DRUZE by Pam Rohland Overview The Druze, also known as the "Sons of Grace ," are the rest of the world, mostly in North America, Australia, and West Africa. .. Although almost all sources date the beginning of Druzism to , the year. To subscribe as a Druze financial member, please fill out the below form – online payment can be made. Only Druze members by birthright are eligible to. Think modern dating is tough? Try hunting for a husband or wife in the Druze community—adherents are forbidden from marrying outside of the.
They had one privilege granted by the French that they had not enjoyed under the Ottomans: Despite this, a long and complicated number of coups and upheavals continued in Syria and Lebanon. Later, in Israel, the growing Druze population was permitted to exercise separate jurisdiction in matters of marriage and divorce, although the Druze had to participate in the same compulsory military service required of all residents.
During the period of civil and political unrest in the s and s, some Druze protested Israel's annexation of the Golan Heightsand a minority of Druze was involved in violent acts. It was at this point that the rest of the world began hearing about the Druze from media reports, and modern misconceptions of the Druze as radical and violent emerged.
Since the late s, the American Druze Society has been involved in an educational campaign to inform the public that they are neither Muslim nor leftists nor anti-American. Most settled in small towns across the country, with a significant group in SeattleWashington. They maintained a very low religious profile.
Many became at least nominally Christian, usually Protestant. The second period of immigration lasted from toand the third phase occurred from until the late s.
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Many Druze still send money to relatives in their homeland and visit as often as they can. Some arrange marriages with women from their home village. Their cultural ties, more than their religious bonds, are what bind the Druze together in their adopted countries.
They grow cherry and apple trees, as well as wheat. Most families grow their own vegetables and fruit, bake their own bread and live, for the most part, on a vegetarian diet, with meat, primarily lamb, served only on special occasions. A typical meal may include olives, pita or "mountain bread," eggplant, cauliflower, cheese, and chickpeas flavored with onions, garlic, and sesame oil, rice, burghul dried cracked wheat or potatoes, a salad made of cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and other herbs flavored with lemon and olive oilyogurt, baklava, and seasonal fruit.
Strong coffee is often served with meals. In places where there are no butcher shops, animals are slaughtered infrequently, and the meat is eaten the same day.
Animals are butchered by slitting their throats, in the Muslim fashion. The basic cooking ingredients are olive oilclarified butter, and, sometimes, animal fat. The Druze favor lamb but also eat chicken and beef. They frown upon eating pork, although not as severely as Muslims. Most Westernized Druze do not object to eating it.
But in most of the Middle East women still wear the traditional long black or blue dress with a white head covering. Men, who often grow mustaches, have abandoned the shirwal traditional baggy pants, tight around the ankles for Western-style trousers, but shirwal still can be purchased in Middle Eastern shops.
Men working in the fields usually wear the traditional red and white checkered kufiya on their heads. In the past, men were given Muslim names such as Mahmud, Ali or Muhammad; now, a Druze boy is more likely to be called Samir, Samih, Amin or Fawzi, names of no particular religious significance.
The same is true for Druze girls. Muslim names such as A'isha and Fatima have all but disappeared in favor of neutral or even Christian names. Few family names are predictably Druze, aside from Arslan, Junbalat and al-Atrash. HOUSING In keeping with their belief in austerity, traditional Druze homes are sparsely furnished with low wooden tables and thin cushions lining the walls. Language The Druze language is derived from Arabic.
In everyday speech, the Druze are easily recognizable by the use of the qaf, a strong guttural "k" sound that is found in Arabic and translated as "q" in English. Outside the Middle East, the Druze may consciously drop the qaf and other distinct speech characteristics to avoid identification or appear more sophisticated.
Among our rocks is sanctuary. When our spears grow rusty, we make them bright with the blood of our enemies. Apart from Thursday night religious meetings, the Druze enjoy spending time together through visits to each other's homes. Hospitality is an important feature of the culture. The Druze are known for their generosity and are guided by a sense of chivalry and honor.
This concept compels the Druze to look after each other, including widows, orphans, and the destitute.
If the extended family cannot take care of a member, the larger community will find a means of support. BIRTH The birth of a baby, especially a son, is cause for celebration, with a typical gathering including family members and friends and gift giving.
Sons are considered an asset, socially and economically. If a Druze couple has only daughters, they keep having children until sons are born. This leads to large families. The average Druze family has five or six children. More recent generations of Druze see the logic of having fewer children and providing for them, so the size of modern Druze families is shrinking.
Male circumcision, which is universal among Muslims, is not ritually practiced by the Druze. There is no ceremony for the circumcision of newborns, although it is a practiced among those living in urban areas or outside the Middle East, mainly for hygienic reasons.
Marriage celebrations can be quite extensive, depending on the means of the families involved. Guests expect large quantities of food and drink. The dishes served are copious and extravagant and, unless there are too many disapproving attendees, wine and other spirits may be served.
