Dedicated mainly to the new generation born in diaspora as well as to our youth who constantly say : yes IAM a Druze but what is Druzism?
What is Druzism (الدرزيه)?
The Druze faith is the sum of three basic values: spiritual doctrine, community and tradition. The spiritual doctrine is Attawheed or ONENESS and the community is the Mouwahedeen or Unitarians that practice this doctrine. The doctrine cannot be taught away from the community as both, community and doctrine, are united from the beginning. The Druze faith is one of the five Muslim sects and as a community is an integral part of the great Arab community. The Druze sect is this union between spiritual discipline and the community that practices it. From this duality, doctrine-community, the Druze tradition was born, based on the Attawheed doctrine and chronicled by the historic, political, social and cultural events, that the community has lived through. The Druze sect is the result of this unity between spiritual discipline, the community and the tradition. This association is the united community interrelated with the values that identify and distinguish it, in the way of living the present and in the vision of the future. Some of these values are : Family; Morality; Solidarity; Generosity, Courage and Patriotism. The sum of these values constitutes the Druze tradition or Druzism.
The family is the foundation upon which the Druze builds his life and his future . The Druze does not abandon his children or his elders. For him, the family is his honor and strength. For the Druze, this goes beyond the immediate family. Aunts, uncles and cousins are also part of the family nucleus, consulted and involved, giving and receiving help and support. The family concept extends to second and third cousins and embraces all those that have the same FAMILY name. When someone is asked to which family they belong, they identify themselves with the last name or the main family. The Druze sect as a brotherhood is also one big family. The Druze normally have not inter-married with other races in a millennium and have become one large family. “Who is not my family is my family’s family” is the common and true expression that is frequently repeated in the Community.
The Druze conducts his family relations with moral and ethics. Bigamy does not exist in the Druze sect and although divorce exists, it is forbidden to be married to more than one woman at a time or to have extra-marital relations. The figure of the illegitimate son does not exist in the community, and this term is known by the Druze who travels to western countries. Sincerity and respect are the origins of family unity. There are no personal secrets in the Druze family: all that the man knows his companion also knows, and vice versa. The faithful, especially the religious, repudiate lies and cheating because they are contrary to the concept of Be True. (صدق اللسان), the first spiritual commandment of The Druze Faith. The fact that a Druze is raised in the center of too much solidarity, security, stability and trust reflects the notion of a personality without complexes, easily adaptable, collaborative, generous and sincere.
Druzism is SOLIDARITY, personal and collective. A Druze can feel accompanied, supported, safe and confident inside any of the Druze communities in the distinct parts of the region. Solidarity, or Hofez Al-Ekhwan (حفظ الاخوان ), is the second most important spiritual commandment for the Druze. Solidarity is also part of our communal life. A Druze community in any part of the region has the unconditional help of the other communities. When the Druze in Syria were attacked by the Ottoman Empire and French Colonialism, they had the support of the Druze in Lebanon. And when the Druze in Lebanon confronted the same and other aggressors in different times, the valiant Druze of Syria were by the sides of their brothers of Lebanon. For us, there are no Syrian Druze or Lebanese Druze but Druze. During the First World War, when Lebanon suffered the most acute and longest food shortage of its history, the Druze of Syria formed convoys, crossed plains, scaled mountains and risked their lives to transport wheat and other foodstuffs to their Lebanese brothers. Many visitors who have been in the Druze mountains are impressed by the social organization of the community that in spite of not showing manifest wealth, protects and keeps the orphans, widows, handicapped and disabled, and there are no beggars in the Druze community. Druze solidarity can be seen at social and humanitarian levels, but the Druze are also proud of their Patriotic Solidarity.
Druze PATRIOTISM is well known and history is witness to this. Druze solidarity with the patriotic causes of friendly communities is recognized as a historical reference. The Druze have never accepted discussion over their liberty, autonomy, Arabic Identity or their right to defend their customs and traditions, whatever the size of the enemy. They battled the Crusade for two hundred years to prevent European colonialism taking over the Arab Nation. They struggled for three hundred years against the Turkish Ottoman colonialism to conserve their liberty and autonomy. They fought the French colonialism during the first decades of last century for the liberty and independence of all Arab territories. Druze warriors were enlisted in the Arab army in the Palestinian War of 1948. The Druze were the first to support the Hashemite Arab Revolution to expel the Turks after four centuries of occupation. The Great Syrian Revolution with Sultan Bacha Al Atrash at the head demoralized the French colonialist army and defeated it militarily and politically. Sultan dedicated his struggle to the liberation of the territory and the integration of the Arab world into one nation. The Druze were the most enthusiastic defenders of the revolution of the great Arab leader Yamal Abdel Nasser and his nationalistic project to liberate the Arab world from the Western imperialist influence, return to the Palestinian people their rights over the land usurped by the Jewish Zionism, and unite the Arab people in one nation. In 1957 they were the first to support the union of Egypt and Syria in the United Arab Republic, the first attempt of Arab unity in modern times. The Druze in the Golan Heights, Syrian territory usurped by Israel, faced the annexation of the territory, and when the Israeli nationality was imposed, it was rejected and the documents were burnt in front of the enemy, ratifying their loyalty to the Syrian Arab identity. The Druze minority in Palestine, conscious of its history and supported from Lebanon by Walid Jumblat, is resisting Israeli intimidations aimed at separating it from its Arabic environment and culture. The Druze of Lebanon, under the leadership of the martyr Kamal Jumblat and his son and heir Walid Jumblat had to resist and fight, from 1974 to 1991 an international conspiracy which had the support of the internal reactionary parties, to separate the Lebanon from its Arab environment and divide it into micro-states with the objective of ending the only democracy in the region. Kamal Jumblat was the founder and leader of the Lebanese Patriotic Front and was assassinated with the aim of eliminating The Lebanese and The Palestinian Resistance, supported by the Patriotic Front. The Master Kamal Jumblat is considered a martyr of the Palestinian cause and the causes of all people who struggle for liberty and independence. Recently the Druze of Lebanon overwhelmingly supported the Leader Walid Jumblat in his motion to reconstruct the internal unity of Lebanon devastated by seventeen years of civil war. Walid Jumblat, in a gesture of great patriotic and unionist significance, extended his hand to those who, a short time before, were his enemies, in order to put an end to a history of confrontations that started two hundred years ago.
