Alawis: The Nusayrees In Disguise

Umm Sulaim
Umm Sulaim’s Thoughts
Safar 28, 1434


Alawis: The Nusayrees in Disguise


Introduction The Nusayrees have drawn the limelight in recent months since the outbreak of the Arab springs in the Middle East and Syria in particular. Who are the Nusayrees?

General Category The Nusayrees are a ghulat (extreme) sect1 which began as a splinter group of the Twelver Shi’a which went so extreme in their pretentious love of Ali that even Shi’as regard the Nusayrees as heretical. For their misinterpretations of the clear meanings of the Qur’an, the Nusayrees are the Baatinees, i.e. those who rely on supposedly hidden assertions.

Causes of Appearance of the Nusayree sect Its Founders and History The roots of the Nusayrees are traced to a student of Hassan al-Askari2 the eleventh shi’a imam Muhammad Ibn Nusayr a 9th century adherent to the Twelver Shi’a resident in Basra in southern Iraq3. Ibn Nusayr claimed he was the bab (gateway) to Hassan al-Askari during whose imamate much of Ibn Nusayr’s mysticism was propounded. Ibn Nusayr was to later become the bab of the twelfth imam Muhammad
1 2 3

Alawis: The Nusayrees in Disguise the Mahdi.


The heretical doctrines of the Nusayrees in succession spread to the cities of Baghdad and Aleppo4 as the sect moved through those cities. Syria was introduced to the heresy of the Nusayrees through the work of Husayn Ibn Hamdan al-Khasibi.5 Members of the sect eventually settled in the mountains of western Syria which remains their sectarian headquarters.6

For a century since the French occupiers of Syria effected a name change of the sect the name Alawi has been in use instead of Nusayree an attempt to hide the identity of the Nusayrees and reduce their awkwardness and isolation from Muslims.7

Alawi is a misleading pseudonym as it depicts the average Shi'a who under normal circumstances venerates Ali.8 Despite their significant deviation from Shi'ism – which in turn is in itself a deviation from Islam – and to sustain their secrecy the Nusayrees in Turkey are grouped under Shi'a or Alevi as Shi'as are locally known.9

An Alawi State was carved by French colonialists in 1922 granting Nusayrees autonomy. The Nusayrees are found in Syria and in the southern cities of Turkey: Antakya, Iskenderun, Adana, Tarsus10 that border Syria.
4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Alawis: The Nusayrees in Disguise


Major beliefs, practices and main scriptures Ibn Kathir a renowned Muslim Scholar stated that in opposition to the Muslim declaration of “There is no god except Allah”, Nusayrees state “There is no god except Ali, no veil except Muhammad and no bab except Salman”.11

The Nusayree doctrines were formulated by its founder Muhammad Ibn Nusayr and his successors Muhammad al-Jannan al-Junbulani and Husayn Ibn Hamdan alKhasibi and Surur Ibn al-Kasim at-Tabarani.12

At-Tabarani’s book Kitab Al-Ma’rifah (Book of Knowledge) outlines the beliefs and practices of the Nusayrees.13 The scriptures of the include Kitab al-Majmoo’ (The Book of Compilation) and al-Khaseebi’s Al-Hidaayah.14

The Nusayrees disbelieve in the Creed of Muslims.15 Although Allah and His Messenger enjoined Muslims to believe in Allah, His Majestic Names and Attributes, His Messenger Muhammad and the Messengers before him, His Book the Qur’an, in the existence of Jannah (Paradise) and Jahannam (hell), the Nusayrees disbelieve in Allah, His Messengers and the Revelation16.

11 12 13 14 15 16

Alawis: The Nusayrees in Disguise


Only with gross distortions against the Revealed Words of Allah do the Nusayrees refer to the Qur’an.17 This is in stark contradiction to the Consensus of the Ulema (Scholars) and the generally established meanings of the Qur’an.

The Nusayrees, however believe in ilm al-baatin (secret knowledge), a specialty of their shaykhs.18 This secret knowledge is manifested through their misrepresentations and alterations of the sources of the Sharee’ah: the Qur’an and the Sunnah.19

The Nusayrees shun the Islamic traditions of Shahadah (proclamation of belief), Zakah (alms investment),20 Ramadhan Fast, five daily Salah (Prayer) and Hajj (Pilgrimage)21 which are the pillars of Islam. These pillars of Islam were practised by the Messenger of Allah Muhammad, the four Rightly Guided Khaliphs – Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali – and the consensus of the Companions of the Prophet and the Ulema.

