Page opens in separate window.
But to the Druze the theophany occurred over many cycles and ages and in different forms, all of which were meant to guide ephemeral, changeable and dying humanity to the Tawhid of the deity, al-Hakim. This idea is derived from the Isma'ilis and other extremist Shiites, especially the Nusayris. It is also found in the system of Ahl-i Haqq (Ali Ilahis) with some differences. As was stated earlier, the Ahl-i Haqq maintain that Ali was one of the seven theophanies of the deity and was himself divine. He existed from the beginning of time, and his coming to this world was proclaimed by the angel Gabriel to Adam (19). While some extremist Shiites maintain that the God Ali appeared in seven forms and cycles (adwar), the Druze say that their deity, al-Hakim, appeared in seventy-two cycles which lasted for millions of years, but the time and place of only a few such appearances are known. Significantly, the Deity first appeared to humankind under the name Ali al-A'la ("the most high"), the same term the Nusayris use in referring to Ali ibn Abi Talib. The Arabic word Ali means "high", but for many Arabs it is also the name of their God. The Druze view of the cycles is that the deity appeared in many forms until it finally appeared in the Fatimid caliphs, of whom al-Hakim was the last and ultimate manifestation. In other words, he became the Messiah. Similarly, Baha al-Din Muqtana, in al-Risala al-Masihiyya, identifies Hamza with the Messiah. He is the one and only God. But al-Hakim is now in concealment until he appears on the last day. This period is called Zaman al-Sitr (the period of concealment). The period of Ali al-A'la was the longest, lasting 343 million years, and was followed by other cycles. From the appearance of Adam there were seventy weeks, which may recall the seventy weeks of Daniel. The period between each pair of cycles is seventy weeks, and the period between each pair of weeks is a thousand years (20 ).
 In this period of Ali al-A'la, created men were called al-Timm, al-Rimm, al-Hinn and al-Jinn, who had no written laws and no book. In the Nusayris' religious system, the God Ali appeared in seven qibabs (tabernacles) or periods, inhabited by the beings named above, except that the Yunan (Greeks) are considered among them. He was one and the same god in each of these manifestations. The term al-Rimm (perhaps al-Rum) appears to mean Greeks (21).
Along with Ali al-A'la came his hudud (ministers), and all the world came into existence, for Ali al-A'la (none other than al-Hakim) existed in his essence alone, without his creation. But he willed to make a cause and effect for his creation. So he made his Will emanate from his radiant light and command him to be, and he was. This Will thus became his perfect image, endowed with light and power. The creator called this Will "the Cause of Causes", and by the power of the creator it became al-Aql al-Kulli (The Universal Mind) and Nuqtat al-Bikar, that is, the point in which the compass begins and ends the circle. In this sense Nuqtat al-Bikar means that al-Aql al-Kulli is the beginning and the end (22). Then, as we shall see, the other hudud were created in succession. But al-Aql al-Kulli is none other than Hamza ibn Ali himself, whom the God al-Hakim caused to appear in seventy ages in different forms and under different names (23).
Question 24 of the Druze catechism is, “How many times did Hamza appear, and under what names?” Answer: “He appeared seven times, from Adam to the Prophet Muhammad.” Question 25 of the same catechism asks, “What was his name in each of these appearances?” Answer: “In the period of Adam his name was Shatnil, in Noah's period he was called Pythagoras, in the time of Abraham he was David, in the time of Moses he was Shu'ayb, in the time Isa (Jesus) he was the true al-Masih (Christ), in the time of Muhammad he was Salman al-Farisi, and in the time of Sa'id (Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi) he was Salih” (24). Thus, Hamza ibn Ali carved out for himself a position of divinity in the Druze religious system (25).
 While Ali al-A'la and al-Bari (al-Barr) may seem to represent two different theophanies, to this writer they appear to be one and the same primeval creator. In al-Sira al-Mustaqima, Hamza reasons that because the deity who first appeared in human form was called al-Qa'im (self-existent) and not Qa'im al-Zaman (Lord of Time), as the Fatimids call him, the deity is limited by time, while as God al-Hakim is outside time. Hamza asserts that with his appearance as Nuqtat al-Bikar, who proclaimed the oneness of the divinity of al-Hakim, there is no need for more theophanies because Hamza has now fulfilled them all. Thus, the God al-Hakim has blessed him (Hamza) and the mustajibin (those who respond to the faith of Tawhid) by appearing in human form, that they might comprehend him. Therefore, Hamza says, despite his human form al-Hakim is not the son of al-Aziz bi Allah (his earthly father), nor he is the father of his son al-Zahir, because he transcends these human limitations. But why al-Hakim appeared in different cycles and in different forms, and why he made himself known to people in some of these cycles and concealed it in others, are questions Hamza does not address. To him, these phenomena are mysteries beyond the comprehension of the human mind.
