ISLAM and MUSLIMS IN LEBANON

      

General Information

Republic of Lebanon

National name: Al-Joumhouriya al-Lubnaniya

Land area: 3,950 sq mi (10,230 sq km); total area: 4,015 sq mi (10,400 sq km)

Population (2007 est.): 3,921,278

Capital and largest city (2003 est.): Beirut, 1,916,100 (metro. area), 1,171,000 (city proper)

Other large cities: Tripoli, 212,900; Sidon, 149,000

Monetary unit: Lebanese pound

Languages: Arabic (official), French, English, Armenian

Ethnicity/race: Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%

Religions: Islam 60% (Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite/Nusayri), Christian 39% (Maronite, Melkite, Syrian, Armenian, and Roman Catholic; Greek, Armenian, and Syrian Orthodox; Chaldean; Assyrian; Copt; Protestant), other 1%

Literacy rate: 87% (2003 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2007 est.): $42.27 billion; per capita $11,300. Real growth rate: 4%. Inflation: 4.1%.

Lebanon lies at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea north of Israel and west of Syria. It is four-fifths the size of Connecticut. The Lebanon Mountains, which parallel the coast on the west, cover most of the country, while on the eastern border is the Anti-Lebanon range. Between the two lies the Bekaa Valley, the principal agricultural area.

After World War I, France was given a League of Nations mandate over Lebanon and its neighbor Syria, which together had previously been a single political unit in the Ottoman Empire. France divided them in 1920 into separate colonial administrations, drawing a border that separated mostly Muslim Syria from the kaleidoscope of religious communities in Lebanon, where Maronite Christians were then dominant. After 20 years of the French mandate regime, Lebanon's independence was proclaimed on Nov. 26, 1941, but full independence came in stages. Under an agreement between representatives of Lebanon and the French National Committee of Liberation, most of the powers exercised by France were transferred to the Lebanese government on Jan. 1, 1944. The evacuation of French troops was completed in 1946.

 

Islamic History and Muslims

Islam in Lebanon is divided between four Muslim sects; Shiites, Sunnis, Alawites, and Ismailis including the Druze. All but Ismailis enjoy proportional representation in parliament.

Muslims (including Druze) account for 59.7% of the total population of Lebanon, where 39% are Christians. About 25% of the Lebanese population is Sunni, concentrated largely in coastal cities. Shi'is - about 35%  of the total population of Lebanon - live mostly in the northern area of the Beqaa Valley and southern Lebanon. A religious data in 1985 suggests that the number of Muslims has risen, with 75% compared with Christians at 25%. By the 1980s Shi'is became a large confessional group in Lebanon, leading to demands for better educational and employment opportunities and redistribution of power based on actual numbers. Druze constitute about 5 percent of the population. Alawis are numerically insignificant but have risen in importance since the Gulf War of 1990-1991 due to the growing influence of Syria, where Alawis dominate the government. Ismailis number only a few hundred and play no significant political role. Religious officials of each sect maintain jurisdiction over personal status law. The distribution of political power is based on religious affiliation: the president must be Maronite Catholic Christian, the speaker of the parliament must be Shiite Muslim and the prime minister must be Sunni Muslim.

Shiite community in Lebanon

There is no certainty as to when the Shi'a community first established itself in Lebanon, though they were well settled across the Levant by the tenth century. Later still Shi'a emirates were establlished in Tyre though these collapsed at the time of the First Crusade in 1099. After the fall of the Crusader kingdoms, the Shi'a peoples, who had withdrawn to the hinterland of Lebanon, were persecuted by the new conquerors, the Sunni Mamelukes. People were forced out of the mountainous areas of Kisrawan where they had taken refuge in the wake of the Crusaders, moving through the Beqaa plain, to new strongholds in Jezzanine and Jabal Amil, in what is now the south and east of Lebanon. During the time of the Ottoman Empire the Shi'a were largely ignored, though they found themselves competing for scarce resources with the expanding community of Maronite Christians.

During most of the Ottoman period the Shi'a largely maintained themselves as 'a state apart', though they maintained contact with the Safavid dynysty, which established Shi'a Islam as the state religion of Persia. These contacts made them all the more suspect to the Ottoman Sultan, who was frequently at war with the Persians, as well as being, in the role of Caliph, the leader of the majority Sunni community Shi'a Lebanon, when not subject to political repression, was generally neglected, sinking further and further into the economic background.

