Akals

Akals is a name given among the Druses on Mount Lebanon to ecclesiastics. They are distinguished from the seculars by their white dress, and particularly the white turban, which they wear as a symbol of their purity. They despise all employments of honor in the world, believing that on the return of Hakem, the personification of deity, they shall be kings, viziers, and pashas. They do not marry the daughters of seculars, and they refuse to eat with the sheiks and emirs of their own nation. Akals eat only with Akals, and with the peasants and humble laborers. They superintend divine worship in the chapels and instruct the children in a kind of catechism. They are obliged to abstain from swearing and all abusive language, and dare not wear any article of gold, or silk in their dress. There are different degrees of Akals, and women are also admitted into the order-a privilege of which many avail themselves, as they are thus exempted from wearing: the expensive head-dress and rich silks fashionable among them. The order is estimated to number about ten thousand.

 
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