Zulfiqar, the stylised representation of the sword of Ali, is a crucial symbol for both Alawites and Shia Muslims
The Shrine of Khidr, located near the Syria-Turkey border, is a typical Alawite shrine with its striking white color and dome.
Total population
About 3 million[1]
Ibn Nuṣayr[2] and Al-Khaṣībī[3]
Regions with significant populations
 SyriaBetween 2 and 3 million[4]
 Turkey500,000-1 million[5][6]
Lebanon/Golan Heights2,824 live in Ghajar, most with dual Syrian and Israeli citizenship[14]
Arabic, Turkish and other languages in diaspora.

The Alawites,[b] also known as Nusayrites,[c] are an Arab ethnoreligious group that live primarily in the Levant and follow Alawism, a religious sect that splintered from early Shi'ism as a ghulat branch during the ninth century.[16][17][18] Alawites venerate Ali ibn Abi Talib, revered as the first Imam in the Twelver school, as the physical manifestation of God.[19][20] The group was founded by Ibn Nusayr during the 9th century.[21] Ibn Nusayr was a disciple of the tenth Twelver Imam, Ali al-Hadi and of the eleventh Twelver Imam, Hasan al-Askari. For this reason, Alawites are also called Nusayris.[22]

Surveys suggest Alawites represent an important portion of the Syrian population and are a significant minority in the Hatay Province of Turkey and northern Lebanon. There is also a population living in the village of Ghajar in the Golan Heights. Alawites form the dominant religious group on the Syrian coast and towns near the coast, which are also inhabited by Sunnis, Christians, and Ismailis. They are often confused with the Alevis, a distinct religious sect in Turkey.[23]

Alawites identify as a separate ethnoreligious group. The Quran is only one of their holy books and texts, and their interpretation thereof has very little in common with the Shia Muslim interpretation but is in accordance with the early Batiniyya and other ghulat sects. Alawite theology and rituals sharply differ from Shia Islam in several important ways. For instance, various Nusayrite rituals involve the drinking of wine and the sect does not prohibit the consumption of alcoholic drinks on its adherents.[24] As a creed that teaches the symbolic/esoteric reading of Qur'anic verses, Nusayrite theology is based on the belief in reincarnation and views Ali as a divine incarnation of God.[25][26] Moreover, Alawite clergy and scholarship insist that their religion is also theologically distinct from Shi'ism.[d]

Alawites have historically kept their beliefs secret from outsiders and non-initiated Alawites, so rumours about them have arisen. Arabic accounts of their beliefs tend to be partisan (either positively or negatively).[27] However, since the early 2000s, Western scholarship on the Nusayrite religion has made significant advances.[28] At the core of the Alawite creed is the belief in a divine Trinity, comprising three aspects of the one God. The aspects of the Trinity are Mana (meaning), Ism (Name) and Bab (Door). Nusayrite beliefs hold that these emanations underwent re-incarnation cyclically seven times in human form throughout history. According to Alawites, the seventh incarnation of the trinity consists of Ali, Muhammad and Salman al-Farisi.[29][30]

Alawites, considered disbelievers by classical Sunni and Shi'ite theologians, faced periods of subjugation or persecution under various Muslim empires such as the Ottomans, Abbasids, Mamluks, and others. The establishment of the French Mandate of Syria in 1920 marked a turning point in Alawite history. Until then, the community had commonly self-identified as "Nusayris", emphasizing their connections to Ibn Nusayr. French administration prescribed the label "Alawite" to categorise the sect alongside Shiism in official documents.[31] French recruited a large number of minorities into their armed forces and created exclusive areas for minorities, including the Alawite State. Alawite State was later dismantled, but the Alawites continued to play a significant role in the Syrian military and later in the Ba'ath Party. Since Hafiz al Assad's seizure of power during the 1970 coup; the Ba'athist state has enforced Assadist ideology amongst Alawites to supplant their traditional identity.[32] During the Syrian revolution, communal tensions were further exacerbated, as the country was destabilized into a full-scale civil war.[33][34]


In older sources, Alawis are often called "Ansaris." According to Samuel Lyde, who lived among the Alawites during the mid-19th century, this was a term they used among themselves. Other sources indicate that "Ansari" is simply a Western error in the transliteration of "Nusayri."[35][36] Alawites historically self-identified as Nusayrites, after their religious founder Ibn Nusayr al-Numayri.[31] However, the term "Nusayri" had fallen out of currency by the 1920s, as a movement led by intellectuals within the community during the French Mandate sought to replace it with the modern term "Alawi."[37]

They characterised the older name (which implied "a separate ethnic and religious identity") as an "invention of the sect's enemies", ostensibly favouring an emphasis on "connection with mainstream Islam"—particularly the Shia branch.[38] The French also popularised the new term by officially categorising them as "Alawites."[31][39] As such, "Nusayri" is now generally regarded as antiquated, and has even come to have insulting and abusive connotations. The term is frequently employed as hate speech by Sunni fundamentalists fighting against Bashar al-Assad's government in the Syrian civil war, who use its emphasis on Ibn Nusayr in order to insinuate that Alawi beliefs are "man-made" and not divinely inspired.[40]

Nekati Alkan argued in an article that the "Alawi" appellation was used in an 11th century Nusayri book and was not a 20th century invention. The following quote from the same article illustrates his point:

"As to the change from "Nuṣayrī" to "ʿAlawī": most studies agree that the term "ʿAlawī" was not used until after WWI and probably coined and circulated by Muḥammad Amīn Ghālib al-Ṭawīl, an Ottoman official and writer of the famous Taʾrīkh al-ʿAlawiyyīn (1924). In actual fact, the name 'Alawī' appears as early as in an 11th century Nuṣayrī tract as one the names of the believer (…). Moreover, the term 'Alawī' was already used at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1903 the Belgian-born Jesuit and Orientalist Henri Lammens (d. 1937) visited a certain Ḥaydarī-Nuṣayrī sheikh Abdullah in a village near Antakya and mentions that the latter preferred the name 'Alawī' for his people. Lastly, it is interesting to note that in the above-mentioned petitions of 1892 and 1909 the Nuṣayrīs called themselves the 'Arab Alawī people' (ʿArab ʿAlevī ṭāʾifesi) 'our ʿAlawī Nuṣayrī people' (ṭāʾifatunā al-Nuṣayriyya al-ʿAlawiyya) or 'signed with Alawī people' (ʿAlevī ṭāʾifesi imżāsıyla). This early self-designation is, in my opinion, of triple importance. Firstly, it shows that the word 'Alawī' was always used by these people, as ʿAlawī authors emphasize; secondly, it hints at the reformation of the Nuṣayrīs, launched by some of their sheikhs in the 19th century and their attempt to be accepted as part of Islam; and thirdly, it challenges the claims that the change of the identity and name from 'Nuṣayrī' to 'ʿAlawī' took place around 1920, in the beginning of the French mandate in Syria (1919–1938)."[41]

The Alawites are distinct from the Alevi religious sect in Turkey, although the terms share a common etymology and pronunciation.[42][43]

Genealogical origin theories

Man holding a falcon, in the centre of a group of people
Alawite falconer photographed by Frank Hurley in Baniyas, Syria during World War II.

The origin of the genetics of Alawites is disputed. Local folklore suggests that they are descendants of the followers of the eleventh Imam, Hasan al-Askari (d. 873) and his pupil, Ibn Nusayr (d. 868).[44] During the 19th and 20th centuries, some Western scholars believed that Alawites were descended from ancient Middle Eastern peoples such as the Arameans, Canaanites, Hittites,[45][46] and Mardaites.[47] Many prominent Alawite tribes are also descended from 13th century settlers from Sinjar.[48]

In his Natural History, Book V, Pliny the Elder said:

We must now speak of the interior of Syria. Coele Syria has the town of Apamea, divided by the river Marsyas from the Tetrarchy of the Nazerini.[49]

The "Tetrarchy of the Nazerini" refers to the western region, between the Orontes and the sea, which consists of a small mountain range called Alawi Mountains bordered by a valley running from south-east to north-west known as Al-Ghab Plain; the region was populated by a portion of Syrians, who were called Nazerini.[50] However, scholars are reluctant to link between Nazerini and Nazarenes.[51] Yet, the term "Nazerini" can be possibly connected to words which include the Arabic triliteral root n-ṣ-r such as the subject naṣer in Eastern Aramaic which means "keeper of wellness".[52]


Ibn Nusayr and his followers are considered the founders of the religion. After the death of the Eleventh Imam, al-Askari, problems emerged in the Shia Community concerning his succession, and then Ibn Nusayr claimed to be the Bab and Ism of the deceased Imam and that he received his secret teachings. Ibn Nusayr and his followers' development seems to be one of many other early ghulat mystical Islamic sects, and were apparently excommunicated by the Shia representatives of the 12th Hidden Imam.[53]

