Both the universe and man were created in their present form, so that they are as immutable as God himself. Man is composed of two essentials, wisdom and soul, and of one accident, body. The souls have been created from eternity, but are later than universal Wisdom. The number of souls, like that of men, remains invariable; when a man dies his soul enters another body, generally without remembrance of the past, the souls of unbelievers again becoming infidels and the souls of the faithful remaining believers. They do not, however, enter the bodies of animals, but are reincarnated in better or worse human forms according to their deeds in their former life. The number of Druses, therefore, neither increases nor diminishes, but they also believe that in the farthest parts of China coreligionists live, where the soul of a dead Druse may find its reincarnation. Souls pass through a certain process of purification until the end of time, when al-Hakim and Hamzah will again appear and when the souls will commingle in the Imam.
True knowledge consists in insight into the nature and dogmas of unitarianism, the cardinal feature of the religion of the Druses. It is divided into five parts, two concerned with nature, especially with the healing of men and animals, and two with religion. The first of the latter is understanding of external religion, or revelation, and was the function of the "speakers," Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed. The second religious truth is that each of these "speakers" had an asas ("foundation," a synonym for the "silent ones"), who represented the interpretation of revelation. These "speakers" all typified true religion or the unitarianism of the Druses, which is also taught in the Pentateuch, in the Psalms, in the Gospel, and in the Koran, although these books are a mixture of truth and falsehood and have been superseded by the teaching of the Druses. In their knowledge of religion the Druses are divided into "initiates" ('uḳḳal) and "ignorant" (juhhal), the former having a much higher rank, and the latter being denoted by distinctive clothing. There are also apparently many intermediate grades. The places of worship of the Druses are situated in lonely spots outside the villages. The initiates gather there frequently, but the nature of worship in these khalwas is unknown. They are often said to reverence a calf, which, if true, may represent a principle of evil.
In conformity with their doctrine of the immutability of bodies and spirits, the Druses make no religious propaganda whatever. When al-Hakim returns, however, he will either destroy or subjugate the misbelievers, and will found an earthly kingdom in which his followers will rule in wealth. The time of the coming of this Messianic kingdom is unknown, although signs will herald its approach, one portent being a period when the Druses are in a most pitiable plight and the Christians have gained power over the Mohammedans.
Calvin College. Last modified on 08/11/06. Contact the CCEL.