sábado, 14 de noviembre de 2015

Druzes, Ishikis, Alevis, Bektashis, Alawites, Yarsanis, Kakais, Mandeans, Yezidis, Shabaks, Donmehs, Zaydis, Ismailis, Karaites, Essenians & Pyramidism1

In the Armenian village of Khasab, in March 2014, the jihadists even destroyed the Russian radar (operating there since the Cold War) in the area of Jabal Akra, sending a message to the Russians that their naval base in Tartus may be next.

Historical and Archaeological Records relate the People of Israel in Exile in Syria, Mesopotamia and Persia up to ca. 300 BCE. This corroborates the belief in the Israelite origin of peoples living in Syria like the Druzes, Alawites...

The Druzes, contrary to other Ismailis, don't do hajj. 

Is Kaka'i (also written Kaka'ee) another name for Yarsani? According to some it's their name in Iraq, while others consider it with the Shabak as subdivisions of the Yarsani religion. 

According to a Pan-Jewish association the Ismailis & the Zaydis are crypto Jewish or the like. I think it makes sense that the Zaydis are the offspring of Himyarites.

Yazidi people have genetic bonds with Jewish people. “In the Holocaust, the goal was to annihilate an entire people, the Jews. IS has a similar plan — to exterminate an entire people, the Yazidis.” 'ISIS want to impregnate Yazidi women and smash their blond bloodline'. ISIS is reportedly kidnapping Yazidi women in an attempt to stop the bloodline of blonde hair and blue eyes. The minority group is originally Aryan (Israelite like the western Europeans) and has retained a fairer complexion, blonde hair and blue eyes by only marrying within the community. Yazidis are a monotheistic religion like the rest of us Jews, Christians and Muslims. They believe in one G-d who created the world. Here's where they are different. They believe that G-d entrusted the world into the care of 7 angels or heft sirr (the 7 Mysteries). Seven is a divine number in Judaism too. The head one is known as "Melek Taus" or the Peacock Angel.

In Aramaic "People of the Covenant" is "Bnai Kyomo". Eastern Christians, especially Nestorians, are part of this people, therefore Israelites. Israeli Aramean leader First Lieutenant (res.) Shadi Khallul explains in this video the historical Jewish ancestry of the modern Aramean people in being descended from Jewish Christians of Antiquity and how modern Arameans therefore are one of the Para-Jewish peoples constituting the wider Jewish nation together with the core rabbinically Jewish people itself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gMNYPR48gQ

The popular blog Harry's Place has this link to an interview of Gershman on NPR radio."There are more good people in the world than Muslim terrorists," he says. Albanian Muslims tend to belong to the Bektashi sect, a Sufi subset of Shi'a Islam viewed as heretical by Sunni Islam.

It's not that surprising when you know Bektashis are Alevis & therefore Israelites. The name Albania in fact would come from ha-Levan, meaning the white. There was anciently an Albania in Caucasia, an area widely known for their Israelites. It was white because in Caucasia snows often.

Alawis are virtually part of Shia Islam, but their heterodoxy makes them oftem be regarded as non-Muslims. There are 7 million Syrian Alawis. They're Jewish in origin according to different scholars. The Moroccan royal family is also Alawi together with the Moroccan ruling elites which are a total of 2,200,000 Alawis just in Morocco, but they deny their Shia roots in a mainly Sunni country. The relation between Alawis, Alevis & bektashis reinforces the belief that these sects have Jewish origin. In the last 300 years 200 Jewish families converted forcibly to Islam. From them comes the current Moroccan queen, so the king & queen in Morocco have Jewish origin. How many Moroccans descend from these 200 Jewish families? Let's say they are 800,000. There would be at least 3 million crypto-Jewish Moroccans. Alawites are closer to Orthodox Christianity than to Islam.

Accusations that Alevis, Bektashis and Dönmeh practice incest and heterosexual group sex in dark rooms are clearly really completely unfounded as any such acts would clearly be ground for religious excommunication indeed.

How do do we conciliate the belief of Druzes being descendants of Jews while others say they descend from Jethro? Easy. Jethro's Ishmaelites went to the wilderness with Israel. They got to the Promised Land & sojourning there they mingled with them. Some of the Jethroites maintained their identity inspite the obvious mixing with the Children of Israel. From this last group the Druzes would come.

Islamic mysticism & sectarianism would include Sufism, Sevener & Twelver Shi'ism, the Druze, as well as such "revivalist" movements as Ahmadiyya & Mahdiyya among others.

The mountainous areas of Syria have always been a safe haven for minority groups seeking security. Three Islamic sects found refuge there: the Assassins (Nizari Isma'ilis) and the Druze who were direct offshoots of the Isma'ili Sevener Fatimids of Egypt, and the Alawis who were based on extremer Twelver Shi'a thought mixed with syncretic Christian and traditional influences. The Alawi are one of several groups of extremist Shi'a sects known as the Ghulat (exaggerators). While most Shi'a groups revere Ali and his family, the Ghulat have gone beyond veneration, considering Ali to be the very manifestation of God.

Ali-Eli with the Lion of Judah

The Alawis are a tribal people, divided into four main tribes. They are a closed society and they see themselves as a persecuted and despised people (just like the Jews), who actually are the chosen people of God (like the Jews as well), the only ones to have seen the light in a world of darkness. While maintaining their beliefs they pretend to adhere to the dominant religion present in order to escape persecution (like in crypto-Judaism. No wonder why their religion is regarded crypto-Judaic).

The 'Alawi community is divided into the "Khassah", the initiated religious leaders who learn the mysteries of the religion, and the ignorant majority called "'Ammah". Any male over eighteen can try and receive initiation if he passes certain tests. He is then attached to a spiritual guide and can gradually ascend to higher degrees of initiation (Najib, Natik, Imam). All Khassah must pledge to keep the secrets of the faith (Kitman) and it's obligations. The ignorant 'Ammah are expected only to keep general moral rules, be loyal to the community's spiritual leaders, celebrate the 'Alawi feasts and make pilgrimages to the tombs of various holy men, amongst them al-Khidr (Elijah, St. George) and other saints venerated also by Muslims and Christians.

The Alawis believe that all people were stars in the world of light, but fell from there due to disobedience. They believe they must be reincarnated seven times before they once again return to the stars where Ali is prince. If they are sinful, they will be reborn as Christians until their atonement is complete. Infidels will be reborn as animals. The actual Alawi beliefs and practices are based on their book, the "Kitab al-Majmu".

A visitor will not encounter an Alawite who will discuss the particulars of his beliefs. In fact, an Alawite would tell the visitor he is a Muslim, since he sees himself as one. The common Alawite person does not even know his group's teachings, because they are so secret.

Jabal Druze

The Arab word for mountain is Jabal & Jabal Druze is the mountainous area of former volcanoes at the west & comprising the portion of Syria at the border with Jordan. In March 1922 s State of Souaida was formed under the French mandate, named after the capital city, As-Suwayda, & renamed in 1927 as the Jabal Druze State.

The Druses and their Religion

The Druses of the Lebanon. Their Manners, Customs, and History. With a translation of their Religious Code. Bj George "Washington Chasseadd, late of Beirout, Syria. London: Bentley, 1855.

A volume realizing the promise of such a title would command no vulgar interest, especially from a writer whose opportunities of observation and study were so considerable as those which appear to have been enjoyed by Mr. Chasseaud. But we are sorry that we cannot say that M. Chasseaud has been equal to his opportunities. He has undoubtedly given us a certain insight into the customs of those extraordinary tribes, and some of his pictures are not altogether wanting in colour and animation ; his version, too, of their religious and moral system is sufficiently interesting, but the two or three dozen pages which he devotes to their history, are a bad title on which to found a claim to be called a historian of the Druses. In truth, his pretensions are more modest in the text than in the title; for in the former he claims only to have given "a brief historical sketch"; but unless the responsibility of the title can be shifted upon the publishers, the author has sent out his book in a character which it cannot sustain.

The sketch, such as it is, while it deals chiefly with matters of secondary interest, and touches upon the many theories that perplex our inquiry into the origin of the Druses; scarcely at all notices the struggles between them and tlie Maronites, which have contributed more, perhaps, to make them known to Europe, than any other occurrence in their history, worthy as that history is of being studied for the singular characteristics of religion and government it discloses, and the curious theories involved in its origin.

The most hopeful feature, as it occurs to us, in Mr.Chasseaud's book, is the youthfulness of the style, from which we are inclined to infer, though perhaps without sufficient warrant, the youth of the author. If we are right in. supposing him to be of unripe years, a good many of his faults of style will be accounted for ; and, as a specimen of precocity, the book may be considered fair enough.

Time, reading, and experience, have an irresistible tendency to confine a man to statements of fact, and prune down his redundant imagination. To borrow our author's style, this faculty of his, as might be expected, runs riot most freely in the field of description. In mere narrative he is more staid, natural, and it need scarcely be added, far more pleasing; although even there we meet with somewhat startling juvenilities. A 'Druse peasant, for instance, is made to give the history of his courtship, and cannot get through it without telling us that ** the course of true love never did run smooth," an evidence of familiarity with English literature, that must be rare, to say the least of it, among the Druses. There are, nevertheless, a good many interesting, and, we have no doubt, faithful pictures of Druse life and manners in the book, and had its title been less pretentious, these imperfections of style, to which we have thought it necessary to allude, would not have been so conspicuous.

Beyond a few opinions modestly ventured as to the descent of the Druses from the ancient Hivites, and some snatches of their modern annals, there is not much information of an historical kir^ to be derived from the volume. As we before observed, their struggle with the Maronites is only once or twice noticed, and that incidentally; but who the Maronites are we are left to our own research to discover. With regard to the peculiar doctrines, however, of the Druses, doctrines so very different from any professed elsewhere, we have not so much reason to complain. They are noticed in the course of the sketches: and the Appendix, from which we propose to make an extract or two, contains what purports to be the exact system both of belief and morals adopted by the Druses. Eccentric as this symbol may appear, and crowded as it is with absurdities, a closer inspection will show that its principal features, though at present to be found only amongst the Druses, were by no means confined to these tribes, or even originated by them. They are extinct monsters of imagination for the bulk of mankind, but they had, even amongst men claiming to be Christians, as real an existence as the Megalosaurus had in the material world. In a word, the creed or the mysteries of the Druses are plainly an offshoot of the ancient Gnosticism, and the result of a precisely similar grafting of eastern myths, and what has been called eastern philosophy, upon the truths of Revelation. This will appear with sufficient clearness when we come to place the matters of comparison in juxtaposition; and a little inquiry will enable us, moreover, to ascertain with tolerable accuracy the period when the Druse doctrines began to grow into their present shape, though we cannot pretend to carry our speculation so far back as the patriarchal times.

We believe it will be found that the history proper of the Druses begins about the period of the Mahometan Schism between the literal and figurative expounders of the Koran. Their history, as a distinct nationality, commences at that epoch, because it is just then we meet with the originators of their religious system. It is hardly necessary to say they began with the figurative interpretation of the Koran, for, grotesque as is the compilation of that celebrated book, its letter could never lend itself even remotely to a construction resembling the creed of the Druses. Their doctrines, in a crude state of course, were^ first made public in Cairo, by two leaders of the figurative school, Mahommed, son of Ismael, surnamed Darusi, and Harasa, son of Ali, surnamed Al Hadi, or the leader.

It was not to be supposed that opinions like theirs could establish themselves without of)position, or indeed, establish themselves at all in a large community ; and accordingly we find the coryphsei of the new doctrines obliged to escape from Cairo, and take refuge in the mountains. They had, however, made some proselytes, and one in particular, of great importance — liakem, formerly the caliph of the family of Ali. They taught him that he was no less a personage than the incarnation of the Deity, and freely applied to him all the epithets that in the Koran are applied to God alone. Whether he allowed his head to be turned by their adulation, or simply lent himself to the imposture, certain it is, a total change was wrought in his character. From being a zealous upholder of the law, and a stern persecutor of Jews and Christians, he threw the law overboard, and allowed the infidels to live unmolested.

When Hampsa was obliged to withdraw from Cairo, and seek in the Lebanon that hospitality which is probably of earlier date than the religion of the Druses, Hakem supplied him with money, which Hampsa paid back in incense, and published his mysteries from the unapproachable secrecy and security of the mountains. , Ihjs was quite a congenial spot for the growth of gnosticism in any of its varieties. Basilides was anxious in his own day to establish the five years' probationary silence of Pythagoras; though, indeed, the gnostics have not been peculiar in affecting secrecy and mystery, at least until their extravagancies were ripe for publicity. It was the same with the Albigenses, who, however, were a slip of the parent stock, and later still, with the first Jansenists, whose wellknown motto was, "occulte propter metum Judseorum".

But the apotheosis of Hakem could not be complete before his death; for it was hard to persuade men that another living and moving man, with whom they were in daily intercourse, was a mere phantasm, as they declared Hakem to be; a farther point of similarity between them, and we believe, all varieties of Gnostics, who believed that the Redeemer never was born, and never suffered in the flesh; but that he was a mere manifestation of the Deity to corporeal eyes, having no real or substantial existence. The appearance of Hakem, in the year 375, of the Hegyra and his enthronization in 386, were, as Hampsa taught, after the death of Hakem, mere visions for the purpose of giving men some idea of the Creator. Regarding God himself, it was held that He could not be described by attributes — you were forbidden to com'pare Him with anything earthly, and it was equally unlawful to speak of Him in the negative. The spirits immediately next in rank to God were five. Mind, Soul, Word, Precursor, and Follower. The five were parts of a whole, just as in the taper the wax, wick, flame, and stand, constitute the entire. The flame, Hampsa added, is at first of a bluish red, soon seen, and soon disappearing— symbolical of Hampsa himself, who, though he assigned to Hakem the first place in his system, seems to have reserved the most important one for his own especial gratification. Accordingly, it is from the incarnation of *' Mind,'' in Hampsa, rather than fr*om any of the events in the life of Hakem that the Druse epoch dates. He is styled the first cause of causes, the unique teacher who instructs the whole world, — who exalts and humbles all the other ranks of spirits, — the hand of time, the one possessor of argument, — nay, the title of Allah itself is not withheld from him.

This body of doctrine with a moral code not altogether so absurd, is committed to the charge of certain ministers called Akals, the precise nature of whose functions, or anything beyond their great influence over the people, it is not easy to determine. Most probably the isolation of the Druses in religion, as well as their mountain fastnesses, contributed to secure their independence for so many centuries, as the same causes secured that of their neighbours, the Maronites, for a period almost equally long: and both these nations, though so different in religious profession, and both so warlike, lived in wonderfully good intelligence, and often brotherhood in arms, until Europe and Asia conspired to embroil them, and gave rise to scenes of blood and desolation such as even Palestine has rarely witnessed.

The Maronites, whose name and origin as a religious body appears involved in almost as great obscurity as that of the Druses, ought to command a relative interest at least, in any historian of the latter, or even in any one writing a book about them. We of course feel no ordinary interest in one of the few oriental churches of our own communion. We could gladly discuss the rival theories regarding their early errors and the time of their final reunion with the Roman Church, were they our peculiar concern at this moment; but this much is certain, that whatever may have been their errors at a remote period, their union with the Church at the present day is so complete and intimate, that learned Maronites, with pardonable zeal for the good name of their ancestors, have ingeniously laboured to prove that there was no real difference of opinion between Rome and the Maronites in
matters of doctrine. And it struck us as something very strange, that Mr. Chasseaud was so destitute of even the ordinary inquisitiveness of Englishmen, as not to discover in his visit to the convent of Daer al Shafi that it is the residence of a Patriarch of Antioch, who has seventeen suffragans in the Lebanon, who takes the name of Peter, is in communion with Rome, and governs a Church so interestingly primitive in ritual, discipline, and observances, though perhaps a Protestant might not be willing to allow it primitive belief.

We extract a rather pleasing description of the preliminaries to a Druse marriage.

"When these preliminaries have been arranged, then three days before the time fixed for the celebration of the wedding, the young man assembles together all the youths of the village, and picking out of these the finest and handsomest looking men, makes them arm themselves cap-a-pie, and himself a perfect armoury of warlike weapons, heading them, he proceeds in a regular procession to the house of the father of his future bride, who, on his side having duly received intimation of the fact, arms himself and his household also, and stands at the threshold of the door to receive him, demanding in words similar to Scott's celebrated song —

* Oh come ye in peace here or come ye in war. Or to dance at our bridal young Lord Lochnivar? *

Here, in presence of the assembled villagers, and after loud discussion, the final articles of the marriage are settled and agreed to; the bride's father who possesses some portion of that love of gain inherent amongst Eastern nations, usually adds a few piastres or a sheep or two to what was originally contemplated in the valuation of the bride.

"But the young man who is impatient to obtain the final consent, and who, moreover, remembers that 'nunkey pays for me,' that his father will bear the cost of expenses, usually agrees to the compact; it is then agreed as a secondary matter of consideration what dowry is to be settled by the young man upon the bride herself; but this is merely a fictitious arrangement, for such a thing as pin-money is unknown amongst Druse married ladies.