The Alawites were later organised during Hamdanid rule in northern Syria (947–1008) by a follower of Muhammad ibn Nusayr known as al-Khaṣībī, who died in Aleppo about 969, after a rivalry with the Ishaqiyya sect, which claimed also to have the doctrine of Ibn Nusayr.[54] The embrace of Alawism by the majority of the population in the Syrian coastal mountains was likely a protracted process occurring over several centuries.[55] Modern research indicates that after its initial establishment in Aleppo, Alawism spread to Sarmin, Salamiyah, Homs and Hama before becoming concentrated in low-lying villages west of Hama, including Baarin, Deir Shamil, and Deir Mama, the Wadi al-Uyun valley, and in the mountains around Tartus and Safita.[56]

In 1032, al-Khaṣībī's grandson and pupil, Abu Sa'id Maymun al-Tabarani (d. 1034), moved to Latakia (then controlled by the Byzantine Empire). Al-Tabarani succeeded his mentor al-Jilli of Aleppo as head missionary in Syria and became "the last definitive scholar of Alawism", founding its calendar and giving Alawite teachings their final form, according to the historian Stefan Winter.[57] Al-Tabarani influenced the Alawite faith through his writings and by converting the rural population of the Syrian Coastal Mountain Range.[54] Winter argues that while it is likely the Alawite presence in Latakia dates to Tabarani's lifetime, it is unclear if Alawite teachings spread to the city's mountainous hinterland, where the Muslim population generally leaned toward Shia Islam, in the eleventh century. In the early part of the century, the Jabal al-Rawadif (part of the Syrian Coastal Mountains around Latakia) were controlled by the local Arab chieftain Nasr ibn Mushraf al-Rudafi, who vacillated between alliance and conflict with Byzantium. There is nothing in the literary sources indicating al-Rudafi patronized the Alawites.[58] To the south of Jabal al-Rawadif, in the Jabal Bahra, a 13th-century Alawite treatise mentions the sect was sponsored by the Banu'l-Ahmar, Banu'l-Arid, and Banu Muhriz, three local families who controlled fortresses in the region in the 11th and 12th centuries.[58] From this southern part of the Syrian coastal mountain range, a significant Alawite presence developed in the mountains east of Latakia and Jableh during the Mamluk period (1260s–1516).[56]

According to Bar Hebraeus, many Alawites were killed when the Crusaders initially entered Syria in 1097; however, they tolerated them when they concluded they were not a truly Islamic sect.[59] They even incorporated them within their ranks, along with the Maronites and Turcopoles.[60] Two prominent Alawite leaders in the following centuries, credited with uplifting the group, were Shaykhs al-Makzun (d. 1240) and al-Tubani (d. 1300), both originally from Mount Sinjar in modern Iraq.[59]

In the 14th century, the Alawites were forced by Mamluk Sultan Baibars to build mosques in their settlements, to which they responded with token gestures described by the Muslim traveller Ibn Battuta.[61][62]

Ottoman Empire

During the reign of Sultan Selim I, of the Ottoman Empire, the Alawites would again experience significant persecution;[63] especially in Aleppo when a massacre occurred in the Great Mosque of Aleppo on 24 April 1517. The massacre was known as the "Massacre of the Telal" (Arabic: مجزرة التلل) in which the corpses of thousands of victims accumulated as a tell located west of the castle.[64][unreliable source] The horrors of the massacre which caused the immigration of the survivors to the coastal region are documented at the National and University Library in Strasbourg.[citation needed]

The Ottoman Empire took aggressive actions against Alawites,[citation needed] due to their alleged "treacherous activities" as "they had a long history of betraying the Muslim governments due to their mistrust towards Sunnis."[65] The Alawis rose up against the Ottomans on several occasions, and maintained their autonomy in their mountains.

In his book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T. E. Lawrence wrote:

The sect, vital in itself, was clannish in feeling and politics. One Nosairi would not betray another, and would hardly not betray an unbeliever. Their villages lay in patches down the main hills to the Tripoli gap. They spoke Arabic, but had lived there since the beginning of Greek letters in Syria. Usually they stood aside from affairs, and left the Turkish Government alone in hope of reciprocity.[66]

During the 18th century, the Ottomans employed a number of Alawite leaders as tax collectors under the iltizam system. Between 1809 and 1813, Mustafa Agha Barbar, the governor of Tripoli, attacked the Kalbiyya Alawites with "marked savagery."[67] Some Alawites supported Ottoman involvement in the Egyptian-Ottoman Wars of 1831–1833 and 1839–1841,[68] and had careers in the Ottoman army or as Ottoman governors.[69] Moreover, they even initiated the Alawite revolt (1834–35) against the Egyptian rule of the region, which was later suppressed by the Governor of Homs[citation needed].

By the mid-19th century, the Alawite people, customs and way of life were described by Samuel Lyde, an English missionary among them, as suffering from nothing except a gloomy plight.[70] The 19th century historian Elias Saleh described the Alawites as living in a "state of ignorance" and having the negative traits of "laziness, lying, deceitfulness, inclination to robbery and bloodshed, and backstabbing."[71] By the 1870s, Alawite bandits were impaled on spikes and left on crossroads as a warning, according to the historian Joshua Landis.[72]

Early in the 20th century, the mainly-Sunni Ottoman leaders were bankrupt and losing political power; the Alawites were poor peasants.[73][74]

French Mandate period

One form of the flag of the Sanjak of Latakia or Alawite State in northwest Syria under French colonial rule, ca. 1920–1936.

After the end of World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Syria and Lebanon were placed by the League of Nations under the French Mandate for Syria and Lebanon. On 15 December 1918, Alawite leader Saleh al-Ali called for a meeting of Alawite leaders in the town of Al-Shaykh Badr, urging them to revolt and expel the French from Syria.

When French authorities heard about the meeting, they sent a force to arrest Saleh al-Ali. He and his men ambushed and defeated the French forces at Al-Shaykh Badr, inflicting more than 35 casualties.[75] After this victory, al-Ali began organizing his Alawite rebels into a disciplined force, with its general command and military ranks.

The Al-Shaykh Badr skirmish began the Syrian Revolt of 1919.[75][76] Al-Ali responded to French attacks by laying siege to (and occupying) al-Qadmus, from which the French had conducted their military operations against him.[75] In November, General Henri Gouraud mounted a campaign against Saleh al-Ali's forces in the Alawi Mountains. His forces entered al-Ali's village of Al-Shaykh Badr, arresting many Alawi leaders; however, al-Ali fled to the north. When a large French force overran his position, he went underground.[75]

Despite these instances of opposition, the Alawites mostly favored French rule and sought its continuation beyond the mandate period.[77]

Alawite State

Multicoloured map
Map of French Mandate states in 1921–22 (Alawite State in purple).

When the French began to occupy Syria in 1920,[78] an Alawite State was created in the coastal and mountain country comprising most Alawite villages. The division also intended to protect the Alawite people from more powerful majorities, such as the Sunnis.

The French also created microstates, such as Greater Lebanon for the Maronite Christians and Jabal al-Druze for the Druze. Aleppo and Damascus were also separate states.[79] Under the Mandate, many Alawite chieftains supported a separate Alawite nation, and tried to convert their autonomy into independence.

The French Mandate Administration encouraged Alawites to join their military forces, in part to provide a counterweight to the Sunni majority (which was more hostile to their rule). According to a 1935 letter by the French minister of war, the French considered the Alawites and the Druze the only "warlike races" in the Mandate territories.[80] Between 1926 and 1939, the Alawites and other minority groups provided the majority of the locally recruited component of the Army of the Levant—the designation given to the French military forces garrisoning Syria and the Lebanon.[81]

The region was home to a mostly-rural, heterogeneous population. The landowning families and 80 percent of the population of the port city of Latakia were Sunni Muslims; however, in rural areas 62 percent of the population were Alawite. According to some researchers, there was considerable Alawite separatist sentiment in the region,[82] their evidence is a 1936 letter signed by 80 Alawi leaders addressed to the French Prime Minister which said that the "Alawite people rejected attachment to Syria and wished to stay under French protection." Among the signatories was Sulayman Ali al-Assad, father of Hafez al-Assad.[82] However, according to Associate Professor Stefan Winter, this letter is a forgery.[83] Even during this time of increased Alawite rights, the situation was still so bad for the group that many women had to leave their homes to work for urban Sunnis.[84]

In May 1930, the Alawite State was renamed the Government of Latakia in one of the few concessions by the French to Arab nationalists before 1936.[82] Nevertheless, on 3 December 1936, the Alawite State was re-incorporated into Syria as a concession by the French to the National Bloc (the party in power in the semi-autonomous Syrian government). The law went into effect in 1937.[85]

Woman bent over, picking up leftover grain
Alawite woman gleaning in 1938

In 1939, the Sanjak of Alexandretta (now Hatay) contained a large number of Alawites. The Hatayan land was given to Turkey by the French after a League of Nations plebiscite in the province. This development greatly angered most Syrians; to add to Alawi contempt, in 1938, the Turkish military went into İskenderun and expelled most of the Arab and Armenian population.[86] Before this, the Alawite Arabs and Armenians comprised most of the province's population.[86] Zaki al-Arsuzi, a young Alawite leader from Iskandarun province in the Sanjak of Alexandretta who led the resistance to the province's annexation by the Turks, later became a co-founder of the Ba'ath Party with Eastern Orthodox Christian schoolteacher Michel Aflaq and Sunni politician Salah ad-Din al-Bitar.

