15. The Nusayris, Sunnites, and Twelver Shiites

14. The Nusayri Mass
December 10, 2015
Unsheathing the Arrowhead in Defense of Mu`awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan
January 19, 2016

BACK⇒ Return to Table of contents

 

The Nusayris, Sunni, and Twelver Shiites

 

Outwardly, the Nusayris, like the rest of the Ghulat, seem to be an Ithna Ashari (Twelver) sect; Shia who believe in the divine authority of twelve Imams. Like the Twelvers, the Nusayris believe that Ali and his descendants, the Imams, are the only legitimate heirs and successors to the Prophet of Islam in governing the Muslim community. They maintain that the Imamah is divine office that only Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu , whom the Rasul appointed as his successor, should occupy. However, the Nusayris and other Ghulat differ from the moderate Twelvers on many fundamental issues, paramount among them the deification of Ali.

 

To the Ghulat, including the Nusayris, Ali is God, the very God of the Bible and the Qur’an, who created the heavens and the earth. They maintain that this God manifested Himself in this world seven times, the last time as Ali. The Nusayris also believe that He is manifested in sacramental wine, which they call Abdun Nur (the servant of light).

 

The Nusayris asserted that this God created Muhammad from the light of his essence and made him His Name, and reflection of his essence. They also believe in a trinity of Ali, Muhammad, and Salman al Farisi. And they share with other Ghulat, especially the Ahl-i Haqq (or Ali Ilahis), belief in metempsychosis, or the transmigration of souls. Finally, they believe that the five persons who constitute the family of the Rasul are deities. These beliefs separate the Nusayris from moderate Shiites and demonstrate that their creed is a syncretism of the astral pagan religious system of the Harranians, Christianity, and extreme Shi’ism.

 

We have shown in earlier chapters that the Nusayris does not share the Muslim emphasis on fulfilling Islamic religious obligations, such as prayer and fasting in the month of Ramadan and pilgrimage to Makkah. They have no mosques or mu’azzins, as the Muslims do, instead conduct their meeting in private homes, most often in the homes of their sheikhs. Moreover, they consider Sunni Muslims to be their enemies and pray for their damnation.

 

Like the rest of the Ghulat, the Nusayris are very secretive about their religious practices and beliefs, refusing absolutely to divulge them to strangers. This secretiveness has led outsiders to accuse them of nocturnal sexual orgies.[1] But since no outsiders have ever been admitted to these nocturnal meetings, and since the reports of sexual misconduct came from enemies of the Nusayris, they should be considered groundless calumnies meant to besmirch the name of the Nusayris, who are hated by the Sunni as heretics.

 

The former Nusayri Sulaiman al Adani does state, however, that one branch of the Nusayris, the Kalazis, have a custom that stands to support such rumours: when one Imam visits another, the host is expected to offer his wife as a bed partner to his guest. Al Adani says that the Kalazis believe anyone violating this practice will be forbidden to enter paradise. They seem to base this practice on a figurative interpretation of Qur’an 33:49, which states, “Prophet, we have made lawful to you the wives to whom you have granted dowries… and the other women who gave themselves to you, and whom you wished to take in marriage.” Al Adani goes on to say that when he visited a sheikh from a village near Antioch; woman (whom he does not identify) entered his room at night and lay down beside him, reminding him of his solemn and imperative duty.[2]

 

Closely related to the secrecy with which the Nusayris surround their religious beliefs and ceremonies are the use of Taqiyyah (dissimulation) and of conventional signs which suggest a connection between freemasonry and Nusayrism.

 

