Related to Islam but still very much on a different path …
The Druze are a people with their own unique religion. In the Middle East, there are about one million Arabic speaking Druze. They are often counted as Muslims, although they do not consider themselves as such.
About a thousand years ago, they separated from the Shiite branch of Islam. They still revere the Qur’an as one among other holy books. The Druze never pray at a mosque, but the religiously inclined among them meet together every Thursday evening. At these gatherings their elders explain the philosophies of the Druze religion. Their teachings come mainly from the Book of Wisdom, which is treated as secret and sacred. The Druze community is an exclusive one, avoiding social interactions. No one from another religion can ever become a Druze, not even by marriage.
The Druze emphasise belief in the reincarnation of souls. Their belief in reincarnation is also linked to the practice of “speaking out,” which is essentially an effort to encourage small children to practice a kind of divination. Some children and adults do apparently have revelations, and speak about details of other people’s lives that are impossible for them to know otherwise. When young children “speak out,” it is considered a sign and even a proof of their reincarnation. The “speaking out” practice affirms the importance and social status of the child and family in the eyes of the Druze community.
Rachid grew up in a Druze family, without being initiated into the Druze teachings. He received a scholarship for his medical studies in an eastern European country. There, he and his wife, Sarah, pursued a different path in their search for God. Sarah read the Qur’an and adopted an Islamic lifestyle. She even chose to wear the veil (known as a hijab).
On the other hand, Rachid had a Lebanese Christian friend who shared with him about the Christian faith from the Bible. For a time, Rachid and Sarah’s marriage seemed to fall apart, since each one insisted on their own religious pursuit. However, one day Rachid put his faith in the Messiah. Over several months, Sarah observed the change in her husband‘s life. Being disappointed with Islam herself, she also began reading in the Bible and discovered faith in the Messiah.
- Pray the Druze will question the practice of speaking out. Paul’s experience in Philippi could be instructive (Acts 16:16-24). It is possible great opposition could be placed on anyone questioning or seeking to stop the practice of “speaking out.”
- Pray they will discover God and come to a real understanding of how to worship Him (Acts 16:14). As the Samaritans were outcasts to the Jews, the Druze are largely rejected by traditional Muslims. They have developed their own beliefs loosely linked to Islam like the Samaritan beliefs were loosely linked to Judaism.
- Pray the Druze believing in Jesus would share a life of testimony in their own communities.
Listen to the Podcast – DAY 21 – Middle East Druze