After World War II, Sulayman al-Murshid played a major role in uniting the Alawite province with Syria. He was executed by the Syrian government in Damascus on 12 December 1946, only three days after a political trial.

After Syrian independence

Formal family portrait, with parents seated in front and five grown children (four sons and a daughter) standing
The al-Assad family

Syria became independent on 17 April 1946. In 1949, after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, Syria experienced a number of military coups and the rise of the Ba'ath Party.

In 1958, Syria and Egypt were united by a political agreement into the United Arab Republic. The UAR lasted for three years, breaking apart in 1961, when a group of army officers seized power and declared Syria independent.

A succession of coups ensued until, in 1963, a secretive military committee (including Alawite officers Hafez al-Assad and Salah Jadid) helped the Ba'ath Party seize power. In 1966, Alawite-affiliated military officers successfully rebelled and expelled the Ba’ath Party old guard followers of Greek Orthodox Christian Michel Aflaq and Sunni Muslim Salah ad-Din al-Bitar, calling Zaki al-Arsuzi the "Socrates" of the reconstituted Ba'ath Party.

In 1970, Air Force General Hafez al-Assad, an Alawite, took power and instigated a "Corrective Movement" in the Ba'ath Party. The coup of 1970 ended the political instability which had existed since independence.[87] Robert D. Kaplan compared Hafez al-Assad's coming to power to "an untouchable becoming maharajah in India or a Jew becoming tsar in Russia—an unprecedented development shocking to the Sunni majority population which had monopolized power for so many centuries."[78] In 1971, al-Assad declared himself president of Syria, a position the constitution at the time permitted only for Sunni Muslims. In 1973, a new constitution was adopted, replacing Islam as the state religion with a mandate that the president's religion be Islam, and protests erupted.[88] In 1974, to satisfy this constitutional requirement, Musa as-Sadr (a leader of the Twelvers of Lebanon and founder of the Amal Movement, who had unsuccessfully sought to unite Lebanese Alawites and Shiites under the Supreme Islamic Shiite Council)[89] issued a fatwa that Alawites were a community of Twelver Shiite Muslims.[90] Throughout the 1970 ‘s the Muslim Brotherhood led anti-Ba'athist Islamic revolts, culminating in the 1982 Hama massacre.

Syrian Civil War

After the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War, the Ba'athist state imposed forced conscription of able-bodied men, mainly the youth. Due to the Assad government's fear of mass defections in military ranks, it prefers to send Alawite recruits for active combat on the frontlines and the conscriptions disproportionately targeted Alawite regions. This has resulted in a large number of 'Alawite casualties and Alawite villages in the coastal areas have suffered immensely as a result of their support for the Assad government. Many Alawites, particularly the younger generation who believes that the Ba'athists have held their community hostage, have reacted with immense anger at Assad government's corruption and hold the government responsible for the crisis. There have been rising demands across Alawite regions to end the conflict by achieving reconciliation with the Syrian opposition and preventing their community from being perceived as being associated with the Assad government.[91][92]

Some have claimed many Alawite loyalists fear a negative outcome for the government may result in an existential threat to their community.[93] In May 2013, pro-opposition SOHR stated that out of 94,000 Syrian regime soldiers killed during the war, at least 41,000 were Alawites.[94] Reports estimate that up to a third of 250,000 young Alawite men of fighting age has been killed in the conflict by 2015, due to being disproportionately sent to fight in the frontlines by the Assad government.[95][96] In April 2017, a pro-opposition source claimed 150,000 young Alawites had died.[97] Another report estimates that around 100,000 Alawite youths were killed in combat by 2020.[98]

Many Alawites feared significant danger during the Syrian Civil War; particularly from Islamic groups who were a part of the opposition, though denied by secular opposition factions.[99] Alawites have also been wary of the increased Iranian influence in Syria since in the Syrian civil war, viewing it as a threat to their long-term survival due to Khomeinist conversion campaigns focused in Alawite coastal regions. Many Alawites, including Assad loyalists, criticize such activities as a plot to absorb their ethno-religious identity into Iran's Twelver Shia umbrella and spread religious extremism in the country.[100]


Large group of people looking at the camera
Alawites celebrating at a festival in Baniyas, Syria during World War II.

Alawites and their beliefs have been described as "secretive"[101][36][102][27] (Yaron Friedman, for example, in his scholarly work on the sect, has written that the Alawi religious material quoted in his book came only from "public libraries and printed books" since the "sacred writings" of the Alawi "are kept secret"[e][f]); some tenets of the faith are kept secret from most Alawi and known only to a select few,[103] they have therefore been described as a mystical sect.[105]

Alawite doctrines originated from the teachings of Iraqi priest Muhammad ibn Nusayr who claimed Prophethood and declared himself as the "Bāb (door) of the Imams" and attributed divinity to Hasan al-Askari. Al-Askari denounced Ibn Nusayr and Islamic authorities expelled his disciples, most of whom emigrated to the Coastal Mountains of Syria wherein they established a distinct community.[106][107] Nusayri creed views Ali as "the supreme eternal God" and consists of various gnostic beliefs. Nusayrite doctrine regards the souls of Alawites as re-incarnations of "lights that rebelled against God."[108]

Alawite beliefs have never been confirmed by their modern religious authorities.[109] As a highly secretive and esoteric sect,[110][111] Nusayri religious priests tend to conceal their core doctrines, which are only introduced to a chosen minority of the sect's adherents.[112] Alawites have also adopted the practice of taqiya to avoid victimization.[36][113]

Theology and practices

Alawite doctrine incorporates elements of Phoenician mythology, Gnosticism, neo-Platonism, Christian Trinitarianism (for example, they celebrate Mass including the consecration of bread and wine); blending them with Muslim symbolism and has, therefore, been described as syncretic.[28][114][23][115]

Alawite Trinity envisions God as being composed of three distinct manifestations, Ma'na (meaning), Ism (Name) and Bab (Door); which together constitute an "indivisible Trinity". Ma'na symbolises the "source and meaning of all things" in Alawite mythology. According to Alawite doctrines, Ma'na generated the Ism, which in turn built the Bab. These beliefs are closely tied to the Nusayri doctrine of re-incarnations of the Trinity.[29][30]

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World classifies Alawites as part of extremist Shia sects referred to as the ghulat which are unrelated to Sunni Islam; owing to the secretive nature of the Alawite religious system and hierarchy.[116][117] Due to their esoteric doctrines of strict secrecy, conversions into the community were also forbidden.[115]

Alawites do not believe in daily Muslim prayers (salah). The central tenet of Nusayrite creed is their belief of Ali ibn Abi Talib being an incarnation of God.[118] Nusayrite testimony of faith translates as "There is no God but Ali."[119]


Alawites hold that they were originally stars or divine lights that were cast out of heaven through disobedience and must undergo repeated reincarnation (or metempsychosis[120]) before returning to heaven.[121] According to Nusayrite beliefs, females are excluded from re-incarnation.[122]

Alawite theologians divided history into seven eras, associating each era with one of the seven re-incarnations of the Nusayrite Trinity (Ma'na, Ism, Bab). The seven re-incarnations of the Trinity in the Alawite faith consists of:[123]

The last triad of re-incarnations in the Nusayri Trinity consists of Ali (Ma'na), Muhammad (Ism) and Salman al-Farsi (Bab). Alawites depict them as the sky, the sun and the moon respectively. They deify Ali as the "last and supreme manifestation of God" who built the universe, attributing him with divine superiority and believe that Ali created Muhammad, bestowing upon him the mission to spread Qur'anic teachings on earth.[123][124][29][125]

The Israeli institution of Begin–Sadat Center for Strategic Studies describes the Alawite faith as Judeophilic and "anti-Sunni" since they believe that God's incarnations consist of Israelite Prophet Joshua who conquered Canaan, in addition to the fourth Caliph, Ali. It also denies the Arab ethnicity of Alawites even though Alawites themselves self-identify ethnically as Arabs [18] and assert that Alawites claim to be Arabs because of a supposed "political expediency."[126]

Other beliefs

Bearded man with sword in his belt
Alawite man in Latakia, early 20th century.