The Taqiyyah is a strategy by which a person is permitted to conceal, lie about, and deny his true religious beliefs, and even to profess the beliefs of his adversaries, in order to escape persecution or save his life. The practice of Taqiyyah, which dates back to the earliest period of Islam and was once used by many different Muslim sects, has come to be exclusively connected with the Shia. The reason is that the Shia, more than any other sect in Islam, uphold this practice. Indeed, ancient and contemporary Muslim writers consider the Ghulat (the Nusayris included) to be subversive elements whose objectives is to destroy Islam and Arabism. Ibn Hazm accuses the Persians of deliberately creating the different Ghulat sects in order to destroy Islam. He states that when the Muslim Arabs occupied Persia and converted the Persians to Islam, the Persians lost their state and power to the Arabs, whom they considered inferior to themselves. As a result of this calamitous loss, the Persians became vindictive and went on to fight against Islam. Some of them, who had embraced Islam hypocritically, began to lure the Shia by pretending that, like them, they loved the family of the Rasul and decried the injustice done to Ali by his enemies, who had denied his exclusive right to the Imamah. In this manner, says Ibn Hazm, the Persians were able to inculcate the Shia with heretical teachings and eventually lure them out of the domain of Islam.[3] This same idea is expressed by contemporary Sunni Muslim writers, who refer to the anti-Arab and anti-Islamic attitude of the Persian converts to Islam as Shu’ubiyyah, meaning the movement which denigrates that privileged religious and cultural position of the Muslim Arabs. These writers affirm that the Shu’ubiyyah’s objective is to destroy both Islam and the Arab entity.[4]

 

Taqiyyah was allegedly sanctioned by the Imams, especially Jafar al Sadiq, who reportedly said, “the Taqiyyah is of my religion and that of my forefathers; he who has no Taqiyyah has no religion.” Al Sadiq also asserted on another occasion, “The believer shall be raised to the highest spiritual state by four qualities: faithfulness, truthfulness, decorum, and Taqiyyah.”[5] To the Shia, Taqiyyah is the religion of God, and protection is His sword, without which He could not be worshipped. God could not be better worshipped than by Taqiyyah; thus, it is an essential part of their religion, and neglecting it is the same as neglecting prayer.[6]

 

To the Nusayris, the Taqiyyah is a very serious matter. They are admonished to keep their religious beliefs and practices absolutely secret from outsiders. We have already pointed out that, according to Kitab Ta’lim al Diyanah al Nusayriyyah, the Nusayris are not supposed to reveal the secrets of their religion except to their brethren. We have also shown that the neophyte makes a solemn oath not to betray the secret of his religion; else he will be punished by death. Indeed, in Kitab al Haft al Sharif, the Imam Jafar al Sadiq constantly tells his interlocutor to keep secret the “mysteries of God,” and the “knowledge of God, which God has kept secret from His Angels.”[7]

 

When they are in the company of members of other sects, especially Sunni Muslims, the Nusayris profess similar views in order to escape embarrassment or harassment. They swear to the Sunni that, like them, they fast and pray. Then enter a mosque or masjid with Sunnis and pretend to be praying. They genuflect and prostrate themselves and seem to be reciting prayer, when in reality they are cursing the first three rightly guided khulafa’, Abu Bakr, Umar, and Uthman. They justify such behaviour by the metaphor; they are the body, and the other sects are clothing, and whatever clothing man may put on will not harm him. In fact, they seem to believe that anyone who does not dissemble in this manner is a fool. However, it is very serious matter for a Nusayri to abandon his religion or reveal its secrets. According to al Khasibi, “Whosoever betrays our testimony is forbidden our garden.”[8]

 

The Nusayris seem to interpret the Islamic Jihad as a form of Taqiyyah, concealing their faith from non-Nusayris, even if such concealment exposes them to grave danger.[9] Obviously, the reason for such strict emphasis on the Taqiyyah is the historical religious conflict between the Nusayris and orthodox Muslims, who consider the Nusayris to be infidels.

 