The history of the Druze, at war and in peace, is a chain of struggles in the progression of Arabism. Even though these themes belong to the political history of the Druze and the region, we should emphasize that the participation of Druze communities in these events was, in the majority of cases, decisive due to the high combat level and the high sense of patriotism and solidarity that characterizes the Druze. Druze patriotism and solidarity are also seen in times of peace and in the political and social struggle. The Druze has formed part of the majority of the political, nationalist, unionist and progressive parties and movements. The Druze is considered a military minority and the most politicized community of the region. They are the first to integrate into political movements and they move their patriotic passion toward these fields to become their mentors and leaders.
Druze GENEROSITY and hospitality is recognized by natives, foreigners, and anyone who has lived with them during wars or during peace. The Druze puts no limits on his generosity. A European writer who knew the community closely said that “Druze generosity goes beyond demonstrations of cordiality because it is manifest in actions and not only words”. Druze towns do not generally have hotels but a transient can always find the receptivity and the hospitality of the Druze community. In Syria, the Druze towns have guest houses called “Madafa” (المضافه) available to the visitor, financed by the community or by a well-off persons. The transient not only feels well attended in the Madafa, but also feels welcome and accompanied by the people of the community. There is a prose about the Druze custom that says: “Our guests, when you visit us, realize that you are the host and we are your guests.”
( يا ضيفنا لو زرتنا لوجدتنا نحن الضيوف وأنت رب المنزل )
BRAVERY AND COURAGE of the Druze are recognized by their friends and by those who, at some time, have been adversaries. The love of freedom and autonomy, the adherence to their spiritual doctrine and customs and traditions, the patriotism and the sense of solidarity entrenched in their spirit, have made the Druze the “Combative Minority” of the Middle East. The Druze have challenged world powers such as the Ottoman Empire from the 16th Century to its defeat in the First World War, and then the French colonialism with its powerful military machine, and none of these powers have been able to dominate or get submission from the Druze in Syria or Lebanon. In one of the battles of 1925, equipped with their courage and rudimentary implements and under the leadership of the great Arab and Druze hero Sultan Bacha Al Atrash, less than two thousand Druze militia annihilated the French army, equipped with the most modern armament of the age, with war tanks, combat planes and ten thousand soldiers trained during the First World War which had recently finished, and captured those that tried to escape and took all their weaponry. The Battle of Al-Mazraa (المزرعه) is recognized in the annals of history as the most heroic battle of liberation ever fought by any people.
The Druze were the first to face the Crusade, the European armies that invaded the Arab world in the 11th Century under the pretext of protecting the sacred places of the Holy Land, but the true intention was the domination and colonization of a rich and strategic region. This first confrontation was in the name of Arabism and Islam and set the pattern for the struggles that have not ceased since then.
Druze history is full of admirable episodes that are the pride of present and forthcoming generations because in every town and in every genealogical family tree there are heroes and martyrs with their legends and memories. The motive of Druze pride does not end with their bravery and courage but also with the moral and ethics stamped on their battles. A Druze never turns against children, women or elderly of their enemies, and many times gives them relief and protection. The American historian Robert Brenton Betts, director of the American Investigation Center in Egypt says in his book The Druze: “Behind such outward display of hospitality is the classical Arab concept of Muru’a, (goodwill; المروه) the guiding principle of chivalry, knightly virtue, and sense of honor that governs Druze behavior.” and adds that “… to be a Druze is to be an heir to a thousand years of honorable history, and to a tradition that is unlikely to yield under the external pressure of the fluctuating times.”
hese values which distinguish them have given the Druze the nickname of Banu-Maarouf, ( بنو معروف ) Gallant and Kind People. Druzism in this sense represents the authentic values of their original ancestors, cultivated by the Druze throughout history, made greater with the spiritual doctrine of Attawheed, and exalted with the glorious and passionate history known to all.
Note: these editorials writer in didactic and instructive form can be delivered in three languages, English, Arabic and Spanish
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