The ‘Alawī Shaykhs of Religion

A Brief Introduction

in Sociology of Islam
Restricted Access
Get Access to Full Text
Rent on DeepDyve

Have an Access Token?

Enter your access token to activate and access content online.

Please login and go to your personal user account to enter your access token.


Have Institutional Access?

Access content through your institution. Any other coaching guidance?


Gaining insight into the past, present and potential future roles and functions of the ‘Alawī sect’s religious leadership is problematic amidst the ongoing Syrian conflict. The purpose of this short introduction is to shed some light on the subject of ‘Alawī religious leadership and highlight the historical importance of ‘Alawī religious shaykhs to the preservation of their community. The study applied an inductive, exploratory and qualitative approach based on the reliable secondary literature, field observation and interviews with some key personalities from within the sect. The main discovery highlighted in the article is that the traditional influence and capacity of ‘Alawī religious leaders to guide and preserve the community has been drastically impaired since the 1980s. This became a crucial factor in the dilemma ‘Alawīs faced at the onset of the Syrian crisis in 2011. This study hopes to contribute to the question of ‘Alawī religious and communal identity in the twenty-first century, a subject of importance to efforts to resolve the Syria crisis.

The ‘Alawī Shaykhs of Religion

A Brief Introduction

in Sociology of Islam



Al-Arabiya (September 12 2011). Prominent Alawite Clerics Denounce Assad Regime’s ‘Atrocities.’

Al-Jundi Sami (1969). Al Ba‘th. Beirut: Dar al-Nahar.

Batatu Hanna (1981). Some Observations on the Social Roots of Syria’s Ruling Military Group and the Causes for its Dominance. Middle East Journal35(3): 33144.

Batatu Hanna (1999). Syria’s Peasantry: The Descendants of its Lesser Rural Notables and their Politics. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Berkey Jonathan P. (2003). The Formation of Islam: Religion and Society in the Near East 600–1800. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Boneschi Paulo (1940). Une fatwà du Grande Mufti de Jérusalem Muhammad Amin al-Husayni sur les Alawites. Revue de l’histoire des religions122(1): 13452.

De Planhol Xavier (1997). Minorités En Islam Géographie Politique et Sociale. Paris: Flamarion.

Farouk-Alli Aslam (2015). The Genesis of Syria’s Alawi Community. In Kerr Michael and Larkin Craig (eds.) The Alawis of Syria: War Faith and Politics in the Levant pp. 2747. London: Hurst.

Friedman Yaron (2010). The Nusayrī-‘Alawīs: An Introduction to the Religion History and Identity of the Leading Minority in Syria. Leiden: Brill.

Goldsmith Leon (2013). God Wanted Diversity: Alawite Pluralist Ideals and their Integration in Syrian Society 1832–1973. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies40(4): 392409.

Goldsmith Leon (2015a). Alawi Diversity and Solidarity from the Coast to the Interior. In Kerr Michael and Larkin Craig (eds.) The Alawis of Syria: War Faith and Politics in the Levant pp. 14158. London: Hurst.

Goldsmith Leon (2015b). Cycle of Fear: Syria’s Alawites in War and Peace. London: Hurst.

Goldsmith Leon (2016). The Alawite ‘Identity Reform.’ The Maghreb and Orient Courier23.

Gubser Peter (1979). Minorities in Power: The Alawites of Syria. In McLaurin Ronald D. (ed.) The Political Role of Minorities in the Middle East pp. 1748. New York: Praeger.

Hinnebusch Raymond (2012). Syria: From ‘Authoritarian Upgrading’ to Revolution? International Affairs88(1): 95113.

Jessup Henry H. (1910). Fifty-Three Years in Syria. London: Fleming H. Revell.

Mneimneh Hassan (n.d.). The Alawites in Syrian Society: Loud Silence in a Declaration of Identity Reform. Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Murshid Nur al Mudhi ’ (2013). Glimpses into the Murshidīyah Movement: Memories Testimonies Documents. Trans. Roberts Nancy . Beirut: Karaky Press.

Seale Patrick (1988). Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Srinivas Smriti (1995). Conjunction, Parallelism and Cross-Cutting Ties among the Muslims of Ladakh. The Tibet Journal20(3): 7195.

Talhamy Yvette (2008). The Nusayrī Leader Isma‘il Khayr Bey and the Ottomans (1854–58). Middle Eastern Studies44(6): 895908.

Talhamy Yvette . (2010). The Fatwas and the Nusayrī/Alawis of Syria. Middle Eastern Studies46(2): 17594.

The Economist (June 30 2011). The Squeeze on Assad.

van Dam Nikolaos (2011). The Struggle for Power in Syria: Politics and Society under Asad and the Ba‘th Party. 4th ed. New York: I.B. Tauris.

Yaffe Gitta (1993). Suleiman al-Murshid: Beginnings of an Alawi Leader. Middle Eastern Studies29(4): 62440.

Yaffe-Schatzmann Gitta (1995). Alawi Separatists and Unionists: The Events of 25 February 1936. Middle Eastern Studies31(1): 2838.


Content Metrics

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 66 66 26
Full Text Views 76 76 62
PDF Downloads 17 17 6
EPUB Downloads 0 0 0