Like the rest of the Ghulat and Batini (esoteric) sects, the Nusayris form a secret society and are classified as such by some Western writers like Heckethorn and Springett.[10] Springett, a Freemason, attempts to establish a connection between the ancient esoteric sects of the East, especially the Nusayris of Syria and the freemasonic movement.[11] He seems to base this idea on the conventional signs the Nusayris use to recognise one another. Sprigett’s attempt to connect Freemasonry with the Nusayris is not novel. He derives his idea from the accounts of Rev. Samuel Lyde and from Salisbury’s translation of al Adani’s Kitab al Bakhurah, which he has copied. Other Western writers have alluded to the conventional signs used by the Nusayris, without specifying these signs. F. Walpole, who visited Syria in the first half of the nineteenth century, states that the Ansayri (Nusayris) have signs and questions by which they salute and examine each other as a means of recognizing one another. Walpole says that these signs are little used and known only to a few Nusayris, however, and he does not indicate their nature.[12] Victor Langlois also states that the Nusayris have conventional signs by which they recognise each other, but, like Walpole, he does not describe these signs.[13] It was left to Sulaiman al Adani, a Nusayri convert to Christianity, to provide specific examples of these conventional signs. He states that when a stranger (looking for a relative) comes among his fellow believers, the Nusayris, he inquirers, “I have a relative, do you know him?” They ask, “What is his name?” He says, “Hussain.” They follow up, saying, “Ibn Hamdan.” He answers, “al Khasibi.” Thus, through question and answer, the stranger is recognised as a Nusayri by the naming of Hussain ibn Hamdan al Khasibi, the great apostle of Nusayrism. The second conventional sign of recognition is similar. The Nusayris ask the stranger who is looking for a relative among them: “How many folds has the turban of your uncle?” If he answers that it has sixteen folds, they receive him as one of them. In the third case, the Nusayris ask the stranger, “If your uncle is thirsty, from where do you give him water to drink?” The correct answer is “From the fountain of Ali the divine.” The fourth sign is also a question: “If your uncle relieved himself what will you give him (to wipe himself with)?” The response should be, “The beard of Mu’awiyah.”[14] A fifth question asks: “If your uncle were lost, how would you find him?” The answer is, “By al Nisba,” which in this context could only mean tracing the relationship of the uncle to the host of apostles of Nusayrism mentioned in chapter 4, al Nisba, of Kitab al Majmu’.[15] The seventh sign takes the form of a riddle: “Four and two fours, three and two, and twice these numbers — in your religion, what is the answer? “The answer is, “In al Musafarah.” The Musafarah (Journeying), forms the thirteenth chapter of Kitab al Majmu’. It mentions disciples of al Khasibi, divided into three groups, each from a different country. If one considers the numbers of this puzzle, four and two fours make twelve, and three and two make five, for a total of seventeen, which, added to twice that number, yields a total of fifty-one.[16] If the stranger has guessed this number, he is further asked to state the groups into which these are divided, where they are stationed, and what they do. If he states, in accordance with the Surah of al Musafarah, that the fifty-one stand at the gate of the city of Harran, and that seventeen of them are from Iraq, seventeen from al Sham (Syria), and seventeen are hidden or unknown, and that their duty is to receive justly and render justly, he received as a genuine Nusayri.[17] It is in these signs that Springett tried to find a connection between Freemasonry and Nusayrism. He states, “Here we have in all probability, the source of the Masonic custom of ‘lettering, or halving’ passwords in perambulating the lodge during certain ceremonies.[18] Lyde states that in their books the Nusayris use the double interlacing triangle, or seal of Solomon, also used by Freemasons, but he provided no source.[19]

 

The relation between the modern Freemasonry and the ancient esoteric cults of the East requires more investigation, which lies beyond the boundaries of this book. Suffice it to say that the connection between the ancient cults of the Assassins, the Ismailis, and the Templars is more than accidental. Von Hammer indicates many points of similarity among these groups, including the white mantle and red cross of the templers.[20] Lyde states that the Nusayris dress in white and that they are fond of red jackets and red handkerchiefs. He further states that there is a degree of Freemasonry called that of Templars. The Templars lived next to these secret sects, including the Nusayris of Syria, and must have been influenced by their customs and tradition.[21] In investing the sources of Masonic tradition and ritual, Springett affirms, one should look to Asia in general and to Syria in particular.[22]

 

The Nusayris have been denounced by Sunni Muslims as infidels. Sheikh al Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 1328) issued a juristic opinion condemning the Nusayris as infidels. He stated, “Those people who are called Nusayriyyah, together with the Qaramitah, are greater infidels than the Jews and Christians; nay, they are greater infidels than many polytheists, and their harm to the nation of Muhammad is greater than that of infidel Turks and Franks. They appear to be ignorant Muslim lovers of Ahlul Bayt (the family of the prophet), but in reality they do not believe in God, His Messenger (Muhammad), or His book (the Qur’an). Nor do they believe in reward and punishment, the Garden (Paradise) or Hell, or in any messenger who preceded Muhammad.”[23]

 

The Ghulat have also been condemned by twelve Shia for their extreme beliefs. Among these Shia we may cite Ibn Babuwayh al Qummi (d. 991) who, although he does not mention the Nusayris specifically, condemns all Ghulat as “infidels and worse than the Jews, Christians, and polytheists.”[24]