"This point adjusted, the young man solemnly declares, and promises to the family to protect and love his future wife; then the betrothed girl, veiled from head to foot and accompanied by her nearest female relations, is brought to the door, and her lover asks her in a distinct voice, that all-important question which settles the destinies of so many poor mortals upon earth. As a matter of course the girl replies in the affirmative, but at the same time she presents him in token of her future obedience with a dagger carefully drawn up in a woollen scarf of her own manufacture, and which she has many da^s, nay, years, previously knitted, inch by inch, as she pictured up in her childish imagination the realisation of this happy hour when the bold lover should come to ask her for this token. It is to be hoped that the husband may never have occasion to unrip the threads which conceal this sharp-edged tool from sight, for among the Druses it is supposed that he will only resort to it in order to protect his wife from some murderous assault, or to satiate the hateful passion of jealousy. * * *

"At last the auspicious morning for the celebration of the marriage arrives. Stout preparations are early on foot at the house of the bridegroom ; women are busy washing up and scrubbing the floor, and arranging mats, cushions, etc., against the reception of the expected guests, and those guests are supposed to consist of all and every one who may choose to present themselves to partake of the hospitality or join in the revelry, it being always understood that these people do make their appearance in their best holiday attire, and this seems to have been a custom prevalent ever since the days of our Saviour, all over the Holy Land and Syria. As in the parable the guest who presented himself at the wedding feast without a wedding garment was instantly cast out
and expelled, so at the present day it would be looked upon and resented as an insult if any labourer made his appearance without donning his best holiday attire.

"Then, again, in apt illustration of another parable, it is still the duty of the Lord of the feast to assign to those who honour him with their presence, a position in his house, or a seat in his divan, according to their respective claims to consideration. Thus in the outer courts are invariably to be encountered the poorer classes of inhabitants, all served with equal liberality and profusion, but none permitted to enter into the precincts of the house itself, unless it be on servile errands ; while in the interior, those admissible to distinction are ranged with particular care and precision along the room, the most honourable guests being seated at the top, and near the master of the house himself, and those of least pretension nearest to the door of entry".

The following description of the order of Akals is not a little flattering to those *' holy persons," as Mr. Chasseaud appears to consider them. We believe there must be a certain amount of truth in it, and we hope for their I sakes the truth is the predominating element.

"The class of Akals is not necessarily restricted to the male population; women are often admitted, provided they are of a certain age, and are prepared to submit themselves to the same system of self-denial which characterises the men. The following is the course of proceeding which is adopted when a person is desirous of joining the order. A necessary preliminary is, the person who is a candidate for the honour of admission into the sacred corps, should intimate his intention to an Akal, upon which a meeting is held. This is a very solemn affair, and the ordeal one of the strictest imaginable. An enquiry takes place into the general character and conduct of the aspirant — his whole life is passed in review, his habits criticised, and everything that is known respecting him fully discussed.

"Supposing him not to be guilty of any crime, and to be well recommended, the next step is that he should be made acquainted with the requisitions of the Druse religion, which are then set before him, and he is informed that in order to be worthy of becoming an Akal, he must forthwith abandon every vice, and relinquish all the idle habits he may hitherto have indulged in. He must not smoke nor drink wine nor spirits ; neither must he take snuff; he must be content to wear the plainest apparel (this was perhaps aimed at the fairer portion of Akal society), and in short, laying aside every thought of splendour and luxury, must only consider how he can best show in his demeanour and life, a firm devotion to the siTnpIe habits and sacred principles of the order of which he now desires to become an adopted member.

"But this is not enough: the capability to lead a holy life is not always equal to the desire. A temporary excitement of religious tendencies, a more than ordinary warmth of imagination, a sudden calamity may for a time awaken the stings of conscience, and affect the tenderest sensibilities of the heart, but the good impressions too often yield before the force of temptation, and the dormant energies which have been roused for the moment, sink back into their wonted lethargy, or a zeal untempered by knowledge proves that we have undertaken a burthen too heavy to bear, and that we had better not have put our hand to the plough if we cannot forbear to look back.

"The wise Akals, therefore, are not satisfied with the test of promises, they require a little proof, and to this end they allow the candidate for jidmission into their ranks a certain fixed period, varying in duration according to the man's previous life, before the lapse of wliich he is expected to have made up his mind fully as to his capability of conforming faithfully for the rest of his life to the tenets of so strict and severe a profession. During this period of probation, all his actions and pursuits are closely watched, and scrupulously noted ; and should he at the end of this allotted term still evince a desire to become an Akal, he is then admitted into the Kaloue, and suffered to attend some of their religious meetings and listen to an exposition of their creed and doctrines. Twelve months are now devoted to his religious education, at the end of •which he is considered sufficiently tried and instructed to assume the title of Akal. Then the ceremony of donning the white turban takes place, for by this white turban the Akals are recognised, and he is thereupon admitted into all the mysteries of the faith, and becomes one of the initiated brethren.

"Although almost all of what are commonly called the pleasures of life are denied to these holy men, yet celibacy is not enjoined upon the sect. An Akal may marry if he pleases, but it is not often that he does so, especially among the Druses, The Akals of that tribe are, generally speaking, anxious to detach themselves as much as possible from the ordinary pursuits of mankind, they lead a life of the strictest devotion, passed in prayer and profound contemplation of the mysteries of religion, and are held in the highest respect and esteem for their amiable manners and virtuous lives by the whole of the people.

"They exercise, too, a very considerable influence in temporal matters, for nobody would think of entering upon any plan, or conducting an affair without consulting the Akals ; nothing of importance could be attempted, even by a Sheik, without their advice and approval; and altogether they exercise a general controll and supervision over the manners and morals of the Druse people. which has a most beneficial effect, for certainly as the Akals are the best of Druses, so the Druses are the best of the inhabitants of Lebanon.

"The Akals are more especially regarded as the ministers of peace; their very presence banishes discord, and whenever a Druse peasant meets an Akal, he salutes him as one who is the harbinger of peace and happiness, and kisses his hand with reverence and affection, ''The Akals are very jealous of their Khaloues, and no European or stranger is suffered to enter them during the hour of prayer; but at any other time they may be entered by any other sect, upon obtaining the permission of an Akal, although there is little to reward curiosity in the Khaloues, for they are very plain buildings. The walls of some of them are ornamented with different colours, and a rush mat and basin of running water are always to be found in them; the battle flags of the tribe are also hung up there.

"As the Akals are so highly reverenced during life, all honour is paid to them when death summons them to another world. Upon the occasion of an Akal's funeral, the whole village turns out and accompanies the body to the grave, and the last rites are performed with greater honours than are usually paid even at the funeral of a Sheik. Sums of money, pieces of cloth, and numerous presents, are often given by the villagers to be deposited in the grave or vault of the deceased Akal, and all the virtues and good actions which have distinguished him in life are inscribed on his tomb with affectionate fidelity".

We now come to the portion of Mr. Chasseaud's book which has been most satisfactory to us, and it is, of all others, the appendix. It contains an epitome of the mythology and morality of the Druses from native sources, being a translation of their symbol, and give evidence of that strong family likeness to the other monsters of Gnosticism which we already noticed. We shall find in these extracts the doctrine of a good and evil principle — of the world being, if not the creation of the evil spirit, at least a consequence of his existence, of its having been enacted by an inferior agency — of the unreality of the appearance and removal of Hakem, for which, in the gnostic doctrine we may substitute Christ — the transmigration of souls — the blending of the Gospel with Eastern fable and mysticism, and numerous other features common to the Druse and gnostic systems.

We need only instance a few of the extravagances of Basilides to establish at once the relationship between the Druse mysteries and his. The Father, he says, is the origin of all things — He it was who created Nous or the intelligence, who in his turn produced Aoyor, the parent of <^poprj(Tis, or prudence, whose offspring was 'S.o(pM, or wisdom, which last begat Auj/a/x^j, or power, the Father of virtues, princes and angels, together constituting the first heaven, succeeded by other heavens, to the number of three hundred and sixty-five. The god of Jews, according to him, was a spirit of the lowest rank, and when Nous was dispatched by the Father in the person of Christ, it was not He that sufi^ered crucifixion, but Simon of Cyrene. In some instances, as will be seen, the Druse doctrines are an exact copy of those of Basilides, but it seems to us made grosser and more carna.1 to meet the comprehension of the mountaineers.


"The Cre^ator, the supreme, created all things.

"The first thing he created was the minister, 'Universal Mind,' the praises of God be upon him ! and the Creator gave to ' Mind' the power to create, classify, and arrange all things.

"The Spirit, Mind, has the following attributes: — ' The Virgin of Power,' 'the Receiver of Revelation,' ' the knower of the wishes or desires,' 'the Explainer of Commands,' ' the Spring of Light,' 'the Will of Production,' *the Charm of the Creator,' and so forth. "It was this spirit, 'Mind,' known bj the above attributes, that arranged the world.

"The Mind is the pen that writes upon Stone, and the Stone •which it writes upon is the 'Soul.' "The Mind is a perfect being, whicli being is at liberty to act, and is possessed of a free will ; all he ordains or creates is in accordance with the will of the Creator. "When the Creator created ' Mind,' he made him possessed of a free will, and with power to separate or to remain and dwell with the Creator. "Ultimately, ' Mind' rebelled and abandoned the Creator, and thus became the Spirit of Sin, which sin was predestined to create the Devil.

"And the existence, or creation of the Devil, occasioned the creation of another spirit, called ' Universal Suul,' and this Spirit was the cause of the Creation of all things existing. "The Devil is perfect sin, and the Creation of this Spirit was permitted by the Creator, to show the unlimited power of the Creator in creating a Spirit opposite to God. "Now, when mind rebelled against the Creator, the Creator threw him out of Heaven, but mind knew that this was done by 'the Creator to test his faith, and to punish him for his sin; so he repented, and asked forgiveness, and implored help against the devil.

•' And the Creator pitied mind, and created him a helpmate, called universal soul ; this spirit God created from the spirits of the knowledge of good and evil.

"Then, 'Mind' told 'Soul' to yield obedience to the Creator, and * Soul' yielded, and became a helpmate to * Mind,' and then these two spirits tried to force into submission to the ' Creator,' the evil spirit, or Devil.

"They came to the Evil one, 'Mind' from behind, and 'Soul* from before, in this fashion, to marshal the devil into the presence of the Creator; but the Devil evaded them, being unguarded on either side, which enabled him to escape from them to the right and left.

"The 'Mind' and 'Soul' finding this to be the case, required each of them a helpmate ; * Mind' required a helpmate to keep the Evil ono from the right side, ' Soul' one to guard him on the left, so as to hem in the devil between them, and prevent his escape on any side.

"So they moved, and immediately two spirits were created; the one was called ' Word,' and the other ' Preceding.' " — pp. 389, 393.

Then follows a succession of those singular creations, pfood and evil, on the Manichsean system of opposites, the Devil, however, proves an overmatch for mind and soul, and their assistants, who, though providing for his safe custody, before, behind, and on both sides, have left him an issue upwards and downwards. The upward course gives him no escape, as bringing him to the very presence he was anxious to avoid, so he dropped downwards, or sunk into the earth, and this was the origin of hell. We next have a psycological theory, embodying the Gnostic and Pythagorean theory of the transmigration.

"When the world was created, it was at the will of the Creator, who called it the World of Souls, and these souls are masculine or feminine. "All the Spirits were created from or out of ' Mind.' "The origin and root of these Spirits is the Creator; next to him ranks ' Mind,' then ' Soul,' and so on in regular succession, as they were created, down to ultimum. The Souls that have been created in the world, ilmt is. Mankind, were numbered from the beginning, and were never diminished or increased, and will remain 80 for all eternity.

"Each Soul is perfect in itself, possessing all the senses, such as hearing, feeling, seeing, tasting, smelling, and touching, and possessing all the attributes and senses which originated by the regular successive creation of the first seven spirits, and each Spirit created possessed, in addition to its own peculiar attributes, the capacities and senses of all the others.

"All the Souls that were created in the world possessed the knowledge of all things except of the Creator, for which cause the Creator placed them in separate bodies, (earthly tabernacles,) and by this means they obtained knowledge of their Creator.

"The bodies, or encasements of these Souls, are all corruptible, but the souls themselves are incorruptible and unchangeable, shifting from one man, or beast, to another, and never differing from what they were and continue to be".

Next succeeds a cosmogony, which, though singular enough, yet partly from its allegorical style, not unlike that of Hesiod's Theogoneia, has not the same freshness of absurdity discoverable in the greater part of the system, ** if shape that may be called which shape has none". Indeed, it is hardly more extravagant than, if stripped of its figurative dress, the most sober theories of ancient philosophers on the same subject. We have it, however, amply made up to us in a passage which, taken in conjunction with the pretensions of the Chinese reformer, afford a rather curious specimen of private interpretation of the Scripture.

*' Abi Zacharias sent Karoon to the country of the Yeman, and surnamed him the Muhdi, (director,) and Karoon understood the secrets of the four books, viz., ' the Psalms, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Koran,' and his faith was promulgated all over the earth.

"And his faith was in the place of one whole day of the three days mentioned in the Gospel on the preaching of Jesus, who said to the people, ^Destroy tkis temple, and I will raise it after three days''.

"And it was meant 'by the three days that the faith of Jesus should last half a day, from twelve o'clock to the evening, and the faith of Soliman, the Persian, from the time of the appearing of the comforter, who is Mohamud, was to last one entire day; and the faith of Karoon also one entire day; and the faith of Kaem el Muntazar Hamsa ebn Ali, at the time of his manifestation, half a day, from morning to noon.

"In the preaching of the Lord, the Messiah, no manifestation takes place, for Jesus said unto the people, ' My time is not consumraated; after me will appear a director, who is prevented from coraiug at this time.*

"And the Creator, [may he be praised !] manifested himself corporeally in the time of the fourth Heaven, in Abdalla ebn Hamed, under the name of Ali; he is the exalted over all exalted, unto whom belongeth the right of command".

We should apologize for the length of these extracts, but it was difficult to attempt anything like a close abstract of doctrines, which have no system or coherence, and cannot be at all fairly judged but from the sample. The probability is, the mass of the Druses understand little or nothing of this secret learning, the knowledge of which is the chief title of the Akals to the veneration of the multitude ; and it is unquestionably a strange thing to find, living and vigorous, the identical heresies that beset the cradle of Christianity, that were refuted by apostle and evangelist, and have been long thought to be extinct. They do not, to he sure, put forward their ancient claim to be a part of Christianity, if not its essence; but there they are, distinct and unmistakeable. It would not be easy to take up the broken links between the last of the Gnostics and the first of the Druses, and perhaps it might be matter for speculation whether any tradition of Gnosticism descended to the latter, or whether their profession, like the Gnostic heresies, was not the result of a renewed though isolated effort to connect *the truths of revelation with philosophy and fable.

It is, at all events, a curious phenomenon, and worth investigation by those whose leisure and course of reading would enable them to prosecute it with advantage; and, taken in all its relations, the history of the Druses, their manners, customs, and religion, could not fail of being an instructive and engaging study. We thought it incumbent upon us in candour to notice what we considered imperfections and short-comings, in the execution of the task which, to judge from the title of his book, Mr. Chasseaud had imposed upon himself; but taken simply as a contribution to our small stock of knowledge regarding a people so interesting and so little known, we have reason to feel indebted to him for the book upon our table. At the present moment, as he has remarked, everything connected with the East has an importance and interest which cannot always be counted upon; but we do not see that in relation to the struggle going on there is any peculiar interest attaching to the Druses. They appear to be the special favourites of Mr. Chasseaud, to the exclusion of the other inhabitants of Lebanon. We have our own preferences, but have no right to quarrel with his, and if they make him a diligent and careful explorer, an accurate and faithful historian, so much the better for him and for the public. It is to be hoped our author has only taken the initiative in this matter, and that he will be followed by others, or take up the matter himself at a later period, bettered by experience and study.

Birth and residence in a country, though not to be overlooked in any one who undertakes to write its history, are not of that primary importance that the author would seem to imagine, and although they may secure faith for what he does write, they will neither make his manner of writing pass current, nor obtain indulgence for his omissions. There were a good many things entitled to commendation, as well as open to criticism, which we should gladly have noticed, but we are obliged to close for the present, too early, indeed, for the merit of the work, or the interest of the subject. We are willing to hope, however, that the labours of future investigators in the same field, which, in truth, is scarcely broken, may occasion a resumption of our own task, and we entertain no doubt that any work including a history of the conflict which began in 1841, between the Druses and Maronites, would of necessity record incidents as striking and dramatic, episodes as moving, achievements as daring, and horrors as atrocious, as any in the annals of mountain warfare.

The Druzes

The Druze started out as a medieval off-shoot of the Ismaili sect of Shi’ism. Not by chance the Ismaili sect is regarded as a crypto-Judaic sect inspite theoritecally part of Islam.

*Druze prefer to refer to themselves as the “People of Divine Unity” or “The Monotheists.”

