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    Who are Alawites?

    Over the weekend, we had friends over for dinner. She is a Catholic, and he is Turkish Kurd who happens to be an Alawite. All I know about this group is that Hafez-al-Asad was an Alawite and they are spread over many countries, notably Syria (around 10% of the population), Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq. I also knew that they are considered as Heretics by the people of Wahabi persuasion. We had very enlightening discussion. My Kurdish Alawite friend explained his belief system to me – after I showed interested in knowing about it.

    Alawites are an off-shoot of Shia Islam and the movement started way back when a group of intellectuals started critically studying Islam (pretty much in the Sufi Fashion). They found that it was all garbage and God was found within oneself and to seek him with odd behavior (I am borrowing my friend’s words, and not trying to be disrespectful here) and there was no need to pray 5 times a day or fast (although they do have 7 pillars – that is 2 more than the regular 5 pillars of Islam…Jihad and Walia (devotion to Ali – whom they consider 2nd only to Muhammad). Even though they believe in the Pillars of Islam, but they don’t practice it and argue that it is not “duty” to fulfil these obligations. This is what he told me was the main belief system of the Alawites.

    I would like to know if anyone has any more knowledge about this sect? They do consider themselves Muslims. How come while some Muslim groups (e.g., Ahmadis) can be declared as non-Muslims while there is no movement in the Islamic world to outcast the Alawites, who clearly do not fall under Islam (as they sort of reject Nimaz and Fasting). They also drink wine.

    #2
    Recently someone mentioned in one of the posts that they are considered Non-Muslims (according to the constitution) in Syria.
    I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    - Robert McCloskey

    Comment


      #3
      Ahmadjee, Syria is where this sect originated in. I would be very surprised if that in fact is true that they are considered Non-Muslims there. Could you tell me who mentioned and in what discussion. I am interested. Thanks.

      My understanding is that the Lebanese Molvi of the Twelver Shias, Imam Musa al-Sadr, issued a Fatwa in 1974 saying that the Alawites were Shia Muslims.

      Comment


        #4
        Sorry Bhai jaan! My bad, the statement was made about the Druze, not Alawites.

        Posted by Sultan Toora:
        Like the druze who call themselves muslims are considered non muslim by the govt of syria
        I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
        - Robert McCloskey

        Comment


          #5
          Alawites (aka Nusairis) seem to have a "blend" of various influences, which may include practising elements of Druze, Shi'ites and paganism, deifying Ali. Majority are in/around the Syrian area. Most probably intitially a cult/backlash to "conventional" Islam.

          Maybe to not-practise or to drink wine is personal choice rather than the dictate of "faith".

          As for the Muslim/Non-Muslim factor, I'd like to leave to the resident Mullahs. I'd like to know too, on what basis one sect may be declared Non-Muslim, but not another...


          [This message has been edited by *Khairun Nisa* (edited April 09, 2002).]

          Comment


            #6
            I was little confused when ahmadjee mentioned, even after reading that Hafiz al Asad, was Alawite. This 10% sect rules the country and some of the kaTTar types have idols of Hazrat Ali.

            Some info provided by you is also good but confusing especially "pillars but they don't practice". Grrreaaat

            Comment


              #7
              Like against the Druze, there was a movement in the 1960s to 1970s in Lebanon and Syria to proclaim the Alawites non-Muslims, based on their beliefs, which vary considerable from those of the five main fiqhs in Islam.

              However, the head of the Ithna Ashari Shias in Lebanon in 1974 issued a fatwa in favour of the Alawites' claim to be Muslims, and the issue has more or less rested after that.

              Alawites are particularly persecuted in Turkey, of all places, where the authorities attempt to force Alawites to be like Sunnis.

              I used to work at a refugee charity and closely examined the asylum statements of many Alawites, payong particular attention to the part where you have to state your religious beliefs.

              Most of them openly admitted that their beliefs merged Islamic and non-Islamic traditions. They view the drinking of alcohol to be permissible, do not believe in daily prayers, and do not believe in worshipping in mosques, preferring building which they called "prayer houses". Some, though not all, stated their belief to be in a trinity god, consisting of Allah, Mohammed (saws) and Ali (ra).

              I can't remember much else at this time.

              [This message has been edited by mAd_ScIeNtIsT (edited April 09, 2002).]
              Muslims are so good at dividing that they can divide the atom. If you see two Muslims, probably they belong to 3 parties.
              Al-Ghazali

              Comment


                #8
                KhairunNisa…drinking wine is always a matter of “personal” choice. But they have included this in their “religious” rituals.

