A fascinating part of researching on different cultures is how to develop a sense of maturity towards people of different lands, in this way we can understand them while respecting their cult. On the planet Earth, there are around hundreds of cultures which are nurturing themselves around us, however, some cults are popular and some are ignored, but there are cultures and religions who wants to keep their nurturing as a ‘secret'; it is because they don't want their sacredness become popular, and one of the reasons is because they feel that popularizing their faith will only tarnish their religion's image. No! I am not talking about any vague ‘Secret Society' which is hollowing the youth from inside and limiting their power to reason, but I want to analyze "The People of Monotheism", which in the Arabic language translates them as "Ahl al-Tawhīd". However, the rest of the world refer to them as "Druze" or "Druse"; many scholars believe that the origin of the cult itself came from an early preacher called as 'Mohammed Al Darazi'.
The Druze are an independent religious group mainly concentrated in parts of Lebanon and in the mountains of Beirut and Sidon. Druze are also located just inside the Northern border of Israel, in Jordan, on the Golan Heights in Syria, in Turkey and in smaller numbers throughout North America and Europe.
According to Wikipedia: "The religion developed out of Ismaili Islam, a philosophical movement based in the Fatimid Caliphate, in the 10th century, a time of particular cultural wealth. The religion did not attempt to reform mainstream Islam but to create a whole new religious body influenced by Greek philosophy, Gnosticism, and Christianity, among others. The main actors were Tariq al-Hakīm (meaning Ruler), also known as al-Hakīm bi-Amr Allah or Ruler in the Name of God, and Hamza ibn-'Ali ibn-Ahmad, the main architect of the movement. It was Hamza who first publicly proclaimed that Hakīm was the Ruler in the Name of God. Hakīm was opposed by mainstream Muslims for what was considered apostasy. The Druze believe that Hakīm disappeared and will return in the end of days. Because the Druze considered Tariq al-Hakīm to be the incarnation of God, they were persecuted by mainstream Muslims, especially after Hakīm's death in 1021. The Druze took up taqiyya ("dissimulation"), a practice whereby they conceal their true beliefs and outwardly accept the religious beliefs of those amongst whom they live, even as they secretly retained their true convictions.
The Druze people are bound to a number of beliefs and religious laws, like any other individual who used to practice his faith. While I was going through some texts and books about the Druze religion, I came to know that they share a fantastic similarity with Islamic faith and culture. In the paragraphs below, I have tried to showcase both the faiths in a similar light while contradicting where needed.
The people of the ‘Books'
The Druze regard themselves to be a part of Islam and hold the Qur'an to be sacred, but they look upon it as an external shell, they believe that Qur'an holds an "inner, esoteric meaning." Their religious texts are collectively known as "Kitab Al Hikma" (The Book of Wisdom). It is a collection of books, of which the first six are most commonly used.
However, in the Islamic faith, there is only one book and that is Qur'an because the Muslims used to believe that it is God himself who is talking to them through the former. Hadith also plays a significant role while discussing every niche of the way of living as a Muslim.
The Druze people are firmly monotheistic which means that God has no partner or son and that he is not part of a Trinity. They use to believe that God created the universe from nothing and He is omnipotent and omniscient.
In this context, People of Druze have the exact belief as of Muslims, Muslims believe that the creation of Universe has started with the word ‘Kun' which means ‘To be' which 'Allah' use to recite whenever he wants to create any kind of 'form'; Adding to this, Qur'an states that Allah created this universe as ever expanding. It is also believed by the Muslims that Allah Created Prophet Muhammad even before the creation of Universe and when Allah himself created Muhammad, He recited the verses of Quran for the first time. These verses are of the Surah (Chapter) – Yaa'seen. In the first verse of this chapter, Allah prophesized that Muhammad will spread the message of truth and Qur'an and he will be a blessing to all mankind and the unseen.
Prophets and Scholars
The Druze recognize seven major prophets, including Adam, Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad but they reject the concept of the virgin birth and believe that Jesus was the son of Joseph. They have a belief that each major prophet had seven minor prophets; each of the latter had twelve disciples, including Daniel, Plato and other individuals from Biblical and Greek history. Like the Islamic faith, Prophets are not worshiped, although their names may be called out for help in times of trouble. The prophets are considered as noble and pious.
In this context, Muslims also regard Adam, Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad, David, Joseph, Moses, Noah as major prophets but there is nothing available regarding Plato, Aristotle or any other Greek scholar to be a part of Islam. Islam starts with Muhammad, so as per this belief, Muslims reject the Prophet ship of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates. Prophet Muhammad and Quran states the stories of previous prophets with exact knowledge and facts. However, Muslims always recognize Plato and other Greek philosophers as great scholars of all time.
Like the followers of many far Eastern religions, Druze people believe that after death, one's soul is instantaneously reincarnated by being reborn into another human body. They believe that all souls were created at one phase of time; the total number of souls has neither increased nor decreased since then. During many lifetimes, a soul will experience immense "health and illness, fortunes and misfortunes, riches and poverty. Each soul has the opportunity to progress upward until it reaches purity. Through successive reincarnations, the soul may eventually unite with the Cosmic Mind "al- aaqal al kulli."
With Muslims, there is no concept of Reincarnation in Islam, Muslims only believe in the notion of ‘Akhirah', which states that all the people after the Armageddon will appear on the Day of Resurrection and the men will be asked of his deeds which pave the way for him going to either Heaven or Hell. Any kind of reincarnation in any form isn't believed in Islam.
Deeds of Heaven and Hell
The Druze people's concept of Heaven and Hell is spiritual in nature. "Heaven is the ultimate happiness that the soul encounters when it unites and meets its creator, however, hell is the bitter experience of being deprived endlessly of the glorious presence of the Mighty."
In this context, the concept of Heaven and Hell is based on the notion of ‘The day of Resurrection' in Islamic view. It is one's deeds and his will to do right or wrong which will become the way for him that leads towards hell or heaven. Quran itself states of Heaven and Hell in most of its chapter.
Choosing their way
Everyone has an equal tendency to do good and evil and is free to choose between doing right or wrong.
In this notion, the Muslims believes the same but with a message instead. At all times in Quran and Hadith, it is stated that the men should come at peace within. He should exercise deeds full of good and ultimately he will reach the 'highest of heaven'.
They often refer to themselves as Unitarians - believers in a single deity who reject polytheism, and Atheism. It is same as that of Muslims of Islam, they also reject the practice of polytheism. However, talking about atheism I personally regard atheism as the half step towards Islam.