Pray for the Muslim Alawites (Nusairians) in Syria

syria-preparing-the-dead-30-days-netThe Alawites are members of a special Islamic group; there are about 2 million of them in Syria (10-15 per cent of the total Syrian population). Their mother tongue is Arabic, and their traditional homeland is the mountainous region south-east of Latakia, Syria’s largest port. The Alawites were persecuted by Sunnite Muslims in earlier centuries, so they retreated to the mountains far from the Mediterranean coast. For a long time, they lived in poverty and without any access to education.

Alawites Origins

It is generally thought that the Alawites (formerly called Nusairians) trace their origins to the religious teacher Muhammad Ibn Nusair (died around 883). His teaching led to a new sect and a consequent splitting from Ismailism, a Shiite cult of Islam. The sect was later called Alawite – named after Ali, Muhammad’s much admired cousin and son-in-law (Caliph from 656-661). Their faith has retained many non-Islamic, early oriental beliefs.

Alawite doctrines have not been written down, but rather they are handed down as secrets by the religious leaders. The Alawite faith is a secret religion even today. Alawites do not have mosques, only devotional rooms. They disapprove of the Islamic religious duties (praying five times, fasting during Ramadan etc), but under persecution they sometimes practise them to protect themselves.

Alawites Possibilities

Under the French mandate rule (1920-46), the Alawites were given significant positions in society to counterbalance the powerful Sunnites. Many became officers in the Syrian army and gained influence in society. They adopted the national socialistic ideology of the Arab renewal (Arab Baath) and came to power in 1963 with the ‘Baath Party’. Today’s Syrian president, Bashar al-Asad, is Alawite, and has only formally converted to Sunni Islam. In the eyes of Sunni Muslims, who form the majority of the Syrian population, the Alawites are perceived as atheistically orientated.

Between 1856 and 1958, missionaries evangelised in the predominantly Alawite regions. Some individual Alawites came to believe in Jesus as their Lord and joined Protestant churches. However, no indigenous Alawite churches came into being. Some of the descendants of these Christians turned back to the religion of their ancestors under pressure from the majority; others – including many Syrian Christians – have emigrated from Syria during recent decades.

Outreach among Alawites needs to begin again, even though it is forbidden to evangelise in Syria. However, Alawites can listen to evangelistic radio programmes and receive Christian TV broadcasts by satellite. In Aleppo or Damascus, they can buy a Bible or Christian books. But rarely will they meet a native Christian who is able to explain the gospel to them.

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Flag of Syria

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Map of Syria

Prayer for Syria:

* Pray that there will be an awakening among the Alawites through the Spirit of God, so that they will search for the truth.

* Pray for the Alawites to turn to Christ through the testimony of Christians and through evangelistic literature and radio and satellite TV programmes.

* Pray for there to be a new freedom for the proclamation of the gospel, especially by foreigners, thus ending 45 years of prohibition.

* Download: Syrian Prayer guide for children (On the Cry Out Now site)

Background on Syria (World Factbook)

Following the breakup of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, France administered Syria until its independence in 1946. The country lacked political stability, however, and experienced a series of military coups during its first decades. Syria united with Egypt in February 1958 to form the United Arab Republic, but in September 1961 the two entities separated and the Syrian Arab Republic was reestablished. In November 1970, Hafiz al-ASAD, a member of the Socialist Ba’th Party and the minority Alawite sect, seized power in a bloodless coup and brought political stability to the country. In the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel, and over the past decade Syria and Israel have held occasional peace talks over its return. Following the death of President al-ASAD in July 2000, Bashar al-ASAD was elected as president. Influenced by major uprisings that began elsewhere in the region, antigovernment protests broke out in the southern province of Da’ra in March 2011 and spread to other Syrian cities. Protesters called for the repeal of the restrictive Emergency Law allowing arrests without charge, the legalization of political parties, and the removal of corrupt local officials. The government responded with a mix of force and concessions, including the repeal of the Emergency Law. Unrest persists in 2013, and the death toll among Syrian Government forces, opposition forces, and civilians has topped 100,000.

