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Confused about Alawis! What exactly is their religion? My research

Reader comment on item: The Alawi Capture of Power in Syria
in response to reader comment: A Real Alawi

Submitted by Andrew Jeffrey Uk (Pakistan), Aug 20, 2010 at 16:29

My name is Andrew Jeffrey and i am from England. I am a medicine student and i love doing reseraches. Religion has been one of my favourite topic. I am researching into religions fro over 7 years now and found Islam very interesting. i didnot research only because i liked it but also i wanted a religion which can inspired me and help me to find the right path. I believe that we are born into places and given religions by our parents but we should know about religions so we could make the right choice. I am very close to conclude my research in next one or two year but when i read about Alawis, it was a strange experience.I found it also astonishing that in recent years, Alawis has been more closer to Islam than inheriting traditions and cultures from other religions as i read from different sources. I don't believe in media or how people express their views about it as it could be biased, thus after reading the information, i tried to contact as many Alawi people as i could. It should be noted that all the information i got about Alawis was all from the internet, and after gathering as much knowledge as i could, the next stage was to meet few of them through social networking sites. During my research, i came to a dead end, whether Alawis are Muslims or not.

Although i am not to judge but this created a confusion that what exactly is Alawi belief. Also, i found it difficult to grasp the part of belief which showed women of lower social class as i thought in the beginning. I was very moved and couldnot accept the fact when i read that Alawis considered women deprived of soul and women are thought to be made of devil and dirt.That's why they don't allow women to participate in rituals and religious practice. Although i had respect for it but then again, it was very difficult to accept the fact where people are not considered equal. Also, i personally found it against human rights. Also, as i thought as many people who don't know about Alawis that Alawis believe in Trinity , as in Ali is the "Meaning"; Muhammad, whom Ali created of his own light, is the "Name"; and Salman is the "Gate." Alawi catechesis is expressed in the formula: "I turn to the Gate; I bow before the Name; I adore the Meaning." An Alawi prays in a manner patterned after the shahada: "I testify that there is no God but Ali," which gives rise to the idea that they worship Ali as God. but i couldnot find one people saying or emphasizing the trinity belief, the truth is that i just was able to contact 6 people who agreed to speak on their religion as well. Others wanted to keep it to themselves as secret. But i was surprised that women knew very little about their religion which i am still wondering why?

while meeting those women, they said men know the religion more and better, women don't know much which leaves me to conclude to the fact that they REALLY consider them to be dirt or there is some other logical reason. Whom i met, they believed as normal muslims do. Allah as their god and Prophet Muhammad as their last prophet. Firstly, i also though that they believed in trinity may be because i had read a lot over the internet about their beliefs, i might have been a bit biased by the writers articles. Maybe i didnot find anyone who believed in trinity or maybe those alawis who did believe in trinity didnot want to share about their religion. Later, i met few more people who told me Alawis had religion very similar to the kind followed all over the world except for they don't pray and wear veils as in cover their heads (women only). or these people were those who skipped prayers because they wanted to but not because it was prohibited for women to pray. But i read here in the articles that some writers wrote they pray as well who are women. I have few questions which are still afresh in my mind and just can't find any answer to it. if someone could answer them, it would be a lot help! Why Women don't know much about the religion? any specific reason or explanation?

Secondly, why they keep the religion secret? Why, they not allow women to attend rituals? Is there is any explanation to skip veil? Is Alcohol prohibited as in orthodox Islam or is it allowed? You can also mail me at hnk_fire@hotmail.com andrewjeffrey@live.co.uk

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