The Druze faith: Origin, development and interpretation

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Abstract

This study examines the basic components of the Druze doctrine which had become crystallized at the beginning of the eleventh century by five dāīs (propagators). The study attempts to introduce some new insights for understanding the Druze faith as articulated by its founders and as interpreted by the guwwānī (internal) literature of the Druze uqqāl. Although the Druze doctrine follows Ismaili terminologies and the Ismaili esoteric interpretation of the Qurān, it adds many new elements that placed the Druze doctrine outside the main stream of Ismāī liyya. The study argues that the Druze doctrine elaborates early Ismailism where bāin is set above āhir and tawīl above tanzīl and the ritual acts are considered as divine punishment. The Qurānic verses were invariably quoted to differentiate between three stages of believers: ahl al-āhir, i.e. the Sunnis, ahl al-bāin i.e. the Shiites and the Ismailis, and finally ahl al-tawīd i.e. the Druze. With its allegorical interpretation of the Qurānic verses, the Druze faith considers the seven pillars of Islam (five for the Sunnis and two for the Shiites and Kharijites) as rituals meant only for those who accept the outward meanings of the Qurānic verses in the literal sense. The Druze faith substitutes these seven daāim taklīfiyya (the ritual pillars) with seven Unitarian principles. It would appear that the derogatory attitude of the Druze doctrine toward ritual obligations was strongly influenced by Sufi extremists who argued that God should be reached without intermediaries. Druze guwwānī literature holds Sufism in high regard and greatly reveres Sufi behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-99
Number of pages24
JournalArabica
Volume58
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2011

Keywords

  • 'uqqāl
  • al-amīr al-sayyid
  • al-Hcombining dot belowākim
  • al-Tamīmī
  • bātcombining dot belowin
  • Bahā' al-Dīn
  • da'ā'im taklīfiyya
  • ǧuhhāl
  • Hcombining dot belowamza
  • Ismā'īliyya
  • lāhūt
  • nāsūt
  • Qarmatcombining dot belowiyya
  • Rasā'il al-Hcombining dot belowikma
  • Sufism
  • ta'līm al-diyāna l-durziyya
  • ta'wīl
  • taǧallī
  • taqammuscombining dot below
  • taqiyya
  • Tawhcombining dot belowīd
  • zcombining dot belowāhir

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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