 

Ibn Shahr Ashub (d. 1192) condemned the Nusayris as nihilists (Ibahiyya), saying, “Muhammad ibn Nusayr revived ghulu (extremism) by claiming that the most High God is Ali. The band of Nusayris who followed him are nihilists who relinquished Islamic worship and religious duties and permitted immoral and forbidden acts.”[25]

 

A modern writer, Abdul Hussain Mahdi al Askari, avers that the Nusayris should not be considered Shia as long as “They renounce the Ithna Ashari Shia’s and their beliefs.”[26] In recent times, however, some Sunni and Ithna Ashari writers have tended to consider the Nusayris to be “true Muslims,” either because they were persecuted or in conformity with the true spirit of Muslim Brotherhood. Al Hajjaj Amin al Hussaini, the Grand Mufti of Palestine (d. 1974), issued a juristic opinion in 1936 calling on Muslims to cooperate with the Nusayris. He stated, “These Alwis (Nusayris) are Muslims, and it is the duty of all the Muslims to cooperate with them and stop antagonizing each other for reasons of religion… because they (the Nusayris) are brothers who have common roots and interests with the Muslims and, according to Islamic brotherhood, Muslims should love others what they love for themselves.”[27]

 

Munir al Sharif, who lived for many years among the Nusayris and visited their villages, especially in and around Latakia, states that the Alawis (Nusayris) are a Muslim sect who continue to read the Qur’an with great respect, and that their rituals are the same as those of the Muslims, although they “have no mosques and maintain some of the ignorant extremist beliefs among them.”[28]

 

It is evident that although al Sharif considers the Nusayris to be Muslims, he admits that they have no mosques and that they harbour extremist religious beliefs; thus his statement confirms what has been said earlier, that the Nusayris are Ghulat who lie outside the pale of orthodox Islam.

 

Another writer, al Sheikh Mahmud al Salih, considers the Nusayris a true Shia Muslim sect and says that everything written about them by orientalists or other writers is sheer fabrication.[29]

 

In 1956, Muhammad Rida Shams al Din, a Shia living in Lebanon, was delegated by the highest Twelver Shia authority in al Najaf (Iraq) to go among the Nusayris and study their conditions and religious beliefs. Shams al Din visited the Nusayris and wrote an account in which he tried to portray the Nusayris as true Shia Muslims, although he remarks with obvious regret that he found the Nusayris to be lax regarding Islamic religious duties such as prayer and pilgrimage. He also notes that the Nusayris have no mosques, but excuses them on the grounds of poverty and politics, by which he means that the Syrian government is against them.[30]

 

Several Nusayri writers have also written in defense of their people and religious beliefs. One of these is Arif al Sus, who tried to show that the Nusayris are Shia Muslims who believe in God and His apostles, and in the Walayah (vicegerency) of Ali as the “brother’ and cousin of the Prophet. Al Sus further states that the Nusayris observe all the Muslim religious duties, such as prayer, pilgrimage to Makkah, and the offering of zakat.[31]

 

Another Nusayri, Abdul Rahman al Khayyir, wrote several articles defending the Nusayris as true Muslims, although he admits that many superstitions have crept into their beliefs because of their cultural decline and manipulation by their sheikhs. However, al Khayyir relates an incident which shows that as far back as the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Nusayri had no mosque and did not perform the pilgrimage to Makkah. He states that in 1838 a prominent Nusayri, Sheikh Abdul Al, known as Hajj Mualla, went to Makkah to perform the pilgrimage. On his way back from Syria (then under the rule of Muhammad Ali, viceroy of Egypt), Hajj Mualla stopped in Egypt and obtained permission to build a mosque in this village.[32]

 

In 1938, the magazine al Nahda published a special issue about the Nusayris in which some Nusayri authors wrote articles in defence of their people as true Muslims. One of these writers, Ahmed Sulaiman Ibrahim, lamented the bad luck of his people. He says they were constantly persecuted, for no reason other than that “we were and will ever be in relation to Islam as the roots are in relation to the trunk.”[33] In this same issue of al Nahda another writer, Muhammad Yasin, emphatically states that the Nusayris are Muslim Shia and seems greatly surprised by those who say that they are not Muslims.[34]

 

In addition to these defences, Nusayri religious leaders issued several declarations to prove their innate Islamism. Perhaps they were encouraged by the juristic opinion of the Grand Mufti al Hajj Amin al Hussaini, which affirmed they were true Muslims.