Towards the end of the eighteenth century the Comte de Volmy was to describe the Shi'a as a distinct society, outside the main currents of Lebanese life; and so they were perceived by their Sunni, Druze and Maronite neighbours, right into the twentieth century. It was by default that they found themselves as part of the new state of Grand Liban, created by the French in September 1920. The Sunni had attempted to resist the French mandate; and when they were defeated, refused to participate in the administration of what they considered to be an artificial political entity. Sunni opposition had aimed at the creation of a 'greater Syria', where the Shia would have been a permanent minority. But in the new state of Lebanon they acquired both an independence and a far greater political significance in relation to the size of their community. This was further emphasised by French colonial policy, which sought to reach out to the Shi'a, with the intention of preventing a possible alliance with the Sunni.

After independence in 1943, although the Shi'a remained part of Lebanon's delicate confessional and political balancing act, their homelands were still economically among the most backward areas. Many of them gravitated towards the slums of Beruit, progressively becoming more radicalised in the process; they also became deeply resentful at the affluence of the Sunni and Christian middle classes, prospering in the liberal atmosphere of the 1950s. In 1959 the Shi'a acquired a more determined and unique voice, when Musa al-Sadr arrived from Qom to take up the position of Mufti. In 1967 he established a Supreme Islamic Shi'a Council, regulating the affairs of the community, and giving it as high a profile in the state as the corporate bodies set up by the Maronite, Sunni and Druze. People who had been carried along by left-wing and secular currents were slowly drawn back into a reinvigorated Islam, many joining Amal, the militia founded by Sadr in 1974. Although Sadr disappeared under mysterious circumstances in 1978, his influence, and his radical message, lived on, contributing later to the rise of Hezbollah. The Lebanese Civil War, and Israeli intervention in southern Lebanon, also went a long way towards consolidataing a new and more radical Shi'a identity.
 

The Mohammad al-Amin Mosque in Beirut, Lebanon

Khatam Al Ambiya Mosque, Beirut , Lebanon

 

  Evening picture of Hariri Mosque in Downtown Beirut

The al-Omari mosque downtown Beirut
 

Cathedral with mosque behind, downtown Beirut.

 

  Islamic Centers and Organizations

Juventud Islamica de Baaloulشباب بعلول المسلم, Baaloul, Lebanon
Phone: 961-8-630108-630183-

Markaz Al-Daawa Al-Islamiah, Beirut, Beirut
Phone: 961 1 743192

Arabic Prince Halal Products and Exports, Beirut, NA
Phone: 00961-382-0074

مسجد زمزم, Tripoli, لبنان


Hadeer, Beirut


جمعية رابطة الطلاب المسلمين في لبنان, Beirut
URL: www.alrabita.info   Phone: 9613-753729

مسجد السلام, Tripoli, North
URL: http://www.masjedsalam.com/  

Computer & Information Center, Beirut
Phone: 961-1 472854

Dar El Fikr S.A.L., Beirut
URL: www.darelfikr.com.lb  

Masjid Ghazzah مسجد غزة, Ghazzah, Bekaa
 

(الكشّاف المسلم, Qaraaoun
  Al Makassed Philanthropic Islamic Association of Beirut, Beirut
  Al-Jamaa al Islamiah, Barja, Barja
  Dar Al-Ajaza Al-Islamia Hospital in Beirut, Beirut
  Dar AL-Aytam Al-Islamiya, Beirut
  Hadeer, Beirut
  Islamic Charity Association Kafrhouna, Kafr Hunah
  Islamic Welfare Association, Saida
  كشافة المقاصد فوج برجا, Barja
  مؤسسة القدس الدولية, Beirut
  مركز الشفاء للطب الإسلامي في مدينة صيدا بلبنان, Sidon
  Zakat fund in lebanon.dar al fatwa, Beirut
  جمعية مرشد الإسلامية, Sidon
  جمعية مسجد سيد الشهداء حمزة, Sidon
  جمعية الكشاف المسلم في لبنان, Beirut
  جمعية المقاصد الخيرية الاسلامية في بيروت, Beirut
  جمعية الهداية والإحسان الإسلامية, Tarabulus
  جمعية الإستجابة, Sidon
  جمعية الاتحاد الإسلامي, Beirut
  جمعية البر والإحسان الخيرية الإسلامية, Tripoli
  جمعية السبيل الخيرية, Sidon
  جمعية السراج المنير الإسلامية, Beirut
  جمعية رابطة الطلاب المسلمين في لبنان, Beirut
 