                They are referred as Nusairis because of their scholar Muhammadu bni Nusairi un-Namiri. They are also known as Ansari (after the region Ansariyah in Syria).

                Do you have any more info?

                Comment


                  #9
                  Khan Sahib. I know, I also found that very confusing when my friend mentioned that to me. He said that they believe in 5 pillars + two additional ones, but they do not practice any one of these pillars as they don’t consider it to be their duty. As Mad Scientist stated that each Alawite tells you conflicting ideologies, so I am equally confused. My friend also told me about the Prayer Houses.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I think statements of asylum seekers shouldn't be paid much attention to as the only god they would know is "do waqt ki roTi" (food) and a safe place to live. They would say and do anything to save their lives.

                    If the scholars have conversated with Alawite scholars and found that their beliefs were not completely away from the mainstream then who are we to judge whether they are muslims or not.

                    We can only judge actions that people do for example my dad saw them idol-worshipping Hazrat Ali and I know that it isn't allowed according to Islam. Still, I don't know how many people do this sort of practice.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Alawites are half-Christain, half-Muslim.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Faraz Mir:
                        Alawites are half-Christain, half-Muslim.
                        Just like Pak muslims are half-hindus and half-muslims! Right?

                        The alawis have adopted certain christian practises having been influenced by christianity; same can be said about indo-pak muslims or indonesian muslims, for example. And, unlike extremist islam they do not believe that Islam is the destroyer of ancient traditions & cultures and, if I may add - very correctly so.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I will really appreciate if you guys can actually relate your findings to something more concrete than 'I have heard such n such' Basically because I have heard a lot about a lot of things that doesn't necessary make 'em truth or fabrications.

                          I did some research and here is good Discription of Alawites

                          HISTORY
                          857: Muhammadu bni Nusair claims to be the gate (Bab) or representative to the 10th imam among the Shi'is, Ali al Hadi.
                          10th century: The sect is firmly established by Husayn ibn Hamdan al-Khasibi, during the Shi'i Hamdanid dynasty of Aleppo.
                          1004: The Hamdanid dynasty falls, and the Alawites are driven out of Aleppo, and centuries of hardship begins.
                          12th century: The Alawites are badly treated by Crusaders.
                          1971: The Alawite Hafez al-Assad becomes president of Syria. This meant the end of the Alawites being an outcast group in the Syrian society. Since then their status has strongly improved, as well as their living standards.
                          1974: The Lebanese leader of the Twelver Shi'is, Imam Musa al-Sadr, issues a legal decision saying that the Alawites were Shi'i Muslims.
                          I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
                          - Robert McCloskey

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by ahmadjee:
                            I will really appreciate if you guys can actually relate your findings to something more concrete than 'I have heard such n such' Basically because I have heard a lot about a lot of things that doesn't necessary make 'em truth or fabrications.

                            I did some research and here is good Discription of Alawites

                            HISTORY
                            857: Muhammadu bni Nusair claims to be the gate (Bab) or representative to the 10th imam among the Shi'is, Ali al Hadi.
                            10th century: The sect is firmly established by Husayn ibn Hamdan al-Khasibi, during the Shi'i Hamdanid dynasty of Aleppo.
                            1004: The Hamdanid dynasty falls, and the Alawites are driven out of Aleppo, and centuries of hardship begins.
                            12th century: The Alawites are badly treated by Crusaders.
                            1971: The Alawite Hafez al-Assad becomes president of Syria. This meant the end of the Alawites being an outcast group in the Syrian society. Since then their status has strongly improved, as well as their living standards.
                            1974: The Lebanese leader of the Twelver Shi'is, Imam Musa al-Sadr, issues a legal decision saying that the Alawites were Shi'i Muslims.
                            I would be interested in knowing on what facts was the fatwa issued.

                            I am sure that if divinity of our prophet (pbuh) and Ali (as) was claimed, the shia leader would have been the first to reject their claim of being muslim.

                            The details need to be checked.

                            A muslim must have belief in the Oneness of Allah (swt) and in the final apostleship of our holy prophet (pbuh).

                            I do not think that there is argument about this point between the major muslim schools of thought.

                            ------------------
                            A Wizard arrives neither early nor late, but precisely when he chooses to

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Islamic Ruling on the Nusayri/Alawi/Alawite Sect

                              By Imaam Ibn Taymiyyah [Majmoo` al-Fatawa 35/145]

                              What follows is Imaam ibn Taymiyyah’s, may Allah have mercy on him, answer to a question posed to him about the sect called an-Nusayriyyah (they are also known as Alawis/Alawite sect).

