Ad-Darazi


Ad-Darazi

Muhammad bin Ismail Nashtakin ad-Darazi (Arabic: محمد بن اسماعيل نشتاكين الدرازي‎) was an 11th-century Ismaili preacher and early leader of the Druze faith who was labeled a heretic in 1016 and subsequently executed by the Fatimid Caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. Nashtakin was born in Bukhara and publicly proclaimed the divinity of Caliph al-Hakim.

Contents

Life

Little information is known about the early life of Al-Darazi; according to most sources, he was the leader of the army that was sent from Cairo to put down the up-rising of the Unity movement that started in the mountains of Lebanon to unite Christian and Muslim Suna and Shiah under one God. Draszi's army was around 200,000 men, the Unity movement that started in the Choufe Mountain of Lebanon and the Houran Mountain of Syria had only less than 10,000 men, they fought north of Jerusalem. Al Darassi army was destroyed and he was captured, the unity movement was called at that time the movement that destroyed the army of the Darazi, Al Darsie was converted to be one of the early preachers of the Unity faith Or the Druze Faith, The movement enlisted a large number of adherents.[1] However, he was later considered a renegade [2] and is usually described by the Druze as following the traits of satan,[3] which is arrogance.

Since when the number of his followers grew, he became obsessed with the leadership and gave himself the title “The Sword of the Faith”. In the Epistles of Wisdom Hamza warns Ad-Darazy, saying, “Faith does not need a sword to aid it.” However, al-Darazy refused Hamza’s threats and continued to challenge the Imam. Such attitude led to disputes between him and Hamza ibn-'Ali ibn-Ahmad, who disliked his behavior.[2] The Ad-Darazi argued that he should be the leader of the Da’wa rather than Hamza ibn Ali and gave himself the title “Lord of the Guides”, because Caliph al-Hakim referred to Hamza as “Guide of the Consented”

By 1018, ad-Darazi had around him partisans - "Darazites" - who believed that universal reason became incarnated in Adam at the beginning of the world, passed from him into prophets, then into Ali and hence into his descendants, the Fatimid Caliphs.[3] Ad-Darazi wrote a book to develop this doctrine. He read his book in the principle mosque in Cairo, which caused riots and protests against his claims and many of his followers were killed. Hamza ibn Ali refuted his ideology calling him "the insolent one and Satan".[3] The controversy created by ad-Darazi led Caliph al-Hakim to suspend the Druze da'wa in 1018 AD.[2]

In an attempt to gain the support of al-Hakim, ad-Darazi started preaching that al-Hakim and his ancestors were the incarnation of God.[1]

It is believed that ad-Darazi allowed wine, forbidden marriages and taught metempsychosis[3] although it has argued that his actions might have been exaggerated by the early historians and polemicists.

Death

An inherently modest man, al-Hakim did not believe that he was God, and felt ad-Darazi was trying to depict himself as a new prophet.[1] Al-Hakim preferred Hamza ibn 'Ali ibn Ahmad over him and Ad-Darazi was executed in 1018, leaving Hamza the sole leader of the new faith[1]

Aftermath

Even though the Druze do not consider ad-Darazi founder of their faith - in fact, they refer to him as their "first heretic"[4] - rival Muslim groups purposely attached the name of the controversial preacher to the new sect and it has stuck with them ever since.[1] Druze refer to themselves as “Unists” al-Muwahhidūn.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e The Olive and the Tree: The Secret Strength of the Druze By Dr Ruth Westheimer and Gil Sedan
  2. ^ a b c About the Faith of the Mo’wa’he’doon Druze by Moustafa F. Moukarim
  3. ^ a b c d E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936 By M. Th. Houtsma, E. van Donzel
  4. ^ Swayd, Samy (1998), "Introduction", written at Kirkland WA, in Swayd, Sami, The Druzes : an annotated bibliography, ISES Publications, ISBN 0-9662932-0-7 

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