Other beliefs and practices include: the consecration of wine in a secret form of Mass performed only by males; frequently being given Christian names; entombing the dead in sarcophagi above ground; observing Epiphany, Christmas[127] and the feast days of John Chrysostom and Mary Magdalene;[128] the only religious structures they have are the shrines of tombs;[129] the book Kitab al-Majmu, which is allegedly a central source of Alawite doctrine,[130][131][132][133] where they have their own trinity, comprising Mohammed, Ali, and Salman the Persian.[6]

In addition, they celebrate different holidays such as Old New Year,[g] Akitu,[h] Eid al-Ghadir, Mid-Sha'ban and Eid il-Burbara.[136] They also believe in intercession of certain legendary saints such as Khidr (Saint George) and Simeon Stylites.[137]


Further information: Al-Khasibi, Ibn Nusayr, and Schools of Islamic theology § ‘Alawism

Yaron Friedman and many researchers of Alawi doctrine write that the founder of the religion, Ibn Nusayr, did not necessarily believe he was representative of a splinter, rebel group of the Shias, but rather believed he held the true doctrine of the Shias, and most of the aspects that are similar to Christianity are considered more a coincidence and not a direct influence from it, as well as other external doctrines that were actually popular among Shia esoteric groups in Basra in the 8th century. According to Friedman and other scholars, the Alawi movement started as many other mystical ghulat sects with an explicit concentration on an allegorical and esoteric meaning of the Quran and other mystical practices, and not as a pure syncretic sect, though later, they embraced some other practices as they believed all religions had the same Batin core.[138]

Journalist Robert F. Worth argues that the idea that the Alawi religion as a branch of Islam is a rewriting of history made necessary by the French colonialists' abandonment of the Alawi and departure from Syria. Worth describes the "first ... authentic source for outsiders about the religion" (written by Soleyman of Adana – a 19th-century Alawi convert to Christianity who broke his oath of secrecy on the religion) explaining that the Alawi (according to Soleyman) deified Ali, venerated Christ, Muhammad, Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle, and held themselves apart from Muslims and Christians, whom they considered heretics.[139] According to Tom Heneghan:

"Alawite religion is often called “an offshoot of Shi’ism,” Islam’s largest minority sect, but that is something like referring to Christianity as “an offshoot of Judaism.” Alawites broke away from Shi’ism over 1,000 years ago."


Adolescent boy standing in front of younger children
Alawite children in Antioch (now in Turkey), 1938.

According to a disputed letter, in 1936, six Alawi notables petitioned the French colonialists not to merge their Alawi enclave with the rest of Syria, insisting that "the spirit of hatred and fanaticism embedded in the hearts of the Arab Muslims against everything that is non-Muslim has been perpetually nurtured by the Islamic religion."[141] However, according to associate professor Stefan Winter, this letter is a forgery.[83] According to Worth, later fatwas declaring Alawi to be part of the Shia community were by Shia clerics "eager for Syrian patronage" from Syria's Alawi president Hafez al-Assad, who was eager for Islamic legitimacy in the face of the hostility of Syria's Muslim majority.[141]

Yaron Friedman does not suggest that Alawi did not consider themselves Muslims, but does state that:

The modern period has witnessed tremendous changes in the definition of the ʿAlawīs and the attitude towards them in the Muslim world. ... In order to end their long isolation, the name of the sect was changed in the 1920s from Nusạyriyya to ʿAlawiyya'. By taking this step, leaders of the sect expressed not only their link to Shīʿism, but to Islam in general.[142]

According to Peter Theo Curtis, the Alawi religion underwent a process of "Sunnification" during the years under Hafez al-Assad's rule, so that Alawites became not Shia, but effectively Sunni. Public manifestation or "even mentioning of any Alawite religious activities" was banned, as were any Alawite religious organizations or "any formation of a unified religious council" or a higher Alawite religious authority. "Sunni-style" mosques were built in every Alawite village, and Alawis were encouraged to perform Hajj.[143] It's also worth noting that the grand mosque in Qerdaha , the hometown of Asad family, being dedicated to Abubakr Assediq who is venerated by Sunnis but not Shi'is.

Opinions on position within Islam

The Sunni Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, issued a fatwa recognizing them as part of the Muslim community in the interest of Arab nationalism.[144][145] However, classical Sunni scholars such as the Syrian historian Ibn Kathir categorized Alawites as non-Muslim and mushrikeen (polytheists), in their writings.[146][147] Ibn Taymiyya, Ibn Kathir's mentor and arguably the most virulent anti-Alawite Sunni theologian, categorised Nusayrites as non-Muslims and listed them amongst the worst sects of polytheists.[148]

Through many of his fatawa, Ibn Taymiyya described Nusayrites as "the worst enemies of the Muslims" who were far more dangerous than Crusaders and Mongols.[149] Ibn Taymiyya also accused Alawites of aiding the Crusades and Mongol invasions against the Muslim World.[150] Other Sunni scholars, such as Al-Ghazali, likewise considered them as non-Muslims.[151] Benjamin Disraeli, in his novel Tancred, also expressed the view that Alawites are not Shia Muslims.[152]

Historically, Twelver Shia scholars (such as Shaykh Tusi) did not consider Alawites as Shia Muslims while condemning their heretical beliefs.[153]

In 2016, according to several international media reports, an unspecified number of Alawite community leaders released a "Declaration of an Alawite Identity Reform" (of the Alawite community). The manifesto presents Alawism as a current "within Islam" and rejects attempts to incorporate the Alawite community into Twelver Shiism.[154][155][156] The document was interpreted as an attempt by representatives of the Alawite community to overcome the sectarian polarisation and to distance themselves from the growing Sunni-Shia divide in the Middle East.[157]

According to Matti Moosa,

The Christian elements in the Nusayri religion are unmistakable. They include the concept of trinity; the celebration of Christmas, the consecration of the Qurbana, that is, the sacrament of the flesh and blood which Christ offered to his disciples, and, most importantly, the celebration of the Quddas (a lengthy prayer proclaiming the divine attributes of Ali and the personification of all the biblical patriarchs from Adam to Simon Peter, founder of the Church, who is seen, paradoxically, as the embodiment of true Islam).[158]

Barry Rubin has suggested that Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad and his son and successor Bashar al-Assad pressed their fellow Alawites "to behave like 'regular Muslims', shedding (or at least concealing) their distinctive aspects".[159] During the early 1970s, a booklet, al-'Alawiyyun Shi'atu Ahl al-Bait ("The Alawites are Followers of the Household of the Prophet") was published, which was "signed by numerous 'Alawi' men of religion", described the doctrines of the Imami Shia as Alawite.[160]

The relationship between Alawite-ruled Ba'athist Syria and Khomeinist Iran has been described as a "marriage of convenience"; due to the former being ruled by the ultra-secularist Arab Socialist Ba'ath party and the latter by the anti-secular Twelver Shi'ite clergy. The alliance was established during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, when Hafez al-Assad backed Iran against his Iraqi Ba'athist rivals, departing from the consensus of the rest of the Arab world. Iranian-backed militant groups like Hezbollah, Fatemeyoun, etc. have been acting as proxy forces for the Assad regime in various conflicts in the region; such as the Lebanese Civil War, the 2006 Lebanon War and the Syrian Civil War.[161]

Four women in traditional dress
Alawi women in Syria, early 20th century

Some sources have discussed the "Sunnification" of Alawites under the al-Assad regime.[162] Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies, writes that Hafiz al-Assad "tried to turn Alawites into 'good' (read Sunnified) Muslims in exchange for preserving a modicum of secularism and tolerance in society". On the other hand, Al-Assad "declared the Alawites to be nothing but Twelver Shiites".[162] In a paper, "Islamic Education in Syria", Landis wrote that "no mention" is made in Syrian textbooks (controlled by the Al-Assad regime) of Alawites, Druze, Ismailis or Shia Islam; Islam was presented as a monolithic religion.[163]

Ali Sulayman al-Ahmad, chief judge of the Baathist Syrian state, has said:

We are Alawi Muslims. Our book is the Qur'an. Our prophet is Muhammad. The Ka`ba is our qibla, and our Dīn (religion) is Islam.[109]


Map showing the distribution (2012) of Alawites in the Northern Levant.


Alawites have traditionally lived in the Coastal Mountain Range, along the Mediterranean coast of Syria. Latakia and Tartus are the region's principal cities. They are also concentrated in the plains around Hama and Homs. Alawites also live in Syria's major cities, and are estimated at 11 percent of the country's population.[102][164][165][166]

There are four Alawite confederations—Kalbiyya, Khaiyatin, Haddadin, and Matawirah—each divided into tribes based on their geographical origins or their main religious leader,[167] such as Ḥaidarīya of Alī Ḥaidar, and Kalāziyya of Sheikh Muḥammad ibn Yūnus from the village Kalāzū near Antakya.[168] Those Alawites are concentrated in the Latakia region of Syria, extending north to Antioch (Antakya), Turkey, and in and around Homs and Hama.[169]

Before 1953, Alawites held specifically reserved seats in the Syrian Parliament, in common with all other religious communities. After that (including the 1960 census), there were only general Muslim and Christian categories, without mention of subgroups, to reduce sectarianism (taifiyya).

