The Druze in the Middle East: Their Faith, Leadership, Identity and Status

The Druze in the Middle East: Their Faith, Leadership, Identity and Status

by Nissim Dana


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This book discusses the Druze in the Middle East in general, with a particular focus of the Druze relationship with the State of Israel. Part I: Faiths, Commandments, and the Life-Cycle deals with practical religious commandments, religious rights and ceremonies, and the life-cycle of the individual. Original material is presented that places the Druze unequivocally as members of an independent faith with their own unique identity. Part II: Spiritual Leadership and Community Organization looks at the spiritual leadership in various countries of the Middle East throughout their history. This leadership is of great importance in administering the life of the Druze community. Part III: Population, Society, and Identity in Israel discusses the role of family, society, and religious identity, and the changes in attitudes that have taken place in recent generations. Part IV: Laws of Personal Status is an analysis of the laws of personal status of individuals, and of the implementation of these laws in practice in the Druze religious courts. The Arabic source of these laws is discussed, and reference is made to the legal uniqueness of the laws in each of the three countries in the Middle East where this community is concentrated: Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781903900369
Publisher: Sussex Academic Press
Publication date: 12/01/2003
Pages: 227
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Nissim Dana is Lecturer in Academic Religions and Cultures of Peoples in the Middle East at Bar-Ilan University, and the Academic College of Judea and Samaria. He has many years’ experience in governmental and public positions, in the context of which he remains in close contact with the heads of religious communities in Israel and abroad.

Table of Contents

List of Maps, Illustrations and Documentsix
Scheme of Transliterationxiv
Letter from Labib Abu Ruknxv
Part IFaith, Commandments, and the Life-Cycle
1The Druze Faith and Its Believers3
The Beginnings of the Sect3
Rule of the Druze Emirs4
The Druze in the Nineteenth Century6
The Druze in the Twentieth Century8
The Druze in Israel12
2Fundamental Principles of Faith and the Druze Tradition15
The Gates of Faith15
The Epistles (rasa'il)16
The Commentary (sharh)16
The Testimony of Benjamin of Tudela17
The Prophets17
The Druze and the Fundamentals of Islam (Arkan al-Islam)17
Ta'alim (Religious Teachings)18
'Uqqal and Juhhal20
Khalwa and Religious Gatherings21
Ethical Demands of the 'Aqil22
Commandments and Outward Appearance23
Transition from the Status of Jahil to 'Aqil23
The Religious Status of Women24
Relations between Men and Women24
3Holidays, Festivals, and Holy Places26
'Id al-Adha (Festival of the Sacrifice)26
Nabi Shu'avb (Jethro)27
Ziyarat--Visits to Religious Sites30
Religious Sites Associated with Outstanding Personalities36
4The Druze Faith in Relation to Non-Druze39
Relationship of the Khalifa al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah to the Monotheistic Religions41
Attitude of the Druze Faith toward Monotheistic Religions43
"The Reflection" of the Druze Faith in Monotheistic Religious Literature46
The Monotheistic Religions at the Time of the Apocalypse and on the Day of Judgment49
A Faith that Excludes All Outsiders51
5The Life-Cycle of the Druze Individual55
Birth and Circumcision55
Engagement, Marriage, and Divorce56
Status of Women and Education of Children59
Transmigration of Souls and the End of Days60
Death and Burial62
Part IISpiritual Leadership and Community Organization
6The Druze Spiritual Leadership in the Middle East67
Beginnings of Spiritual Leadership67
Spiritual Leadership up to the Eighteenth Century68
Spiritual Leadership in Recent Generations69
The Druze Religious Council in Israel80
7The Status of the Druze and Their Community Organization85
The Ottoman Period85
The British Mandate Period87
The French Mandate of Lebanon89
Lebanon in the Modern Era89
Syria in the Modern Era91
Israel in the Modern Era92
Part IIIPopulation, Society, and Identity in Israel
8The Druze in Israel--Demography, Settlement, Residence99
The Druze Population of Israel99
Demographic Statistics100
History of Druze Settlement102
The Druze Settlements in Israel102
9Social and Economic Changes among the Druze in Israel107
The Druze Social Structure107
The National Singularity of the Druze108
Social Identity and Crisis in Modern Times109
Society and Family110
Conscription into the Israel Defense Force111
Government Handling of the Druze Population112
10Strayers and Those who Return to the Fold116
Religious Conversions of Druze in Israel116
Settlements of Origin, and Destination of "Strayers"117
Strayers and Straying, 1977-1982118
"Straying" toward Judaism119
"Straying" in the Direction of Islam119
Women who "Strayed"123
"Straying--Returning to the Fold"123
Policy of the Druze Leaders toward Straying127
Part IVLaws Governing Personal Status
11Laws of Personal Status of the Druze in Israel, Lebanon, and Syria: Implementation in Practice133
Marriageability (Ahliyyat al-Zawaj)134
Forbidden Marriages (Al-zawaj al-Mamnu')135
The Marriage Bond ('Aqd al-Zawaj)135
Marriage Laws and their Consequences (Ahkam al-Zawaj)136
The Bridal Price (Mahr)136
Maintenance Support (Nafaqa) to Wife137
Dissolving the Marriage (Mufaraqat)137
The Waiting Period ('Idda)140
Maintenance of Children (Hidana)140
Maintenance Support (Nafaqa) to Children141
Guardianship (Wilaya, Wisaya)142
Missing Persons (Mafqud) and Trusteeship (Qayyim)142
Lineage/Paternity (Nasab)143
Wills (Wasiyya) and Inheritance (Irth)143
Sacred Trusts (Awqaf)144
The Personal Status Laws of the Druze in Syria144
Arabic Original of the Laws of Personal Status in Lebanon and Israel155
Arabic Original of the Laws of Personal Status in Syria183

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