Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Druzes, a Syrian people, on the east slopes of Mount Lebanon, whence many have in recent years migrated to the Hauriin uplands south of Damascus; they are of doubtful origin, but probably akin to the neighbouring Nazariehs, and like them practise certain mysterious rites supposed to be instituted in the 10th century by Heikim, third Sultan of the Egyptian Fatimite dynasty, and afterwards propagated by Mohammed ed Dereizi, a Persian fanatic, who led his followers out of Egypt and established himself in the Lebanon; from him they take the name of Deruz or Drtiz, and associate with him another Persian named Hamza, by whom their present code appears to have been formulated. They reject prayer, fasting, pilgrimage, eat pork and drink wine, and their claim to be regarded as Mohammedans is consequently rejected by the orthodox Mussulmans. They believe in one God, who has manifested himself several times, the last incarnation being that of Heikim. There is also an esoteric or secret doctrine, revealed only to the okkctt (initiated), who meet once a week, but whose gatherings are supposed to be more of a political than of a religious character. The Druzes, who are an extremely warlike people, brave, intelligent, and physically superior to all the surrounding populations, have for ages been at feud with the neighbouring Christian Maronites [Maronites], and towards the middle of the present century frightful massacres took place on both sides, leading to the intervention of the European powers. Since then peace has been maintained, and the Druzes, who have given a friendly welcome to the Protestant missionaries, have discontinued their warlike expeditions, devoting themselves to agriculture and other peaceful pursuits. They number altogether about 100,000, of whom the majority are now settled in Hauretn. (Colonel Churchill, The Druzes and the Maronites, 1862; De Sacy, Expose de la Religion des Druzes, 1838; Guy's Thcogonie ies Druzes, 1863.)