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D r u z e ? W h a t I s

By Maya Jaber Camou

Being a Druze Girl in University

She has a BA Interior Design-MA Design Management & currently works as a Sr Project Manager at an Interiors Firm. Immigrated to the USA from Lebanon at age of 7 & settled in Long Island, NY. Currently live and works in New York City with her husband and 2 children.

By Ghayda Hammad

Born in Ain Zhaltee, she immigrated to the US at age 1, currently resides in Beltsville, Maryland A junior attending the University of Maryland, Majoring in Art-Studio/Concentration Graphic Design

What is Druze / Mowahhidun?

What is Druze?

I get that question all the time, as I am sure all of us do when we live outside the Middle East. I asked that same question when I was in my teens and it was very hard for me to get the answer. I did slowly piece together tidbits of information and understand some of our history. It is a great day that we live in now that technology has opened the world of information and sharing at our fingertips.

What is Druze?

I, as many others, moved here when I was very young and was raised with a strict hand. My parents feared I will lose my culture, religion, and heritage in this foreign land. I was taught to always strive for the best and learn all I can, never to lie, treat all people with respect and tolerance, accept what happens as it is God’s will and take the good in all things. Most people would say Druze is a culture not a religion when it is explained to them. Druze is a way of life that is how we are taught.

What is Druze?

As I got older and started researching our religion (because it is a religion), the words Mowahhidun & Tawhid were introduced; With the more in depth details that were given to me, I began to understand, learn & comprehend Tawhid (I love to learn, you need to learn something everyday – be it big or small- it is a great feeling) and understand my way of life.

It is in your mind, in your soul, from thoughts to actions, from acceptance of things that happen to things to come, from loving everyone and everything to showing it in your daily life. It becomes an everyday, every hour normalcy to existence – it becomes a way of life, a culture that starts out as a religion.

What is Mowahhidun?

As a culture we have hidden for centuries in fear of prosecution – it is a great time to be alive, to be able to have information, to share and learn about our heritage and faith in Tawhid. Even in time of persecution nobody could take our beliefs from us. It is embedded in us – in all of us – you just have to open your mind to see it.

What is Mowahhidun?

It is in our mind, in our soul, our actions, in our being and no matter what, nobody can take that away from you. Being surrounded by different types of people, different beliefs, and different environments will not make take away your faith in Tawhid. Our parents did not understand this. Educate your self about yourself, educate your children. Through knowledge, understanding and faith you build a solid foundation within you and them. No matter what road is traveled or what obstacles are faced - nobody can take away from you what is in you.

What is Mowahhidun?

It is me, it is my husband, it is my children, it is their children, it is our legacy.

I came to the United States when I was just a year old. You could say I have lived here my entire life. However, my heart is purely the heart of a young Druze girl. It was not until recently that I knew how much of an impact being a female Druze student had on my life. There are many daily difficulties as- sociated with it. To begin, at Druze social gatherings, there is a heightened sense of belonging. While attending the University of Maryland, I have felt socially excluded be- cause of my religion. I repeatedly get the same blank reaction from other students after telling them that I am Druze. This makes approaching fellow students difficult, & a good conversation is hard to come by.

Parents also set high expectations. I am surrounded by a population that they typi- cally don’t trust. If I had Druze schoolmates they would feel more secure, but that’s not the case. At a University where I am the sole Druze student, it becomes a very taxing task insuring them that “everything is fine.”

Connection is also a key issue that I have had to deal with. While at school it is difficult to discuss my faith. The lack of communication regarding the Druze religion has me feeling less connected to the com- munity. Anyone outside the faith could never understand our philosophies, so aside from my parents… I don’t get to talk to people about my religion.

Finding equilibrium between student life & Druze tradition is tough. It is wrong to confine who you are in order to please oth- ers. Who we are is important. Being a Druze girl in a large institution, I have learned that I am unique in comparison to the rest of the student body. It’s what sets me apart. I am thankful to have friends who are supportive, along with a loving family, & most importantly Allah.


What is Druze?

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