*They are primarily a gnostic movement.   As was the case with a number of other esoteric and gnostic movements in medieval Islam, they divided the human community to the select few who are initiated in the mysteries and the uninitiated masses.   They prefer to refer to themselves as possessing secret, mystical knowledge (‘irfan), in a parallel way to what Sufis and philosophers claim.

Amal Alamuddin, celebrated Druze married to George Clooney

*The one to two million Druze in the world used to be concentrated in Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.  Along with many other Syrians, the Syrian Druzes have been displaced.  Many are living today as refugees.

*The origin of the Druze goes back to Egypt.   While Egypt today is largely seen as the epicenter of the Arab Sunni world, the origins of Egypt’s Muslim heritage actually go back to the Shi’i tradition.  (Likewise, Iran which today is the center of the Shi’i world was for much of its history the seat of Sunni learning.)     In the 10th century, the Fatimid Dynasty established an Ismai’ili Shi’i realm in Egypt.  Cairo was built as their capital, and the formidable Al-Azhar University—arguably the oldest university in the world—was initially started as a center of Shi’i learning.

Exodus of the Alawites

Before Syria became a proxy war between Saudi Arabia, Iran, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah, many Alawites were actually a part of the rebellion against Assad. Now, the Alawite community is collectively targeted by the opposition — not for supporting Assad, but for simply being Shi’ites. One popular chant among the more religious and extreme rebels reflects this new sectarianism: “The Alawite to the coffin and the Christian to Beirut.”

As a minority sect, there are only a few choices for where the Alawites could go. Iran, who has been helping arm Assad’s forces, would be the most welcoming to the Alawites. However, considering that Persians are not Arabs and Arabic is not spoken in Iran, it would be difficult for the Alawites to start a new life somewhere so foreign. Lebanon and Iraq, the only other Shi’ite strongholds, face immense sectarianism. Just as the emigration of Palestinians into Lebanon led to a devastating civil war, the acceptance of the Alawites — who are even more contested than the Palestinians — would only lead to more civil unrest. In Iraq, sectarian tensions are even more violent and regular.

The Alawites could become the new Kurds. Or, considering the strong role the Syrian Kurds play in securing the Assad regime, the Alawites may find a home in Kurdistan, the unofficially recognized Kurdish territory spanning form northern Iraq and Syria to western Iran and south-east Turkey. The Syrian Kurds are likely to retreat into the Kurdish region after the civil war, and it would not be farfetched to presume the Alawites may follow them. The Kurds, diverse in their religious beliefs from Christianity and Zoroastrianism to both Shi’ite and Sunni Islam, boast a strong ethnic pride. Although they may sympathize with the Alawites and grant them a safe haven, they would still remain isolated from Kurdish society.

There is one scenario where the Alawites could have semi-autonomy over their own land, for their own people. As Ghassan Dahhan argues that the demise of Assad may lead to an Israel-Alawite alliance. The Golan Heights, before being captured by Israel in 1967, belonged to Syria. Today, the Golan Heights hold a large Syrian Druze population. Israeli Chief of Staff Benny Gantz has already suggested the Israel Defense Force is prepared to resettle thousands of Alawite refugees. The move threatens Assad, whose survival largely depends on fear mongering the Alawites into accepting the potential aftermath of regime change, in order to keep them fighting against the rebels. The Sunni Arab world, however, would use the new Alawite Golan Heights as a scapegoat for their hatred toward Israel and could be a new target for extremist Islamist groups. Additionally, the new Sunni government would probably try to recapture the territory, which would only invite new bloodshed between the Alawites and the Sunnis.

Ultimately, there are no good options for the Alawites if they choose to leave Syria after the fall of Assad. Unlike Sunni Syrians who found refuge in neighboring Arab states, the Alawites have little options to find refuge. Wherever they go, an exodus would only widen the Sunni-Shi’ite divide.

Guaranteeing Protection of the Alawites: Part of the Solution
Factoring protection of the Alawites into a political solution will not only ensure that the Alawites are not persecuted and expelled in a post-Assad Syria, but also expedite an end to the civil war. The Alawites have everything to lose with the fall of the House of Assad. Their survival depends on Assad. Many who now fight for Assad were once pro-revolutionaries before Islamic extremists joined the struggle against the regime and pitted Sunnis and Shi’ites against one another.

If the opposition supports a political solution that guarantees the protection of the Alawites and ensure moderates take the lead in a new transitional government, Assad’s support-base would be undoubtedly weakened. Even if he were to reject a political solution, the opposition with the backing of the Alawites could begin to sway the balance of power in Syria and force regime change. It will also appeal to Western states, who are wary that arming the rebels could exasperate the sectarian conflict.

National reconciliation, which the Syrian opposition has recently proposed in its transition roadmap, will help restore the revolution to a battle between a dictatorship and its people, Sunni and Alawite alike, fighting for a freer Syria. A democracy, which the opposition hopes to instill, is just as much about protecting the rights of the minority as it is about representing the majority, after all.

Are the Druzes from the Israelite tribes of Judah, Dan, Zebulon or other tribes?

The Iranian Druzes are five million & are called Mu'akhidun & there other Druzes in northwestern China, these ones in a hidden way, perhaps waiting for a time to disclose their identity & come back home. The Druzes believe there are 2,500,000 Chinese Druzes.

The Druzes are regarded as having Israelite origins, Zebulonite to specify. They are also regarded as having Samaritan roots, so from the Northern Kingdom as well.

Druses -- so-called worshipers of the devil, established in the mountains where numbers of Judeo-Christians took refuge in the first centuries of our era. The image of a serpent appears, sculptured upon the portals of their sanctuaries; and their doctrine contained a good deal of Gnosticism. Are they Danites? They might be too, although the Brass Snake became worshipped by al Israel.

Endgame in Turkey

Since the Islamist AK party first came to power in 2002, Turkey’s self-appointed dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been gradually Islamizing the country. Yet ultimate control over the state has effectively remained shared with Turkey’s secretive secularist Deep State military intelligence agency.

It has however always been clear to the two centers of power in Turkey that this is merely a temporary détente. The neo-imperialist and totalitarian Islamist ideology of establishing a global totalitarian sharia dictatorship guides the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s most dangerous Islamist movement, of which the AKP is part and parcel. The Deep State on its part remains strongly committed to its core mission of protecting the secular nature of the Turkish political system. It has however always been clear to both sides that there would inevitably at some point be a deciding confrontation between the two.

Elections in Turkey are now to a significant extent rigged by the AKP regime and the free media is disappearing as the AKP regime increasingly highjacks independent media and turn them into obedient mouthpieces of the self-appointed dictator. There is still a window of opportunity however during 2016 for an organized popular pro-democracy revolution against the Islamist usurpers whose massive electoral fraud hijacked the recent elections; i.e. as long the pro-democratic opposition parties in parliament have not yet been outlawed and there is still some significant independent media available in the country. Yet a pro-democracy revolution is certainly preferable in every way to solely a military coup d’état that would have to deal quite harshly with the Islamist traitors, including not least the despicable tyrant in the palace.

The eventual confrontation between the two centers of power seem to be rapidly approaching as the Islamist regime seeks to realize its ambition for total control, including commencing an imposed process of introducing sharia law as state law. Yet, the Islamist regime should be especially mindful of the particularly close relationship between Israel and the Deep State military intelligence agency. Israel and the free world in general has a very strong and abiding interest in the development of liberal democracy in Turkey and closing down the pro-democratic opposition parties in the Turkish parliament is therefore clearly a red line. Israel and its strategic partners in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan have a number of viable strategic options at its disposal involving the use of force to varying degrees should the Islamist usurper regime begin closing down the multi-party system in Turkey. Israel wants peace and freedom in Turkey but Israel and its strong partners in the country will certainly not hesitate to take measured, calculated and proportionate action to protect Turkey’s secular order and democratic future.

An Islamist Turkey would be a threat not only to Israel, but to Europe and Russia as well and would threaten American interests throughout the region as the neo-Ottoman agenda involves Turkey taking over the numerous countries of the Arabophonie. This is reflected in Erdoğan’s sponsorship of the Islamic State and other Salafist terrorist organizations in Syria as the AKP regime seeks to take over the Arabophonie as beginning in Iraq and Syria. Erdoğan and Khamenei have similar, yet competing regional strategies as both neo-imperialist Islamist regimes view conquering Israel as the pivot in conquering the Arabophonie as a whole.

The Erdoğan regime would therefore be particularly well advised not to underestimate the considerable resolve and tremendous strategic reach of Israel and its strategic partners inside and outside Turkey. The AKP regime leadership has committed numerous serious crimes including imprisoning generals and journalists on false charges, sponsoring the Islamic state and Syrian al Qaida as well as persecuting the Kurdish people and so the Islamist usurpers may suddenly find themselves court-martialed and even executed as part of a particularly harsh military coup d’état and security crackdown as ordered by the Deep State military intelligence agency. The Deep State obviously understands that military coups are not the best option in light of Turkey’s modern history yet the AKP regime should be mindful that pushing the envelope may lead to quite unexpected, yet particularly severe consequences.

The transition to liberal democracy and open society in Turkey requires protecting the secular order in the country. It is clearly desirable that the transition becomes as peaceful as possible, yet whatever means necessary would certainly need to be undertaken to ensure that Turkey does not turn into a Sunni version of Iran. Liberal-democratic Israel is the sole great power of the Middle East and will unequivocally remain so. Certainly, no one should underestimate the tremendous determination of Jerusalem and its multiple long arms in strategically safeguarding the vital interests of Israel’s close friends and partners throughout the region.

Erdoğan’s Terror Plan

After losing the June 2015 parliamentary elections in Turkey, that country’s self-declared dictator Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also declared war against the Kurdish people by unilaterally attacking the HPG (People’s Defense Forces) in Bashur (Iraqi Kurdistan) after years of ceasefire and also by organizing mass persecution against Kurdish citizens of Turkey within Turkey’s borders, including internal terror against Kurdish-owned businesses and the pro-Kurdish, pro-democracy HDP opposition party, indeed akin to how Hitler in 1938 unleashed the Kristallnacht against Jewish-owned businesses in Germany.

After the June 2015 elections, Mr. Erdoğan tasked Ahmet Davutoğlu who nominally leads Erdoğan’s Islamist AK party with forming a new government. However, it soon became very clear that none of the three substantially de-radicalized opposition parties in parliament were interested in collaborating with Mr. Erdoğan’s dictatorship, but rather were determined to see a CHP-led secularist government without the Islamist AKP. Indeed, forming a government with the toxic Islamist party would in fact be tantamount to political suicide for any of the three opposition parties in the Turkish parliament. 

While the three opposition parties have different political backgrounds and different political histories; democratization and removing Erdoğan’s AKP dictatorship from power is a common denominator that is rather sufficient for forming a new secularist government led by the post-Kemalist CHP with the support of the post-Communist HDP and the post-Fascist MHP.

Alevi ballerinas

The CHP chairperson Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is a Turkish-speaking Alevi Zaza Kurd belonging to the Zaza Kurdish Kureyşan Alevi Kohanim tribe. Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu with his background and democratic personality is therefore someone very capable indeed of politically uniting the three opposition parties and the country’s three main population groups (Anatolians/Turks, Kurds/Zazas and Alevis/Bektashis) under his leadership as the new prime minister with the shared goal of introducing liberal democracy in Turkey and Bakur (Northern Kurdistan inside Turkey). Indeed, the three opposition parties seek a peaceful transition despite Mr. Erdoğan’s refusal to task the majority opposition in parliament with forming a new government.

Rather than asking the main opposition party CHP to form a new government, Mr. Erdoğan instead ordered snap elections in complete contravention of universal democratic procedure after parliamentary elections in which the ceremonial head of state tasks the person best positioned in parliament to form a new government. Mr. Erdoğan is expected to lose the November 2015 elections as well, yet will most likely continue to refuse to permit Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu to form a secularist government with majority support in parliament. This will no doubt cause a severe constitutional crisis which undoubtedly will lead to a pro-democratic revolution in the country. If a pro-democracy revolution is not sufficient for facilitating a democratic transition that will enable the secularist opposition majority in parliament to form a secularist government, then Turkey’s Deep State guardian of secularism in Turkey will really have no other choice but to order a military coup d’état in support of the pro-democratic revolution, something that subsequently will then enable the secularist majority in parliament to form a new government.

However even before that, Mr. Erdoğan is extremely likely to order the MIT intelligence and security agency to perpetrate mass terrorist attacks against completely civilian targets in Turkey and then blame the HPG military force so as to come up with an excuse for outlawing the HDP and perhaps even the MHP as well. There is however no need whatsoever for a snap election in Turkey and Bakur considering that there is already a majority in parliament that supports the formation of a Kılıçdaroğlu government and the basic parliamentary situation is also extremely unlikely to change following the November 2015 snap elections.

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, chairperson of the CHP main opposition party in Turkey.

The AKP is part of the global Muslim Brotherhood movement, the world’s largest Islamist network and as the Islamist Mr. Erdoğan is a Jihadist at heart who ordered the MIT to provide all kinds of support for both Daesh and Syrian al Qaida (a.k.a. the Nusra Front), an orderly democratic transition therefore unfortunately seems highly unlikely indeed as Mr. Erdoğan will want to unleash a Jihadist civil war in Turkey and Bakur if the Islamist AKP is removed from power by the secularist parliamentary majority.

Could Mr. Erdoğan be persuaded to allow the formation of an opposition parliamentary majority government while the AKP would thus become the parliamentary opposition to this new secularist CHP-led government? Certainly the international community should endeavor to persuade Mr. Erdoğan, Mr. Davutoğlu and others in the AKP leadership of the wisdom of participating in an orderly democratic transition in tasking the secularist opposition led by the CHP to form its own government without the unwanted Islamist toxic participation. Nevertheless, Mr. Erdoğan is unlikely to voluntarily abdicate from his self-appointed position as the country’s dictator and so an entirely peaceful transition is therefore unfortunately highly unlikely indeed.

However, Mr. Erdoğan’s apparent plans for mass terrorism must not be allowed to proceed and those responsible in the MIT need to be made to understand that they themselves will become prosecuted for crimes of terrorism if indeed they were to stage such false flag terrorist attacks. This needs to be communicated by MIT’s international partners in clarifying that indeed there will be no domestic impunity for such crimes. While a pro-democracy revolution will indeed most likely become necessary in Ankara, it is nevertheless vital to make sure that the transition will become as peaceful as possible. History teaches us that peaceful transition to liberal democracy is in fact relatively speaking usually much preferable to violent revolutions. While Mr. Erdoğan the dictator will most likely not be willingly reduced to the ceremonial presidential office prescribed by the Turkish constitution, it is nevertheless vital that the democratic transition becomes as peaceful as possible indeed.

The three opposition parties are determined to ensure that Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu will form a pro-democratic secularist government with majority support in parliament. Years of de-radicalization in the three secularist parties have made them well-prepared and ready indeed to spearhead a process of introducing liberal democracy in Turkey and Bakur. Such a process of democratization, liberalization, secularization and de-radicalization in Turkey and Bakur will take several years as the societies of Turkey and Bakur are indeed ready for commencing this very transformational process.

The future of Turkey and Bakur lies in liberal democracy as there can be no room for continued dictatorship with Sultan Erdoğan providing support for his regional partner Caliph Baghdadi. It is therefore vital that the multi-ethnic, pro-democratic forces in the Syrian opposition as led by the feminist YPJ/YPG major military force of Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) liberates the region north of Aleppo through which the Erdoğan regime provides much support for Daesh and the Nusra Front Syrian branch of al Qaida. The non-Kurdish areas of this region can be controlled by the YPJ/YPGs non-Kurdish allies as it is vital indeed that the Turkey-Daesh conduit is completely closed down. Mr. Erdoğan will obviously want to retain territorial continuity with his partner Daesh as he will want to “Syrianize” Turkey and Bakur by further bringing Daesh units into the country. This simply cannot be allowed to happen and it is therefore most essential that the United States provides vital air support for the YPJ/YPG and its allied forces in the liberation of the region north of Aleppo from Jihadist tyranny and terrorism.

The current war between Turkey and the pro-democratic HPG will end at the latest when a CHP-led secularist government is formed in Ankara. However, it is most vital indeed to entirely cut the territorial connection between Turkey and Daesh so as to prevent Mr. Erdoğan from further jihadizing Turkey and Bakur. Therefore, the international community in general and the United States in particular need to make every effort to make sure that the transition to liberal democracy indeed becomes as peaceful as conceivably possible. This crucially requires fully and completely undoing the territorial connection between Turkey and areas held by Jihadist terrorist organizations in Syria. 

While some would argue that the region north of Aleppo currently held by Jihadist terrorist organizations should only be liberated by the YPJ/YPG after a new CHP-led government has been formed in Ankara, closing down the territorial connection between Turkey and Jihadist terrorist organizations in Syria is an important element in ensuring that the democratic transition in Ankara becomes as peaceful as possible indeed.
Are the Anatolian Turks Genetic Semites?

Eastern European Jews have significant Eastern Mediterranean elements which manifest themselves in close relationships with Kurdish, Armenian, Palestinian Arab, Lebanese, Syrian, and Anatolian Turkish peoples.