It is most peculiar, however, that in al-Sira al-Mustaqima, Hamza relates an anecdote that thoroughly confuses students of history. To my knowledge, it is not found in the religious systems of extremist Shiites. He says that in our own cycle, i.e., the known cycle of creation, there existed three men, all of them called Adam. One was Adam al-Safa (the Pure, the Choicest, or perhaps the Rock, as Jesus called Peter "Cepha", rock), who was none other than Hamza himself as he existed in an earlier cycle. This Adam, also called Shatnil, was born in Adminiyya in India; his father's name was Daniel. Adam al-Safa left India and came to the city of Surna ("miracle") in Yemen, and from there he sent twelve da'is to preach the message of Tawhid. For this he became known as Abu al-Bashar (Father of Men), because men in this sense were those to whom Adam al-Safa preached the message of Tawhid and who accepted it. Thus, Adam became their spiritual father. Then Iblis (Satan), an adversary of al-Barr, appeared in the person of Harith (or Harat) ibn Tarmah, from Isfahan. Al-Barr asked the angels to worship Shatnil. All of them obeyed except Harith, who said that he was better than Shatnil and would never genuflect before him. Because of his disobedience, Harith was expelled from the Janna (paradise) and no longer regarded as one of the hudud (26). This episode is plainly of Qur'anic origin. But what is the origin of the name Shatnil? Muhammad Kamil Husayn conjectures that Shatnil is Shanti, the name by which the Chinese called the Christian saints. Probably Hamza heard this name and distorted it into Shatnil (27). Interestingly, in one of his letters Baha al-Din al-Muqtana says he is the slave to Qa'im al-Haqq (the Lord of Truth) Shatnil, who may be his lord Hamza (28).
The second Adam is al-Nafs (Universal Soul), who appeared in the form of Enoch, or the second Adam who according to the Qur'an (Sura of Taha, 20: 121) disobeyed God and was called Adam al-Asi (rebellious, disobedient) or Adam the human being. His wife was called Hawwa (Eve), because she encompassed (ihtawat) all the believers. She was not only his wife but his proof (hujja), his slave (abd), and one of his da'is (29). Then the Kalima appeared in the form of Sharkh. The third Adam, was Adam al-Nasi (the forgetful) because he forgot God his lord according to the Qur'an (Sura of Taha, 20: 115.)
 These three Adams were born from a man and a woman, not from the dust of the earth, as the ignorant (non-Druze) claim. It seems strange that Kamal Junblat speculates that the theophany of the deity will occur around the year 2000 A.D., and that with this theophany a new path will be opened for believers all over the world to follow (30). After al-Barr, the deity appeared in other forms. He appeared during the era of Abu Zakariyya, who is actually Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ismail (also called al-Rida), who was persecuted by the Abbasid Caliph al-Ma'mun (d. 833). He later appeared as al-Ali, al-Mu'ill, al-Qa'im bi Amr Allah, al-Mansur bi Allah, al-Aziz bi Allah (the father of al-Hakim), and finally as al-Hakim himself. Thus, al-Hakim became the final theophany and is himself the Deity.
Nevertheless, following Isma'ili reasoning, the Druze maintain that the Will of the primeval God was not to live in total obscurity but to reveal himself through the process of fayd (emanations). He created al-Aql al-Kulli, the first emanation of the divine nature. Here we may note the influence of the Isma'ili concept of God and creation (31). According to the Isma'ili writer al-Kirmani (d. 947), the first intellect includes the whole Existence; in him it becomes one (32). The Isma'ilis appear to have adopted the Neo-Platonic doctrine of emanations, stripping it of mysticism. Like the Isma'ilis, the Druze and other ghulat, especially the Nusayris, maintain that God has no qualities. He is only an abstraction without attributes. He becomes so obscure that no one can communicate with him. This idea contradicts Neo-Platonism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, which all maintain that God has divine attributes and is the primary source of existence (33).
To the Druze, the Universal Mind is Hamza himself, who became the ruler of the universe. He is a kind of a demigod, but sufficiently powerful that on the day of judgment he will act on behalf of al-Hakim to judge whether men believe in al-Hakim or deny him. In this respect, says Makarem, according to the doctrine of Tawhid the immanent Universal Mind is the source of the emanation of all creation and the very proof of its outward existence. He adds that the Universal Mind made all creation and they cannot be separated from each other; the Universal Mind is the Cause, and the creation is its Effect. Thus, the highest mind is the means of revelation and knowledge implanted in every believing (that is, Druze) soul (34).