Although frowned upon, the Druze drink alcohol, the men more frequently than the women. Marriage festivities also provide one of the few social occasions in which young men and women are allowed to mix socially and eye each other as potential marriage partners.
Both the bride and the groom are expected to be virgins at the time of marriage, although men find opportunities to engage in premarital sex. The subject of sexual relations is taboo in a traditional Druze household. Nothing of a physical or sexual nature is ever brought up in conversation, especially with elders.
The telling of a slightly off-color anecdote is considered a breach of manners. Polygamy, while permitted to Muslims, is forbidden among the Druze.
The Druze may marry within their family, including first cousins. Marriage outside of the Druze faith is forbidden. There's just no place for you in the community any more. In an event arranged by the International Committee of the Red Cross inseven Druze brides in elaborate white gowns crossed the Israel-Syrian border to marry bridegrooms in the Golan Heightsaccording to a report in the Jewish Bulletin of Northern California.
From both sides of the cease-fire lines, hundreds of Druze danced and cheered as the couples married in the United Nations zone. The couples met each other through videotapes. Although a Druze woman can initiate divorce proceedings, this is a rarity. The most frequent grounds for divorce by men are the failure of a wife to bear children, especially sons, disobedience, immodest behavior, or some chronic mental or physical illness that makes intercourse impossible.
The wife may ask for divorce based on impotence, non-support, and desertion or lengthy absence. If a woman is divorced through her own failings, the husband is permitted to reclaim the dowry and the marriage expenses. In most cases, the Druze follow the custom of compensating the divorced wife for her "exertions.
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Funeral arrangements are made immediately after death, and ceremonies are held that day, or the next day, at the latest. The body is washed and dressed in the finest clothes. At the funeral, women lament loudly and at length, and acquaintances tell stories of the departed's virtues.
Bodies are interred above ground, marked by monuments ranging from the very simple to the highly elaborate. Historically, a significant number of Druze women were literate and educated. At the end of the twentieth century, literacy was almost universal for people under the age of But a Druze woman holding a full-time job was still the exception.
Marriage is expected of all Druze women at a relatively early age, usually between 17 and 21 years, although a few marry as early as 15 years of age. The marriage, which often is arranged by the families, is usually preceded by a two-year engagement. Marriage partners are chosen from eligible young people within the same community. Although Druze women traditionally enjoy a privileged status of near equality with men, there is no compromise in the matter of female chastity.
A young woman is expected to be faithful to her husband throughout her whole life. A woman's honor is the single most important factor in Druze family life, and its defilement is cause for great humiliation. If a woman's dishonor becomes public knowledge, it is the responsibility of her father or brother to take what is considered appropriate action in their culture. It is not unknown, even today, for a Druze woman living in the Middle East to be murdered by her nearest male relative for shaming the family.
In Israel, Druze judges have forced the government to waive the requirement for a Druze woman's photograph to appear on official documents, such as identity cards. They also object to male doctors attending or autopsying women.4 Tips to Date Australian Girls - Dating Life Hacks - AUSTRALIA
Many conservative Druze consider these acts as a shaming of a woman's honor, in addition to things such as going to a cinema. It is becoming more common, however, for women to leave the house with other women in pursuit of innocent pleasures such as shopping or going to lectures. Religion The origins of the Druze faith can be traced to Egypt in the early eleventh century.
Their faith subsequently spread to many regions in the Middle East and North Africa. The basis of the religion is the belief that at various times God has been divinely incarnated in a living person.
His last, and final, incarnation was al-Hakim bi-Amrih Alla, who announced himself as the earthly incarnation of God in about This section is taken from the writings of Dr. A Historical Overview It was during the period of Crusader rule in Syria that the Druze first emerged into the full light of history, in the Gharb region of the Shuf mountains.
As redoubtable warriors serving the Muslim rulers of Damascus against the alien invaders, the Druze were given the task of keeping watch over the Crusaders in the seaport of Beirut, with the aim of preventing them from making any encroachments inland.
Subsequently, the Druze chiefs of the Gharb placed their not inconsiderable military experience at the disposal of the Mamluk rulers of Egypt ; first, to assist them in putting an end to what remained of Crusader rule in coastal Syria and, later, to help them safeguard the Syrian coast against Crusader retaliation by sea.
Ina Druze contingent from Beirut and the Gharb joined in a major Mamluk naval expedition against Cyprus, where the last remnant of Crusader rule in the Near East was reduced to subservience. In return for the valuable services rendered by the Druze of the Gharb and other parts of the Shuf mountains, the Mamluks appear to have allowed them the freedom to manage their internal affairs with minimal interference from the central government in Cairo, or its Syrian agency in Damascus.