If Genghis Khan was a Turk, then all Turks are of Mongolian origin, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

The above question made me wonder how much “Turkish” are today’s Turks. People from nomadic tribes that Turks originated, look quite different from a random (if not every single one) Turk from Turkey.

If you place a today’s Turk next to a Greek a southern Italian or pretty much any southern European, you won’t be able to guess who is who, and that’s something that is done here in Greece among friends (we look the same, and half the times, the answer about who is from where is wrong), and I would assume in other places too.

And the first hit on genetics from google I found this; “Genetic studies tell us that the Anatolian Turks (those Turks who live in the Republic of Turkey ) are a mix of West Asian, Central Asian, and Northeast Asian ancestral elements, but primarily West Asian. This means most Turks have deep roots in Turkey and are descended from peoples like the Armenians and the Hittites who once lived in large numbers in that land. Some "Turks" in Turkey also have recent ancestry from the Balkans (e.g., Albanians, Bosnians) and Caucasus (e.g., Circassians ) but have fully assimilated into Turkish culture. Some "Turks" have some recent Jewish (Israelite) ancestors .”

The Anatolian Turks are Semites

"Turkey has experienced major population movements. Population structure and genetic relatedness of samples from three regions of Turkey, using over 500,000 SNP genotypes, were compared together with Human Genome Diversity Panel (HGDP) data. To obtain a more representative sampling from Central Asia, Kyrgyz samples (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan) were genotyped and analysed. Principal component (PC) analysis reveals a significant overlap between Turks and Middle Easterners and a relationship with Europeans and South and Central Asians; however, the Turkish genetic structure is unique. FRAPPE, STRUCTURE, and phylogenetic analyses support the PC analysis depending upon the number of parental ancestry components chosen. For example, supervised STRUCTURE (K= 3) illustrates a genetic ancestry for the Turks of 45% Middle Eastern (95% CI, 42-49), 40% European (95% CI, 36-44) and 15% Central Asian (95% CI, 13-16), whereas at K= 4 the genetic ancestry of the Turks was 38% European (95% CI, 35-42), 35% Middle Eastern (95% CI, 33-38), 18% South Asian (95% CI, 16-19) and 9% Central Asian (95% CI, 7-11). PC analysis and FRAPPE/STRUCTURE results from three regions in Turkey (Aydin, Istanbul and Kayseri) were superimposed, without clear subpopulation structure, suggesting sample homogeneity. Thus, this study demonstrates admixture of Turkish people reflecting the population migration patterns."

And "The major components (haplogroups E3b, G, J, I, L, N, K2, and R1; 94.1%) are shared with European and neighboring Near Eastern populations and contrast with only a minor share of haplogroups related to Central Asian(C, Q and O; 3.4%), Indian (H, R2; 1.5%) and African (A, E3*, E3a; 1%) affinity. [...] high resolution SNP analysis provides evidence of a detectable yet weak signal (<9%) of recent paternal gene flow from Central Asia. The variety of Turkish haplotypes is witness to Turkey being both an important source and recipient of gene flow."

The full article DNA of the people of Turkey which pretty much means, Turks aren’t genetically Turks, but people already living in the Anatolian region that were converted by a minority of nomadic Turks and kept their new identity.

I know very well how important is the national identity, so my intention is not to “show” that they aren’t Turks, instead, for me and anyone else reading this is to realize how similar we are.

Alevis and Alawis; what are their differences? 

While there are apparent similarities, they are quite different in their history and the details of their doctrine. Like most moslem sects they are very complex to understand and even more difficult to summarize!

Alevis and Alawis have in common that , to a certain degree they consider themselves to be part of the wider Shi`a movement, who revere Ali (Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law) and the Twelve Imams of his house (Ithna’shari).

Representation of Ali by Alevi actor. Other Muslims wouldn't do anything like that.

According to Yaron Friedman, distinct Alawi/Alavi beliefs include the belief that prayers are not necessary, they don’t fast, nor perform pilgrimage, nor have specific places of worship.

1. Syrian Alawis are a prominent mystical and syncretic religious group centered in Syria who are often described as a branch of Shia Islam. The sect seems to have been organized by a follower of Muhammad ibn Nusayr, who died in Aleppo about 969. It has integrated doctrines from Ismaili Islam (not in vain Ismailis are regarded as Crypto-Jewish) and Christianity ( i.e celebration of Christmas …).

A fatwa by Imam Musa al Sadr declares them Shi’a Muslims, that is Ithna’shari (Twelve Imams). He said: The Alawis are of the Shi’a and the Shi’a are of the Alawis. The most obvious difference between Alawites and Shi’ite Muslims, is that Alawis believe the Sunni Caliph and Shi’ite Imam Ali is an incarnation of one of the persons of God and wholly divine, along with Jesus Christ, The Prophet Muhammad and many other eastern holy men.

2. Turkish Alevism’s origin is controversial. It goes back to Shah Ismail (founder of the Safavid dynasty in Azerbajian, Iran). His father Sheikh Haydar was part of a Sufi order and the leader of the growing Shia community in Azerbajian, the Qizilbash.

The Turkish Alevis ( originally called Qizilbashi ) have complex theological beliefs derived from Shiism but with some particularities, one of them is the belief of the unity of Allah, Mohammad and Ali. They also believe in the Twelve Imams but with a different interpretation of their symbols. They behave more like a Sufi order minus shari’a. There are many branches among them with different doctrines. Some go to Qom in Iran to study in Shia religious school.


Ishikism or Ishik Alevism (Işık Aleviliği), also known as Chinarism (Çınarcılık), is a syncretic religious movement among Alevis who have developed an alternative understanding of Alevism and its history. These alternative interpretations and beliefs were inspired by Turkish writer Erdoğan Çınar with the publication of his book Aleviliğin Gizli Tarihi (The Secret History of Alevism) in 2004.

Çınar and his book received lots of criticism from Alevis and Alevi Dedes (for example Baki Güngör dede), who claim that his book is full of lies and contradictions and consider it as yet another attempt of atheistic Yolyezidler (enemies of the Path) to assimilate the Alevis and to separate them from the mystic teachings of Haji Bektash Veli, Pir Sultan Abdal (perhaps his family was named Abdal because they were part of the Abdal ethicity of Turkey or the Abdals of Afghanistan which are regarded as Nephtalites), Yunus Emre, the Twelve Imams, etc.

The Ishik movement claim that the term "Alevi" is derived from the old Anatolian Luvians, claiming that the word "Luvi" means "People of light" in the Hittite language. Some Ottoman documents from the 16th century refer to the ancestors of today's Alevis as "Işık Taifesi", meaning "People of Light". This is, according to Ishikīs, a proof of the connection between the Luvians and Alevis.

Mainstream Alevis reject all of this. They consider the term "Alevi" to mean "follower of Ali", as in the Arabic word ‘Alawī (علوي). They further consider themselves followers of the teachings and practices of 13th century Alevi saint Haji Bektash Veli.

Ishikīs consider themselves to be esotericists, claiming that Alevism is Esotericism itself, meaning that they identify themselves with every type of esotericism in history (e.g. Jewish esotericists, Christian esotericists, Islamic and Pagan esotericism etc.)

They claim that Alevis is the oldest religion in the world, that has changed shapes throughout time. This "First and True Religion" of the world, is claimed to have been the main source for all other religions and beliefs in the world.

The Ishikīs also claim that the religious ceremonies practiced by Alevis were practiced as early as by the Hittites and even by the Sumerians. According to Ishikīs, medieval Christian sects as Paulicianism, Bogomilism etc. were also Alevis. A good example of this belief can be found in the translation of the book The Cathars: The Most Successful Heresy of the Middle Ages (2005) by Sean Martin. Even though the original English version does not contain the word "Alevi", the Turkish translator has translated the title of the book as Ortaçağ'da Avrupa'da Alevi Hareketi - Katharlar (An Alevi Movement in The Middle Ages – The Cathars).

Compared to traditional Alevism, the most striking differences of the Ishik movement are their interpretation of history. The Ishik movement claims that Alevis have changed their apparent identity several times in history in order to survive. According to Ishikī belief, heretic sects like the Paulicians and Bogomils were actually Alevis compelled to appear as Christians because of the Byzantine oppression. Likewise the modern Alevis have gained an Islamic appearance because of the Ottoman oppression.

Ishikī thought is convinced that most heterodox groups are inventions as a result of oppression, meaning that groups like the Ghulāt, Ahl-e Haqq, Ismā'īlī, Nusayrī Alawism and Bektashism are in reality separate from real Islam.

The Ishikī versus Traditionalist split has caused a deep gap in Alevi society. This is the first time in centuries that Alevis have experienced such a great split in terms of beliefs.

Traditionalist Alevis have strongly opposed the Ishikīs, who they consider as people who are creating a completely new religion, or sometimes as undercover agents, trying to disrupt Alevi unity. Ishikīs are also criticized for being extremely political and for abandoning fundamental Alevi sources, such as the Buyruks, one of the most known written source among Alevis.

The Alevi historian, Hamza Aksüt, responded to the works of Erdoğan Çınar in several articles, criticizing him for being intentionally manipulative and highly conspirational. were officially given as a reply to the interview with Erdoğan Çınar: Çınar'dan uyarı: 'Her flörtün sonu evlilikle bitmez' (Notice from Çınar: 'Not all flirts end with marriage'). Another writer, Ünsal Öztürk has also criticized Erdoğan Çınar. In 2010 Hamza Aksüt, Hasan Harmancı and Ünsal Öztürk went together in publishing the book Alevi Tarih Yazımında Skandal – Erdoğan Çınar Örneği (A Scandal in Alevi History Writing – The Erdoğan Çınar Example), which is an analysis and explaining of the claimed manipulation and "tampering" made by Erdoğan Çınar.

Some traditionalists have even gone so far as to demand that Ishikī dedes like Hasan Kılavuz gets the penalty of social exclusion which in reality does not correspond with the actual welcoming nature of Alevisim.

Ishikī Dedes

Even though most dedes are still traditionalists, some of them have eventually adopted Ishikī thought. The first dedes who openly declared their non-traditionalist beliefs were Ali Haydar Cilasun, with the publication of his book Alevilik Bir Sır Değildir (Alevism is Not a Secret) in 1995, and Hasan Kılavuz in 2003. The latter is now one of the prominent figures in the Alevi Confederation of Europe (AABK) and its television channel YOL TV.

The Ishik movement have succeeded in becoming very influential in important and powerful Alevi organizations. The Alevi Confederation of Europe (AABK) for instance, has abandoned its traditional Alevi beliefs in 2006, which it replaced with a marginal Ishikī type of understanding. Recently some Alevi organizations in Turkey have also changed their definitions of Alevism.

Comments on the Alevis

The Alevi-Sunni schism is pretty evident in the Turkish Diaspora as the Alevis no longer have to dissimulate and kow-tow to the Sunni establishment. It is important to know this when an ethnic Turk attempts to represent Turks in Germany, and it turns out they’re Alevi and so have no influence amongst most Turks.

In Turkey, Alevis often wear a necklace with a small pendant in the form of a split sword. This symbolizes the sword of Ali, and indicates that the wearer is Alevi.

The CIA FACTBOOK entry on Turkey states that it is "99.8% Muslim (mostly Sunni)." Most surveys of Turkish Islam that the public is aware of give the impression that Turkish Islam is Sunni Islam, specifically of the Hanafi tradition promoted by the Ottomans, which is also dominant in central & south Asia. But go to the Area Handbook of Turkey and you will find out about the Alevi, a heterodox Shia sect that forms anywhere from 10-30% of Turkey's population. Because of the Alevi practice dissimulation and the Turkish authorities, Ottoman & Republican, would rather not acknowledge their existence, it is hard to gauge their numbers, and they are not well known by the outside world.

Alevism and Judaism

There are a couple of websites that promote the idea that Alevis are "crypto-Jews" who outwardly act as Muslims but inwardly keep Jewish laws and only marry other Alevis to prevent the dilution of their values.

The word Alevi, according to one of the websites, is a variation of the Jewish last name "Levi" and the priestly caste, the Levites. It is a wild possibility as, from what I have seen, Alevis really do adorn their houses with images of Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law and the fourth caliph of Islam. That this adornment would be a front would be shocking and difficult to pull off, unless Alevism has been passed down orally for all these years in order to prevent the Ottomans in the past and the Turks in the nearer past and present from persecuting them.

Other support for this theory seems more circumstantial. Practicing Alevis are strictly monogamous. They do not condone "marrying out" and consider the children of those who "marry out" not fully Alevi. The "dede" functions much like a rabbi in that he is chosen from within the community and is consulted when there are spiritual, political or social questions within the community.

Like the Jewish tradition, the Alevis also encourage questioning. From what I understand at the end of the weekly cem ceremony, there is an open discussion abut some issue of relevance to the community and every member (both men and women) is invited to join in and participate in the discussion.

Proselytizing is discouraged. Non-Alevis can not convert into the faith. Curiosity surrounding Alevism is regarded with suspicion. I have experienced this personally when I asked whether I could attend a cem ceremony. Even though I have asked more than once, not one of the many Alevis I have met have ever followed through on helping me to oberve an Alevi cem ceremony. I am sure it would be possible but my sincerity and motives would have to be sussed out thoroughly first.


The Alevi constitute the second largest religious community in Turkey (following the Sunnis), and number some 25% (15 million) of the total population (Alevis claim 30%-40%!). Most Alevis are ethnic and linguistic Turks, mainly of Turkmen descent from Central and Eastern Anatolia. Some 20% of Alevis are Kurds (though most Kurds are Sunnis), and some 25% of Kurds in Turkey are Alevi (Kurmanji and Zaza speakers).

Alevis are also called Kizilbash (the name of the Turkmen followers of the Safavid Sufi order of the 15th and 16th centuries), and Bektashi (followers of the Anatolian Bektashi Shia Sufi order founded in the 13th century). Further names used signify specific tribal and linguistic identities: Tahtaci; Abdal; Cepni; Zaza; or are names of great men revered by the Alevi: Caferi; Huseyni.

Alevis are distinct from the Arabic speaking Alawis of Syria and Southwest Turkey (Nusayris). Both are extreme Shia (ghulat) communities with similarities in doctrine and practice, but separate historical developments.

Alevis traditionally inhabit rural Central and Eastern Anatolia, in particular the triangle Kayseri- Sivas-Divirgi. Kurdish Alevis are mainly found in Tunceli, Elazig and Mus provinces. On the Mediterranean coast there are some tribal Alevi settlements of Tahtaci and Cepni. Alevi areas are peripheral and underdeveloped, resulting in the migration of Alevis to the large industrialised cities of western Turkey (and to Western Europe, mainly Germany) in relatively larger proportion than rural Sunnis. Alevis in Europe (especially in Germany), experiencing the freedom of a pluralistic society, stimulated new interest in Alevi ethnicity and culture (Alevilik).

Alevism originated out of a complex mix of mystical (Sufi) Islam, Shi`ism, and the rivalry between the Ottoman and Safavid Empires. Some Sufi orders like the Safavi and Bektashi accepted Shi`a reverence for Ali and the Twelve Imams, and their adherents and sympathisers became the Alevis. Alevi opposition to the Sunni Ottomans in the 16th century resulted in geographical and social marginalisation. In order to survive despite majority hostility and persecution the Alevi developed a tight social-religious network, and (like Druze, Shia, and Alawis), dissimulation and secrecy about their religion (taqiya). They form an endogamic (marrying only within their group) religious community that has definite ethnic markers.

Whilst Sunnism and Twelver Shi`ism possess a tradition of authoritative religious scholarship backed by carriers of formal learning, Alevism lacks both and is more a flowing together of various related movements, doctrines, ideas, rituals and traditions in a flexible synthesis, its strength lying in shared local traditions and esoteric interpretations of Islamic belief and practice.

The seeming collapse of Kemalism in the 1990s has created new problems and opportunities for Alevis, most of whom had appreciated Ataturk's extreme secularism even though it suppressed Alevi culture, as it ended centuries of Alevi persecution and massacres by the Sunni majority.

During the great Turkish expansion from Central Asia into Iran and Anatolia in the Seljuk period (11-12th centuries), Turkmen nomad tribes accepted a Sufi and pro-Ali form of Islam that co-existed with some of their pre-Islamic customs. These tribes dominated central and eastern Anatolia for centuries with their religious warriors (ghazi) spearheading the drive against Byzantines and Slavs. Many Armenians converted to Turkmen type Islam while retaining some Christian practices, and some observers believe that heterodox Armenian Christianity exerted a significant influence on the beliefs of the extremist Shi`ite sects.

Following the Seljuks, the Ottomans established their power in western Anatolia and gradually incorporated Eastern Anatolia into their empire. After Timur's victory over the Ottomans in the 15th century, the Ottoman hold on Eastern Anatolia weakened for a while, with autonomous Turkmen states (Ak-Koyunlu, Kara-Koyunlu) fighting each other for hegemony.

