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Historical Outline 

The following chronological outline will provide the foundation for the general content comprising the history of the Druze community.   

I)       C. 1300 BC 1000 AD: History of Unitarianism (al-Tawheed) from Ikhnaton to al-Hakim-bi-Amr Allah 

II)     C. 30 600 AD: Influence of Judaism and Christianity in Mecca and Medina before Islam

 III)  570 632 AD: The life of the Prophet Muhammad

a)      Political environment preceding and during the first 40 years of the life of the prophet

b)      Personality of the Prophet before the prophecy

c)      The prophecy and the accomplishments of the Prophet

d)      The Prophet's farewell pilgrimage and address at Ghadeer Khumm

e)      The death of the prophet and the question of succession

f)        The first schism in Islam among the Prophet's followers (al-Sahabeh) that        results in Omar as the strong political leader and Ali as the undisputed spiritual leader of Islam after the death of the Prophet

g)      Brief discussion of the three caliphs immediately following the Prophet (632 656 AD)  

IV)  656 750 AD: Ali's short caliphate (656-661 AD) and the establishment of the first Arab-Muslim Ummayed dynasty in Damascus

a)      The refusal of Ali's party (Shi'a) to accept the new dynasty and the eventual defeat of the Damascus rulers 

V)    750 1258 AD: The establishment of the second Arab-Muslim Abbasid dynasty in Baghdad

a)      The descendants of Al-Abbas (the prophet's uncle) deliberately deceived the descendants of Ali in order to acquire the caliphate

b)      750-909 AD: Ali's party goes underground for the second time in order to avoid persecution by the Abbasids and in an attempt to secure the caliphate in Ali's lineage

c)      The first schism in the Shi'a party:

i)        780 AD: The followers of the Shi'a party split over who should be the party's leader; two factions form respectively under Ismail and Musa, the two sons of Ja'fer al-Sadiq (the fifth Imam in the line of Ali and Fatima)

ii)       The Ismaili party makes progress by the early 10th century in Yemen and in southwestern Algeria among the Kutama Berber tribes.

d)      909 1171 AD: The establishment of the third Arab-Muslim Fatimid dynasty in al-Qayrawan, Tunisia which co-exists separately with the Abbasid dynasty which remains in Baghdad

i)        909 934 AD: The Ismaili Imam of that period, Abd Allah al-Mahdi Billah, leaves his mission (da'wa) headquarters in Salamiyya in north/central Syria and travels through Egypt to Algeria

ii)       973 AD: Al-Mu'izz li Din-Allah, the fourth Fatimid caliph in N. Africa (the grandfather of al-Hakim) moves the capital from al-Qayrawan, Tunisia and founds the city of  Cairo, Egypt as his new capital

iii)     Al-Mu'izz dies in Cairo two years later; his son, al-Aziz rules for 21 years and extends the Fatimid domain to include southern Syria, Palestine and al-Hijaz.

iv)     996 AD: Al-Aziz dies on his way to Syria in a campaign to defeat the Hamdani of Aleppo during Ramadan  

VI)  996-1021 AD: Al-Hakim, at the young age of 11, is proclaimed as the new caliph of the Fatimid dynasty:

a)      Discuss the political, religious and social environment that exists before and during al-Hakim's reign

b)      Discuss al-Hakim's personality during his caliphate and his rise to become the most powerful political figure in the world during that time period

c)      Review the controversy over al-Hakim's mother's religious affiliation (Christian or Muslim?)

d)      Discuss the political, social and religious accomplishments of al-Hakim the Fatimid dynasty reaches its peak in terms of expansion

i)        Special emphasis - 1005 AD: In-depth discussion of the major governmental conspiracy, led by the al-Mughrabi clans and al-Hussein-bin-Jawher, against al-Hakim, who managed to dispose of most of the conspirators at the young age of nineteen

e)      Discuss the Ismaili da'wa and al-Hakim's role in shaping it

i)        Hamza ibn Ali rises to be al-Hakim's top advisor regarding da'wa activities 

VII)     1017 AD: The emergence of the Druze; 1021 AD: The death of al-Hakim and the first  schism in the Ismaili da'wa:

a)      Hamza ibn Ali continues in the footsteps of al-Hakim as he proclaims the disappearance of al-Hakim to be "Ghayba" or the temporary departure of the leader who will return on Judgment Day

b)      Discuss the origin of the name "Druze" and the formation of the Druze community:

i)        Al-Hakim executes Nashtakin al-Darazi for violating Islamic tenets

ii)       Ethnic and religious affiliation of Druze tribes before they respond to the da'wa

iii)     Relationship between the Fatimids of Egypt and the Arab tribes of Mt. Lebanon before they became Druze during the al-Aziz and al-Hakim periods.

(1)   Discuss the Tanoukhi Tribes' role in assisting al-Aziz in his campaign to subdue his enemies in Syria and Palestine. 

VIII)         The history of the Druze:

a)      Druze evolution and contribution to Arab and Islamic civilization

i)        Examples of heroism, courage and high morality with respect to:

(1)   Invaders

(2)   Protection of women

(3)   Rejection of slavery etc.

b)      Druze battles during the five crusades (beginning 1096 AD)

c)      Druze alliance with Salah-eh-Din, who rewarded the Druze by extending their control from N. Palestine to Tripoli

d)      Discuss the persecution of the Druze by their Muslim brothers, as committed during the fatwa of  Ibn-Taymiyyah, and the development of the misleading perception that the Druze deviated from the tenets of Islam

e)      Discussion of notable political and spiritual leaders in Druze history

f)        Discussion of contemporary Druze societies  

Music Courtesy of al-Kindi Group, Classical and Spiritual Arabic Music

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