 

In 1936, Nusayri religious men published a pamphlet in which they stated emphatically that the Nusayris were Shia Muslims, and that any Nusayri who did not recognize Islam as his religion and the Qur’an as his holy book would not be considered a Nusayri according to the Shari’ah (Islamic law).[35]

 

In 1938 Nusayri religious leaders issued a proclamation entitled, “Decidedly, religion with God is Islam.” In it, they stated that their religion was Islam, according to the Jafari Theological School, named in honour of the Imam Jafar al Sadiq. In June 1956, after twenty days of deliberation with the Nusayri religious men, the Mufti of Syria agreed to license Nusayri religious men to teach their faith and allowed them to wear religious garb like other Muslim religious men. But the most significant proclamation was that issued by Nusayri religious men at their meeting in 1392/1972. In this proclamation they elaborated on their articles of their faith, their belief in God, the office of Imamah, the Qur’an, the Sunnah, eschatology, and other doctrines. As a matter of fact, these Nusayri religious men reiterated the Twelver Shia doctrines and affirmed that they held the same beliefs. The proclamation was signed by eighty Nusayri religious men.[36]

 

The Nusayri identification with true Islam was further strengthened by President Hafiz al Asad of Syria. In the mid-1970s, after only a few years in power, al Asad asked Syrian Sunni Muslim religious men to declare him a true Muslim, which they did. He also persuaded Lebanese Shia religious men to declare the Nusayris true Muslims.[37] Furthermore, the Nusayri-controlled Syrian government published a book to prove that the Nusayri community was an inseparable part of the main body of Islam. This book was distributed on a grand scale by various government agencies. It was followed by the publication of an edition of the Qur’an carrying a picture of al Asad on its front page, which the people called “al Asad Qur’an.” In the meantime, al Asad made a change in the Syrian constitution, inserting a new article stating, “Islam shall be the religion of the head of the state.”[38]

 

One might ask why the Nusayris have this penchant for identifying themselves with Islam. If the Nusayris are true Orthodox Muslims, why is there urgency to prove it? Our study of the history and religion of the Nusaris shows they were not and still are not regarded by Sunnis and Twelver Shia’s as true Muslims, despite the efforts of some writers to exonerate them heterodoxy.

 

In the 1930s, under French mandate, the Nusayris stated they were not Muslims and declared the Sunnis their enemies. Some of them, however, witnessing the rise of Arab nationalism and the liberation of Syria at the end of World War II, attempted to identify themselves with Arab nationalism and true Islam to escape alienation and persecution by the Sunni Muslims. Some of the more prominent Nusayris must have believed that identification with true Islam would assure them of positions in the Syrian government and would expedite their rise to power. When they finally achieved control of the government in 1971, when Hafiz al Asad become the first Nusayri president of Syria, the Nusayris were still considered heretics by the Sunni Muslim majority in Syria, as well as opponents of both Arab nationalism and Islam.

 

In order to protect their position and power, the Nusayri rulers resorted to secularisation and socialism as a means of diminishing the role of Islam and the position of the Sunni religious men in the state. These efforts enraged the Sunni community, especially in the city of Hama, where riots broke out in the spring of 1973 because the government had not included the article in the newly proposed constitution stating that Islam was the religion of the state.[39]

 

The Sunni uprising motivated Hafiz al Asad to declare himself a true Muslim and amend the constitution, declaring Islam to be the state religion. Peter Gubser remarks rightly that al Asad’s objective in identifying himself with Islam was to broaden his base in the Syrian Society, rather than to lessen Nusayri consciousness or distinctiveness.[40]

 

The measures taken by al Asad failed to convince the Sunni majority of his true allegiance to Arab nationalism and to Islam. The Nusayris continued to be considered a heterodox minority that had usurped power from Sunni majority. Key positions in both the army and the civilian sector of the government were occupied by Nusayris, while the few positions in the cabinet filled by Sunni were mere window dressing.