The Kizilbash (red-heads) were Turkmen tribes who adhered to the Safavid Sufi Order, whose Sheikhs claimed descent from Ali. Under Isma`il (d. 1524) they became dominant in Eastern Anatolia and conquered Azerbaijan with its capital Tabriz, where Isma`il named himself Shah in 1501 and went on to conquer all of Iran. His missionaries spread a message of revolt against the Sunni Ottomans in Anatolia, claiming that Isma`il was the awaited mehdi (messiah), and Anatolia became the scene of protracted warfare between Ottomans and Safavids.

A Visit to the Tekke of the Bektashis of Cairo - The Bektashi Order of Dervishes

The Bektashiyya is a Shia Sufi order founded in the 13th century by Haji Bektash Veli, a dervish who escaped Central Asia and found refuge with the Seljuks in Anatolia at the time of the Mongol invasions (1219-23). This order gained a great following in rural areas and it later developed in two branches: the Celebi clan, who claimed to be physical descendants of Haci Bektas Veli, were called Bel Evladlari (children of the loins), and became the hereditary spiritual leaders of the rural Alevis; and the Babagan, those faithful to the path (yol evladlari - children of the way) who dominated the official Bektashi Sufi order with its elected leadership.

Later, the Bektashiya became the order of the Janissary special troops, tolerated by the Ottomans as its monasteries and pilgrimage centres could be manipulated to control its Alevi followers.

After the foundation of the Safavid Persian state, the new Turkmen Shahs gradually rid themselves of their tribal and sectarian origins in their bid to build a unified Iranian state. Twelver Shiism was proclaimed state religion, with a special role for the Safavi Shahs as descendants of Ali and the Imams. This state religion developed into a very different system to the Alevi faith of their Kizilbash troops. Arab Twelver theologians were recruited from Jabal Amil in Lebanon and from Bahrain, and most Iranians were forcibly converted to Twelver Shiism. The Kizilbash tribal troops were gradually disbanded in favour of a regular Iranian slave army.

The Ottomans had accepted Sunni Islam in the 13th century as a means to unifying their empire, and later proclaimed themselves its defenders against the Safavid Shia state and related heretical sects. This created a gap between the Sunni Ottoman ruling elite and the Alevi Anatolian population. Anatolia became a battlefield between Safavids and Ottomans, each determined to include it in their Empire. Ismail instigated a series of revolts culminating in a general Anatolian uprising against the Ottomans, whose Sultan Bayezid mounted a major expedition 1502-1503 which pushed the Safavids and many of their Turkmen followers into Iran. His successor, Sultan Selim I "The Grim", launched a vigorous campaign into eastern Anatolia, utilising a religious edict condemning Alevis as apostates to massacre many. In the summer of 1514 Selim launched another offensive and won the major battle of Chaldiran on the eastern side of the Euphrates, convincing the Safavids to avoid open conflict with the Ottomans for the next century, and enabling him to overcome the last independent Turkmen dynasties in eastern Anatolia in 1515-1517.

Suleyman the magnificent also ruthlessly suppressed Safavid supporters in eastern Anatolia leading three campaigns into northwest Iran. Finally in 1555 the peace of Amasya recognised Ottoman rule over Iraq and Eastern Anatolia and Iranian rule over Azerbaijan and Caucasia.

The Kizilbash in Anatolia were now militarily, politically and religiously separated from their source in Iran, retreated to isolated rural areas and turned inward, developing their unique structures and doctrines. Following the severe persecution and massacres by the Ottomans which went on into the 18th century, Alevis went underground using taqiya, religious dissimulation permitted by all Shi`a groups, to conceal their faith (pretending to be Sunnis) and survive in a hostile environment. Kizilbash and Bektashis shared common religious beliefs and practices becoming intermingled as Alevis in spite of many local variations. Isolated from both the Sunni Ottomans and the Twelver Shi`a Safavids, Alevis developed traditions, practices, and doctrines by the early 17th century which marked them as a closed autonomous religious community. As a result of the immense pressures to conform to Sunni Islam, Alevis developed a tradition of opposition to all forms of external religion.

Some of the differences that mark Alevis from Sunnis are the use of wine for religious ceremonial functions; non-observance of the five daily prayers and prostrations (they only bow twice in the presence of their spiritual leader), Ramadan, and the Haj (they consider the pilgrimage to Mecca an external pretense, the real pilgrimage being internal in one's heart); and non-attendance of mosques.

Alevis were forbidden to proselytise, and Alevism regenerated itself internally by paternal descent.

Rural Alevis were marginalised and discriminated against in the Ottoman Empire, although the official Bektashiya order enjoyed a privileged role through its close association with the Janissary professional military corps. In 1826 Sultan Mahmud II massacred the Janissaries and suppressed the Bektashi order. Yet Bektashi secret circles remained extremely active, Bektashis becoming progressive, anticlerical, and liberal, viewed suspiciously by the authorities and cooperating with others hostile to the establishment such as Freemasons and Young Turks. Until 1925 it was estimated that 10 to 20 percent of Turkey's adult male population were still members of the Bektashiya.

Alevis saw Ataturk as a mehdi (Messiah), a Saviour, a divine emanation following Ali and Haji Bektash, sent to save them from the Sunni Ottoman yoke, who turned Alevi ideals into state practice, and his portrait is hung up beside Ali's in many Alevi homes. Ataturk on his part saw the Alevis as allies in his struggle against the traditional Ottoman elite and for secularism and Turkish nationalism. He selectively included Alevi cultural markers in his construct of the new Turkish national collective identity. However, to ensure national unity, the unique Alevi identity was subordinated to the general Anatolian-Turkish national identity.

Alevis are proud of their cooperation with Ataturk, and the fact that the Celebi and Dedebaba of the Hacibektas monastery had supported him. Alevis were his faithful allies in the war of independence, in the setting up of the modern Turkish secular nationalist state, and in the destruction of Ottomanism. The early Kemalist republic is regarded as the ideal state in which the Alevis were fairly represented proportionately to their percentage of the total population in the National Assembly.

The Alevis still see themselves as the protectors of Kemalism and democracy in Turkey. Much of the violence during the late 70s although presented by state and media as left versus right was in fact Sunni versus Alevi. Ultra-nationalists allied themselves to Sunni fundamentalists in attacking Alevis.

The democratic opening in Turkey in 1988/1989 broke taboos and opened up public discussions in the press. Publications were allowed that would never have been permitted before and liberals pushed for ethnographic studies of the Turkish society mosaic. Since 1989 the liberal press has accepted Alevism as a separate religious community. Along with other marginalized groups Alevis increased their political activism and fought for equality and official recognition of Alevism as an Islamic community with its special characteristics, for legalization of its religious ritual and practice, for integration of Alevi doctrine in the state education system, and for allotment of a fair share in the media.

There was a growing state interest in dividing Alevis from Kurds and manipulating them to further the regime's aims. The Alevis for their part, encouraged by the weakening of the Soviet block and revived claims for minority recognition around the world, pressed for increased recognition in Turkish society. Alevi publications multiplied, and Alevis supported the claims of other minorities such as the Laz and the Kurds.

Some Alevis now demand a political party of their own to combat Sunni dominated Islamist parties, whilst others are afraid an Alevi party might lead to civil war.

Alevis venerate Ehlibeyt - the House of the Prophet (Muhammad, Ali, Fatima, Hassan, Hussein) - seen as transcendent and superior to all others, and offer them love and reverence (sevgi ve saygi). They reject all enemies of ehlibeyt, especially the Ummayads who are seen as the personification of evil: they imposed Sunnism as the dominant orthodoxy to enslave the masses; distorted true Islam; destroyed the original Quran and pro-Alid Hadiths, and persecuted the Imams.

The main Alevi symbolic heroes are Ali, Hussein, Cafer-i Sadik, all Twelve Imams, Haci Bektas Veli, Sah Ismail, Balim Sultan, Pir Sultan Abdal, and the modern mehdi - Ataturk:

Alevis are now trying to overcome the centuries of Sunni prejudice and persecution and assert their own identity. Alevis see Sunni narrowmindedness as originating in Arabia and as contrary to the Turkish national character.

Alevis traditionally saw themselves as belonging to the "community of the saved", a chosen people who possess the divine secret knowledge and are superior to the misled Sunnis in their zeal for externals. They trace their roots to the original true revelation of Islam to Muhammad in Arabia, and stress that it was a religion of freedom, equality, and justice. Ali as Muhammad's only true successor and the most perfect of Muslims carried on true Islam and was the representative of the poor and the marginalised. All great Alevi leaders have the typical Alevi characteristics of justice, egalitarianism, humility, and peacefulness. They all were revolutionaries aiming at radical change in society, loyal to ideals, fighting for the final triumph of good over evil. In God's inscrutable providence, good Alevism was forced to an underground existence of dissimulation and retreat due to a powerful onslaught of evil.

Dersim (Tunceli) province is the centre of the Kurdish Zaza speaking Alevis and it suffers from the double defect of being both religiously Alevi and ethnically Kurdish. The mixing of Alevi leftism with Kurdish separatism in this remote province has made it a thorn in the side of every central government since Sultan Selim The Grim. It remains the least developed of Turkey's provinces.

A Clan from Gad Amongst the Alevis of Turkey

My parents came  from Dersim. Dersim is a city in Turkey. Most of the people  in Dersim are Alevis. They say that our clan also hold to the Alevi religion but that cannot be true. Sure,  we are humanistic like the rest of the Alevis but we do not believe in Allah and Ali. Also we do not believe in the Kuran.

The strange thing is that the name of our clan is ARELI. The clan is split  into two groups: One are the Usaniz,  the other one is the Aslaniz. They say Usaniz means, "those who come from Huseyin". Aslaniz means, "those who comes from the LION". We are not Turks and also not Kurds.

The Alevis of Turkey

The Alawis are linked to the Alevis of Turkey. They are persecuted.  Many Alevis find it expedient to hide their origin. The present leader of the Opposition in Turkey is of Alevi origin.

The population of Turkey is mainly derived from ancient peoples who were conquered by nomads who spoke Turkish. The Turkish language and culture along with Islam was imposed on the local population. The Alevis are represented more amongst the Turkish, Turkmen, Tatar, Azeri, Zaza and Kurdish minorities in Turkey. The Alevis also derive from those of the original population who kept much of their pagan traditions but evolved with them in an Islamic framework.

There were Turkic tribes from Central Asia who settled in northern Iran and eastern Turkey. These were converted to Shia Islam and later became part of the Alevi continuum.

Islam is divided between Shiites and Sunnis. The ruling majority in Turkey is Sunni. The Alevis are considered a branch of the Shiites.  Some expressions of the Alevi religion are derived from ancient pagan, Christian, and Gnostic sources. Some Alevis speak of a trinity of God, Muhammad, and Ali. Ali was the son-in-law of Mohammed and is idolized by many Shiites.

The Alevis were supporters of Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938) who founded modern Turkey. Ataturk attempted to define anew Turkish consciousness along nationalistic, secular lines.

Some 20% of Alevis are Kurds  and 25% of the Kurds in Turkey are Alevi. Kurds comprise about 20% of the population of Turkey, mainly in the east.

Minorities make up ca. 30% of the population of Turkey which numbers ca. 76 million. [Note most of the figures given above are approximations and may not always be consistent with each other.]

The Alawi of Syria

In the past the Alawites were a persecuted, exploited, and despised minority whose women before marriage often served as maids and virtual sex slaves for rich Sunni Muslems. It has been estimated that up to 25% of the Alawis born in the 1930s and 1940s were the products of such unions. The Alawis are both a people and religion. They existed before Islam and probably also before Christianity.

The Alawis were identified in the past with the ancient Canaanite Amorites (Allen H. Godbey). Others linked them with the Ten Tribes of  Israel. The Alawi existed before Islam but later adopted a superficial veneer of Islamic doctrine. The Alawis are also known as Nusaryeh and may have influenced the formation of early Christianity. At all events, they later adopted much from Christianity. Under the French they presented themselves as having been secret Christians who adopted a facade of Islam. Today, they emphasis an affinity with Shiite Islam. The Alawi have indeed been under the rule of Islam for centuries, now resemble Shiite Muslims, and the rank-and-file may identfiy themselves as such.  

The Alawites & Israel

The Alawites’ religious beliefs suggest that they are pro-Jewish and anti-Sunni. They believe that two of God’s incarnations were Joshua Ben-Nun, the original Jewish conqueror of the Land of Israel, and the fourth Caliph, Ali, who was murdered by the Sunnis. They believe in reincarnation, regard the Pillars of Islam as purely symbolic, do not fast during Ramadan or make pilgrimage to Mecca, have no mosques or indeed any public worship, celebrate Christmas, Easter and Epiphany, and traditionally wear crosses like Christians. In all of these respects they differ not only from Sunnis but also from Shiites.

Persecuted as heretics by the dominant Muslims, the Alawites took refuge in the mountains of northwestern Syria, where they maintained a precarious autonomy. Following the establishment of the French Mandate after the First World War, the French set up an autonomous region for the Alawites in their homeland. The Alawites petitioned the French for an independent state, but their petitions were rejected and the territory was added to the Sunni-dominated state of Syria. The Alawites attempted to rebel against the Sunnis in 1946 and again in 1952, but they were put down. Undaunted, they established footholds in the officers’ corps of the Syrian army and the Ba’ath Party. They took advantage of the confusion following the collapse of the United Arab Republic to seize power in the 1960s, and they have controlled Syria ever since.

Alawites in Syria

In the Jabal al-Nusayriyah, the mountain ranges of northwestern Syria that overlook the Mediterranean Sea, the Alawi community has maintained itself for over one thousand years, fiercely clinging to its syncretistic secret religion. The 'Alawis have survived as a distinct group in spite of repeated persecution and the threat of extinction by the Sunni majority and rulers who considered them pagans and heretics who were not eligible for the status of a protected religion.

"Alawi" is the term that Alawis usually apply to themselves; but until 1920 they were known to the outside world as "Nusayris" or "Ansaris". The change in name, imposed by the French upon their seizure of control in Syria, has significance. Whereas "Nusayri" emphasizes the group's differences from Islam, "Alawi" suggests an adherent of Ali and accentuates the religion's similarities to Shi'a Islam. Consequently, opponents of the Assad regime habitually use the former term; supporters of the regime use the latter.

The hat of the man resembles strikingly a Jewish one.

Three-quarters of the Syrian Alawis live in the northwestern province of Latakia, where they make up almost two-thirds of the population.

The ancient name of Syria was Aram. During the first Commonwealth of Israel (kings David & Solomon) many Israelites migrated to Aram. Previously, during the division of the Land of Israel between the tribes, some of the Israelites were assigned parts of what the Greeks called Phoenicia. Phoenicia was just a geographic name, not a national name. So before any captivity the Israelites colonized different areas, including the immediate ones. This means that many people in current Syria & Lebanon have Israelite roots. The Alawis, Druzes...are some of the ethnicities in these two countries with alledged Israelite origin. Further north in Anatolia there are the Alevis with the same alledged Israelite origin. These peoples might come from the mentioned Israelite tribal & royal times. These peoples are in theory Muslims, but are regarded as crypto Jewish practitioners.


Traditionally, Alawites have five subsects; Ghaibiyya, Haidariyya, Murshids (after Sulayman al-Murshid), Shamsiyya (Sun Sect) and Qamari (Moon Sect). Sects are oriented by tribe. Today, few Alawites are found who know much about these sects. Although most young Alawites can tell which tribes their parents belong to, there is little effort today to marry within the tribe, and on a social level, tribes have very little meaning. In politics, this may not be true. Evidently, the Asads go to great lengths to make sure that the different tribes are equally represented in top military posts, just as they try to divvy out government posts among the various religious and ethnic groups of Syria.

Alawites live in the mountains along the Mediterranean coast. Latakia and Tartous are the region's principal cities. They are also concentrated in the plains around Hama and Homs. Today Alawites live in all the great cities of Syria. Estimates about their exact numbers range from 1.5 to 1.8 million or about 12% of the Syrian population.

There are also less than 100,000 Alawites who live in Lebanon and others who live in the Hatay, Adana, and Mersin of southern Turkey. The Alevis of Turkey are different from Syria’s Alawites, though they share the same name. Turkey’s Alevis are descended from the Kizilbash, a Sufi-Shi`a offshoot with connections to early Safavid Iran, whereas the Alawites are Nusayris.

The Alawites, also known as Alawis, Nusayris & Ansaris.  are a religious group, centred in Syria, who follow a branch of the Twelver school of Shia Islam but with syncretistic elements. Alawites revere Ali (Ali ibn Abi Talib), and the name "Alawi" means followers of Ali. The sect is believed to have been founded by Ibn Nusayr during the 9th century. For this reason, Alawites are sometimes called "Nusayris", though this term has come to have derogatory connotations in the modern era; another name, "Ansari" (al-Anṣāriyyah), is believed to be a mistransliteration of "Nusayri". Today, Alawites represent 12 percent of the Syrian population and are a significant minority in Turkey and northern Lebanon. There is also a population living in the village of Ghajar in the occupied Golan Heights. They are often confused with the Alevis of Turkey. Alawites form the dominant religious group on the Syrian coast and towns near the coast which are also inhabited by Sunnis, Christians, and Ismailis.  