Golan Heights

There are also about 3,900 Alawites living in the village of Ghajar, which is located on the border between Lebanon and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. In 1932, the residents of Ghajar were given the option of choosing their nationality, and overwhelmingly chose to be a part of Syria, which has a sizable Alawite minority.[170] Before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the residents of Ghajar were counted in the 1960 Syrian census.[171] According to Joshua Project, after Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria, and after implementing Israeli civil law in 1981, the Alawite community chose to become Israeli citizens.[172] However, according to Al-Marsad, Alawites were forced to undergo a process of naturalisation.[173]

Before the 1967 war, Alawites in the Golan Heights lived mainly in three northern villages, 'Ayn Fit, Za'ura and Ghajar.[174]


Further information: Religious minorities in Turkey and Shia Islam in Turkey

The Shrine of Khidr in Samandag, Turkey

To avoid confusion with the ethnic Turkish and Kurdish Alevis, the Alawites call themselves Arap Alevileri ("Arab Alevis") in Turkish. The term Nusayrī, previously used in theological texts, has been revived in recent studies. A quasi-official name used during the 1930s by Turkish authorities was Eti Türkleri ("Hittite Turks"), to conceal their Arabic origins. Although this term is obsolete, it is still used by some older people as a euphemism.

In 1939, the Alawites accounted for some 40 percent of the population of the province of Iskenderun. According to French geographer Fabrice Balanche, relations between the Alawites of Turkey and the Alawites of Syria are limited. Community ties were broken by the Turkification policy and the decades-long closure of the Syria-Turkey border.[175]

The exact number of Alawites in Turkey is unknown; there were 185,000 in 1970.[176] As Muslims, they are not recorded separately from Sunnis. In the 1965 census (the last Turkish census where informants were asked about their mother tongue), 185,000 people in the three provinces declared their mother tongue as Arabic; however, Arabic-speaking Sunnis and Christians were also included in this figure. Turkish Alawites traditionally speak the same dialect of Levantine Arabic as Syrian Alawites. Arabic is preserved in rural communities and in Samandağ. Younger people in the cities of Çukurova and İskenderun tend to speak Turkish. The Turkish spoken by Alawites is distinguished by its accents and vocabulary. Knowledge of the Arabic alphabet is confined to religious leaders and men who have worked or studied in Arab countries.

Alawites demonstrate considerable social mobility. Until the 1960s, they were bound to Sunni aghas (landholders) around Antakya and were poor. Alawites are prominent in the sectors of transportation and commerce and a large, professional middle class has emerged. Male exogamy has increased, particularly among those who attend universities or live in other parts of Turkey. These marriages are tolerated; however, female exogamy (as in other patrilineal groups) is discouraged.[citation needed]

Alawites, like Alevis, have strong leftist political beliefs. However, some people in rural areas (usually members of notable Alawite families) may support secular, conservative parties such as the Democrat Party. Most Alawites feel oppressed by the policies of the Presidency of Religious Affairs in Turkey (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı).[177][178]


The Alawite Imam Ali Mosque in Jabal Mohsen, Tripoli, Lebanon

There are an estimated 50,000[9][179] Alawites in Lebanon, where they have lived since at least the 16th century.[180] They are one of the 18 official Lebanese sects; due to the efforts of their leader, Ali Eid, the Taif Agreement of 1989 gave them two reserved seats in Parliament. Lebanese Alawites live primarily in the Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood of Tripoli and in 10 villages in the Akkar District, and are represented by the Arab Democratic Party.[181][182][183] Their Mufti is Sheikh Assad Assi.[184] The Bab al-Tabbaneh–Jabal Mohsen conflict between pro-Syrian Alawites and anti-Syrian Sunnis has affected Tripoli for decades.[185]


Alawites in Syria speak a special dialect (part of Levantine Arabic) famous for the usage of letter (qāf), but this feature is also shared with neighboring non-Alawite villages, such as Idlib. Due to foreign occupation of Syria, the same dialect is characterized by multiple borrowings, mainly from Turkish and then French, especially terms used for imported inventions such as television, radio, elevator (ascenseur), etc.

See also


  1. ^ Approximately 2% of Lebanese-born people in Australia
  2. ^ Arabic: علوية, romanizedʿAlawiyya
  3. ^ Arabic: نصيرية, romanizedNuṣayriyya
  4. ^
    • van Dam, Nikolaos (2017). "Introduction: Greater Syria or Bilad al-Sham". Destroying a Nation: The Civil War in Syria. New York, USA: I. B. Tauris. ISBN 978-1-78453-797-5.
  5. ^ Since the sacred writings of the Nuṣayrī-ʿAlawīs are kept secret by the members of the sect because of their sensitivity, it is important to note that the religious material used in this volume is only that which is accessible in public libraries and printed books.[103]
  6. ^ Women are prohibited from religious studies, since they came from the devil and have no souls, according to Alawite beliefs.[104]
  7. ^ The Old New Year is celebrated on 13 January, and named as Gawzela Day (يوم القوزلة),[134] as it means "Igniting the Fire" in Syriac language.[135]
  8. ^ The festival is celebrated on 17 April according to the Julian calendar, which is based on 4 April in the Gregorian calendar.[136]


