Friday, January 20, 2012

Sebalan’s Tomb

This is the tomb of a respected Druze Holy Man.  It is situated on Har Gvul in the Druze village of Horfesh, which has a population of 5,500 and is 95% Druze, 4% Christian and 1% Moslem.

To the east the Meron Hills can be seen, with a break in the middle – a Horst, with a Graben in the middle.  To the west are 2 ridges of hills, all the same height.  Below is Kfar Horfesh, and behind are Har Adir and Har Hiram.  To the north can be seen the British built police station at Sasa.  The British built 5 police stations and 19 “Pill Box” forts to defend the border with Lebanon, which was then a French mandate, and also prevent smuggling.

The Druze tradition was started by Moslems in the 11th century CE.   It was not popular with Sunna and Shi’ite Moslems.  It was started by Hakim El Amara Shia (936-1021) in Egypt.  He worked with philosophers Nashtakin Darzi and Hamza Ben Ali and wrote down his ideas in the Druze Holy Book “Rosah El Hikma”.  The new religion didn’t allow pilgrimages to Mecca and combined elements from all the major monotheistic religions.

The religion states that G-d created the world and has been shown to the world, but has no substance.  G-d is good and understands that due to this people find it difficult to believe in him.  He has shown himself 70 times.

The Druze religion has 5 basic concepts:  Intelligence, truch, time soul and words.  The soul never dies, it moves to another person after death.

Later in the same century the 2 factions of Darzi and Ben Ali split.  Darzi and all his people (600,000) were killed.  The remaining Druze, under Bahaadin left Egypt and traveled north to Lebanon, to settle there.  Others joined the movement in Lebanon, but from 1140 no new people were allowed to become Druze.

Druze call themselves El Maa Hedun or Banu Maaruph.  To call themselves Druze is a putdown.  Moslems don’t accept Druze because they left Islam.

The Druze religion is kept secret, it is written by hand and not discussed with anyone from another religion.  From the age of 15 Druze men may become one of the “Akel” or “Learned”, which they will remain until they day.  Only those who have killed someone or been unfaithful in the marriage cannot.  Women are born Akel.  They can choose to relinquish the status.  The Druze house of worship is call the Hilwa and only people who are Akel may enter.

Druze men may only have 1 wife.  Druze families do not adopt or have IVF.  Their aim is to survive as a people.  If they are in danger, they can claim they are Muslims.  Druze usually side with the ruling power in countries where they live.  They see this as an aid to survival.  Since 1956 Druze living in Israel have been Israeli citizens and serve in the army.  Their multi-coloured striped flag is religious, not national.  Druze villages can be identified as they have no mosques or churches.

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