• 17 Mar 2021
  • Online
  • Talks and Lectures

The Druzes, from Ismaili Esotericism to the Formation of a Doctrinal School of Law

The Druze dogma was developed in the 5th / 11th century in Cairo during the reign of the sixth Fatimid caliph al-Ḥākim. The founders of this dogma, notably Ḥamza, were Ismaili missionaries who, in their writings known as al-Ḥikma or the Rasāʾil al-Ḥikma, established a new Ismaili Shi'ite doctrine, which parted from the mainstream Fatimid doctrine.

Accused of extremism and exaggeration (ghuluww), the Druze movement was then banned from Cairo under the caliphate of al-Ẓāhir, so it only developed in the Syrian mountains. Rural clan leaders in Syria had indeed converted to Druzism during the daʿwa (1017-1043) and continued to pass on their doctrine secretly until the 9th / 15th century. In this talk, Dr Halawi will show how Druzism was in line with Ismaili doctrine at that time, while developing a substantive law influenced by Sunni fiqh and customary law.

Date: 17 March 2021
Time: 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm GMT
Location: Online (Zoom)

Q&A: At any time during the lecture, attendees can submit questions to the speaker through the Q&A option at the bottom of the control panel. As time allows, the speaker will address as many questions as they can during the Q&A session at the end of the presentation.

Discussants: Dr Fârès Gillon (IIS), Dr Christian Sahner (Oxford University).


Dr Wissam Halawi

Dr Wissam Halawi is an Assistant Professor at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), Institute of History and Anthropology of Religions (IHAR). He is a social historian of the Islamic world in mediaeval times, and works on rural Shiite and Christian minorities in the Middle East. His publications include: Les Druzes aux marges de l’Islam. Ésotérisme et normativité en milieu rural XIVe-XVIe siècle (Paris, 2021).