  1. ^ "Primer on the Alawites in Syria - Foreign Policy Research Institute". Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  2. ^ "MOḤAMMAD B. NOṢAYR". Encyclopaedia Iranica.
  3. ^ "ḴAṢIBI". Encyclopaedia Iranica.
  4. ^ "The 'secretive sect' in charge of Syria". BBC News. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  5. ^ Cassel, Matthew. "Syria strife tests Turkish Alawites".
  6. ^ a b Spencer, Richard (3 April 2016). "Who are the Alawites?". The Telegraph.
  7. ^ Montenegro, Silvia (2018). "'Alawi Muslims in Argentina: Religious and political identity in the diaspora". Contemporary Islam. 12: 23–38. doi:10.1007/s11562-017-0405-7. hdl:11336/76408. S2CID 255312769.
  8. ^ "Early_Muslim_immigration in Argentina", in: ‘Early_Muslim_immigration , Published: 18 December 2022
  9. ^ a b [1] Archived 6 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Lebanese Allawites welcome Syria's withdrawal as 'necessary'". The Daily Star. 30 April 2005.
  11. ^ "Lebanon's Alawi: A Minority Struggles in a 'Nation' of Sects". Al Akhbar English. 8 November 2011. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  12. ^ "Mitgliederzahlen: Islam", in: Religionswissenschaftlicher Medien- und Informationsdienst|Religionswissenschaftliche Medien- und Informationsdienst e. V. (Abbreviation: REMID), Retrieved 13 February 2017
  13. ^ "Anzahl der Muslime in Deutschland nach Glaubensrichtung im Jahr 2015* (in 1.000)", in: Statista GmbH, Retrieved 13 February 2017
  14. ^ UNIFIL Press Kit Archived 14 August 2021 at the Wayback Machine p.6
  15. ^ Ghassan Hage (2002). Arab-Australians today: citizenship and belonging (Paperback ed.). Melbourne University Publishing. p. 40. ISBN 0-522-84979-2.
  16. ^ Madeleine Pelner Cosman; Linda Gale Jones (2009). "The Nusayriyya Alawis". Handbook to Life in the Medieval World, 3-Volume Set. Infobase Publishing. pp. 406, 407. ISBN 978-1-4381-0907-7. The Alawis are a sect of extremist (ghuluw) Shiism, so called because of their doctrine of the deification of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the nephew of the prophet Muhammad. The movement was founded in the mid-ninth century by Muhammad ibn Nusayr al-Namiri, who also proclaimed that the 10th of the 12 Shiite imams, Ali ibn Hadi, possessed a divine nature. Alawi doctrine is secret, esoteric, and Gnostic in nature.
  17. ^ "Alawites and the Fate of Syria". Origins. The Ohio State University. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  18. ^ a b Feldman, Noah (12 May 2020). The Arab Winter: A Tragedy. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-20144-3.
  19. ^ Nisan, Mordechai (2002). "6: Alawites: To Power and the Unknown". Minorities in the Middle East (2nd ed.). McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-7864-1375-1. 'Alawite religious faith, that is the belief-system of the Nusairi sect, is rooted in a doctrine whose ideas reflect multiple theological and philo-sophical influences. ... Greek or gnostic conceptions of the divinity intersperse with human incarnation as a key element in its theology.
  20. ^ Sources:
    • Madeleine Pelner Cosman; Linda Gale Jones (2009). "The Nusayriyya Alawis". Handbook to Life in the Medieval World, 3-Volume Set. Infobase Publishing. p. 407. ISBN 978-1-4381-0907-7. Alawi doctrine is secret, esoteric, and Gnostic in nature. They believe that Ali ibn Abi Talib is the supreme eternal God...
    • Prager, Laila; Prager, Michael; Spenger, Guido, eds. (2016). Parts and Wholes. LIT Verlag. p. 146. ISBN 978-3-643-90789-9. A major difference between the Shia and the Alawi, however, is that the latter worship Ali as a manifestation of the divine essence and believe in the reincarnation and transmigration of souls.
  21. ^ Madeleine Pelner Cosman; Linda Gale Jones (2009). "The Nusayriyya Alawis". Handbook to Life in the Medieval World, 3-Volume Set. Infobase Publishing. pp. 406, 407. ISBN 978-1-4381-0907-7.
  22. ^ Gisela Procházka-Eisl; Stephan Procházka (2010). The Plain of Saints and Prophets: The Nusayri-Alawi Community of Cilicia (Southern Turkey) and Its Sacred Places. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 20. ISBN 978-3-447-06178-0. ...for nearly a millennium the term by far most often used in both Oriental and Western sources for this group has been 'Nusayri'.
  23. ^ a b Zhigulskaya, Darya. "Alevis vs. Alawites in Turkey: From the General to the Specific". International Journal of Humanities and Education. 5 (10): 195–206.
  24. ^ Michael Knight (10 December 2009). Journey to the End of Islam. Soft Skull Press. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-59376-552-1.[permanent dead link]
  25. ^ Abdel Bari Atwan (2015). Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate. Saqi. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-86356-101-6.
  26. ^ Tom, Heneghan (24 December 2011). "Who are the Alawites?". Reuters. Archived from the original on 7 March 2022.
  27. ^ a b Friedman, Nuṣayrī-ʿAlawīs, 2010: p.68
  28. ^ a b Friedman, Nuṣayrī-ʿAlawīs, 2010: p.67
  29. ^ a b c Ismail, Raihan (2016). Saudi Clerics and Shī'a Islam. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-19-023331-0.
  30. ^ a b Moosa, Matti (1987). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects (1st ed.). Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. pp. 311–312. ISBN 0-8156-2411-5.
  31. ^ a b c Carlos BC, Juan (9 December 2021). "The Assad Family Has Been Shaping Syria for 50 Years". Fair Observer. Archived from the original on 9 December 2021.
  32. ^ Rosen, Nir (10 October 2011). "Assad's Alawites: The guardians of the throne". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 22 June 2023. The state – even "Assadism" – supplanted the Alawite religion as the focus of their identity...To be accepted as leader, Assad had to persuade Sunnis and Alawites alike that Alawites were, in fact, mainstream Muslims... Alawites struck a bargain; they lost their independence and had to accept the myth that they were "good Muslims".. Assadism then filled the gap left by the negation of traditional Alawite identity. The loss of the traditional role of community leaders fragmented Alawites, preventing them from establishing unified positions and from engaging as a community with other Syrian sects – reinforcing sectarian fears and distrust.
  33. ^ Tom, Heneghan (24 December 2011). "Who are the Alawites?". Reuters. Archived from the original on 7 March 2022.
  34. ^ Rosen, Nir (10 October 2011). "Assad's Alawites: The guardians of the throne". Al Jazeera. Archived from the original on 22 June 2023.
  35. ^ Clymer, R. Swinburne (1 April 2003). Initiates and The People Part 2, May 1929 to June 1930. Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7661-5376-9.[permanent dead link]
  36. ^ a b c Howse, Christopher (5 August 2011). "Secretive sect of the rulers of Syria". The Daily Telegraph.
  37. ^ Matti Moosa (1987). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects. Syracuse University Press. p. 262. ISBN 9780815624110.
  38. ^ al-Tamimi, Aymenn Jawad (24 January 2013). "Anti-Islamism in an Islamic Civil War". The American Spectator. Archived from the original on 25 September 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013.
  39. ^ Baltacioglu-Brammer, Ayse (13 November 2013). "Alawites and the Fate of Syria". Archived from the original on 25 January 2014.
  40. ^ Landis, Joshua (15 December 2013). "Zahran Alloush: His Ideology and Beliefs". Syria Comment. Archived from the original on 25 March 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2013.
  41. ^ See, Alkan, N. (2012) and the references cited therein. Alkan, N. Fighting for the Nuṣayrī Soul: State, Protestant Missionaries and the ʿAlawīs in the Late Ottoman Empire, Die Welt des Islams, 52 (2012) pp. 23–50.
  42. ^ "Erdogan, Iran, Syrian Alawites, and Turkish Alevis". The Weekly Standard. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  43. ^ Gisela Procházka-Eisl; Stephan Procházka (2010). The Plain of Saints and Prophets: The Nusayri-Alawi Community of Cilicia (Southern Turkey) and Its Sacred Places. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 20. ISBN 978-3-447-06178-0.
  44. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Nosairis" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 19 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 821.
  45. ^ Samuel Lyde (1860). The Asian Mystery Illustrated in the History, Religion, and Present State of the Ansaireeh Or Nusairis of Syria. Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts. p. 49.
  46. ^ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (London, 1911), p.241.
  47. ^ Mordechai Nisan (1 January 2002). Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression, 2d ed. McFarland. pp. 114–15. ISBN 978-0-7864-5133-3.
  48. ^ Matti Moosa (1987). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects. Syracuse University Press. pp. 256, 270. ISBN 978-0-8156-2411-0.
  49. ^ Pliny the Elder (2015). Delphi Complete Works of Pliny the Elder (Illustrated). Delphi Classics. p. 273.
  50. ^ Edme Mentelle (1792). Encyclopédie méthodique. Géographie ancienne, par M. Mentelle, historiographe de monseigneur comte d'Artois, censeur royal, de l'Académie d'histoire de Madrid, de celle de Rouen (in French). chez Panckoucke. p. 199.
  51. ^ Ray Pritz (1988). Nazarene Jewish Christianity: From the End of the New Testament Period Until Its Disappearance in the Fourth Century. Brill Archive. pp. 17–18. ISBN 9004081089.
