A Shorter Druze Catechism

[The following abridged Druze Catechism came into the possession of Professor W. B. Stevenson of the University of Glasgow. It is written in not unimpeachable Arabic-probably towards the end of the 19th century. Generally speaking the writing is good. A few minor points do not tally with the Article on the Religion of the Druzes in the Encyclopedia of Islam.]

"This is a document which concerns the knowledge of the secret of the Religion of the Druze with their belief from beginning to end; it is arranged by way of question and answer."

Q. Are you a Druze?
A. Yes, by the grace of our Lord al-Hâkim. (May he be praised!)

Q. What is a Druze? or (probably meant) Who was al-Darazi?
A. He was the one who wrote the Covenant; and served our Lord, the Creator.

Q. What is incumbent upon you?
A. Speaking the truth; worship of al-Hâkim; and the rest of the seven conditions.

Q. How do you know that you are a Unitarian Druze?
A. By eating lawful (things) and leaving unlawful (on one side).

Q. What things are lawful, and what unlawful?
A. Lawful things are the property of the learned and the peasants; unlawful the wealth of Governors and perverts. [l]

Q. How and when was the appearance of our Lord al-Hâkim?
A. It was in the year A.H. 400.

Q. And how did he appear and say that he was of the seed of Muhammad, so that he concealed

his divinity, and what was the reason for his concealing it?
A. Because they who worshipped him were few and they who loved him not many.

Q. And when did he appear and manifest his divinity?
A. ln 408 A.H.

Q. And for how many years did he establish his divinity through divulging it?
A. The entire eighth year; and he absented himself the ninth year, because it was the year of concealment;

then he appeared at the beginning of the tenth and eleventh years; then in the twelfth year he hid himself. There is no further appearance until the day of judgment.

Q. What is this day of judgment?
A. It is the day on which he will appear in his humanity and judge the world therein by sword and violence.

Q. When is that to be?
A. That is a matter that is unknown, but the signs will be shown.

Q. What are the signs?
A. When you see kings overthrown and the Christians prevailing over the Muslims; those are the signs.[2]

Q. In what month will this be?
A. It will be in Jumada or Rajab (Hijra reckoning).

Q. How will be his rulings concerning (different) groups and sects?
A. He will get the upper hand over them by sword and by violence, and will destroy them all.

Q. And after their destruction, what then?
A. They will bring back a second dominion according to the rules of succession; then he will rule among them as he will.

Q. How will they be while he is ruling among them?
A. There will be four divisions-Christians, Jews, perverts and Unitarians.

Q. How are the groups subdivided?
A. With the Christians are the Nusairiyya and the Mutâwila; and the Jews, and the Muslims,

and the perverts; and those who have adopted the religion of our Lord al-Hâkim. (praise to him.)

Q. How will he act with the Unitarians?
A. He will give them Government, Royalty, Authority, Wealth; and gold and silver;

and they will remain in the world as princes, pashas and sultans.

Q. Why are all the books disowned except the Qur'ân in the presence of anyone making enquiries?
A. Know that we must rely upon the faith of Islam, so we admit the book of Muhammad; and there is

no unsoundness in us for that accordingly; and funereal prayers for the dead are in accord with this reliance and for nothing else. Indeed the purity of the cult demands it.

Q. What do we say about the martyrs, of whom the Christians boast, in the matter

of their bravery and their number?
A. We say that Hamza would not seek to find them to bring them near, even should they have continuance in all history.

Q. When they say to us that their religion is firm in accordance with indications more

powerful and rhetorical than the words of Hamza, with what shall we answer them?
A. Where are the books and the miracles and the proofs and the success in reaching agreed opinion
on the initial stages of all movements; so that we may have an indication as to the appearance of Hamza and others, as the Master of Unitarianism; so beware indeed of becoming an unbeliever, picking up unseemly words of this kind, as if you were in doubt of the sayings of Hamza and his companions. So think for yourself and clarify all the correct proofs of which the Christians boast-and put them far from you!

Q. How do we recognise the honour of the assumption from Hamza ibn 'Ali? (on him be peace!)
A. From his own witness, where he says in the Document of Definition and Information:

"I render lawful the innovations of the Lord and his way. I know his command I am the path [3] and the revealed book and the pillared house. I am the Companion of the Mission and the Proclamation. I am the one who breathes into the breasts. I am the appointed Leader. I am the Source of grace; the abrogator of laws and their nullifier. I am the destroyer of the worlds. I am the cancellation of the witnesses. I am the burning fire, which falls upon the hearts."

Q. What is the religion which the Druze and the Learned infer?
A. It is the denial of all sovereignty and groups, because we believe in him in whom they disbelieve,

as is said in the document of warnings and counsels.

Q. If any individual at all recognises the religion of our Lord, and believes in it, and is guided

towards the religion of Unitarianism and acts in accordance therewith, will there be salvation for him?
A. Not at all because the door bas been closed and then the preaching; and when he dies, he returns to his old sect and religion.