The Nusayrees embrace non-Islamic beliefs such as mysticism, Christian beliefs,22 Zorroastrian beliefs23 and deify Ali the fourth Khaliph.24 The mysticism, called ma’rifah, is the desire to resume the erroneous divine state from which the souls of the Nusayrees were expelled25, a clear allusion to the Christian belief that shaytan (satan) was a fallen Angel.
17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Alawis: The Nusayrees in Disguise


The Nusayrees celebrate Christmas and Pentecost,26 Easter, Palm Sunday, mark their festivities with bread and wine,27 and often bear Christian names28. Another feature of Christianity in Nusayree doctrine is the concept of trinity,29 this time of Ali, the fourth Khaliph and a Companion of the Prophet, Muhammad the Messenger of Allah, and Salman al-Farisi, a Companion of the Prophet.

The Nusayrees believe in the reincarnation of souls into successive bodies of humans or animals or even into plants,30 unlike African traditional beliefs, but similar to Hinduism. Only male Nusayrees are believed to have the capacity to end this vicious, otherwise never-ending cycle of permanence of old breeds on this earth.31

The Nusaysees relegate women, with the paradoxical exception of Fatimah the daughter of the Prophet, to a demonic origin32. This is the worst position this author has come across, an interesting similarity to some contemporary Muslim women and their male sponsors who believe the only woman worthy of a man’s good treatment is his mother.

For all purposes the contemporary Muslim woman should not, and does not exist as an intellectual being without the consent of her spouse nor did she exist before her
26 27 28 29 30 31 32

Alawis: The Nusayrees in Disguise marriage and remains a perpetual minor whose actions must be vetted by her spouse.


These Muslim men and women promote notions, such as, mistreatment, including the use of fear and force against a Muslim woman; total disregard for her physical and psychological wellbeing; complete obedience to her spouse, even in his irrational and irresponsible orders. The consequence is that a Muslim woman is rendered lower than a dog.

Secrecy and its importance to sect The Nusayrees practise taqiyya, the concealment of true self, intentions and beliefs, and are indoctrinated to adopt pretence, in their interactions with non-members.33 The Nusayree temporarily assumes the conduct of a Muslim, when interacting with Muslims and becomes a shi’a when the moment calls for such.34

Through clandestine behaviour, members of this menacing sect discuss the Family of the Messenger of Allah in affectionate terms 35 and proceed to inculcate misguided beliefs into the mind of ignorant Muslims who are unaware of the true nature of the Nusayrees, thereby creating immense misguidance among ignorant Muslim. For this reason, Shaykh al-Islam considers the Nusayrees the most dangerous set of persons to the Faith and security of Muslims.36
33 34 35 36

Alawis: The Nusayrees in Disguise


The Nusayrees are so secretive regarding their true beliefs that only children born of both Nusayree parentage37 can be initiated, in their mid to late teens, into the sect and under an oath of secrecy taught the belief system of the Nusayrees. Violations of this oath of secrecy earns the violator the death sentence.38

Country they rule and how they came into power Although the Nusayrees make up at most 10% of the population,39 they are the current rulers of Syria and have done so since the 1960s through coups. 40 Hafiz al-Asad, the father of the incumbent president Bash’shar Asad, took over the reins of power in 1971.41

The foundation to this transformation from peasants to power was the favour and alliance between the Nusayrees and the French.42 In independent Syria, the Nusayrees became prominent members of the Ba’th Party and the military.43

37 38 39 40 Mislamic Sects. Pg 3 41 42 43

Alawis: The Nusayrees in Disguise General ruling of scholars on the sect – Muslim or not


Shaykh al-Islam described the Nusayrees as worse disbelievers than the people of previous Scriptures, the Jews and Christians and are a people whose disbelief is more severe than pagans.44 According to this ruling, the Nusayrees cannot be considered

Muslims. As Syria was the main residence of Shaykh al-Islam, it provided him abundant opportunities to research, observe and study the activities of the Nusayrees.45

Despite the presence and widespread dissemination of Ibn Taymiyyah’s Fatwa, the Nusayrees are still described in some quarters as a Muslim sect 46. This is misleading as a Muslim commences his belief with the belief, thought and statement: No one should be worshipped except Allah.

One of Allah’s Attributes is that He is not contained within, under, inside, and/ or alongside any part of His Creation. This Attribute nullifies the Nusayree belief that Allah manifests Himself on this planet, a creation of Allah. Another of Allah’s Attributes is that He is not similar to His Creation, which invalidates the Nusayree belief in Divine manifestations47.

44 45

Ibn Taymiyyah (Majmoo’ al-Fatawa 35/145) 46 47

Alawis: The Nusayrees in Disguise
Conclusion The Nusayrees may appear to the common person as being part of Islam, considering their Arab nationality and Muslim names, however, they hold beliefs which are alien to Islam.


Alawis: The Nusayrees in Disguise


Bibliography Philips, B. (Comp.) Mislamic Sects: Part Two. Retrieved 16 December 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012. “Elements of Nusayri Theology” Retrieved 16 December 2012. “Alawis – Awe” Retrieved 16 December 2012. “The Alawi Capture of Power in Syria”

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful