Ali among Shiite Mahommedans; the Bab in Babism; the Druse Hakim).
(a) Maronites (q.v.) form about three-fifths of the whole and have the north of the Mountain almost to themselves, while even in the south, the old Druse stronghold, they are now numerous.
(d) Sunnite Moslems are a weak element, strongest in Shuf and Kurah, and composed largely of Druse renegades and "Druse" families, which, like the Shehab, were of Arab extraction and never conformed to the creed of Hamza.
They are said to be descendants of Persian tribes; but the fact is very doubtful, and they may be at least as aboriginal as the Maronites, and a remnant of an old Incarnationist population which did not accept Christianity, and kept its heretical Islam free from those influences which modified Druse creed.
He resides at Deir al-Kamar, an old seat of the Druse amirs.
Under the governor are seven kaimakams, all Christians except a Druse in Shuf, and forty-seven niudirs, who all depend on the kaimakams except one in the home district of Deir al-Kamar.
Few names or events stand out in the history of this period: perhaps the most interesting personality is that of the Druse prince Fakhr ud-Din (1595-1634), whose expulsion of the Arabs from the coast as far south as Acre and establishment of his own kingdom, in defiance of Ottoman authority - to say nothing of his dilettante cultivation of art, the result of a temporary sojourn in Italy - make him worth a passing notice.
As the residence of the Druse Amir Fakhr ud-Din, it rose to some prosperity about the beginning of the r 7th century, but towards the close of the 18th its commerce again passed away and has never returned.
The Hauran, therefore, has become the stronghold of the Druses, offering nowadays the best field for studying their peculiar customs and religion; and the group there still increases at the expense of the other groups, despite efforts on the part of the Ottoman government to check Druse migration by both conciliatory and repressive measures.
The actual distinction of the Druses, as a racial unity, despite their dispersion, depends so exclusively on the peculiarity of their common religion, that it will be well at once to give an account of Druse creed and practice as they are understood to stand at the present day.
Druse religion is a secret faith, and the following account is given with all reserves.
There are many indications that a more primitive cult, containing elements of Nature worship, preceded it, and still survives in the popular practices of the more remote Druse districts, e.g.
The latter function is performed solely by the Druse Scriptures.
Obedience is required to the seven commandments of Hamza, the first and greatest of which enjoins truth in words (but only those of Druse speaking with Druse); the second, watchfulness over the safety of the brethren; the third, absolute renunciation of every other religion; the fourth, complete separation from all who are in error; the fifth, recognition of the unity of "Our Lord" in all ages; the sixth, complete resignation to his will; and the seventh, complete obedience to his orders.
Not only is the charge of secrecy rigidly obeyed in regard to the alien world, but full initiation into the deeper mysteries of the creed is permitted only to a special class designated Akils, (Arabic `Akl, intelligence), in contradistinction from whom all other members of the Druse community, whatever may be their position or attainments, are called Jahel, the Ignorant.
Admission is granted to any Druse of either sex who expresses willingness to conform to the laws of the society, and during a year of probation gives sufficient proof of sincerity and stability of purpose.
Even while the Akils are assembled, strangers are readily enough admitted to the khalwas; but as long as these are present the ordinary ceremonies are neglected, and the Koran takes the place of the Druse Scriptures.
As a formulated creed, the Druse system is not a thousand years old.
The Maronites, the Ansarieh, the Metawali and the "Isma`ilites," also profess creeds which, like the Druse system, differ from Sunni Islam in the important feature of admitting incarnations of the Deity, it is impossible not to suspect that Hamza's emissaries only gave definition and form to beliefs long established in this part of the world.
Many of the fundamental ideas of Druse theology belong to a common West Asiatic stock; but the peculiar history of the Mountain is no doubt responsible for beliefs, held elsewhere by different peoples, being combined there in a single creed.
Lebanon, under Khalid ibn Walid in the 9th century, as the beginning of Druse distinctiveness and power; but it also accepts Turkoman and Kurdish elements in the original Druse state.
The name Druse is met with first in Benjamin of Tudela (c. A.D.
Increased Druse dominion until it included all the N.
But it appears never to have professed the Druse creed, remaining Sunnite.
The Yemenite Druses thereupon emigrated in large numbers to the Hauran, and laid the foundation of Druse power there.
Ibrahim, however, by his possession of Druse hostages, restrained the amir, and after the bombardment of Acre, the Turks called him to account for his record of rebellion and treachery.
Since that epoch there has been comparative peace between the Druses and the government, largely because the latter, having learned wisdom, leaves the people very much to itself, maintaining only a small garrison of regular troops, and enlisting Druse police for service in Jebel Druz itself.
Hauran by railway, the Druse sheikhs are beginning to acquire commercial ambitions, and to desire peace.
But their dress is still black with the exception of red slippers, and the veil is never abandoned, not even, it is said, during sleep. An English lady, who has been much among them, states that the Druse women of the Hauran never unveiled before her.
Marriage retains certain traces of the original system of capture; but Druse women enjoy much consideration, and are comparatively well educated, dignified and free in their bearing in spite of their close veiling.
Porter got possession of seven standard works of Druse theology while at Damascus.
A history of the Druse nation by the amir Haidar Shehab is quoted by Urquhart.
Guys, Le Theogonie des Druses (1863), and La Nation Druse (1864); M.
There are many American and European institutions in the city: the American Presbyterian mission, with a girls' school and a printing office, which published the Arabic translation of the Bible, and now issues a weekly paper and standard works in Arabic; the Syrian Protestant college with its theological seminary, medical faculty, training college and astronomical observatory; the Scottish mission, and St George's institute for Moslem and Druse girls; the British Syrian mission schools; the German hospital, orphanage and boarding school; the French hospital and schools, and the Jesuit "Universite de St Joseph" with a printing office.