 

The bubble of tension, suspicion, and antagonism towards the Nusayri-controlled government finally burst in March 1980; Sunni Muslims in the major cities and towns went on strike. Demonstrations against the government began in Aleppo and then spread to other cities. The strikers demanded the end to sectarianism and sectarian rule. Government’s answer was the use of force and dissolution of both labour and professional unions. For a while the situation seemed to have calmed down, but riots broke out in 1982 in Hama, and al Asad retaliated by ordering the destruction of most of the city.[41]

 

In conclusion, based on their own writings and literature, the Nusayris (or Alawis, as they are known today), are a heterodox sect, called Ghulat or extremists by Muslim Sunni and Twelver Shia. Their religion is a syncretism of extreme Shia, pagan, and Christian beliefs, and they fall outside the pale of orthodox Islam. The very fact that some them deify Mujib and Saji, the sons of Sulaiman al Murshid (who, because he declared himself God, was executed by the Syrian authorities in 1946) is a demonstration that the Nusayris believe in the continuous manifestation of the deity, a belief repulsive to orthodox Islam.[42]

 

 

[1] Lyde, The Asian Mystery, 102-9; Burckhardt, Travels in Syria and the Holy Land, and Charles Williams Heckethorn, The Secret Societies of All Ages and Countries, (New York: New York University, 1966), 1:130.

[2] Al Adani, Kitab al Bakhurah, 58-59, 93.

[3] Ibn Hazm, Kitab al Fasal, 2:114-15. Cf. Muhammad Raghib Paha, Safinat al Raghib wa Dafinat al Talib (Cairo: Bulaq, 1255/1839), 216, reprinted by Bulaq in 1282/1865.

[4] Abdullah Sallum al Samarrai, al Shubiyyah Harakah Mudadda li al Islam wa al Ummah al Arabiyyah (Baghdad: al Muassasa al Iraqiyyah li al Diaya wa al Tiba, 1984).

[5] Kitab al Haft al Sharif, 54 and Kitab al Hikam al Jafariyyah li al Imam al Sadiq Jafar Ibn Muhammad, ed. Arif Tamir (Beirut: al Matbaa al Katholikiyya, 1957), 68-69. In his commentary on the Qur’an, Ibn Ibrahim states that the taqiyyah is the “license of the believer.” See Ibn Ibrahim, Tafsir, 54.

[6] Al Sheikh al Mufid, Kitab Sharh Aqa’id al Saduq aw Tashih al I’tiqad (Tabraz: Matbat Ridai, 1371/1951), 66. This book is printed together with al Mufid’s Awa’il al Maqalat; Ibn Ibrahim, Tafsir, 55 and Tamir, al Hikam al Jafariyyah, 68.

[7] Kitab al Haft al Sharif, 54, 78, 198, and 201.

[8] Al Adani, Kitab al Bakhurah, 82.

[9] Al Adani, Kitab al Bakhurah, 25.

[10] Heckethorn, The Secret Societies of All Ages and Countries, 1:130-31; and Bernard H. Springett, Secret Sects of Syria and the Lebanon (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1922), chapters 16-17, 140-65. Springett’s account of the Nusayris is a rehash of the Rev. Lyde’s The Asian Mystery and Salisbury’s translation of al Adani’s Kitab al Bakhurah.

[11] Springett, Secret Sects of Syria and the Lebanon, the introduction, 5-9.

[12] F. Walpole, The Ansayri and the Assassins With Travels in the Further East in 1850-1851 including a Visit to Nineveh (London: R. Bently, 1851), 3:354; and Lyde, The Asian Mystery, 162 who follows Walpole.

[13] Langlois, “Religion et doctrine des Noussairiès,” 434 and Lyde, The Asian Mystery, 162.

[14] Al Adani, Kitab al Bakhurah, 83-84; and Salisbury, “Notes on the Book of Sulaiman’s First Ripe Fruit,” 290, 296. Salisbury has misunderstood the meaning of these questions and answers.

[15] See fourth Surah in al Adani, Kitab al Bakhurah, 14-18; and Salisbury, “Notes on the Book of Sulaiman’s First Ripe Fruit,” 241-45.

[16] Al Adani, Kitab al Bakhurah, 29-30; and Salisbury, “Notes on the Book of Sulaiman’s First Ripe Fruit,” 258-59.

