Druze power struggle (1658–1667)

The Druze power struggle of 1658–1667 was one of the most violent episodes of tribal disputes during Ottoman rule in the Levant. The conflict erupted between rebel and pro-Ottoman Druze factions over succession of the Maani rule.

Druze power struggle (1658–1667)
Maʿnīs lost control of Safad

Ottoman Syria

  • Pro-Ottoman Druze clans
Ma'ani Druze rebels
Commanders and leaders

Köprülü Mehmed Pasha

Ahmad Ma'an

  • Korkmuz Ma'an  


In 1624, when the Ottoman Sultan recognized Fakhr-al-Din II as Lord of Arabistan (from Aleppo to the borders of Egypt),[1] the Druze leader made Tiberias his capital. Fakhr ad Din II, one of the most famous Druze Emirs, was succeeded in 1635 by his nephew Mulhim Ma'an, who ruled through his death in 1658. Fakhr ad Din II's only surviving son, Husayn, lived the rest of his life as a court official in Constantinople. Emir Mulhim exercised Iltizam taxation rights in the Chouf, Gharb, Jurd, Matn, and Kisrawan districts of Lebanon. Mulhim's forces battled and defeated those of Mustafa Pasha, Beylerbey of Damascus, in 1642, but he is reported by historians to have been otherwise loyal to Ottoman rule.[2] Emir Mulhim Ma'an died in 1658, succeeded by two of his sons.[3]

The conflictEdit

Early tensionsEdit

Following Mulhim's death in 1658, his sons Ahmad and Korkmaz (or Qurqmaz)[4] entered into a power struggle with other Ottoman-backed Druze leaders.

Lebanon and Galilee campaignEdit

In 1660, the Ottoman Empire moved to reorganize the region, placing the sanjaks (districts) of Sidon-Beirut and Safed in a newly formed province of Sidon, a move seen by local Druze as an attempt to assert control.[5] An Ottoman expedition was dispatched to the area following the creation of the new administrative units, initially against the Shihabs and the Shia Hamades.[4] The reformer - grand wazir Köprülü Mehmed Pasha came in person with the expedition.[4] The Shihabs fled to the Hamades in the high Kisrawan, while the Ottoman troops pillaged Wadi al-Taym.[4]

Claiming that the Shihabs allied with the Ma'anis, the Ottomans demanded Ahmad and Korkmuz Ma'an to hand over the Shihabs and provide money for the Ottoman army, but the Ma'anis refused and fled to the Kisrawan as well.[4] The Ma'anis lost control and the Druze of the Galilee lost their protection.[6] Ottoman troops pillaged the area, seeking for the lords of Shihabs, Hamades and Ma'anis, causing "misery" to the peasants.[4] As a result, the pro-Ottoman Druze overran much of the Galilee, most notably destroying the cities of Safed and Tiberias.

Political plottingEdit

Alternative pro-Ottoman sheikhs - Sirhal Imad and Ali Alam al-Din were briefly installed to rule the Druze country.[4]

Contemporary historian Istifan al-Duwayhi reports that Korkmaz was killed in act of treachery by the Beylerbey of Damascus in 1662.[5] His brother Ahmad Ma'an apparently escaped the plotting.[4]

In 1666, according to al-Safa, local Shia repulsed the governor of Sidon and a Ma'an force near Nabatiyeh.[4]

Ahmad's victoryEdit

In 1667, Ahmad Ma'an and his supporters defeated the pro-Ottoman Alam al-Din, Sawaf and others, and termed Yamanis near Beirut.[4]

Ahmad Ma'an emerged victorious in the power struggle among the Druze in 1667, but the Maʿnīs lost control of Safad[7] and retreated to controlling the iltizam of the Chouf mountains and Kisrawan, answerable to the Ottoman governor of Sidon.[8] According to Abu-Husayn, after 1667 Ahmad Ma'an resumed correspondence with the Tuscans.


Ahmad continued as local ruler through his death from natural causes, without heir, in 1697.[7] During the Ottoman–Habsburg War (1683–1699), Ahmad Ma'n collaborated in a rebellion against the Ottomans which extended beyond his death.[7] Iltizam rights in Chouf and Kisrawan passed to the rising Shihab family through female-line inheritance.[8] Despite conflicts in the 1660s, the Maan family "played the leading role in the management of the internal affairs of this eyalet until the closing years of the 17th century, perhaps because it was not possible to manage the province-certainly not in the sanjak of Sidon-Beirut-without them."[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Druze of the Levant Archived 2012-03-09 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Abu-Husayn, Abdul-Rahim (2004). The view from Istanbul: Lebanon and the Druze Emirate in the Ottoman chancery documents, 1546-1711. I.B.Tauris. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-1-86064-856-4.
  3. ^ The View from Istanbul: Ottoman Lebanon and the Druze Emirate. P.22. [1]
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Harris W. Lebanon: A History, 600-2011. P.109. Oxford University Press. [2]
  5. ^ a b Abu-Husayn, Abdul-Rahim (2004). The view from Istanbul: Lebanon and the Druze Emirate in the Ottoman chancery documents, 1546-1711. I.B.Tauris. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-86064-856-4.
  6. ^ A History of the Druzes. P.45
  7. ^ a b c Abu-Husayn, Abdul-Rahim (2004). The view from Istanbul: Lebanon and the Druze Emirate in the Ottoman chancery documents, 1546-1711. I.B.Tauris. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-1-86064-856-4.
  8. ^ a b Salibi, Kamal S. (2005). A house of many mansions: the history of Lebanon reconsidered. I.B.Tauris. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-86064-912-7.
  9. ^ Abu-Husayn, Abdul-Rahim (1992). "Problems in the Ottoman Administration in Syria During the 16th and 17th Centuries: The Case of the Sanjak of Sidon-Beirut". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 24 (4): 665–675 [673]. doi:10.1017/S002074380002239X. S2CID 159670509. Retrieved 2011-04-11.

Further readingEdit