The history of the Gharb Druze during the Crusader and Mamluk periods is known from the work of two remarkable Druze historians, Salih ibn Yahya d. It appears, however, that the Druze of Hauran were among the peasants and tribesmen of that area who fought and decimated the forces of the Second Crusade, as they advanced from Palestine to attempt the capture of Damascus in Notably, the Druze placed their military resources at the disposal of the Sunni Muslim state against the Crusaders at a time when their community was being singled out for special condemnation by the Sunni religious establishment on account of its beliefs.
Unlike the Mamluks, the Ottomans who succeeded them as the rulers of Syria in were not prepared to allow the Shuf Druze the customary local freedoms which they had come to regard as established rights. Consequently, the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were to witness a succession of armed Druze rebellions against the Ottomans, countered by repeated Ottoman punitive expeditions against the Shuf in the course of which the Druze population of the area was severely depleted and many villages laid waste.
These military measures, however, severe as they were, did not succeed in reducing the local Druze to the required degree of subordination. This arrangement was to provide the cornerstone for the privileged status which ultimately came to be enjoyed by the whole of Mount Lebanon in Ottoman Syria, Druze and Christian areas alike.
Remarkably, the Shuf Druze had taken up arms against Ottoman rule when the Ottoman Empire was at the peak of its power. Starting from the middle decades of the nineteenth century, the Hauran Druze of Jabal al-Duruz whose earlier history remains obscure due to a lack of documentation-put up a similar resistance to determined efforts on the part of the Ottoman state to tighten its weakened control over Syria.
Later, in the mids, these same Hauran Druze rose in armed rebellion against the French shortly after France, emerging victorious from the First World War, was allotted its mandate over Syria and Lebanon. This Druze revolt was to trigger a general Syrian insurrection against the French Mandate, lasting for nearly three years.
Historically, the close relations between the Druze and Christians of the Lebanon date back to the sixteenth century, when the Druze of the Shuf, whose livelihood depended on silk production, first opened their country to large-scale Christian-and principally Maronite-peasant migration from the north, to help produce the silk.
To encourage this Christian immigration, the leading Druze chiefs of the area made generous donations of land to Maronite and other Christian monastic orders for the building of monasteries and churches; tradition has it that the Druze villages where the Christian newcomers settled came to be called 'honoured villages' diya musharrafa.
Meanwhile, as the Druze emirs holding the iltizam of the Druze area gained control over the adjacent Maronite nahiye of Kisrawan, the management of the affairs of Mount Lebanon developed into a close Druze-Maronite partnership.
Having the advantage of numbers and of privileged external connections, the Maronites eventually started to gain the upper hand in this partnership. This development appears to have elicited little Druze concern in its initial stages but, before long, tensions began to rise.
Incited and openly backed by France, the Maronite clerical and feudal leaderships began, from the s, to seek complete dominance over the whole of Mount Lebanon, causing the Druze to feel dangerously threatened on their very home ground. When the Druze reaction, in full force, finally came inits violence was such that the Christian parties who had provoked it fled the scene, leaving the defenceless Christians of the Druze regions to their fate.
While the manner in which the Druze fell upon their terrified Christian neighbours in in the Shuf, Wadi al-Taym and elsewhere-went beyond the justifiable limits of self-defence, what it represented at the time was an outburst of pent-up feelings of hostility provoked by decades of equally unjustified Christian provocation.
Over a century later, during the course of the multi-faceted Lebanese civil war ofChristian provocation was even more pronounced and included indefensible attacks on isolated and unprotected Druze communities in different parts of Mount Lebanon notably, in the Matn and Shahhar districts.
This was a decisive factor in eliciting the violence with which the Druze attacked Christians living in their midst indevastating their villages and forcing a massive Christian exodus from the Shuf.
In both instances, the Druze recourse to violence represented a departure from the historical Druze norm, which had emphasized peaceful coexistence on the basis of equitable partnership and mutual goodwill. However, to maintain this norm, the community had first to attend to its survival, which is why, at various turning points in their history, the Druze felt compelled to resort to arms when they perceived their community to be in danger.
This compulsion was the same regardless of whether the perceived danger came from a neighbour or an external power, or whether the odds were with the Druze or overwhelmingly against them.
Proud of their communal identity and solidarity, the Druze have also been staunchly attached to their native soil; the same Druze families have lived in the same towns and villages, if not the same houses, for centuries, with hardly an interruption. Attachment to community and territory, however, has never been a bar to active Druze involvement in the affairs of the broader societies to which they belonged; nor has it obstructed the Druze commitment to the wider Arab identity that they share with other Muslim and Christian communities of the Near East.
Moreover, though socially conservative, the Druze have exhibited a remarkable openness to Western cultural influences in modern times. During the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, Lebanese Druze chiefs welcomed and offered their protection to British and American missionaries arriving to establish schools and colleges in the Shuf mountains, as they had in Beirut; Furthermore, by sending their own sons and daughters to these teaching institutions, they set the example for others.
As a result, the spread of modern education began particularly early among the Druze, no less than among Lebanese Christians.