Others say the term Alawi (& Alevi) comes from Levi, the patriarch of the priestly Israelite tribe & that Alawism (& Alevism) is a hidden form of the Israelite religion. In other words, that they are Israelites of the tribe of Levi hiding their identity & pretending to be Muslims. As the ancient Israelites they are regarded as good fighters (The French regarded them & the Druzes as such & both groups collaborated with the French during the Mandate). Alawis believe in reincarnation as some Jews did in Jesus' time.  

Alawites have historically kept their beliefs secret from outsiders and non-initiated Alawites, so rumours about them have arisen. Arabic accounts of their beliefs tend to be partisan (either positively or negatively). However, since the early 2000s, Western scholarship on the Alawite religion has made significant advances. At the core of Alawite belief is a divine triad, comprising three aspects of the one God. These aspects or emanations appear cyclically in human form throughout history. The last emanations of the divine triad, according to Alawite belief, were as Ali, Muhammad and Salman the Persian. Alawites were historically persecuted for these beliefs by the Sunni Muslim rulers of the area.

The establishment of the French Mandate of Syria marked a turning point in Alawi history. It gave the French the power to recruit Syrian civilians into their armed forces for an indefinite period and created exclusive areas for minorities, including an Alawite State. The Alawite State was later dismantled, but the Alawites continued to be a significant part of the Syrian army. Since Hafez al-Assad took power in 1970, the government has been dominated by a political elite led by the Alawite Al-Assad family. During the Islamic uprising in Syria in the 1970s and 1980s the establishment came under pressure, and the conflict continues as part of the Syrian civil war.

The origin of the Alawites is disputed. Local folklore suggests that they are descendants of the followers of the eleventh Imam, Hasan al-Askari (d. 873) and his pupil, Ibn Nusayr (d. 868). During the 19th and 20th centuries, some Western scholars believed that Alawites were descended from ancient Middle Eastern peoples such as the Canaanites, Hittites, Israelites or Mardaites.

The Alawi religious sect seems to have been organised by a follower of Muhammad Ibn Nusayr known as Al-Khaṣībī, who died in Aleppo about 969 AD. In 1032 Al-Khaṣībī's grandson and pupil, al-Tabarani, moved to Latakia (then controlled by the Byzantine Empire). Al-Tabarani influenced the Alawite faith through his writings and by converting the rural population of the Syrian Coastal Mountain Range.

According to Bar Hebraeus, many Alawites were killed when the Crusaders initially entered Syria in 1097; however, they tolerated them when they concluded they were not a truly Islamic sect. Two prominent Alawite leaders in the following centuries, credited with uplifting the group, were Shaykhs al-Makhzun (d. 1220) and al-Tubani (d. 1300), both originally from Mount Sinjar in modern Iraq.

                                                           Alawite Jewish sword

In the 14th century, the Alawites were forced by Mamluk ruler Baibars to build mosques in their settlements, to which they responded with token gestures described by the Muslim traveler Ibn Battuta. During the reign of Selim I, of the Ottoman Empire, the Alawites would again experience significant persecution.

There are about 3.5 million Alawis.

To avoid confusion with the Alevis, the Alawites call themselves Arap Alevileri ("Arab Alevis") in Turkish. The term Nusayrī, previously used in theological texts, has been revived in recent studies. In Çukurova, Alawites are known as Fellah and Arabuşağı (although the latter is considered offensive) by the Sunni population. A quasi-official name used during the 1930s by Turkish authorities was Eti Türkleri ("Hittite Turks"), to conceal their Arabic origins. Although this term is obsolete, it is still used by some older people as a euphemism.

The exact number of Alawites in Turkey is unknown; there were 185,000 in 1970, suggesting about 400,000 in 2009. As Muslims, they are not recorded separately from Sunnis. In the 1965 census (the last Turkish census where informants were asked their mother tongue), 180,000 people in the three provinces declared their mother tongue as Arabic; however, Arabic-speaking Sunnis and Christians were also included in this figure. Turkish Alawites traditionally speak the same dialect of Levantine Arabic as Syrian Alawites. Arabic is preserved in rural communities and in Samandağ. Younger people in the cities of Çukurova and İskenderun tend to speak Turkish. The Turkish spoken by Alawites is distinguished by its accents and vocabulary. Knowledge of the Arabic alphabet is confined to religious leaders and men who have worked or studied in Arab countries.


Alawites demonstrate considerable social mobility. Until the 1960s, they were bound to Sunni aghas (landholders) around Antakya and were poor. Alawites are prominent in the sectors of transportation and commerce and a large, professional middle class has emerged. Male exogamy has increased, particularly by those who attend universities or live in other parts of Turkey. These marriages are tolerated; however, female exogamy (as in other patrilineal groups) is discouraged.

Alawites, like Alevis, have strong leftist political beliefs. However, some people in rural areas (usually members of notable Alawite families) may support secular, conservative parties such as the Democratic Party. Most Alawites feel oppressed by the policies of the Presidency of Religious Affairs in Turkey (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı).

On the Alawites

Within the overall sect of Alawite are tribes & subtribes and, as in remote mountainous regions (like Afghanistan & Corsica), they have a tendency to feud. The southern part of the Alawi territory has been described as more definitely tribal, divided between Matawirah, Kalbiah, Haddadin & Khayatin.

Among other unusual features of their religion is a sacrament involving wine, Trinitarian & incarnation doctrines & an element of star worship.

Alevis and Yezidis

The fact that some of the present Yezidi leaders represent their religion as extremist anti-Alid sect (a member of the amir's family is even named Mu'aviye) should not blind us to the close similarity in ideas and practice with those of the Kurdish Alevis and the Ahl-i Haqq or Kaka'i of southern Kurdistan. The now extinct Semsis were mentioned above as a fourth, perhaps similar religion.29 The relationship between these religious groups may even be more intimate than has thus far been assumed. The German anthropologist Felix von Luschan, who travelled through Anatolia measuring skulls around the turn of the century, noticed that Yezidis and Alevis were, at least by some of their neighbours, considered as one and the same sect:

"In some places in Western Kurdistan, people that are exactly like the Kyzylbash are called Yezidi, and protest that they have nothing at all to do with the Kyzylbash; in other places, so I was told one day at Kiakhta on the Böilam River and again near Diarbekr, that Yezidi and Kyzylbash were two words for the same thing, the one being Arabic, the other Turkish. I do not know if this is correct, but, as far as I could ascertain, the creed and the social condition of both groups are fairly identical".

                                                            Yezidi man at Yazidi temple

An aged Zaza Alevi whom I interviewed in a village in Tercan (east of Erzincan) in 1977, though disclaiming any contact with Yezidis, appeared to know the name of Melek Ta'us and some legends that struck me then as Yezidi-flavored. Yolga, writing in the 1940s, in fact claimed that there were some Yezidis among the Dersim tribes.

Luschan's observation that the Yezidis were "exactly like the Kyzylbash" referred to their measured skulls. He found that the cranial indexes of all the sectarian Shi'i groups of Anatolia - the Tahtaci and Bektas of Lycia, the central Anatolian Kizilbas (and the Yezidis who so much resembled them), as well as the 'Ansariye' (i.e. Nusayri) - were highly similar to each other, and contrasted strongly with those of the neighbouring Arab and Kurdish groups. All sectarians whom he had measured were brachycephalic, and their Sunni neighbours dolichocephalic. Von Luschan concluded that the former represented "the remains of an old homogeneous population, which have preserved their religion and have therefore refrained from intermarriage with strangers and so preserved their ancient characteristics". Later Turkish nationalist authors were to see in the same skulls proof of the Turkishness of all these groups - with the exception, perhaps, of the Yezidis and Nusayris.

Ali Illahism

Ali Illahism is a syncretic religion which has been practiced in parts of Iranian Luristan which combines elements of Shia Islam with older religions. It centers on the belief that there have been successive incarnations of the Deity throughout history, and reserves particular reverence for Ali, the son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who is considered one such incarnation. Various rites have been attributed to them, as to the Yezidis, Ansaris, and all sects whose doctrine is unknown to the surrounding Muslim and Christian population. Observers have described it as an agglomeration of the customs and rites of several earlier religions, including Zoroastrianism.

The name "Zikri" or "Zichri" comes from the Hebrew proper name "Zacharias"

I would add the Mahdavia sect to the heterodox sects with Hidden Jewish origins, even more the Zikri subdivision of the Mahdavis. Zikri Mahdavis or "Zikris" are an offshoot of the Mahdavi movement that found mostly in the Balochistan regions of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan. "Zikri" derives from the Arabic word dhikr meaning "remembrance", "devotion", "invocation".

The Zikri sect developed within Sunni Hanafi during the 18th century Mahdi movement as a reaction to British colonialism and decline of Muslim rule in Pakistan. The cultural and commercial festivals of the Zikri are the same as those of the other Baloch.

There are roughly 750,000 Zikris worldwide. Most Zikris live in Balochistan, Pakistan. There are also large groups of Zikris in the Pakistani city of Karachi and a few numbered in the Pakistani province of Sindh and in Sistan and Baluchestan Province of Iran.

Many of the other smaller groups live in Karachi and Makran, although the Zikris are predominantly in south-western, where they are the largest sect in the Gwadar District. There are also large groups of Zikris near their spiritual center, Koh-e-Murad. However, they are becoming less visible, fear that they will also be designated a minority like the Ahmadiyya.

The exact number of Zikris is not known since they identify as Muslims. It is estimated that there are several thousands living in Pakistan. In addition, there are Zikri communities in Karachi, Lasbela District and Quetta.

Although is a Muslim sect, it might have some hidden or open Israelite origin influenced in an Israelite prophet Zacharias. Zikri is another form for Hebrew name Zechariah or Zachariah. Zichri, Zicri or Zikri comes from the Hebrew zakar & it means to remember. It is the name of twelve Israelites as found in different scriptures of the. Bible. Nowadays this is still a name among Jews like in the case of Roei Zikri, (Hebrew: רועי זכרי) an Israeli footballer.

The fact Zikri costums overlap Baluchi's ones may not be coincidence, let alone if most Zikris are in the area.

The Zikris 

The Mahdavis are in theory sunnis, but are very different from most sunnis. The Zikris are a Mahdavi sect with characteristic particularities. The Zikris are found mostly in Afghanistan, Pakistan & Iran & are regarded as a crypto-Jewish Islamic sect.

Zikri Mahdavis, or Zikris, are an offshoot of the Mahdavi movement found mostly in the Balochistan region of western Pakistan. Zikri derives from the Arabic word dhikr, meaning "remembrance, devotion, invocation".

They follow Prophet Mohammed, the Five Pillars of Islam and offer namaz prayers in the common mosques like the Hanafi Muslims but with the condition that the Imam must also be of Mahdavi belief. The content of their prayer, which they call Zikr-e-Elahi, refers to the worship of God. In addition to the Hajj, Zikris also visit (ziyarat) to the Koh-e-Murad ("Mountain of Desire" in Balochi), where the Imam al-Mahdi is believed to have stayed and in 1504 AD, he offered two Raka'as (cycles) special thanks giving prayers Dougana Lailat-ul-Qadr in the midnight of 27th Ramadan 909 Hijri. Following his tradition, including Zikris all Mahdavis offer Dougna Laylathu'l-Qadr prayers on 27th Ramadan midnight every year under the leadership of their murshids. Thus, Zikris are a sect who follow the Sufi Order, partially following the medieval saint Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri of the capital city of the Sharqi dynasty. This city was also known as The Shiraz of the East, due to the many Islamic scholars residing in the city.

The cultural and commercial festivals of the Zikris in Balochistan are similar to those of other Balochs, but their rituals have adapted a few distinctive practices which distinguish the followers of this order from other Muslims. Thus, Khanqahs serve the purpose of mosques. However, they have no pulpits; instead, there are stones and mats on which to observe the Dhikr. Towards the end of Ramadan the annual assemblage of Zikris, called the Zikir-e Elahi, takes place on Koh-e Murad in Pakistan's Balochistan province.

The number of Zikris is not known with any confidence. Gall (1998) stated that they were "estimated to number over 750,000 people", while the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 2004 stated that there were "approximately 200,000". The Zikri form a local majority in Pakistan's Gwadar District, and there are sizable communities in Karachi, the Pakistani part of Makran, Lasbela District, and Quetta, and in Pakistan's Sindh province. Their concentration in urban Karachi is due to many Zikris having relocated to the city, especially the neighborhood of Lyari Town.

With the general rise of Islamic extremism and jihadism in the region since the 1980s, Zikris have been discriminated against, targeted, and killed by Sunni militants in Pakistan. As a result, the Zikri community has been shrinking and becoming less visible, with many converting to the Sunni Hanafi, and some to the Ismaili Nizari, sect of Islam. Non-governmental organizations including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) are working with local activists to create a greater awareness of the Zikri predicament. Recently, [year needed] police protection has been provided to some Zikri pilgrims. Many Zikris have converted to Sunni and attend Mosque and fast during Ramadan.

The persecution of Zikris by Sunni militants as of 2014 has been part of the larger backlash against religious minorities in Pakistani Balochistan, targeting Hindus, Hazaras, Shias, and Zikris, resulting in the migration of over 300,000 Shias, Zikris, and Hindus from Pakistani Balochistan. The persecutions were due both to banned militant organizations such as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and Pakistani Taliban.

"Zikris (pronounced 'Zigris' in Baluchi) are estimated to number over 750,000 people. They live mostly in Makran and Las Bela in southern Pakistan, and are followers of a 15th-century mahdi, an Islamic messiah, called Nur Pak ('Pure Light'). Zikri practices and rituals differ from those of orthodox Islam... "

"The Zikri question has become one of the leading issues during last few years which mobilized enormous resistance by the religious groups, particularly the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI), in Balochistan".

"Pro-Taliban takfiris hail ISIS: Zikri-Balochs, Hindus threatened to death" .
Having lived with the Baloch for centuries, members of the obscure Zikri sect are leaving in fear.

An off-shoot of the Mahdavi community, the Zikris live mostly in Balochistan’s Makran division. They also have a considerable population in interior Sindh, Seistan Balochistan, Karachi, and other parts of the Balochistan province. According to unofficial estimates, the global population of the community is 750,000, most of which resides in Balochistan.
Zikris are followers of the Indian Sufi Syed Muhammad Jaunpuri. According to them, Jaunpuri founded the sect in the 15th Century when he claimed to be a Mahdi. The Zikri offshoot of his followers flourished in Balochistan in the 16th century. There is very little historical evidence of their arrival or history in Balochistan, but Mullah Murad is reputed to be the first local apostle of this sect. Some writers say they migrated with him from Hyderabad, now in India, where they were not allowed to practice their faith. Other scholars claim he came from Persia, because a considerable number of Zikris also dwell in Iranian Balochistan. Most of the Zikris in Makran are fishermen.

The Zikris have been living peacefully and harmoniously with the rest of the Baloch for centuries, who they call ‘Nimazi’. “They even have marital relations with the majority Baloch,” according to Dr Shah Mohammad Marri. “In some families in Makran, the mother is a Zikri and the father is a Nimazi Baloch.” A local Zikri said such ties were becoming rare because of discrimination against the community.


Mandaeism or Mandaeanism (Modern Mandaic: Mandaʻiūtā‎ (מנדעיותא); Arabic: مندائية‎ Mandāʼīyah/Mandāʾiyyah) is a gnostic religion (Aramaic manda means "knowledge," as does Greek gnosis) with a strongly dualistic worldview. Its adherents, the Mandaeans, revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Noah, Shem, Aram and especially John the Baptist, but reject Abraham, Moses and Jesus of Nazareth. Literature on the Mandaeans suggests that they were members of a heretical Jewish baptismal sect that lived on the banks of the Jordan. Their own version of Genesis is pretty interesting -- characters from the Bible feature prominently (especially Adam, the "first Mandaean") but they prominently reject Moses as a "false prophet."

According to most scholars, Mandaeans migrated from the Southern Levant to Mesopotamia in the first centuries CE, and are of pre-Arab and pre-Islamic origin. They are Semites and speak a dialect of Eastern Aramaic known as Mandaic. They may well be related to the "Nabateans of Iraq" who were pagan, Aramaic-speaking indigenous pre-Arab and pre-Islamic inhabitants of southern Iraq. The Mandaeans are clearly an offshoot off heretical Judaism (the Ginza ba makes plenty of references to the Tanakh). However, Mandaean theology is so different from that of Second Temple Judaism that there must have been some sort of intermediary stage.

The Mandaeans re-appear at the beginning of the Muslim conquest of Mesopotamia, when their "head of the people" Anush son of Danqa appears before Muslim authorities showing them a copy of the Ginza Rabba, the Mandaean holy book, and proclaiming the chief Mandaean prophet to be John the Baptist, who is also mentioned in the Quran. The connection with the Quranic Sabians provided them acknowledgement as People of the Book, a legal minority religion within the Muslim Empire. They appear to have flourished during the early Islamic period, as attested by the voluminous expansion of Mandaic literature and canons. Tib near Wasit is particularly noted as an important scribal centre.