Economy of Syria

The Government of Syria has implemented modest economic reforms in the past few years, including cutting lending interest rates, opening private banks, consolidating some of the multiple exchange rates, and raising prices on some subsidized items, most notably, gasoline and cement. Nevertheless, the economy remains highly controlled by the government. Long-run economic constraints include declining oil production, high unemployment, rising budget deficits, and increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and water pollution.

Statistics on Syria

Population: 22,457,336 (July 2013 est.) World rank #54

Life Expectancy at Birth: 75.14 years. World rank #97

Ethnic groups: Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%

Religions: Sunni Muslim 74%, Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects 16%, Christian (various sects) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)

Languages: Arabic (official); Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian widely understood; French, English somewhat understood

Literacy: 84.1% — Male: 90.3%, Female: 77.7%

School Life Expectancy: 11 years


Marketplace in Syria (Damascus) – Video

Sights and Sounds of Syria


Comments

  1. i am an alawite, and i just smiled to these nonsense informations about alawites, we are the followers of the Ali bin abi Talib who is son in low and true brother of Muhammad a.s., and rightfull succesor of the prophet. how is this possible for us to deny islamic rules which are brought by the our prophet Muhammad and performed by Ali bin abi Talib a.s. . we are true muslims who are bounded to sayyedna Muhammad a.s., his ahlul bayt and holy quran al kareem.

    You may say all muslims says those things why do you call yourselves alawite or alawi in arabic saying. Just Remember the conflict between the Ali bin abi talib and muawiyah, we were the shia (supporters) of the Ali bin abi talib called with his name alawi, and the opposites called themselves amawi with the name of muawiya.

    • Hundreds of years of various power hungry wannabes jockeying for power, with their groups of followers scurrying to up hold manmade belief systems – most of which have bought nothing but mayhem to its indoctrinated masses. Its little wonder that they are still fighting each other – religious sectarianism intolerance, that renders adherents to the many fractions, ignorant of humanities culpabilities and eaten up with hatred…..and their god sit in “heaven” and despite all their preying god does nothing, as he gleefully watches innocents born into the world, to be maimed and often killed off in the name of some crazed mere mortal of a religious zealot.

  2. Sister Nazneen, Your comments are welcome but we need to call a spade a spade. Alawites are declared apostates even by Shia clergy and leading Scholars throughout history. They could not function openly as Alawites and took the cover of Baath party. If you have read the article above, you will know that they were patronized by French colonisliats just like the Qadiyanis were patronized by Britsh in India. Their days are numbered and they will face the wrath of Syrian people and need to be declared as Non Muslims just like Qadiyanis. The problem with Syrian people was that they lacked correct Aqeedah and tolerated such devient sects and now they are suffering.

    • Oh Abdul hafeez teez you have a long way to go if you believe “Alawites” to be non believers of Islam. Sunnis have slaughtered Alawites for centuries & for what reason? You call yourselves True islamists, yet you and your wahabists are the sole reason Al Qaida and the Taliban extremists are causing problems in this world. Is all this encouraged in the Koran I ask? You’re just jealous Sunnis don’t know how to rule the lions land of the middle east!!

    • there are certain division in the muslims i.e sunni and shia it is also further divided into more sect in sunni and shia but it is portrayed no division inside sunnis is totally wrong perception there are four imams of sunnis who manage their fiqas after 150 years of khilafat e rashida but question arise during 150 years shias was following ali ibn abi talib but what were sunni doing in that period of time.

  3. You have been fed a heap of lies about the Alawite religion. Let us remember that as Muhammad (pbuh) was delivering his last sermon at Ghadeer Khum he said something which no one really emphasises – that Imam Ali (pbuh) will be the successor which Allah has appointed. I am not going to stress this out – the point of the fact is that the Sunni sect continually lies and wages media war against Alawis only because they do not wish to acknowledge the fact that Ali was indeed the Wali, Mawla and Imam as Muhammad (pbuh) repeatedly told his people 27 times during the final sermon.

    Alawis are Muslims – they believe in Allah and Allah only as well as do their best (like any believer) to follow the principles and guidelines which has been eloquently put forth in the Holy Book The Quran and the Legacy of Muhammad (pbuh).

