Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Four Hundred and Twenty One Years Ago

In that year [1586 A.D.], it appears, the Druze country was finally subdued. In [the area known as modern-day Lebanon], however, the Ottomans soon began to face a problem of another kind. The Safavids, since the early years of the century, had established Twelver Shiism as the religion of the new kingdom they had founded for themselves in Persia, and imposed it on their subjects. At that time, the leading men of learning among the Twelver Shiites were active in the villages of Jamal Amil, in the hinterland of Tyre, south of the Shuf, and a number of these scholars were invited to Persia to provide the newly established state religion there with doctrinal guidance.


With the resurgence of Safavid power in Persia, the [Shiite] Harfush emirs [of the Baalbek region] began to seek an extension of their power to the strategic town of Mashghara, in the southern-most reaches of the Bekaa valley, no doubt with a view of securing direct contact with their fellow Shiites in nearby Jabal Amil [modern day southern Lebanon]. The Ottomans were determined to stop such contact being established, and kept a watchful eye on the Shiites, in Baalbek as in Jabal Amil.


To reduce the lurking Shiite danger in these parts, the Ottomans turned to the Druze Maans of the Shuf, who stood chastened and subservient after the successful Ottoman expedition sent against them in 1586 [A.D.]. Their choice fell on Fakhr al-Din Maan...

Source: A House of Many Mansions - The History of Lebanon Reconsidered (by Kamal Salibi), pg 125-126.

This post should be read in relevance to the post directly preceding it. It should be taken it at face value, only.

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