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Druze - A religion that broke away from Islam about 1000 CE following the teachings of Darazi, Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad and Baha El-Din. Druze call themselves Muwahhidoon (plural) or Muwahhid (singular) which means "monotheistic." The religion is officially secret, and they do not proselytize. They believe in reincarnation and in abstract concepts of heaven and hell. They have few holidays, but celebrate the granting of the Quran to Muhammad (Muslim Ramadan). They do not perform the Hajj - pilgrimage to Mecca. Druze are loyal citizens of whatever state they live in. Large Druze minorities live in Israel, Syria and Lebanon.

Druze are Arabs and the religion is transmitted from parents to offspring. They are a faction that split off from the Ismaili sect of Shia Islam, but it is not clear if they are to be considered Muslims. The Druze faith is in any case quite different from Islam in many respects. 

Al-Muwahhidun, the Druze, believe in the unity of the creator and reason, and they designated the following hudud or parameters:

1) Reason: which is manifested in Imam Hamzah Ibn Ali.

2) The soul: the missionary Abu Ibrahim Al-Tamimi.

3) The word: Muhammad Ibn Wahb.

4) The former: Abu Al-Hayyiz Salamah Al-Samiri.

5) The successor: Baha Eddine Abu Al-Hassan named Al-Muqtani.

The beginning of the call to the Druze faith was in Egypt in the age of Al-Hakem Bi Amr Ellah. Al-Hakem proclaimed the start of the call in the evening of Friday the first day of 408 A.H.. He assigned the leadership of the call to Imam Hamzah Ibn Ali Ibn Ahmad, and on that day, he issued a decision calling upon people to practice their faith without fear or concealment. Planning by the ruler to ready the people to embrace an anticipated role preceded the Tawhidi call. These preparations were overseen by Al-Hakem, and they continued for seven consecutive years. The missionaries embarked upon readying the people through reason and knowledge to absorb and welcome the new phase.

Imam Hamzah was born on the same day that Al-Hakem  was born in 375 A.H., in the Iranian city of Khorasan, and he studied in its university. The imam began preaching to people the paradigm of Tawhid, and he took as helpers three main missionaries who consecutively assumed the task of preaching the call before his arrival and his appointment as imam by the ruler. The missionaries disseminated their noble knowledge and spread the centers of wisdom, and they would take an oath of allegiance from all who embraced their creed. This oath of allegiance would be tantamount to a covenant, which the believers would pledge themselves to. And the believer should be of sound mind, mature, free and not a slave. This covenant was binding on all who believed.

The call (da`wa) went through arduous times. It was preached intermittently according to the circumstances that the missionaries would go through, until it was finally closed in the year 435 at the behest of Baha Eddine, who took charge of the da`wa in the wake of the disappearance of Imam Hamzah along with his three brothers Ismail, Mohammad and Salamah.

The human, according to the Tawhid philosophy ,possesses absolute freedom of choice. However, the exercise of freedom of choice is limited as a result of what has accumulated for the individual through the preceding and present generations insofar as acts which he has chosen for himself, and which have made the scope of his freedom limited, and which have impacted on him. The difficulties we encounter in our time are a product of our previous evil deeds: In this connection the Qur'an states: "Whatever good befalls you, it is from God, and whatever befalls you of evil is from yourself" Hence, the Muwahhidun believe that punishment befalls those who apparently pronounce Tawhid but who in fact disobey God's commands to shun corruption.

The Druze believe that the body is perishable, but that another one takes its place. The body in fact is a means of manifesting spiritual forces. Those who are devout and God fearing hold that the purity of the soul makes religious observance for the human a way to transcend the shortcomings of life towards the higher planes, so that one can be closely in communion with the One God who is Omnipotent; thereby, he attains wisdom, and through it the human comes closer to God; and to the extent of such nearness he apprehends reality, which is the source of happiness. The Druze believe in the hereafter, in divine reward and punishment and judgment. Reckoning is meted out to the person given that he is an eternal being, and he is judged based on what he did over millions of years of the stages lived by his spirit. As for rewards, they are through spiritual, and not bodily pleasures. The bliss of paradise is spiritual and not corporeal, because, the soul, when it reaches paradise with its purity and transcendence, all its acts are adoration and praise of God, and because the souls, in the course of successive reincarnations, are purified through good deeds. Hence, the Druze believe in reincarnation, and that God Almighty created humans all at one time, and that the number of people in this world is fixed, given that when each human dies his soul goes to the body of a newly born human.

Synonyms and alternate spellings:

Further Information:   The Druze

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Spelling - Spelling of words in Middle-Eastern languages is often arbitrary. There may be many variants of the same name or word such as Hezbollah, Hizbolla, Hisbolla or Husayn and Hussein. There are some conventions for converting words from Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew There are numerous variant renderings of the same Arabic or Hebrew words, such as "Hizbollah," "Hisbulla" etc. It is not possible to find exact equivalents for several letters. 

Pronunciation - Arabic and Hebrew vowels are pronounced differently than in English. "o" is very short. The "a" is usually pronounced like the "a" in market, sometimes as the "a" in "Arafat."  The " 'A " is guttural.  " 'H "- the 'het ('Hirbeh, 'Hebron, 'Hisbollah') designates a sound somewhat similar to the ch in "loch" in Scots pronunciation, but made by touching the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The CH should be pronounced like Loch, a more assertive consonant than 'het.

The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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