  52. ^ John Jandora (2015). No Carpenter From Nazareth?. Llumina Press. p. 119. ISBN 9781625502506.
  53. ^ "Friedman, Nuṣayrī-ʿAlawīs, 2010" (PDF).
  54. ^ a b Halm, Heinz (2004). Shi'ism. Edinburgh University Press. p. 157. ISBN 978-0-7486-1888-0.
  55. ^ Winter 2016, p. 30.
  56. ^ a b Winter 2016, p. 29.
  57. ^ Winter 2016, pp. 27–28.
  58. ^ a b Winter 2016, p. 28.
  59. ^ a b Matti Moosa (1987). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects. Syracuse University Press. pp. 269–71. ISBN 978-0-8156-2411-0.
  60. ^ "History of the Crusades: Origins, Politics, and Crusaders". Realm of History. 23 March 2020. Archived from the original on 28 March 2022. Retrieved 14 May 2020.
  61. ^ Pipes, Daniel (1992). Greater Syria. Oxford University Press. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-19-536304-3. "Every village built a mosque far from the houses, which the villagers neither enter nor maintain. They often shelter cattle and asses in it. Often a stranger arrives and goes to the mosque to recite the [Islamic] call to prayer; then they yell to him, 'Stop braying, your fodder is coming.' " [Ibn Battuta]
  62. ^ Matti Moosa (1987). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects. Syracuse University Press. pp. 270–1. ISBN 978-0-8156-2411-0.
  63. ^ Matti Moosa (1987). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects. Syracuse University Press. p. 275. ISBN 978-0-8156-2411-0.
  64. ^ "Ottoman Empire massacre against Alawites". Syrian Center for Studies. 9 May 2017. Archived from the original on 23 April 2019. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  65. ^ Seale, Patrick. Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East. With the assistance of Maureen McConville. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989, c1988.
  66. ^ Lawrence, T. E. "58". Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Vol. Book 5. Archived from the original on 17 July 2007.
  67. ^ Moosa, Matti (1987). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects. Syracuse University Press. p. 276. ISBN 978-0-8156-2411-0.
  68. ^ Winter, Stefan (1999). "La révolte alaouite de 1834 contre l'occupation égyptienne: perceptions alaouites et lecture ottomane". Oriente Moderno (in French). 79 (3): 60–71. doi:10.1163/22138617-07903006.
  69. ^ Winter, Stefan (2004). "The Nusayris before the Tanzimat in the Eyes of Ottoman Provincial Administrators, 1804–1834". In Philipp, Thomas; Schumann, Christoph (eds.). From the Syrian Land to the States of Syria and Lebanon. Würzburg: Ergon. pp. 97–112. ISBN 3-89913-353-6.
  70. ^ Moosa, Matti (1987). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects. Syracuse University Press. p. 277. ISBN 978-0-8156-2411-0.
  71. ^ آثار الحقب في لاذقية العرب [The traces of the eons in the Latakia of the Arabs] (in Arabic). Vol. One (1st ed.). دار الفارابي. p. 161.
  72. ^ "The Price of Loyalty in Syria". The New York Times. 19 June 2013.
  73. ^ Field, Michael (1 March 1996). Inside the Arab World –. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-45521-4.
  74. ^ Stratfor (5 May 2011). "Making Sense of the Syrian Crisis". Stratfor. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  75. ^ a b c d Moosa, Matti (1987). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects. Syracuse University Press. pp. 282–283. ISBN 0-8156-2411-5.
  76. ^ Moubayed, Sami M. (2006). Steel & Silk: Men & Women Who Shaped Syria 1900–2000. Cune Press. pp. 363–364. ISBN 1-885942-41-9.
  77. ^ Pipes 1992, pp. 166–168.
  78. ^ a b Kaplan, Robert (February 1993). "Syria: Identity Crisis". The Atlantic.
  79. ^ Longrigg, Stephen Hemsley. Syria and Lebanon Under French Mandate. London: Oxford University Press, 1958.
  80. ^ William W. Harris (2003). The Levant: a fractured mosaic. Markus Wiener Publishers. ISBN 978-1-55876-264-0.
  81. ^ Christopher M. Andrew, page 236 "France Overseas. The Great War and the Climax of French Imperial Expansion", 1981 Thames and Hudson Ltd, London
  82. ^ a b c Khoury, Philip S. Syria and the French Mandate: The Politics of Arab Nationalism, 1920–1945. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987.
  83. ^ a b Winter, Stefan (June 2016). "The Asad Petition of 1936: Bashar's Grandfather Was Pro-Unionist By Stefan Winter". Joshualandis.
  84. ^ Pipes 1992, p. 165.
  85. ^ Shambrook, Peter A. French Imperialism in Syria, 1927–1936. Reading: Ithaca Press, 1998.
  86. ^ a b Jack Kalpakian (2004). Identity, Conflict and Cooperation in International River Systems (Hardcover ed.). Ashgate Publishing. p. 130. ISBN 0-7546-3338-1.
  87. ^ Kaplan, Robert (February 1993). "Syria: Identity Crisis". The Atlantic.
  88. ^ Seale, Patrick. Asad, the Struggle for the Middle East. University of California Press, 1989, p.173.
  89. ^ Riad Yazbeck. "Return of the Pink Panthers? Archived 19 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine" Mideast Monitor. Vol. 3, No. 2, August 2008.
  90. ^ The New Encyclopedia of Islam by Cyril Glasse, Altamira, 2001, p.36–7
  91. ^ Lazkani, Alimar (4 August 2020). "No Homeland, No Future: Alawite Youth As the Backbone of the Assad Regime". Arab Reform Initiative. Archived from the original on 3 February 2023.
  92. ^ "ديلي تلغراف: الطائفة العلوية تدفع ثمنا باهظا لدعم الأسد". Arab 21. 7 April 2015. Archived from the original on 3 October 2020.
  93. ^ YAROSLAV TROFIMOV (9 July 2015). "After Backing Regime, Syrian Minorities Face Peril". WSJ. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  94. ^ "Death toll in Syria likely as high as 120,000: group". Reuters. 14 May 2013.
  95. ^ Ruth Sherlock (7 April 2015). "In Syria's war, Alawites pay heavy price for loyalty to Bashar al-Assad". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  96. ^ "ديلي تلغراف: الطائفة العلوية تدفع ثمنا باهظا لدعم الأسد". Arab 21. 7 April 2015. Archived from the original on 3 October 2020.
  97. ^ "150,000 Alawites killed in 6-year Syria war". 20 April 2017.
  98. ^ Lazkani, Alimar (4 August 2020). "No Homeland, No Future: Alawite Youth As the Backbone of the Assad Regime". Arab Reform Initiative. Archived from the original on 3 February 2023.
  99. ^ "2.11.4. Alawites". European Union Agency for Asylum. Retrieved 6 October 2022.
  100. ^ Tsurkov, Elizabeth (22 July 2019). "Between Regime and Rebels: A Survey of Syria's Alawi Sect". The New York Review. Archived from the original on 31 March 2023.
  101. ^ "The 'secretive sect' in charge of Syria". BBC. 17 May 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2015.
  102. ^ a b "Syria's Alawites, a secretive and persecuted sect". Reuters. 2 February 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  103. ^ a b Friedman, Nuṣayrī-ʿAlawīs, 2010: p.xii
  104. ^ Barry Rubin (2015). The Middle East: A Guide to Politics, Economics, Society and Culture. Routledge. p. 337. ISBN 9781317455783.
  105. ^ John C. Rolland (2003). Lebanon: Current Issues and Background. Nova Publishers. p. 75. ISBN 978-1-59033-871-1.
  106. ^ Nisan, Mordechai (2002). "6: Alawites: To Power and the Unknown". Minorities in the Middle East (2nd ed.). McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-7864-1375-1.
  107. ^ L. Esposito, John; Moosa, Matti (1995). "Alawiyyah". The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World vol. 1. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 63, 64. ISBN 0-19-509612-6.
  108. ^ Madeleine Pelner Cosman; Linda Gale Jones (2009). "The Nusayriyya Alawis". Handbook to Life in the Medieval World, 3-Volume Set. Infobase Publishing. p. 407. ISBN 978-1-4381-0907-7.
  109. ^ a b 'Abd al‑Latif al‑Yunis, Mudhakkirat al‑Duktur 'Abd al‑Latif al‑Yunis, Damascus: Dar al‑'Ilm, 1992, p. 63.
  110. ^ Madeleine Pelner Cosman; Linda Gale Jones (2009). "The Nusayriyya Alawis". Handbook to Life in the Medieval World, 3-Volume Set. Infobase Publishing. p. 407. ISBN 978-1-4381-0907-7.
  111. ^ Tom, Heneghan (24 December 2011). "Who are the Alawites?". Reuters. Archived from the original on 7 March 2022.
  112. ^ Tom, Heneghan (24 December 2011). "Who are the Alawites?". Reuters. Archived from the original on 7 March 2022.
  113. ^ Tom, Heneghan (24 December 2011). "Who are the Alawites?". Reuters. Archived from the original on 7 March 2022.
  114. ^ Prochazka-Eisl, Gisela; Prochazka, Stephan (2010). The Plain of Saints and Prophets: The Nusayri-Alawi Community of Cilicia. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 81. ISBN 978-3-447-06178-0.
  115. ^ a b Nisan, Mordechai (2002). "6: Alawites: To Power and the Unknown". Minorities in the Middle East (2nd ed.). McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 115, 116. ISBN 978-0-7864-1375-1.
  116. ^ Howse, Christopher (5 August 2011). "Secretive sect of the rulers of Syria". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 16 December 2018.
  117. ^ L. Esposito, John; Moosa, Matti (1995). "Alawiyyah". The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World vol. 1. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. pp. 63–65. ISBN 0-19-509612-6.
  118. ^ Abdel Bari Atwan (2015). Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate. University of California Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-520-28928-4.
  119. ^ Abdel Bari Atwan (2015). Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate. Oakland, California, USA: University of California Press. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-520-28928-4. The Alawite shahada (testimony) is that there is no God but Ali
  120. ^ Prochazka-Eisl, Gisela; Prochazka, Stephan (2010). The Plain of Saints and Prophets: The Nusayri-Alawi Community of Cilicia. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 82. ISBN 978-3447061780.
