There are two groups called Alawis: (a) Arab
Alawis of Syria, Lebanon, and in Al-Iskandaron region of Turkey which used to be
part of Syria.
(b) Turkish Alawis (or Alewis) who live in Turkey.
They are two separate groups, with totally
different beliefs. The discussion on this page is only about the beliefs of the
Arab Alawis. The Alawis of Syria & Lebanon follow Ibn Nusayr and are also known
to be Nusayria. Many of their beliefs are very blasphemous from Islamic
perspective. Their beliefs are probably the farthest away from Islam ,
compared to other Shia groups.
The following is a summary of their main
-Belief in reincarnation: unbelievers (Muslims,
Christians, Jews) return as animals, whilst 'Alawis are reincarnated in other 'Alawis
and eventually can reach the state of luminous stars. Faithful Alawis believe
they must be transformed or reborn seven times before returning to take a place
among the stars, where Ali is the prince. If blameworthy, they are sometimes
reborn as Christians or Jews, among whom they remain until atonement is complete
- The eternal existence of the universe.
- Denial of Resurrection , Hell, Paradise except in this world.
- The five prayers are: Ali , Fatimah, Hassan, Hussain and Muhsin. Mentioning
these names would suffice for abolution , purification from Janaba and the
commandments of prayer
- Fasting is the recitation of the names of thirty men , and thirty women
mentioned in their books. The main 'Alawi Holy Book is the "Kitab al-Majmu'"
compiled by al-Khasibi and containing 16 Suras. Other sacred books are: Kitab
al-Mashaykha (manual for Sheikhs), Kitab Majmu' al-'Ayad (Book of Feasts. This
was translated into French in Beirut in the mid-ninteenth century by a Nusairi
convert to Christianinty who was later assassinated by the community) and Kitab
Ta'lim al-Diyana al-Nusayriyyah, the 'Alawi chatechism
- Ali Ibn Abi Talib is the manifestation of Allah. The 'Alawi profession of
faith states: "I testify that there is no God but 'Ali ibn-Talib the one to be
worshipped, no Veil but the Lord Muhammad worthy to be praised, and no Gate but
the Lord Salman al-Farisi the object of love". Which is summed up in the
following poetry in Arabic:
أشهد أن لا إله إلا == حيدرة الأنزع البطين
و لا حجاب عليه إلا == محمد الصادق الأمين
و لا طريق إليه إلا == سلمان ذو القوة المتين
- One is not considered a Nusairi unless he vows
not to expose the principles of his religion (Taqqiya) and he learns what are
the names and meanings of the principle figures of his religion such as the name
being Adam and the meaning being Sebit and the name being Yaqub and the meaning
being Yusuf and try to infer this from the Quran. Yacub was noting but a name
who could not surpass his position for he said: " I will ask for you My Lord for
forgiveness" , while Yusuf said: " this day let no reproach be (cast) on you"
and he did not depend on any other in this matter because he knew that he is the
god who can do what he wants. Also Musa is the name and Yousha (Joshua) is the
meaning for he managed to make the sun return back for him , and the sun would
only to this to her Lord. And Ali is the meaning while Prophet Muhammad pbuh is
the name he created from his own light.
- Part of their Taqqiyya is to adopt the Muslim practices outwardly as explained
by an Alawi:
"We are accepted as Muslims because we have worked hard to be accepted. We
have copied the Sunnis. Some Alawis cover their hair and wear hijab, either for
personal reasons or when they marry Sunnis. We don't eat ham, and even when we
do, we don't eat it in front of people. We fast - or we pretend to fast; out of
respect for others, we don't eat in front of them during Ramadan. We have built
mosques in our major towns. Some Alawis go to Friday prayer and to the Hajj. My
grandfather was a modern shaykh who encouraged everyone to pray at the mosque in
Jable. The charitable foundation established and run by Jamil al-Asad (the
brother of former President Hafiz al-Assad) finances hundreds of Alawis to go on
Hajj, and the women working for the organization have to wear the hijab. Hafiz
al-Asad prayed in Mosque and fasted. When his mother and son died, he prayed for
them in Mosque. He built the Na`isa mosque in Qardaha, his home town, in the
name of his mother. All these things are proof to Sunnis that we try hard to be
part of Islam and like Sunnis. They accept it. We have succeeded."
- Wine is Halal and is consumed in their masses where wine and bread are
consecrated and partaken of by the male initiates. The wine especially is
considered to be the very essence of God ('Ali), trans-substantiated by the mass
and offered to the believer. It is called "The Servant Of Light" ('Abd al-Nur).
Vines are treated with great respect in 'Alawi culture.
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