A religious community that arose as an off shoot of the Fatimid Ismailis around 408 AH / 1017 CE.
The Druze emerged in Syria in the closing years of the reign of the Fatimid Imam-caliph al-Hakim (r. 386-411 AH / 996 AH-1021 CE). Starting with al-Darazi (or al-Darzi), after whom the group came to be known as al-Daraziyya (or al-Durziyya), they organised a movement in Cairo emphasising the messianic role of al-Hakim and attributing divinity to him. The consolidation of Druze doctrines began with their scholar and leader, Hamza b. ‘Ali, who also succeeded in developing a da‘wa organisation for the movement that spread across Syria.
The Druze teachings are mainly founded on the letters of al-Hamza, written between 1017-1020 CE, and transmitted within the community from generation to generation through initiated scholars. The Druze also refer to themselves as Muwahhidun or Unitarians. They have developed their own scholarship and have distinctive practices. The Druze live in various regions of Syria, Lebanon and Israel, with smaller settlements in the Americas, Australia and West Africa.