    @Ali. K “Remember the conflict between the Ali bin abi talib and muawiyah” You cannot try and teach people who choose to be ignorant. Muawiyah was the root of all evil – he bribed people and lied to people and YES he liked to drink wine and feast on lavish meals – he wanted to remain in power even after he was told to step down and in doing so he would wage wars against his muslim brothers with his evil accomplice Amr bin Al’aas.

  4. alawites are not muslim they were never muslim they were known originally as nusrayians and the british in the 40s got the arab nationalism mufti of jeruusualm to declare them as muslim the french later renamed them to alawi the alawi are not muslim at all they are a different religion all together

  5. my dear you have spoken my words out of my mouth

  6. I Am an Alawite, No one Can Know about Alawites, more than an Alawite. Some Muslim Extremists, Say that Alawites :
    - Dont Pray
    -Are Not Muslims
    -Dont Beleive in God
    -Dont Beleive in the 5 Pillars of Islam
    Etc..
    I Do Pray When i can, Not because i am an Alawite, Many Sunnis Just dont pray also, Many Alawites from my Family Pray 5 times a Day
    Anyone who Prays 5 times a Day, Believes in the 5 pillars of islam and is a Good person IS an Muslim, and No Bearded Extremist can say Otherwise. My Grandfather was an Alawite, He Built 5 Mosques in Lebanon and Dozens of Families Used to Eat and Drink Because he Helped them, While Sunnis Buy and Sell Weapons and Run Corrupt Goverments, So Alawites Start saying “yeah we dont pray and we dont beleive in god” These are Stupid UN-EDUCATED people who have been herding cattle for a considerable amount of time in their Lives and start talking rubbish about their own Sect. I dont Believe in Sects in Islam, but when a Sunni Cleric Starts saying Shiites and Sunnis are Kufar (Non Believers) and its not a sin to Slaughter them and their Families and that they should be Erased, i cant not Defend what i Believe in.
    Alawites Are Muslims Just Like Sunnis, Anyone who says Otherwise has been Paid to Do so, ALL Sunni Sheikhs who say lets go kill the Alawites in Lebanon and Syria, Belong to a Certain Political Sect, which are against Syria. For…

  7. This makes me wonder if what is happening in Syria right now is a religious war. I hadn’t even thought of it in those terms before.

    • This war has ethnic, religious overtones. The French strengthened the minorities and the result was an Alawi takeover in 1963. This regime has held power for 49 years and the majority Sunnis have had enough. Other minority groups have apparently clung to the regime, seeing that the deceased Defense Minister was a Christian.

  8. Great Ali Issa Ibrahim says:

    My name is Great Ali Issa Ibrahim. I am Alawie. No one can tell you about an Alawie perspective and outlook on Islam as our true religion better than a person who is truly Alawie. Ali. K, Hassan and A.M. have all made beautiful and legitimate points about our people. In Most religions in the world there is fighting, confusion and misunderstanding amongst each sect in that particular faith. Why? Some even kill, humiliate, torture, persecute, tell false stories about, deceive and mock all in the name of Allah (SWTA), or God as the English call Him, as some are doing on this page. I am not going to go in to depth about other sects and religions in which I hardly know anything about except for what I have been told by others. All I can truly speak is what I see, hear and feel for my self. I do not hate people, I hate lies as lies create mischief and misunderstanding which lead to hate, fighting and even result in wars. Political parties use religion as a weapon. Is that what Allah (SWTA) wants for His most beloved creation?? How can someone that is saying it is ok to kill, rape, slaughter, torture etc talk this talk in the name of Allah (SWTA) ??? How?? It is people with small minds and tunnel vision that are easily mislead, misguided and taken advantage of all in the name of Allah (staghfarAllah) when the truth is that the ones doing the sermons and telling lies are truly wicked…

  9. It seems that alawiate, Shiites even Hanafies are not Muslims while Muhammad Ibn Wahab and Ibn Taymiyya and Bin Ladan are real muslims????? When Ibn Taymiyya says that Ali is not Rashid khalif or when Muhammad Ibn Wahab by the help of Britain intelligence service and makes a new religion which kill all Muslims or when Osama Bin Ladan by the assistance of USA get power and bye help of 21th century Khawarej (Taliban) massacres all Muslims (Shiites and Sunnis) in Afghanistan or when Al-Qaeda murder themselves in Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and…. They are real Muslim. I wonder why some ones are so stupid Now CIA, Israel and Al-Qaeda starts another campaign in Syria on the other hand the Wahabbi muftis makes SENTENCE and declares that killing of Muslims, raping of women in Syria are Halal. Do you think are they real Muslim? I wish Allah give you wisdom and faith of Islam.
    Ahmad from Kabul, Afghanistan