Meanwhile, another demigod was created as an adversary (didd), whose function was to nullify the work of the Universal Mind. The emanation of the didd made it necessary for the primeval God to create ministers who emanated from the Universal Mind. These are the Nafs (Universal Soul), al-Asas (the Foundation), al-Kalima (the Word), al-Sabiq (the Preceder), and finally al-Tali (The Successor). These emanations are the Hudud. More importantly, they are al-Hakim's ministers, whose basic function is to serve him and reveal him as the lord of the universe. These emanations personify Druze divine men. Hamza personified al-Aql al-Kulli, Isma'il al-Tamimi personified al-Nafs, Muhammad ibn Wahab al-Qurashi personified al-Kalima, Abu al-Khayr Salama al-Samiri personified, al-Sabiq or al-Janah al-Ayman (the Right Wing), and Ali ibn Ahmad al-Samuqi, also known as Baha al-Din al-Muqtana personified al-Tali or al-Janah al-Aysar (the Left Wing). These hudud are the Sham'a (candle) of Tawhid (35). They are the ones who revealed the religion of Tawhid and call on humanity to embrace it. The duty of every Druze is to know them and their positions and functions, in order to understand the Tawhid, the Oneness of the Lord al-Hakim. These emanations are the only means of salvation, according to the connotation of this term by the Druze (36).
 Next in importance to the hudud are the natiqs (prophets). According to the Druze classification, these include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus (called Isa son of Joseph), Muhammad (the Prophet of Islam), and Muhammad ibn Isma'il, who gave his name to the Isma'ilis. Each of these natiqs has a deputy or minor prophet called samits or asas, whose function is to interpret the faith of the natiq. They include Ishma'il, Abraham's son (by his bondwoman) Hagar, Enoch, Aaron, Daniel, Simon, Plato, and other Greek and Biblical characters. Both the natiqs and the samits appear in irregular cycles. The natiq is the legislative prophet, and the samit is his substitute. Between each natiq and the next stand seven Imams who are the deputies or Samits. Each of the legislating prophets abrogates the law of his predecessor. Jesus abrogated the laws of Moses, and Muhammad abrogated the laws of both Judaism and Christianity. In the last cycle, the religion of Tawhid abrogated all former religions and thus became the only true religion on earth. To the Druze the number seven is sacred; there are seven Imams (representing seven heavens), seven seas, seven earths, seven zodiacs. This is strikingly close to the seven cycles of the Nusayris, in which God appeared in seven different human forms (37). But in the main, it is the same doctrine of hudud held by the Isma'ilis, although with some differences. The Isma'ilis say that men cannot comprehend the Tawhid of God without knowing the spiritual and the corporeal hudud and having faith in them and obeying them. These spiritual hudud are the Mind, the Souls, the Jadd, al-Fath and al-Khayal. They prefigure the corporeal hudud—the Natiqs, the Awsiya or Samits, the Imamas, the Hujaj (Proofs, Authorities), and the Du'at (Propagandists). The Isma'ilis maintain that God created the Universal Mind who created the Univeral Soul, whereby all creation came into existence. Hamza debated this doctrine in al-Risala al-Mawsuma bi Kashf al-Haqa'iq and produced what he thought was more appropriate doctrine of the hudud. (Rasa'il al-Hikma, pp 130-145)
Another doctrine shared by the Druze, the Nusayris, and Ahl-i Haqq is that of metempsychosis (reincarnation). The Nusayris call metempsychosis musukhiyya or tanasukh, while the Druze call it taqammus. According to the Nusayris, the soul after death is reborn into another human body, or into an animal, a plant, dirt, dry straw, or insects like flies and ants, depending on its state in life and the degree of its good or bad deeds. For instance, the soul of a good Nusayri will pass into the body of a good human being, while the soul of a sinful Nusayri will enter the body of an unclean beast. But in the Druze doctrine of taqammus, derived from qamis (shirt, tunic), good and bad souls enter the bodies of good or evil people.
 Hamza ibn Ali makes this distinction clear in al-Risala al-Damigha, written to refute a Nusayri book that had come into his hands. Hamza says the Nusayris assert that the souls of the Nawasib (Sunnites) and addad (adversaries) will pass into dogs and other unclean beasts such as pigs, monkeys, and fowl, until they enter fire to be burned and beaten under the hammer. He rejects as preposterous and utterly false the belief that human souls enter the bodies of animals, and warns that anyone believing in this musukhiyya will suffer the loss of both this world and the next (38). Hamza explains that taqammus means the successive alternation of souls in human bodies for the sake of testing them and purifying them. As soon as a soul leaves one body, God has prepared for it to be reborn in another. God does this with great wisdom because each soul needs a body and cannot exist without it. He does this also to keep the population of the world in constant balance (39).