جمعية غراس الخير, Majdal `Anjar

Al houda al nammouzajiyah, Tripoli
  Al Iman al islamiyeh, Tripoli
  Al Islah al islamiyah, Tripoli
  Al-Islah Islamic Society, Tripoli
  Beit Al Atfal Al Mina, Tripoli
  Dar AL Ihsan School, Akka
  Dar Al Salam, Tripoli
  Dar al tarbiyah wasl taalim al islamiyah, Tripoli
  Dar Al-Zahra for Orphans, Tripoli
  islamic welfare association, Sidon
  Jinan University, Tripoli
  Madrasat al risalah Al islamiyah, Tripoli
  Rawda.org, Tripoli
  Thanawiyyat al jinan, Tripoli
  Thanawiyyat al minya al islamiyah, Tripoli
  Thanawiyyat al rashid al nammouzajieh, Tripoli
  Thanawiyyat dar al hikmeh lil tarbiyeh wal taalmim, Tripoli
  مدرسة الإيمان النموذجية, Beirut
  المجمع الإسلامي الكبير, Tripoli
  ثانوية الإيمان, Sidon
  ثانوية روضة الفيحاء, Tripoli
  دار الحديث لنشر علوم الكتاب والسنة, Tripoli
 
روضة السبيل الإسلامية, Sidon

Dalhoun mosque, Dalhoun
  Jamaat Ibadur Rahman, Beirut
  Juventud Islamica de Baaloulشباب بعلول المسلم, Baaloul
  Makassed, Baalchmay
  Makassed Kantari Mosque, Beirut
  Markaz Al-Daawa Al-Islamiah, Beirut
  Masjed Al Iman, Trablous
  Masjed khaled binil walid, Anout
  Masjed Khaled ibn alwaleed, Ar Rafid
  masjed mojamaa al-salam, Trablous
  Masjid Barja Al-Kabir, Barja
  Masjid Ghazzah مسجد غزة, Ghazzah
  Masjid Omar Ibn Alkhattab, Jeb Jannine
  Masjid Qab Elias, Qabb Ilyas
  Mosque Al Tabosh, Bchamoun
  Msjed Omar ibn Alkhattab, Ar Rafid
  omar bin abdel aziz mosque, Lala
  مركز طرابلس لتعليم القرآن الكريم, Tripoli
  مسجد كفرشوبا - لجنة الأوقاف الإسلامية في كفرشوبا, Kafr Shuba
  مسجد محمد الامين, Chehim
  مسجد ومجمع الفاروق عمر بن الخطاب, Sidon
  مسجد أبوبكر الصديق, Sidon
  مسجد القلمون الغربي, Al Qalamun
  مسجد الموصلي, Sidon
  مسجد النبي يوشع, Tripoli
  مسجد التقوى, Tripoli
  مسجد السلام, Tripoli
  مسجد العين - بخعون الضيعة, Bakhaoun
  مسجد بلال بن رباح, Sidon
  مسجد بهاء الدين الحريري, Sidon
  مسجد بزبينا, Bazbina
  مسجد زمزم, Tripoli
  مسجد عثمان بن عفان, Tripoli
  مسجد عثمان بن عفان, Trablous
  مسجدعبدالرحمان بن عوف مجدل عنجر, Zahle
  مصلى بلال, Tripoli
  معهد طرابلس للعلوم الشرعية, Tripoli
  المجمع الثقافي الاسلامي, Ansar
  المسجد العمري الكبير, Sidon
  جمعيّة الإرشاد والإصلاح الخيريّة الإسلاميّة, Beirut
  جمعية الهداية والإحسان الإسلامية, Tripoli
 
جامع التوجيه الاسلامي, Tripoli

   Muslim Owned Business

Abyad Medical Center, Tripoli
  Al Ikhlas Sweets, Saida
  ALMAKTABAH.COM, Beirut
  Arabic Prince Halal Products and Exports, Beirut
  Computer & Information Center, Beirut
  Dabbous Electrics, Tariq Al Jadidah
  Dar El Fikr S.A.L., Beirut
  Jamal Hardware Center, Tripoli
  Rafaat Hallab 1881 for Oriental Pastry, Tripoli
  مجموعة القمة للإنتاج الإعلامي والتوزيع, Tripoli
  محامص الامين, طرابلس -عكار- الضنيه
 
مركز مؤمنة للتقنية والمعلوماتية, Tripoli

References
Islam in Lebanon ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Lebanon   , September, 2008).
Info please ( http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107710.html ,  September, 2008).
Islam Finder ( http://www.islamicfinder.org/cityPrayerNew.php?country=lebanon  , September, 2008).
Anonymous, Documents from Representatives of Islamic Organizations in Lebanon, September 2008.