Law Of Domestic Relations
Endogamy and monogamy are the rule among the Druzes. Until recently, most girls were married when they were in their teens. In contrast to Muslim Arab custom, Druze women can and do participate in the councils of elders. Finally, the Druze Law of Domestic Relations is widely interpreted by the elders of the religion but hardly understood by the layman. It has just recently been published in English which I edited for the purpose of better understanding the text by western readers. I have in my possession the original text, as well as a copy of the original book in English The Civil Status Laws of the Druze Unifiers (1) .
Druzes’ Sect Vital Statistics Ordinance was issued in Lebanon on February 24, 1948 and amended on July 2, 1959. I will quote from the Introduction signed by Sagacity Sheikh of Druzes, Hussein Jarbouth.
“The Civil Status Law of the Druzes Unifiers is the most law that is [sic] correlevant to their own Lives as it organizes the family affairs since it is in the form of proposed engagement and specifies that rights of the parties in the family with regard to their familial relations as long as life exists; it also details the banning of women and the severalty in wives (Polygamy) and the restoration of the divorced wife; also it grants full liberty to the person putting under guardianship and in the Will as the Will itself when it is eligible to one or other heir for one third or more of the Legacy as should be detailed later on in this Law; also it organizes the affairs of a human since he is an infant then a new born thereafter it assigns it rights as a child or youth till he gets married and gives birth to children., then dies and his legacy after his death will be distributed and also the affairs of his children will be run by any assigned of guardians or trustees.
Therefore, it is necessary to have a copy of this Law at each house and, especially, those immigrants wherever they may be, and hence, we have laid it down in Four languages namely: Arabic, English, Spanish, and French to facilitate its understanding by the languages skilled by any of them in addition to their friends. It will be a true document for any person wishing to pursue the Spiritual Ordinance and Sectarian Judgements of this Nobel Sect.
I do send to all our sons in the immigrant lands and especially to the Druzes’ League in America and Nigeria with my full honour and estimate of them and their continued activities despite all the difficulties that they may face; also, that my care to them was the first motive to have this book printed in the manner so far accomplished and to have it distributed to them as a part of the responsibility that I bear and that I feel necessity to have it presented to them with all my wishes and paid prayers for their full success and progress toward much more organization aiming at the continued cooperation between them in the immigrated lands and between their families in their Homeland for happiness and success to all of us and to have them as an ideal of good to our children and brethren Arab Immigrants in their National Feeling and their full noble abiding and true adherence with the causes of their first Homeland both in words and action. Praying to God for their full protection, He is Always listening to us.”
Under Sectarian Judicial Judgements in the text, there is a note:
“As to the Vital Statistics Law, it is effective and in force in its full text and meaning.”
A Note from Julie Makarem
I, too, feel that as a service to the Druze women in all Arab countries, that they are able to fully understand the Laws of Domestic Relations is imperative. All Druze women should be given the opportunity to know how the Laws of Domestic Relations affect their particular circumstance. Understandably, for the Druze in North America, the Druze Laws of Domestic Relations are not observed. Rather, the Druze Americans follow the Laws of the United States, and in Canada, Druze women follow the Canadian Law; however, Druze women in Lebanon, Syria and Israel will find it a benefit to themselves to be able to read and understand all situations in domestic relations. This has not, previously, been the case in the Arab countries causing some Druze women to undergo extreme injustice in their relations with their husbands; even though, the Druze men are basically as obedient to the Laws of Domestic Relations as they are to all the Laws of the Faith, and the Land, as well. Hopefully, Druze women in all of the Arab World, Lebanon, Syria, and Israel, where the “Laws of Domestic Relations” have been accepted by the Druze spiritual leaders since 1948* will now have access to the rules * See following article.
Among the reforms Al-Hakim introduced were resolutions to (1) abolish slavery, (2) prohibit polygamy, and (3) implement a form of separation of church and state. While these reforms did not become part of orthodox Islam, the Druzes, as well as other Islamic sectarian movements, adopted them.
* "The Druze spiritual leader is called the Shaykh al-AqI. In Lebanon, it has been customary to have two Shaykhs alAkl; at present the Druze have only one. Druze have established religious courts dealing with Personal Status Laws in five regions of the Lebanon: Beirut and the district of Baabda and Northern Matn, the district of Aley, the district of the Shouf, the district of Rashayya, and the district of Hasbayya. They also have court of appeals in Beirut. In Syria, although there are three religious leaders, they act as a council. In Palestine, the Druze have always had one spiritual leader. In 1961, a three man Religious Council presided over by the spiritual leader was organized in Israel. The Religious Council was later appointed to serve as court of appeals. The Druze courts in Syria and Israel have adopted the Druze Personal Law which was first adopted in Lebanon in 1948.”
I have included in MY COLLECTION, copies of Appendex E; pages 130, 131, 132 of The Druze Faith , the “Law Of Domestic Relations” as presented by Dr. Sami Makarem (1).
(1) Makarem, Sami N., The Druze Faith, Caravan Books, Delmar, New York, 1974, PP. 1-4.
(2) * The Law of Domestic Relations: The Vitalic Statistics Law Religious Jurisprudence and Personal Status Law "(1) as translated into English by Salman Falah.
(3) The Law of Domestic Relations: The Vitale Statistics Law Religious Jurisprudence and Personal Status Law which I edited in order to make it easily understood by the western reader.
Chapter 1 - Eligibility to Enter into Marriage (Articles 1 - 5)
Chapter 2 - Forbidden Marriages (article 9 - 13)
Chapter 3 - Arranging the Marriage (Articles 14 -19)
Chapter 4 - Marriages Rules (Articles 20 -23)
Chapter 5 - Dower ("Mahr") (Articles 24 - 27)
Chapter 6 - Maintenance (Nafaqa) (Articles 28-36)
Chapter 7 - Separation (Article 37-49)
Chapter 8 - Waiting Period (Idda) (Articles 50-53)
Chapter 9 - The custody of the children (Articles 54-66)
Chapter 10 - Child allowance (Articles 67-74)
Chapter 11- Payments by sons to parents and other relatives (Articles 75-80)
Chapter 12 - Guardianship over minors (Articles 81-87)
Chapter 13- Guardianship and wills (Article 88-98)
Chapter 14- Responsibilities of the guardian [executor] (Articles 99-118)
Chapter 15- Circumstances under with a Qadi may disqualify a person and appoint a guardian (Articles 119 -125)
Chapter 16 - A Missing Person and his Trustee (article 126 -136)
Chapter 17 - Paternity (nasab) (Articles 137-144)
Chapter 18 - Wills and Inheritance (2) (Articles 145 -170)