Q. When were the souls of all mankind created?
A. They were created after the creation of the Intelligence, who is Hamza ibn 'Ali; then all the spirits were

created from his light; and they are limited, without increase or decrease throughout all time.

Q. Is it fitting that Unitarianism should be granted to women?
A. Yes; because the covenant was written for them; and they obey the summons of al-Hakim,

as is mentioned in the document of the covenant of women, and so too in the document with regard to girls.

Q. What do you say with regard to the sects who say that we worship the Lord who

created the heaven and the earth?
A. Although they say this, it is not right with them, because worship apart from knowledge is not right;
and if they say without knowing that the Lord is al-Hakim himself, then their worship is vain.

Q. Which of the definitions describes the wisdom of the Lord (may he be praised) on whom is built our religion?
A. The description of that is threefold-they are Hamza, Isma'il and Bahâ' al-Din.

Q. Into how many parts is the Universe divided?
A. Into five; and they are subdivided into several sections - among them are two sections which include all the divisions

of the natural sciences: two sections including all religions and the fifth, about which it is said that it is indivisible (and is the largest and the genuine), is the Druze Religion; this is the wisdom of the slave of our Lord, Hamza.

Q. How do we recognise our Unitarian Brother, when we see him or he passes us by in the road,

saying that he is one of us?
A. After meeting him and conversation with him and greeting, we say to him, "Are there peasants in your
country who plant the Myrobalan tree?" and if he says, "Yes, it is planted in the hearts of the believers," then we ask him about his knowledge of the definitions; and if he replies, - all right! and otherwise, he is a stranger

Q. What are the (five) Definitions (perhaps Preceptors)?
A. The Five Prophets of al-Hakim-Hamza, Isma'il, Muhammad the Word, Abu-l-Khair and Baba' al-Din.

Q. Is there any salvation for the "ignorant" among the Druze, or any arrangement by al-Hakim,

should they die in the state of "Ignorance"?
A. Certainly not; but they will always be in the presence of our Lord in despair and calamity.

Q. What is the point of the compass?
A. It is Hamza ibn' Ali.

Q. What is the straight path?
A. It is Hamza ibn 'Ali; he is the upholder of the truth; the leader of (all) time; he is mind and pre-existence;

the noble prophet and he is the cause of all causes.

Q. Who are the pair - the Ancient and the Eternal?
A. The Ancient is Hamza, and the Eternal his brother, Isma'ïl.

Q. Who are the men of wisdom? [4]
A. The three warners - John, Mark and Matthew.

Q. How many cycles of years are there?
A. Twenty-one years - each (cycle) being seven.

Q. What was their warning?
A. They used to preach the continuance of the true Christ.

Q. How did they greet al-Hakim and go into his (presence)?
A. They would say to him, "Greetings, our Lord, greetings to you: you are the most worthy of greeting, and

your message is the abode of peace (may you be blessed and exalted) - our Lord, who has majesty and honour."

Q. Who is the Preserver?
A. He is Baha'al-Din; he is also called 'Ali ibn Ahmad the Süfi.

Q. Who are the Five Wise Virgins?
A. They are Precepts which call existence into being.

Q. Who are the Five Foolish Virgins?
A. They are the Precepts of the Law.

Q. What are the letters of truthfulness and how many are there?
A. They are 164 and constitute the message, being pure and broken (?); they are the prophets for our Lord al-Hakim.

Q. What are the letters of the Falsity and what their number?
A. Twenty-six and they are an indication of the Devil and his children and companions-and they Muhammad

and 'Ali, the "Imam" of those who believe in them, the Mutawila and his Twelve Descendants.

Q. What are the three precepts which are unsearched for and unrevealed save in olden time

- the time of Hamza?
A. They are the Wish and the Will and the Word; they are John and Mark and Matthew in the cycle of Christ;
and they are Miqdar and Da'un ibn Basha and Yarid al-'Anadi - and in the cycle of Hamza Ismà'il and Muhammad the Word and Bahà'al-Din.

Q. What is the meaning of our Lord riding donkeys without saddles?
A. The donkey is the proclamation of the utterer and riding him is a proof of the destruction of the law

and its annulment; and in certification of this the Qur'an says: - "The most disbelieving voice is the voice of the donkeys," [5] that is the prophets who brought the pure law.

Q. What is the meaning of the clothing of our Lord in black wool?
A. To indicate the love which came with the worship of the Unitarians after him; this is clothing for sorrow.

Q. What are the buildings in Egypt called Pyramids, vested with knowledge?
A. They are the Pyramids which our Lord erected through the wisdom of his will.

Q. What is the wisdom in it?
A. It is for the purpose of arguments and the covenant, which our Lord received from the learned (?),

so that he described them there and is preserving them till the day of his second coming.

University of Glasgow,
and Nebk, Syria

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