                              The question is very long, as it mentions many Nusayri beliefs and practices, and most of it is not translated for the sake of brevity.

                              Those who want to see the question in full, they can refer to Ibn Taymiyyah’s Fatawa 35/145. In summary, the questioner mentioned, among other things their legalization of intoxicants, belief in reincarnation; disbelief in resurrection, Paradise and Hellfire; belief that "Five Prayers" (as-Salawat al-Khams) is an expression referring to five names: "Ali, Hasan, Husayn, Muhsin and Fatimah", and that mentioning these five names suffices one instead of making ghusl from major impurity, or ablution, or fulfilling other conditions and obligatory actions of the five daily prayers; that `Ali is the creator of the heavens and the earth, and that he is their god in heavens and imaam on the earth etc.

                              What follows is the end of the question and Ibn Taymiyyah’s answer.

                              Question:

                              "…Is it permissible for a Muslim (man or woman) to marry them (Nusayris)? Is it permissible to eat the meat of cattle they slaughter? What is the ruling on eating the cheese made from the rennet of their sacrificed animals? What is the ruling on using their dishes and clothes? Is it permissible to bury them with Muslims? Is it permissible to employ them in Muslim ports and handing the ports over to them? Or is it obligatory upon the ruler to cut them off and employ others from among qualified Muslim men; and is there a sin in delaying their explusion?"

                              Answer:

                              All Praise is for Allah, Lord of all worlds. These people named "Al-Nusayriyyah", and other groups from among the Qaraamitah and Baatiniyyah, are greater disbelievers than the Jews and Christians. Nay, they are greater disbelievers than most of the mushrikeen (polytheists from other than Ahl ul-Kitab), and their harm to the Ummah of Muhammad, sallallahu alaihi wa sallam, is greater than the harm of the disbelievers who are in war with Muslims, such as at-Tatar, disbelieving Europeans and others.

                              For they present themselves in front of ignorant Muslims as supporters and advocates of Ahl ul Bayt, while in reality they do not believe in Allaah, or the Messenger, or the Book, or [Allaah’s] orders, or prohibitions, or reward, or punishment, or Paradise, or Fire, or in one of the Messengers before Muhammad, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, or in a religion from among previous religions. Rather, they take the words of Allaah and His Messenger, known to the scholars of Muslims, and they interpret them based on their fabrications, claiming that their interpretations are "hidden knowledge ("ilm `ul-baatin"), such as what the questioner mentioned and more. They have no limit in their unbelief with regards to Allaah’s Names, His verses, and their distortion of the Speech of Allaah, the Most High, and His Messenger from their proper places [usages]. Their aim is repudiation of Islaamic Beliefs and Laws in every possible way, trying to make it appear that these matters have realities that they know, like those mentioned by the questioner and others, such as that "five prayers" means knowledge of their secrets, "obligatory fast" hiding of their secrets, and "pilgrimage to Bayt al-`Atiq" visit to their sheikhs, and that the two hands of Abu Lahab represent Abu Bakr and Umar, and that "the great news and the manifest imaam" (an naba’ul `adheem wal imaamul mubin) is `Ali ibn Abi Talib.

                              There are well known incidents and books they have written with regards to their enmity to Islaam and its people. When they have an opportunity, they spill the blood of Muslims, such as when they once killed pilgrims and threw them into the well of Zamzam. Once they took the black stone and it stayed with them for a period of time, and they have killed so many Muslim scholars and elders that only Allaah knows their number. They wrote many books, such as what the questioner mentioned, and others.

                              Muslim scholars have written books, unveiling their secrets, exposing their veils, explaining what they are upon from disbelief, infidelity and atheism, by which they are greater disbelievers than the Jews, Christians, and Indian idol-worshipping Brahmans.

                              What the questioner mentioned as their description is a little from a great deal that is known to the scholars regarding their characteristics. It is known to us that the coast of Sham was only taken over by the Christians from their (Nusayri) side. And also that they are always on the side of every enemy against Muslims, so [you find that] they are with Christians against Muslims.

                              From the greatest afflictions that have befallen them are Muslims’ opening conquest of the coast (of Sham) and defeat of the Christians. Nay, one of the greatest afflictions that has befallen them is Muslims’ victory over Tatar, and from the greatest holidays for them is the Christians conquest – and refuge is sought with Allaah the Most High – of Muslim ports.

                              They don’t admit that this world has a Creator that created it, or that He has a religion that he orders with, or that He has a place with which He will reward people for their deeds, other than this place (in this world). [Majmoo` al-Faatwaa 35/145]

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