  10. I am shia muslim, we heard that according to Alawiates, Ali was God( Allah himself), according shia believe Ali was faithful man of Allah, while Alawiaties said, Ali himself Allah, or God came into human form. Allah hallool into Ali, Rest of things are same, if you talk about drinking or other staff, these are personal matter of any muslim not relate to any religious sect.

  11. All these grouping and sects in Arabian Peninsula surfaced immediately after the death of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and these different philosophies started to surface to create own groups. The sole purpose was to grab power. Because in those days it was a big deal for the Arabs (poverty stricken land with no oil) to get food and comfort and power was the only way to grab those. It had nothing to do with differences in styles of prayer, fasting or any other religious rituals. Greed and lust was the main cause of all those bloodbath that took place after the death of prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and till today it is going on in the Arab land. So, do not try to teach me! I say prayer to Allah, 5 times a day and I do not belong to any sect. I neither want to believe in any sect because I am not a greedy power hungry bas….

    • Amir from Vancouver,Canada
      Just like in Christianity and other faiths, Muslims are not immune to religious differences.

      We are all humans and no one has a right to tell us what faith we should or should not follow. No one to date has proven which religion is true. But let us stop blood baths and killings in the name of religions and have dialogues to sort out political differences, and strongly advocate democracy and human values. [Edited for brevity]

  12. I am a Christian what i have seen is this difference and fighting are among all religion.Mostly happens due brain washing of innocent people power hungry greedy selfish people want to use them for their personal gain.I have seen it happening time and time again.This cause confusion among the real followers of any religion.We can only hope these innocent people one day find the truth and ignore one who teach them for personal gain.
    Joe from India

  13. We already have a Caliph in Saudi Arabia ! It is not the Caliph, but the Ummah
    By praying five times a day, fasting in the month of Ramadan, going for pilgrimage to Mecca and then mistreating and abusing sisters,daughters, mothers and women folks – how will a new Caliph help in solving those misdeeds? Let us stick to democracy, human rights and fairness towards fellow human beings – male, female, young and old, and then we will not ask for arrival of a Mahdi

  14. The minimum requirement to be a Muslim, a person must believe the five pillars of Islam (Shahadah, pray five times a day, to fast in Ramadan, to pay Zakat or alms and perform Hajj or pilgrimage to Makkah, if one can afford). Allah did not said go for hajj in Karbala, Najaf, Chitagogn or New York. Allah did not say intermingle your prayers with Ali (RA), Allah did not say take your commands of worshiping from the Mulah’s and Ayatulahs.

    Anyone who does not believe these, then you can ask yourself, whether your are true Muslim or not, or innovated Muslims with various degrees of Shirks.

  15. Who is really anyone to make comments or judge any people anywhere in the world? Who is the western world to speak of democracy. Fascism and all atrocities of the like started there.
    This war is a war between the so=called western allies and the eastern allies (Russia, China and Iran and Syria is the playground. The goal is control of oil and gas pipelines, the playground is Syria, the scapegoat is the Alawites, who, unlike all those false claims are AHLUL BEIT and are not a sect or division or off shoot of any religion.
    Now those who feel that they have the knowledge to judge the Alawites/Ahlul/Beit, Children of Ali and Fatima, think twice before you make any comment!!!
    Additionally, the keeper of this website, please set the record straight by correcting your false claims about the Alawites!!!Thank you.

  16. Maybe had more Muslims opened up their Qurans and read the word of God and felt his love throughout their bodies and within their minds they would have no need to fight, no need to listen to a “scholar” and understand that our God, the most loving did not want to make religion complicated. Religion is easy, you love your creator in an effort to understand a fraction of his everlasting love for you. YA ALLAH! YA WADUD! (OH God, The Most Loving!)

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