Yaqut al-Hamawi describes Tib as a town inhabited by Nabatean (i.e. Aramaic speaking) Sabians who consider themselves to be descendants of Seth son of Adam.

Mandaeans appear to have settled in northern Mesopotamia, but the religion has been practised primarily around the lower Karun, Euphrates and Tigris and the rivers that surround the Shatt-al-Arab waterway, part of southern Iraq and Khuzestan Province in Iran. There are thought to be between 60,000 and 70,000 Mandaeans worldwide. Until the 2003 Iraq war, almost all of them lived in Iraq. Many Mandaean Iraqis have since fled their country (as have many other Iraqis) because of the turmoil created by the War on Terror and subsequent rise in sectarian violence by Muslim extremists. By 2007, the population of Mandaeans in Iraq had fallen to approximately 5,000. Most Mandaean Iraqis have sought refuge in Iran, with fellow Mandaeans there. Others have moved to northern Iraq. There has been a much smaller influx into Syria and Jordan, with smaller populations in Sweden, Australia, the United States and other Western countries.

The emigration of early Mandaeans from the Jordan Valley took place the latest at the second century due to pressure from Orthodox Jews. The migrants first went to Harran in Assyria and entered the southern provinces of Mesopotamia during the third century. It appears that Mani, the founder of Manichaeism, was partly influenced by the newcomers. The Mandaeans had also hostile relations with the Byzantine Church and the Babylonian Jews.

The Mandaeans have remained separate and intensely private—reports of them and of their religion have come primarily from outsiders, particularly from the Orientalist Julius Heinrich Petermann, Nicolas Siouffi (a Yazidi) and Lady Drower. An Anglican vicar, Rev. Peter Owen-Jones, included a short segment on a Mandaean group in Sydney, Australia, in his BBC series, Around the World in 80 Faiths.

The term Mandaeism comes from Classical Mandaic Mandaiia and appears in Neo-Mandaic as Mandeyānā. On the basis of cognates in other Aramaic dialects, Semiticists such as Mark Lidzbarski and Rudolf Macuch have translated the term manda, from which Mandaiia derives, as "knowledge" (cf. Aramaic מַנְדַּע mandaʻ in Dan. 2:21, 4:31, 33, 5:12; cf. Hebrew: מַדַּע‎ maddaʻ, with characteristic assimilation of /n/ to the following consonant, medial -nd- hence becoming -dd-). This etymology suggests that the Mandaeans may well be the only sect surviving from late Antiquity to identify themselves explicitly as Gnostics.

Other scholars derive the term mandaiia from Mandā d-Heyyi (Mandaic manda ḏ-hiia "Knowledge of Life," reference to the chief divinity hiia rbia "the Great Life") or from the word (bi)mandi, which is the cultic hut in which many Mandaean ceremonies are performed (such as the baptism, which is the central sacrament of Mandaean religious life). This last term is possibly to be derived from Pahlavi m’nd mānd ("house").

Within the Middle East, but outside of their community, the Mandaeans are more commonly known as the Ṣubba (singular: Ṣubbī). The term Ṣubba is derived from the Aramaic root related to baptism, the neo-Mandaic is Ṣabi. In Islam, the term "Sabians" (Arabic: الصابئون‎ al-Ṣābiʾūn) is used as a blanket term for adherents to a number of religions, including that of the Mandaeans, in reference to the Sabians of the Qur'an. Occasionally, Mandaeans are called Christians of Saint John, based upon preliminary reports made by members of the Discalced Carmelites mission in Basra during the 16th century.

                                                               "Mandaean cross“ (darfash)

A mandī (Arabic: مندى‎) is a place of worship for followers of Mandaeism. A mandī must be built beside a river in order to perform maṣbattah (baptism) because water is an essential element in the Mandaeic faith. Modern mandīs sometimes have a bath inside a building instead. Outside of Mormonism, Mandeans are the only religion known to practice proxy baptisms.

Baptisms are a central theme in Mandaeanism, believed to be necessary for the redemption of the soul. Mandaeans do not perform a single baptism, as in religions such as Christianity or Judaism; rather, they view baptisms as a ritualistic act capable of bringing the soul closer to salvation (McGrath 2015). Therefore, Mandaeans get baptized a numerous number of times during their lives. John the Baptist is a key figure for the Mandaeans; they even consider him to have been a Mandaean himself (2015). John is referred to as a “disciple” or “priest,” most known for the countless number of baptisms he performed, which helped close the immense gap between the soul and salvation.

Arab sources of early Qur'anic times (7th century) make some references to Sabians. They are counted among the Ahl al-Kitāb (People of the Book), and several hadith feature them. Some scholars hold that these Sabians are those currently referred to as Mandaeans, while others contend that the etymology of the root word 'Sabi'un' points to origins either in the Syriac or Mandaic word 'Sabian', and suggest that the Mandaean religion originated with Sabeans who came under the influence of early Hellenic Sabian missionaries, but preferred their own priesthood. The Sabians believed they "belong to the prophet Noah;" similarly, the Mandaeans claim direct descent from Noah. Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila (2002, 2006) notes that in the marsh areas of Southern Iraq, there was a continuous tradition of Mandaean religion, and that another pagan, or "Sabian", centre in the tenth-century Islamic world centred on Harran.  These pagan "Sabians" are mentioned in the Nabataean corpus of Ibn Wahshiyya.

Early in the 9th century, a group in the northern Mesopotamian city of Harran declared themselves Sabians when facing persecution; an Assyrian Christian writer said that the true 'Sabians' or Sabba lived in the marshes of lower Iraq. The earliest account we have about the Mandaeans is that of the Assyrian writer Theodore Bar Konai (in the Scholion, AD 792). In the Fihrist ("Book of Nations") of Arabic scholar Al-Nadim (c. 987), the Mogtasilah (Mughtasila..., "self-ablutionists") are counted among the followers of El-Hasaih. Called a "sect" of "Sabians," they are located in southern Mesopotamia. No verbatim reference to Mandaeans, which were a distinct group by then, seems to have been made by Al-Nadim; Mogtasilah was not that group's endonym, and the few details on rituals and habit are similar to Mandaeans ones. Mogtasilah may thus have been Al-Nadim's term for the Mandaeans, but they may just as well have been a related group which does not exist anymore today.

The Sabians, who were pagans in the Middle East, were identified with two groups, the Mandaeans and the Harranians. The Harranians were called after the ancient city of Harran, Haran o Carrhae were they lived. Here is were Terah, Abraham's dad lived. Here lived also Laban, Jacob's father in law. The battle of Carrhae was the famous battle between the two world superpowers of the time. In it the Parthian Empire defeated the Roman Empire.

A group of modern-day people based in Iraq call themselves Sabians and follow the teachings of John the Baptist. They are Mandaeans (or Sabian Mandaeans). They are more urban than other Mandaeans living in southern Iraq, which perhaps explains why they prefer to be called Sabians. Due to their faith, pacifism and lack of tribalties, they have been vulnerable to violence since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and numbered less than 5000 in 2007. They primarily live around Baghdad, where the last sheik resides whovconducts services and baptisms. Many from the sect have moved from Baghdad to Kurdistan where it is safer.

Elchasai's religious community seems to have prospered for a while, but ultimately splintered. The Mandaeans may have originated in a schism where they renounced the Torah, while the mainstream Sampsaeans held on to it (as Elchasai's followers did)—if so, this must have happened around the mid-late 1st millennium AD. Al-Biruni (writing at the beginning of the 11th century AD) said that the 'real Sabians' were "the remnants of the Israelite tribes who remained in Babylonia when the other tribes left it for Jerusalem in the days of Cyrus and Artaxerxes. These remaining tribes... adopted a system mixed-up of Magism and Judaism." However, it is not clear exactly which group he referred to, for by then the Elchasaite sects may have been at their most diverse. Some disappeared subsequently; for example, the Sampsaeans are not well attested in later sources. The Ginza Rba, one of the chief holy scriptures of the Mandaeans, appears to originate around the time of Elchasai or somewhat thereafter fragments have not been compared to the Ginza Rba.

Around 1290, a learned Dominican Catholic from Tuscany, Ricoldo da Montecroce, or Ricoldo Pennini, was in Mesopotamia where he met the Mandaeans. He described them as follows: “A very strange and singular people, in terms of their rituals, lives in the desert near Baghdad; they are called Sabaeans. Many of them came to me and begged me insistently to go and visit them. They are a very simple people and they claim to possess a secret law of God, which they preserve in beautiful books. Their writing is a sort of middle way between Syriac and Arabic. They detest Abraham because of circumcision and they venerate John the Baptist above all. They live only near a few rivers in the desert. They wash day and night so as not to be condemned by God…”

                                                         John the Baptist preaching

Some Portuguese Jesuits had met some "Saint John Christians" or Mandaeans around the Strait of Hormuz in 1559, when the Portuguese fleet fought with the Ottoman Turkish army in Bahrain. These Mandaean seemed to be willing to obey the Catholic Church. They learned and used the seven Catholic sacraments and the related ceremonies in their lives.

Mandaeism, as the religion of the Mandaean people, is based more on a common heritage than on any set of religious creeds and doctrines. A basic guide to Mandaean theology does not exist. Mandean theology is wildly different from every kind of Judaism. The corpus of Mandaean literature, though quite large, covers topics such as eschatology, the knowledge of God and the afterlife—in an unsystematic manner. Moreover, it is known only to the priesthood and a few laypeople.

According to E.S. Drower, the Mandaean Gnosis is characterized by nine features, which appear in various forms in other gnostic sects: A supreme formless Entity, the expression of which in time and space is creation of spiritual, etheric, and material worlds and beings. Production of these is delegated by It to a creator or creators who originated in It. The cosmos is created by Archetypal Man, who produces it in similitude to his own shape. Dualism: a cosmic Father and Mother, Light and Darkness, Right and Left, syzygy in cosmic and microcosmic form. As a feature of this dualism, counter-types, a world of ideas. The soul is portrayed as an exile, a captive; its home and origin are the supreme Entity, to which the soul eventually returns. Planets and stars influence fate and human beings, and are also places of detention after death. A saviour spirit or saviour spirits which assist the soul on the journey through life and after it to 'worlds of light.' A cult-language of symbol and metaphor. Ideas and qualities are personified. 'Mysteries', i.e. sacraments to aid and purify the soul, to ensure rebirth into a spiritual body, and ascent from the world of matter. These are often adaptations of existing seasonal and traditional rites to which an esoteric interpretation is attached. Some scholars, including Kurt Rudolph connect the early Mandaeans with the Jewish sect of the Nasoraeans. In the case of the Naṣoreans this interpretation is based upon the Creation story, especially on the Divine Man, Adam, as crowned and anointed King-priest.

Heresy involving various elements of Gnostic thought was a pervasive issue in the Land of Israel at the turn of the Common Era, and for the first couple of centuries CE. One of the most famous sets of stories in the Talmud, for example, involves a great Rabbi and mystic, a colleague of Rabbi Akiva's named Elisha ben Abuya, who became a Gnostic heretic.

There is no reason to suppose the same sorts of issues were not faced in early Jewish Christian sects, especially given that Christianity incorporated far more Gnostic ideas into their mainstream theology than Judaism ever did.

According to Lady Drower (one of the few Westerners who have had extensive contact with Mandaeans), posited that the religion's anti-Judaic overtones likely have roots in a time when the Mandaens indeed were a heretical sect that resided in Jerusalem.

Great secrecy is enjoined upon initiates; full explanation of 1, 2, and 8 being reserved for those considered able to understand and preserve the gnosis.

Mandaeans believe in marriage and procreation, and in the importance of leading an ethical and moral lifestyle in this world. They also place a high priority upon family life. Consequently, Mandaeans do not practice celibacy or asceticism. Mandaeans will, however, abstain from strong drink and red meat. While they agree with other gnostic sects that the world is a prison governed by the planetary archons, they do not view it as a cruel and inhospitable one.

The Mandaeans have a large corpus of religious scriptures, the most important of which is the Genzā Rabbā or Ginza, a collection of history, theology, and prayers The Genzā Rabbā is divided into two halves—the Genzā Smālā or "Left Ginza," and the Genzā Yeminā or "Right Ginza". By consulting the colophons in the Left Ginza, Jorunn J. Buckley has identified an uninterrupted chain of copyists to the late 2nd or early 3rd century AD. The colophons attest to the existence of the Mandaeans or their predecessors during the late Arsacid period at the very latest, a fact corroborated by the Harrān Gāwetā legend, which says that the Mandaeans left Judea after the destruction of Jerusalem in the 1st century CE, and settled within the Arsacid empire. Although the Ginza continued to evolve under the rule of the Sassanians and the Islamic empires, few textual traditions can lay claim to such extensive continuity. Other important books include the Qolastā, the "Canonical Prayerbook of the Mandaeans," which was translated by E. S. Drower. One of the chief works of Mandaean scripture, accessible to laymen and initiates alike, is the Draša D-Iahia "The Book of John the Baptist" (text; German translation), which includes a dialogue between John and Jesus. In addition to the Ginza, Qolusta, and Draša, there is the Dīvān, which contains a description of the 'regions' the soul ascends through, and the Asfar Malwāshē, the "Book of the Zodiacal Constellations." Finally, there are some pre-Muslim artifacts which contain Mandaean writings and inscriptions, such as some Aramaic incantation bowls.

The language in which the Mandaean religious literature was originally composed is known as Mandaic, and is a member of the Aramaic family of dialects. It is written in a cursive variant of the Parthian chancellory script. Under Parthian and early Sasanian rule, foreign religions were tolerated.
Many Mandaean lay people do not speak this language, though some members of the Mandaean community resident in Iran and Iraq continue to speak Neo-Mandaic, a modern version of this language.

Mandaean theology is not systematic. There is no one single authoritative account of the creation of the cosmos, but rather a series of several accounts. Some scholars, such as Edmondo Lupieri,[21] maintain that comparison of these different accounts may reveal the diverse religious influences upon which the Mandaeans have drawn and the ways in which the Mandaean religion has evolved over time.

In contrast with the religious texts of the western Gnostic sects formerly found in Syria and Egypt, the earliest Mandaean religious texts suggest a more strictly dualistic theology, typical of other Iranian religions such as Zoroastrianism, Zurvanism, Manichaeism, and the teachings of Mazdak. In these texts, instead of a large pleroma, there is a discrete division between light and darkness. The ruler of darkness is called Ptahil (similar to the Gnostic Demiurge), and the originator of the light (i.e. God) is only known as "the great first Life from the worlds of light, the sublime one that stands above all works." When this being emanated, other spiritual beings became increasingly corrupted, and they and their ruler Ptahil created our world. The name Ptahil is suggestive of the Egyptian Ptah—the Mandaeans believe that they were resident in Egypt for a while—joined to the semitic El, meaning "god."

The issue is further complicated by the fact that Ptahil alone does not constitute the demiurge but only fills that role insofar as he is the creator of our world. Rather, Ptahil is the lowest of a group of three "demiurgic" beings, the other two being Yushamin (a.k.a. Joshamin) and Abathur. Abathur's demiurgic role consists of his sitting in judgment upon the souls of mortals. The role of Yushamin, the senior being, is more obscure; wanting to create a world of his own, he was severely punished for opposing the King of Light. The name may derive from Iao haš-šammayim (in Hebrew: Yahweh "of the heavens").

Mandaeans recognize several prophets. Yahya ibn Zakariyya, known by Christians as John the Baptist, is accorded a special status, higher than his role in Christianity and Islam. Mandaeans do not consider John to be the founder of their religion but revere him as one of their greatest teachers, tracing their beliefs back to Adam.

Mandaeans maintain that Jesus was a mšiha kdaba "false messiah" who perverted the teachings entrusted to him by John. The Mandaic word k(a)daba, however, might be interpreted as being derived from either of two roots: the first root, meaning "to lie," is the one traditionally ascribed to Jesus; the second, meaning "to write," might provide a second meaning, that of "book;" hence some Mandaeans, motivated perhaps by an ecumenical spirit, maintain that Jesus was not a "lying Messiah" but a "book Messiah," the "book" in question presumably being the Christian Gospels. This seems to be a folk etymology without support in the Mandaean texts.

Likewise, the Mandaeans believe that Abraham and Moses were false prophets, but recognize other prophetic figures from the Abrahamic traditions, such as Adam, his sons Hibil (Abel) and Šitil (Seth), and his grandson Anuš (Enosh), as well as Nuh (Noah), his son Sam (Shem) and his son Ram (Aram). The latter three they consider to be their direct ancestors. Mandaeans consider the Holy Spirit that is known as Ruha d-Qudsha in the Talmud and Bible to be an evil being.

There is a strict division between Mandaean laity and the priests.

[T]hose amongst the community who possess secret knowledge are called Naṣuraiia—Naṣoreans (or, if the emphatic ‹ṣ› is written as ‹z›, Nazorenes). At the same time the ignorant or semi-ignorant laity are called 'Mandaeans', Mandaiia—'gnostics.' When a man becomes a priest he leaves 'Mandaeanism' and enters tarmiduta, 'priesthood.' Even then he has not attained to true enlightenment, for this, called 'Naṣiruta', is reserved for a very few. Those possessed of its secrets may call themselves Naṣoreans, and 'Naṣorean' today indicates not only one who observes strictly all rules of ritual purity, but one who understands the secret doctrine.