  121. ^ Peters, F.E. (2009). The Monotheists: Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Conflict and Competition, Volume II. Princeton University Press. p. 321. ISBN 978-1400825714.
  122. ^ Abdel Bari Atwan (2015). Islamic State: The Digital Caliphate. Oakland, California, USA: University of California. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-520-28928-4. The Alawites celebrate the Christian festivals of Christmas, Easter, and Epiphany and believe in reincarnation (though not for women).
  123. ^ a b Moosa, Matti (1987). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects (1st ed.). Syracuse, New York: Syracuse University Press. p. 312. ISBN 0-8156-2411-5.
  124. ^ L. Esposito, John; Moosa, Matti (1995). "Alawiyyah". The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World vol. 1. New York, USA: Oxford University Press. p. 64. ISBN 0-19-509612-6.
  125. ^ Nisan, Mordechai (2002). "6: Alawites: To Power and the Unknown". Minorities in the Middle East (2nd ed.). McFarland & Company, Inc. pp. 115, 117. ISBN 978-0-7864-1375-1.
  126. ^ "The Alawites and Israel". Begin–Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. 4 May 2011. Archived from the original on 28 May 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2018. They don't necessarily understand or publicly present themselves as 'Arabs', doing so only when it seems politically expedient.
  127. ^ Sorenson, David S. (3 December 2013). An Introduction to the Modern Middle East: History, Religion, Political Economy, Politics. Westview Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-8133-4922-0.
  128. ^ Betts, Robert Brenton (31 July 2013). The Sunni-Shi'a Divide: Islam's Internal Divisions and Their Global Consequences (illustrated ed.). Potomac Books, Inc. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-61234-522-2.
  129. ^ Pipes 1992, p. 161.
  130. ^ Nisan, Mordechai (1 January 2002). Minorities in the Middle East: A History of Struggle and Self-Expression (2nd ed.). McFarland. p. 116. ISBN 978-0-7864-5133-3.
  131. ^ Herbermann, Charles George (2005). Encyclopaedia of sects & religious doctrines. Vol. 1 (3rd ed.). Cosmo Publications. pp. 15–16. ISBN 9788177559286.
  132. ^ de Vries, Nanny M. W.; Best, Jan. Thamyris. Rodopi. p. 290.
  133. ^ Strathcarron, Ian (2012). Innocence and War: Mark Twain's Holy Land Revisited (illustrated, reprint ed.). Courier Corporation. p. 78. ISBN 978-0-486-49040-3.
  134. ^ "هل تعرف ما هو عيد القوزلة؟" [Do you know what is the feast of Quzal?]. (in Arabic). 14 January 2020.
  135. ^ ياسين عبد الرحيم (2012). "موسوعة العامية السورية" [Syrian colloquial encyclopedia] (PDF) (in Arabic). Damascus: Syrian General Organization of Books. p. 1884. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 March 2022. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  136. ^ a b "20 معلومة قد لا تعرفها عن العلويين" [20 facts you may not know about Alawites]. (in Arabic). 21 July 2016.
  137. ^ "Syrian success story: A hated minority sect becomes the ruling class". The New York Times. 26 December 1986.
  138. ^ "Friedman, The Nusayris-Alawis, An introduction to the religion, history and identity: p.223–238" (PDF).
  139. ^ Worth, A Rage for Order, 2016: p.82
  140. ^ Tom, Heneghan (24 December 2011). "Who are the Alawites?". Reuters. Archived from the original on 7 March 2022.
  141. ^ a b Worth, A Rage for Order, 2016: p.85
  142. ^ Friedman, Nuṣayrī-ʿAlawīs, 2010: 235
  143. ^ Curtis, Peter Theo (4 October 2011). "Peter Theo Curtis's Writing on The Twisted, Terrifying Last Days of Assad's Syria". The New Republic.
  144. ^ Talhamy, Y. (2010). "The Fatwas and the Nusayri/Alawis of Syria". Middle Eastern Studies. 46 (2): 175–194. doi:10.1080/00263200902940251. S2CID 144709130.
  145. ^ Me'ir Mikha'el Bar-Asher; Gauke de Kootstra; Arieh Kofsky (2002). The Nuṣayr−i-ʻalaw−i Religion: An Enquiry into Its Theology and Liturgy. BRILL. p. 1. ISBN 978-90-04-12552-0.
  146. ^ "Syria crisis: Deadly shooting at Damascus funeral". BBC News. 18 February 2012.
  147. ^ Abd-Allah, Umar F., Islamic Struggle in Syria, Berkeley : Mizan Press, c1983, pp. 43–48
  148. ^ Pipes 1992, p. 163:"the Nusayris are more infidel than Jews or Christians, even more infidel than many polytheists. They have done greater harm to the community of Muhammad than have the warring infidels such as the Franks, the Turks, and others. To ignorant Muslims they pretend to be Shi'is, though in reality they do not believe in God or His prophet or His book...Whenever possible, they spill the blood of Muslims...They are always the worst enemies of the Muslims...war and punishment in accordance with Islamic law against them are among the greatest of pious deeds and the most important obligations."
  149. ^ Pipes 1992, p. 163
  150. ^ Matti Moosa (1987). Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects. Syracuse University Press. pp. 269–70. ISBN 978-0-8156-2411-0.
  151. ^ Pipes 1992, pp. 160–161: "apostacize in matters of blood, money, marriage, and butchering, so it is a duty to kill them." [Al-Ghazali]"
  152. ^ Pipes 1992, p. 162
  153. ^ Barfi, Barak (24 January 2016). "The Real Reason Why Iran Backs Syria". The National Interest.
  154. ^ "SYRIA – The Alawite 'Identity Reform' | The Maghreb and Orient Courier". 20 April 2016. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  155. ^ "The Alawites in Syrian Society: Loud Silence in a Declaration of Identity Reform". Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  156. ^ Spencer, Richard (3 April 2016). "Leaders of Syrian Alawite sect threaten to abandon Bashar al-Assad". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 14 April 2020.
  157. ^ Hellyer, H.A. (6 April 2016). "Alawite Identity in Syria". Atlantic Council. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  158. ^ Moosa, Matti. Extremist Shiites: The Ghulat Sects (1988). quoted in "Storm Over Syria", Malise Ruthven. 9 June 2011
  159. ^ Rubin, Barry (2007). The Truth about Syria. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 49. ISBN 978-1-4039-8273-5.
  160. ^ Abd-Allah, Umar F. (1983). Islamic Struggle in Syria. Berkeley: Mizan Press. pp. 43–48. ISBN 0-933782-10-1.
  161. ^ Esther, Pan (18 July 2006). "Syria, Iran, and the Mideast Conflict". Backgrounder. Council on Foreign Relations. Archived from the original on 23 May 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  162. ^ a b Syrian comment. Asad's Alawi dilemma, 8 October 2004
  163. ^ "Islamic Education in Syria: Undoing Secularism". Open University. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  164. ^ "Turbulent history colors Syria's ruling Alawite Muslims' fight to keep power". China Post. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  165. ^ McDonald-Gibson, Charlotte (18 February 2012). "Syrians flee their homes amid fears of ethnic cleansing". The Independent. Archived from the original on 18 February 2012.
  166. ^ "It's Time to Engage Iran, Russia on Syria". Archived from the original on 10 April 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  167. ^ "Alawites: Between Politics and Clan Life". Center for Environmental and Social Development.
  168. ^ Muḥammad Amīn Ġālib aṭ-Ṭawīl (1979). Tārīḫ al-ʿAlawiyyīn (3rd ed.). Beirut. p. 529.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  169. ^ "ʿAlawite". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 17 January 2010.
  170. ^ "A New Fence Is Added to a Border Town Already Split". The New York Times. 11 October 2006.
  171. ^ Bar, Zvi (10 May 2009). "Getting rid of Ghajar, Zvi Bar'el". Haaretz. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  172. ^ Joshua Project. "Alawite in Israel".
  173. ^ "Majority of Syrians continue to refuse Israeli citizenship". 8 May 2018. Archived from the original on 31 August 2020.
  174. ^ Abu Fakhr, Sakr (2000). "Voices from the Golan". Journal of Palestine Studies. 29 (4): 5–36. doi:10.2307/2676559. JSTOR 2676559.
  175. ^ Balanche, Fabrice. "The Alawi Community and the Syria Crisis". Middle East Institute. Retrieved 17 April 2021.
  176. ^ State and rural society in medieval Islam: sultans, muqtaʻs, and fallahun. Leiden: E.J. Brill. 1997. p. 162. ISBN 90-04-10649-9.
  177. ^ Fellahlar'ın Sosyolojisi, Dr. Cahit Aslan, Adana, 2005
  178. ^ Arap Aleviliği: Nusayrilik, Ömer Uluçay, Adana, 1999
  179. ^ Zoi Constantine (21 August 2011). "Pressures in Syria affect Alawites in Lebanon". The National. Abu Dhabi. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  180. ^ "Lebanese Allawites welcome Syria's withdrawal as 'necessary'". The Daily Star. 30 April 2005.
  181. ^ [2] Archived 14 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  182. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (5 August 2008). "Refworld | Lebanon: Displaced Allawis find little relief in impoverished north". UNHCR. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  183. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (31 July 2008). "Refworld | Lebanon: Displaced families struggle on both sides of sectarian divide". UNHCR. Retrieved 6 July 2012.
  184. ^ "Lebanon Muslim leaders held a summit in Beirut | World News Live from Lebanon". LB: Ya Libnan. 21 July 2012. Retrieved 25 December 2012.
  185. ^ David Enders, McClatchy Newspapers (13 February 2012). "Syrian violence finds its echo in Lebanon | McClatchy". Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2012.

Further reading