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Reaction to cuma

Reader comment on item: The Alawi Capture of Power in Syria
in response to reader comment: Natures Children

Submitted by Treize (Netherlands), Sep 6, 2013 at 11:40

Dear cuma,

It is interesting to hear your opinion. It is always good to have self-reflection.

From your post I get the impression that 1.) you are a women and 2.) you are not very much an Alawi/Nusayri anymore?

It must be difficult for a women to be a member of a community that keeps many things hidden from women. And the reasons for this seem quite dark indeed. The Alawi position towards women is a little bizarre if you ask me even though there are multiple versions of you true beliefs regarding women and some are not that bleak, but some are very bleak indeed. I know one Alawi women and she is very happy with her religion. I find it incredibly difficult to understand how a women can be such a proud member of a community that hides its inner teachings from them. And the reason for that seems to be the very bizarre view of women that this religion has, as opposed to the idea that women cannot keep secrets (this seems to be the standard explaination men give to women and outsiders).

As for you origins. I disagree, the Nusayris are not the descendants of pagans! They are Twelver 'ghulats'. The man called Muhammed ibn Nusayr was a mystic who claimed to be the 'bab' of imam al-Askari and later his teachings were developed into a religion by a man called Al-Khasibi who genuinely believed he was only pratisng the real Shi'ism. Later his successor called Al-Tabarani developed much more rituals, mainly because the sect started to grow a lot when the coastal population of Syria started to convert on a large scale (indeed, you do not allow any converts today, this is just contradicting, even the great Al-Tabarani was a convert and the founder Al-Khasibi was originally an Imami). So all in all your origins lie in Iraq and the sect spread to the Syria coast were it survived.

As for the rather 'interesting' cosmology that involves an original sin commited by the creatures of light, and the distincion between two types of humans (the enlightened who used to be these creatures of light and the other doomed ones) this seems to come from a pre-Nusayri ghulat mystic called Al-Muffadal. His works were later canonised by Al-Khasibi, your founding father, and he himself was made to be the 'bab' of the sixth imam in Nusayri religion.

The Alawi religion in essence is a gnostic religion just like Isma'ilism and its Druze offshoot. Now these esoteric, gnostic stuff is as old as monotheist religion. In the 300 years after the life of Jesus there were lots and lots of gnostic sect with beliefs quite similar to your sect. Also Neoplatonism was quite big in this time period. Also the Jews had their mystic cabbalism.

It is just that the Christian gnosticism was very undogmatic, reincarnation was endless and one would always become a human again, and even though only a very small number of people could free themselves of the material world there was no concept of predestination, there was also no anti-feminism, there was no End of Times and their was a big role for an evil creator God AKA the demiuge. Later Valentinianism introduces an end of times were the followers of the evil god would go to his imperfect heaven, the unbelievers would be burned with the rest of the material world and the small numbers of gnostics would be freed and be reunited with the true God. But Islamic gnosis seems to have left out the demiuge figure, instead everything is the plan of the one God and they also have introduced lots of dogma's and rituals (as an Alawi you will know this). Now one even needs guidance of a Shayk even though gnostism originally was a very individualist religion. Basically Nusayrism seems to me like an institutionalised, dogmatic form of gnosticism in an Islamic veil and with a typical closedness (which was probably more a result of persecution rather than a real choice).

I would like to talk more about this if you would be so kind. Please respond by e-mail, as this website is a bit difficult for this purpose:

Treize-Info@mail.com

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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