turkey in the court of the Medicis at Florence. Thirdly, when as a result of their civil wars in 1860 with their Christian neighbors to the north-the Maronites-the French landed a contingent of troops to quell the disturbance which resulted in giving the Lebanon a complete autonomy recognized by the great Powers of Europe. And fourthly, in connection with the recent armed uprising against the French mandate in Syria.

Minor Episodes:-In the local history of Syria and the Lebanon, the Druzes have always figured as a compact and warlike community contriving to enjoy in the fastnesses of their mountain a comparative degree of security and independence. The Latin Kingdom of the Crusades, which with its extensive fiefs formed an elongated strip of land based on the sea and widening on the north to Edessa and on the south to Moab, narrowed in the vicinity of Mt. Hermon, the home of the Druzes. Throughout the Ottoman period (1516-1918) the Druzes and their fellow mountaineers, the Maronites, constituted a thorn in the side of the Turks.

The Lebanon enjoyed most of the time local autonomy. Even the Druzes of Hawran, the Bashan of the Bible, were not subject to conscription, and repeatedly refused to pay taxes to the Sublime Porte. When Napoleon in 1798-1799 invaded Egypt and Syria, he sought the aid of the governor of the Lebanon, al-Amir Bashir. The Druze resistance to the invasion of the Egyptian army under Ibrahim Pasha (1831-1838) was one of the factors in hastening the withdrawal of that army from Syrian soil.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I A UNIQUE AND SECRET SECT
CHAPTER II SOCIAL AND HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER III RACIAL ORIGINS
CHAPTER IV THE PERSIAN ORIGIN OF THE DRUZES
CHAPTER V DRUZE THEOLOGY AND ITS SOURCES
     I. THE PROBLEM WITH ITS DIFFICULTIES
     II. THE HAKIM-GOD
     III. FIVE DIVINE MINISTERS AND THREE INFERIOR ONES
     IV. THE PROPHETIC SUCCESSION
     V. THE INNER MEANING
CHAPTER VI DOGMAS AND PRECEPTS
     I. TRANSMIGRATION OF SOULS
     II. PREDESTINATION AND DISSIMULATION
     III. THE CULT OF THE CALF
     IV. SEVEN PRECEPTS OF HAMZAH
CHAPTER VII FOLKLORE


Softcover, 6¾" x 8¼", 90+ pages
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