[17] Al Adani, Kitab al Bakhurahh, 83; and Salisbury, “Notes on the Book of Sulaiman’s First Ripe,” 297.

[18] Springett, Secret sects Of Syria and the Lebanon, 176, n.1.

[19] Lyde, The Asian Mystery, 162.

[20] Von Hammer-Purgstall, The History of the Assassins, 57 and Lyde, The Asian Mystery, 163.

[21] Lyde, The Asian Mystery, 162.

[22] Springett, Secret sects Of Syria and the Lebanon, 8 of the introduction.

[23] For this Fatwa, see Guyard, “Le Fatawa d’Ibn Taymiyyah,” 167.

[24] See al Sheikh al Saduq Abu Jafar ibn Muhammad ibn Babuwayh (al Qummi), Ilal al Shara’i (al Najaf: al Matba al Haydariyyah, 138/1963), 1: 227. Cf. al Sheikh al Mufid, Kitab Sharh Aqa’id al Saduq aw Tashih al I’tiqad, 63; Ibn Shahr Ashbub, Manaqib Al Ibn Abi Talib, 1: 226-27; Muhammad ibn Ismail al Ha’iri, Muntaha al Maqal (Tehran: n.p. 1320/1902), 316; and Sad ibn Abdullah al Ashari, al Maqalat wa al Firaq, 37.

[25] Ibn Shahr Ashub, Manaqib Al Abi Talib, 1: 228.

[26] Al Askari, al Alawiyyun aw al Nusayriyyah, 44.

[27] See this fatwa in the newspaper al Shab, 31 July 1936, reproduced in Munir al Sharif, al Alawiyyun Man Hum wa Ayna Hum, 59-60.

[28] Munir al Sharif, al Alawiyyun Man Hum wa Ayna Hum, 59-60.

[29] Sheikh Mahmud al Salih, al Naba al Yaqin an al Alawiyyin.

[30] Muhammad Rida Shams al Din, Ma al Alawiyyin fi Suriyya (Beirut: Matbat al Insaf, 1956), 53-54.

[31] Arif al Sus, Man Huwa al Alawi, in Uthman, al Alawiyyun, 131.

[32] Abdul Rahman al Khayyir, “Yaqzat al Alawiyyun,” reproduced in Uthman, al Alawiyyun, 173-89, especially 179.

[33] Ahmed Sulaiman Ibrahim, “al Alawiyyun bayn al Muslimin wa al Islam,” reproduced in Uthman, al Alawiyyun, 191-210.

[34] Sheikh Muhammad Hasan Yasin, “al Alawiyyun Shi’iyyun,” reproduced in Uthman, al Alawiyyun 190-91.

[35] See the anonymous al Alawiyyun Shia Ahl al Bayt: Bayan Aqidat al Alawiyyin, (Beirut: n.p., 1392/1972), 8-10. Judging by the introduction, it is probable that this monograph has been compiled by the Shia Hasan Mahdi al Shirazi. This proclamation first appeared in the newspaper al Qabas, 27 July 1937.

[36] Al Alawiyyin Shia Ahl al Bayt, 10-32 and note 1 containing the signatories of the proclamation.

[37] Maoz, “Syria under Hafiz al Asad: New Domestic and Foreign Policies,” Jerusalem Papers on Peace Problems 15 (1975): 10-11; and Gubser, “The Alawites of Syria,” 44.

[38] Kelidar, “Religion and State of Syria,” 18; and Moshe Maoz, “The Emergence of Modern Syria,” 30; and Hrair Dekmejian, Islam in Revolution (Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press, 1985), 114.

[39] Gubser, “The Alawites of Syria,” 43-44.

[40] Ibid., 44.

[41] Alisdare Drysdale, “The Assad Regime and its Troubles,” Middle East Research and Information Project Report 110 (November-December 1982): 8 and al Din, al Nusayriyyah, 190.

[42] See prayers of the Nusayris addressed to Sulaiman al Murshid and his sons Mujib and Saji as gods. These prayers consist of the following Surah’s: (1) Surat al Sajdah, (2) Surat al Fath, (3) Surat al Ma’rifah, (4) Surat al Dua’, (5) Surat al Iqtibas, (6) Surat al I’tiraf, (7) Surat al Iqrar, in Mujahid al Amin, al Nusayriyyah (al Alawiyyun), 67-71.

Back to top