The Druze also maintain that taqammus is a process that only Druze souls experience. Thus, according to some Druze writers the soul of a good Druze at the time of death enters the body of another good Druze, while the soul of a sinful Druze may enter the body of a Jew or a Christian. In this case, it passes from one such body to another until finally it is sufficiently purified to enter the body of a good Druze and becomes part of the eternal community of believers, the Druze. But the soul of a sinful Druze seldom enters the body of a Muslim.40 Also, the soul of a righteous male Druze enters only the body of a male Druze, while the soul of a female Druze enters the body of a female Druze.
Metempsychosis is important in the religious system of the Ahl-i Haqq because it is associated with the worship and decorum of the Jam' (religious assembly) and with the haqq (Truth), that is, the oneness of God which is the essence of their worship. According to the Ahl-i Haqq the righteous—those who adhere faithfully to the rules of the haqiqat (Truth), i.e., their religious beliefs, and worship at the Jam', and partake of the sacrificial meal—will be reincarnated so that they may come to know the haqq (Truth). The wicked, those who act wrongly at the Jam' or do not adhere faithfully to the principle of haqiqat (the knowledge that God is the ultimate reality) will be excommunicated from the Ahl-i Haqq community and reborn in the form of filthy animals, ultimately going to hell. In this regard the Ahl-i Haqq are closer to the Nusayris' doctrine of metempsychosis. But unlike the Nusayris and Druze, the Ahl-i Haqq hold the pantheistic belief that all humankind emanated from God and will at the end be unified with God, who initially created it. They connect this belief with their doctrine of metempsychosis. In other words, to Ahl-i Haqq the righteous will be united with the haqiqat (truth of God). The rebirth of the wicked as base and dirty animals symbolizes their unchaste and immoral nature; they will be eternally separated from the haqiqat. Finally, they will go to hell, because the righteous and the wicked cannot coexist. The Thoumaris, a subgroup of the Ahl-i Haqq, maintain that the reincarnation of a sinner's soul in animal form may go on for a million cycles, during which he gradually attains purification, until finally he is reborn in perfect human form and approaches God. Some Ali-Ilahis believe that dogs are not dirty animals and souls would transmigrate to them. A certain Ali Ilahi, Khan Guran, loved his dog, who he believed was the reincarnation of his grandfather (41).
 The Druze believe that on the last day, when the world comes to an end, the god al-Hakim will appear with Hamza ibn Ali, most likely in Mecca, accompanied by great cavalry hosts, with thunder and lightning shaking the earth. On that day, Hamza will take revenge on those who have shed the blood of the Muwahhidun (Druze) and will terminate all laws and religions on earth. He will then proclaim the Tawhid and the Muwahhidun, and the Druze will inherit the earth forever. All infidels will be subject to them. Unlike the Janna (paradise) of Islam, where people marry and give themselves over to the sensual pleasures of eating, drinking, and intercourse, Janna for the Muwahhidun (Druze) is a spiritual place where they alone enjoy happiness because they have known and embraced the true religion of Tawhid. This final triumph and reward is based on their belief that they are the best of God's creation, the chosen people of God (42).
Hamza ibn Ali lists seven articles of faith peculiar to the Druze. They are:
1. Truth of the TongueThese articles have substituted the religious duties held sacred by Muslims: the Islamic profession of faith, prayer, zakat (alms), fasting, the Hajj, and Jihad (43).
2. The Perseverance of Friendship between Brothers
3. Renunciation of all other Religions
4. Disbelief in Evil Spirits and Deceivers
5. The Worship of the Lord al-Hakim in every age and generation
6. Acquiescence in the actions of al-Hakim, whatever they are
7. Absolute acceptance of al-Hakim's orders
A cursory reading of these articles suggests they are of Druze origin. But Dr. Muhammad Kamil Husayn writes that they are found in the book al-Himma fi Adab Itiba' al-A'imma, by the Fatimid writer al-Qadi al-Nu'man ibn Muhammad ibn Hayyun al-Maghribi (d. 973). Husayn cites one caveat; since al-Qadi Nu'man lived before al-Hakim's time, he cannot refer to the oneness of al-Hakim in every generation but says that the Imam and Qa'im al-Zaman (the Lord of Time) in every age and generation must be obeyed (44). He goes on to say that the Druze Shari'a replaced the Islamic religious duties. But in his epilogue, he iterates the ideas of Druze writers like the Amir Shakib Arslan and Arif al-Nakadi, who contend that the Druze are Muslims and have never abandoned Islam. Surely, this particular subject is thorny and remains controversial. Very recently a Druze writer, retired Major Jamil Dhubyan, published a book entitled Islamiyyat al-Muwahiddin al-Duruz (Islamism of the Muwahiddin the Druze: al-Shouf, Lebanon, 1991) to show that the Druze are genuine Muslims. But it is apparent from the Druze books that the religion of Tawhid stands alone independent of other religions. It is, as the Druze maintain, the only true spiritual path.
Return to first page of article