The origin of the name Druze is usually traced to Muhammad al-Darazi, an early messenger of the community.
The Druze call themselves Ahl al-Tawhīd or al-muwahhidūn, “the People of Monotheism”. Although this does not apparently distinguish Druzism from other faiths, it has a deeper meaning, which makes it unique. Druzism united in the first time in the history of philosophy between matter and form, or in other words, between the Druze people, which have preserved their identity wherever they have resided, and they have remained a closely integrated society. They have always defended and preserved their independence, and they have upheld their virtue.
The principles of the Druze faith are: guarding one’s tongue (honesty), protecting one’s brother, respecting the elderly, helping others, protecting one’s homeland, and belief in one God. Another well-known feature of the Druze religion is a fervent belief in human-only reincarnation for all the members of the community. A Druze considers his body a mere robe for the soul, he does not fear death for it is only a tearing of his robe. In Epistle 35 of the Druze Scriptures, Hamza ibn ‘Ali says, “Whoever fears a human being like himself falls under his sway; the Unitarian is valiant by virtue of his faith”. Belief that the number of days of one’s life is fixed, not to be exceeded or diminished by a single day, and that the soul after leaving one body is immediately reborn in another, enhances courage and dispels fear of death.
They do not accept polygamy, tobacco smoking, alcohol, and consumption of pork. The Druze religion does not allow them to intermarry with Muslims, Jews, or members of any other religions. The Druze do not pray in a mosque and are secretive about the tenets of their religion.
The Druze are split into two groups. The inner group is called uqqal, “Knowledgeable Initiates”. Male uqqal grow moustaches and shave their heads, and wear dark clothing with white turbans. The outer group, called juhhal, “the Ignorant”, is not granted access to the secret Druze holy literature. Between 10–20% of Druze are uqqal. The remainder tends to form the Druze political and military leadership and generally distance themselves from religious issues. Women cannot only become uqqal but are considered especially suitable.
The Druze believe in five cosmic principles represented by the five colored Druze star and flag: intelligence (green), soul (red), word (yellow), precedent (blue) and immanence (white). These virtues were personified in several people (the five prophets).
The Israeli Druze serve in the Israeli army, voluntarily since 1948, and – at the Druze community’s request – compulsorily since 1956. Druze men have been conscripted in the same way as Jewish men. Men studying full-time at religious institutions can get a deferment from conscription.
In Israel 1.6% of the population is Druze and of the Arab Israelis 8.4% were Druze. Druze use the Arabic language and follow a social pattern very similar to the Arabs of the region.
The Druze villages in Israel are: Kfar Abu Sinan, Beit Jann, Julis, Hurfeish, Yanuh-Jatt, Yirka, Kisra-Sumei, Sajur, Ein al-Asad, Peq’in, Rame, Shefar’am, Mughar, Dalyat el-Karmel-Isifya, Beq’ata, Majdal Shams, Mas’ad and Ein Qiniye.