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DEFINITIONS  OF  THE  NAME:  ALAWI, ALAWITE, etc.

Alawites

 

 

Definition: One of a Syrian Islamic sect who believe in the divinity of Ali, the brother of                      Mohammed. 

 

Alawites ... Arabic: calawÓ (sing.), calawÓya (pl.) ... Alawites have often been in conflict with the rulers as well as other Muslims, who often have...

                                       From: http://www.lexicorient.com/e.o/alawites.htm

 

Alternate Spellings: Alawai, Alawis

 

Meaning "of Ali" in Arabic, the Alawites are a sect of Shii Muslims who live in Syria. Alawites consider themselves Muslim, though they incorporate tenets that fall outside orthodox Islam. Foremost among these is a belief that Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, was an incarnation of the deity and that praying in the name of Ali is the only way to communicate with Allah. Many members of the ruling political party of Syria are Alawites, including President Bashar al-Assad. Alawites  also live in parts of Turkey and Lebanon.

 

                                                  Alawites - a Brief History

                      

                           Syrian President Hafez Assad comes from the Alawite religious

                           minority which, though considered a sect of Shiite Islam, bears little

                           resemblance to Islam in doctrine or practice. The secretive faith -- in

                           name indicating followers of Ali, son-in-law of Islam's founding

                           Prophet Mohammed -- also combines elements of Christianity and

                           astrology. It is believed to date to the 9th century.

                          

                           Alawites, unlike Muslims and Christians, believe women do not have

                           souls. Astrological phenomena also takes on special meaning. There

                           is a belief, for example, that the Milky Way is made up of deified souls

                           of believers.

                          

                           Alawites are estimated to number in the hundreds of thousands,

                           living mainly in Syria, where they account for about 6 percent of the

                           17 million population, but also in Lebanon and Turkey.

                            A Look at Alawite Religious Sect, Las Vegas Sun/AP, June 12, 2000

 

                           The Alawites, at about 1.5 million strong in Syria and representing

                           about 12 percent of the country's population, are considered by some

                           to be a distant offshoot of the Shiite branch of Islam. Most members

                           of the sect live in Syria, although there are scattered communities in

                           Turkey as well.

 

                           Their belief system has been a matter of speculation, rumor and

                           suspicion from more orthodox Muslims of both the Shiite and Sunni

                           sects almost from their beginnings in the ninth century, when the

                           branch was founded by a man named Ibn Nusayr, who declared

                           himself the gateway to truth.

 

                           Only a small group within the sect are initiated into Alawite rituals

                           and doctrine. But researchers who have studied the group say they

                           drink wine in some ceremonies, incorporate elements of Phoenician

                           paganism, and hold that Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet

                           Muhammad, is a divine. All of that is anathema to conventional Islam.

                           Assad Patronage Puts a Small Sect on Top in Syria, New York Times,

                           June 22, 2000