There are three grades of priesthood in Mandaeism: the tarmidia "disciples" (Neo-Mandaic tarmidānā), the ganzibria "treasurers" (from Old Persian ganza-bara "id.," Neo-Mandaic ganzeḇrānā) and the rišamma "leader of the people." This last office, the highest level of the Mandaean priesthood, has lain vacant for many years. At the moment, the highest office currently occupied is that of the ganzeḇrā, a title which appears first in a religious context in the Aramaic ritual texts from Persepolis (c. 3rd century BCE) and which may be related to the kamnaskires (Elamite <qa-ap-nu-iš-ki-ra> kapnuskir "treasurer"), title of the rulers of Elymais (modern Khuzestan) during the Hellenistic age. Traditionally, any ganzeḇrā who baptizes seven or more ganzeḇrānā may qualify for the office of rišamma, though the Mandaean community has yet to rally as a whole behind any single candidate.

The contemporary priesthood can trace its immediate origins to the first half of the 19th century. In 1831, an outbreak of cholera devastated the region and eliminated most if not all of the Mandaean religious authorities. Two of the surviving acolytes (šgandia), Yahia Bihram and Ram Zihrun, reestablished the priesthood on the basis of their own training and the texts that were available to them. In 2009, there were two dozen Mandaean priests in the world, according to the Associated Press.

According to the Fihrist of ibn al-Nadim, the Mesopotamian prophet Mani, the founder of Manichaeism, was brought up within the Elkasaites (Elcesaites or Elchasaite) sect, this being confirmed more recently by the Cologne Mani Codex. The Elkasaites were a Judeo-Christian baptismal sect which seem to have been related, possibly ancestral, to the Mandaeans (see Sabians). The members of this sect, like the Mandaeans, wore white and performed baptisms. They dwelt in east Judea and Assyria, whence the Mandaeans claim to have migrated to southern Mesopotamia, according to the Harran Gawaitā legend. Mani later left the Elkasaites to found his own religion. In a comparative analysis, Mandaean scholar Säve-Söderberg indicated that Mani's Psalms of Thomas were closely related to Mandaean texts. This would imply that Mani had access to Mandaean religious literature, or both derived from the same source.

The Haran Gawaita uses the name Nasoreans for the Mandaeans arriving from Jerusalem. Consequently, the Mandaeans have been connected with the 4th-century Nazarenes described by Epiphanius. They are connected with the Dositheans by Theodore Bar Kōnī in his Scholion.

Ibn al-Nadim also mentions a group called the Mughtasila, "the self-ablutionists," who may be identified with one or the other of these groups. The members of this sect, like the Mandaeans, wore white and performed baptisms.

Whether groups such as the Elkasaites, the Mughtasila, the Nasoraeans, and the Dositheans can be identified with the Mandaeans or one another is a difficult question. While it seems certain that a number of distinct groups are intended by these names, the nature of these sects and the connections between them are less than clear. At least according to the Fihrist (see above), these groups seem all to have emerged from or developed in parallel with the "Sabian" followers of El-Hasaih; "Elkasaites" in particular may simply have been a blanket term for Mughtasila, Mandaeans, the original Sabians and even Manichaeans.

Mandaeans are an ethnoreligious group indigenous to the alluvial plain of southern Mesopotamia and are exclusively followers of Mandaeism, a Gnostic religion, originated in the Middle East. The Mandaeans were originally native speakers of Mandaic, a Semitic language, which evolved from Eastern Middle Aramaic, before switching to colloquial Iraqi Arabic and Modern Persian. Mandaic is mainly preserved as a liturgical language. During the last decade the indigenous Mandaic community of Iraq, which used to number 60-70,000 persons, has collapsed due to the Iraq War, with most of the community relocating to nearby Iran, Syria and Jordan and forming diaspora communities outside of the Middle East. The other indigenous community of Iranian Mandaeans has also been dwindling due to religious persecution over the last decade.

Shabak People

There are about 60,000 Shabak people living today all in northern Iraq. They are an ethnic group with a religion similar to orthodox Islam and Christianity. The Shabak have much in common with the Yazidis.

The religion of the Shabak people in northern Iraq, mainly in the Mosul region. Rough estimates make 70% the Shabaks believers in their native religion, while 30% are Sunni Muslim converts. This would make there about 70,000 adherents. It is common that Shabaks themselves will say that their faith is a form of Shi'i Islam, but their actual faith and rituals have little to do with islam, clearly having every characteristic of an independent religion. In this respect, Shabak religion is another of the taqiyya religions. Shabak religion has its own sacred book, the Buyruk, written in Turkmen. The Shabak faith does contain elements of Islam, as well as Christianity and other religions. There is a close affinity between Shabak religion and Yazidism, and Shabaks perform pilgrimage to Yazidi shrines.

Total population 130,000 to 500,000 Regions with significant populations Iraq
Languages Shabaki, Kurdish, Arabic Religion Shia Islam (Shabakism), Yarsani

The Shabak people are an ethnoreligious group who live mainly in the villages of Ali Rash, Khazna, Yangidja, and Tallara in the Sinjar District of the Nineveh Province in northern Iraq. They speak Shabaki, a Northwestern Iranian language of the Zaza–Gorani group. In addition to the Shabaks, there are three other ta'ifs or sects which make up this group: the Bajalan, Dawoody and Zengana.

About 70 percent of Shabaks are Shi'a (Shabakism) and the rest of the population are Yarsani or Sunni. It has also been suggested that Shabaks are descendants of the Qizilbash army led by Shah Ismail.

A 1925 survey estimated Shabak numbers at 10,000. In the 1970s, their population was estimated to be around 15,000. Modern estimates of Shabak population range from 130,000 to 500,000.

The Shabak are composed from three tribes (ashiret): the Hariri, the Gergeri, and the Mawsil î.

The origin of the word Shabak is not clear. One view maintains that Shabak is an Arabic wordشبك meaning intertwine, indicating that the Shabak people originated from many different tribes. The name "Shabekan" occurs among tribes in Dersim, North Kurdistan and as "Shabakanlu" in Khorasan, which is located in the northeast region of Iran.

Austin Henry Layard considered Shabak to be descendants of Persian Kurds, and believed they might have affinities with the Ali-Ilahis. Other theories suggested that Shabak originated from Anatolian Turkomans, who were forced to resettle in the Mosul area after the defeat of Ismail I at the battle of Chaldiran.

The geographical range of the Shabak people was drastically changed by the massive deportations that occurred during the Al-Anfal Campaign in 1988 and the subsequent refugee crisis of 1991. Many Shabaks along with Zengana and Hawrami were relocated through deportations to concentration camps (mujamma'at in Arabic) located in the Harir area of Iraqi Kurdistan. An estimated 1,160 Shabaks were killed during that period. In addition, the Iraqi government's efforts at forced assimilation and Arabization and religious persecution, put the Shabaks under increasing pressure and threat. As one Shabak told a researcher: The government said we are Arabs, not Kurds; but if we are, why did they deport us from our homes?

Even though the Sunni Shabak community identifies itself as Kurds, Shia Shabaks consider themselves a unique ethnoreligious group.

According to the US intelligence agency analysts, Shabaks are currently undergoing a process of Kurdification, though Shabak Council of Representative member Ahmed Yusif al-Shabak says that Shabaks are Kurds.

In the Bashiqa sub district of the Mosul region, where Shabaks comprised 60% of the population, half of the city council members were of Kurdish origin.

On 15 August 2005, Shabaks organised a demonstration under the slogan "We are the Shabak, NOT Kurds and NOT Arabs", demanding recognition of their unique ethnic identity.The demonstration came under fire from Kurdistan Democratic Party militia.

On 21 August 2006, Shabak Democratic Party leader, Hunain Qaddo proposed the creation of a separate province whithin the borders of the Nineveh Plain.In order to combat the Kurdification and Arabization of Iraqi minorities.

On 22 June 2006, members of the Assyrian and Shabak communities filed a complaint to the Iraqi prime minister, regarding the under representation of the two communities in the police force of the Niveneh region.The 711 Assyrian and Shabak policemen were sent to Mosul, while their positions in their local communities were filled with Kurds.

On 20 December 2006, ten Shabak representatives unanimously voted for the non inclusion of Shabak inhabited areas of the Mosul region into the Kurdish Regional Government. A number of Shabak village aldermans, noted that they were threatened into signing the incorporation petition by Kurdish authorities.

On 13 July 2008, A group of unidentified men, armed with machine guns, assassinated Abbas Kadhim. At the time of his murder, Kadhim was a member of the Democratic Shabak Assembly and an outspoken critic of the undergoing Kurdification process of the Shabak people.According to Shabak officials, Kadhim had received numerous death threats from members of the Peshmerga and the Kurdistan Democratic Party.

                                                                            Shabak flag

On 30 June 2011, the Nineveh provincial council distributed 6000 lots of land to state employees. According to the head of the Shabak Advisory Board, Salem Khudr al-Shabaki, the majority of those lots were deliberately given to Arabs.

Shabakism is similar and related to Islam and Christianity. Many regard themseves as Shia Muslims. It is common for Shabaks to say that their faith is a form of Shia Islam, but their actual faith and rituals have little to do with Islam, clearly having every characteristic of an independent religion. There is a close affinity between the Shabak and the Yazidis; for example, Shabaks perform pilgrimage to Yazidi shrines. However, the Shabak also perform pilgrimages to Shia holy cities such as Najaf and Karbala.

The primary Shabak religious text is called Byruk or Kitab al-Managib (Book of Exemplary Acts). Byruk is written in Turkoman.

Shabaks combine elements of Sufism with their own interpretation of divine reality, which according to them, is more advanced than the literal interpretation of Qur'an known as Sharia. Shabak spiritual guides are known as pir, who are individuals well versed in the prayers and rituals of the sect. Pirs themselves are under the leadership of the Supreme Head or Baba. Pirs act as mediators between Divine power and ordinary Shabaks. Their beliefs form a syncretic system with such features as private and public confession and allowing consumption of alcoholic beverages. This last feature makes them distinct from the neighboring Muslim populations. The beliefs of the Yarsan closely resemble those of the Shabak people.

Shabaks consider the poetry of Ismail I to be revealed by god, and recite it during meetings.

The Shabaks have many special traditions. Once a year they commemorate the people who died that year. The whole city fasts that day. Shabaks bury their dead. Burial is called Jinanguan.

The Shabaks, As Told By A Foreigner

“They say they are Sunni. They say they are Shiite". The Shabak, also occasionally spelled Shebek, and not to be confused with the similarly-spelt Israeli agency, are a minority group of Nineveh province in Iraq. In Iraq they live predominantly to the Southeast of Mosul in the Sahl Ninewah, or Nineveh Plain. Gogjali is one large Shabak town in this area.

Recently, ISIS has targeted the residents of Gogjali for being “Shia”. Ethnically, the Shabak have been described as Kurds, Turkmen, and even Arabs (Bruinessen). In reality, the Shabak are a unique people who don’t clearly fall into one of these categories based on language or history. However, the ongoing process of Kurdification together with the drive, spurred by Islamist groups like ISIS, for religious minorities to seek safety in Kurdistan, has provided one answer to this question. Another has been provided by the labeling of the Shia-weighted government and the Western media, which both often lump Shabak under the category of “Shia Turkmen.” While there are Shia Turkmen in the common, Twelver or Ithna ‘Ashari sense, the Shabak are a different case when it comes to religion. Proud Muslims in their own right, Shabak religion is based on centuries-old forms of Sufism mixed with devotion to Ali and remembrance of their community founders.

Its devotion is reminiscent of other Alawi or Alevi sects such as the older and more clandestine Nusayri or “Alawites” of Syria. However, unlike their “heterodox” cousins in Syria or Turkey, the Shabak were plains dwellers. They maintained a symbiotic relationship with a few rich Twelver Shia sayyids who lived in Mosul that provided legitimacy and top cover for the poorer Shabak agriculturalists. By the time Operation Iraqi Freedom was well underway, the underpinnings of the old system seemed gone. The remaining Shabak appeared reduced to a very poor and highly vulnerable minority. In 2008-2009, local citizens updated the ethnographic information available on the Shabak. We were told that Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) gangs would round up Shabak youth suffering in dire poverty with no defenses. They and their families would be threatened with execution for apostasy unless they carried out an attack against local Christians or Coalition forces. The end result obscured the full and frequent role of ISI as “attack brokers,” capable of strong arming inimical minorities, rather than supposed mujahedeen. It was in the neighborhood of Zinjali on the West Side of Mosul that we came face to face with a family of Shabak who were gracious enough to speak with us at length.

The father of the house sat warming his feet and shins in front of a small coal stove in the spring morning while I spoke with his sons. “We are Beyjwan,” the elder son replied when I asked the families background. “Are you folks Shabak?” I asked, remembering the association of the Beyjwan tribal group with the Shabak. “Yes,” he answered, his eyes brightening, “You know about the Shabak people? We are probably the last family left in West Mosul. Everyone wants to force us out. But why should we go? What have we done wrong? There used to be many of us here.” “You know,” the younger son broke in, as the elderly father squinted in the morning light, “these people think we’re stupid. It’s crazy. They bully us all the time.” He gestured to himself. “You should see me work on an engine if you think I’m stupid.” I took “these people” to be the Sunni Arab Baathist-Islamist functional coalition that dominated West Mosul. Several women peered curiously out from a sort of partition from the main room — I noted they wore brighter and more embroidered dress than many of the local women, almost like a sari. I often wonder what happened to the family I met. Under the rule of ISIS, there’s no doubt any remaining Shabak have been driven from the city.

On July 12, Iraq’s central government itself issued via the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry a condemnation of atrocities committed against Shabak and noted the displaced urgently needed foodstuffs. (Aswat al Iraq) Amnesty International’s July 14 report “Northern Iraq: Civilians in the Line of Fire” details atrocities perpetrated against the Shabak as their villages and towns east of Mosul have been overrun by ISIS forces. ISIS has continued to proudly post videos allegedly showing the executions of Shabak. There are two key reasons an interested observer should take note of the current events surrounding the Shabak.

First, as suggested, for example, in my June article, “ISIS and the Destruction of the Virgin Mary,” an ISIS thrust to the Sahl Ninewah or other minority areas around Mosul could be interpreted as a challenge to Kurdish claims of authority. "Isis came here to kill the Peshmerga just because they are protecting us, the Shabak,” stated a resident of Bartella in a July 1 interview. Second, several reports, given the clamp-down at the Kurdistan borders, state that the Shabak are moving south and may be pressured to affiliate with the Shia central government.  Nineveh province plays a major part in the chessboard of Iraq and whatever one’s motivation, the board itself, and not merely the pieces, are shifting.

Who were the Donmeh?

At this time a group of Moslems went to the authorities supervising the population shift and explained that they were not really Moslems but were in fact really Jews posing as Moslems. The authorities would not entertain such a claim so the group then went to the Chief Rabbi, Saul Amarillo, to verify their Jewish status. Rabbi Amarillo states, “Yes, I know who you are. You are momzarim (very loosely translated as bastards) and as such not acceptable in the Jewish community.” These people were the Domneh, the Turkish word for converts, and their existence had been known for over 200 years. They were called momzarim because of the bizarre sexual practices that were part of their religious rituals, which made it impossible to trace parentage and lineage. The Domneh were forced to leave Salonika for Turkey, which, considering the tragic fate of Salonika’s Jews during the Holocaust 20 years later, undoubtedly saved their lives.

One of the best known names but least known historical figures in Jewish history is Shabbtai Zvi, the “false messiah” (1626-1687). Born in Smyrna, Turkey, of a Sephardic father and an Ashkenazi mother, he was a brilliant child and Talmudic student, and an ordained rabbi in his mid teens. He went on to study and became a master in Kabbalah and other Jewish mysticism. His oratory was captivating and he soon acquired a following. However, he exhibited odd characteristics, including periods of illumination where he was believed to be communicating with God and periods of darkness when he was wrestling with evil. Soon he began to hint that he was the Messiah. This blasphemy caused him to be expelled from a number of congregations.

He took up a pilgrim’s staff and with some followers roamed the Middle East, gathering many to his messianic preaching, especially during his periods of light. In Gaza he was welcomed by Rabbi Nathan, who had for years been preaching that the arrival of the Messiah was imminent. This combination led to a great outpouring of belief in Shabbtai Zvi as the Messiah. Word spread throughout the Jewish world, from Poland, Amsterdam, Germany, London, Persia, and Turkey to Yemen. Multitudes joined his ranks – educated rabbis, illiterates, rich and poor alike were swept up in the mass hysteria.

Among his inner core, they accepted his theory that all religious restrictions were reversed. The forbidden was encouraged and the commandments of the Torah were replaced by Shabbtai’s 18 (chai) commandments. This led to feasting on fast days, sexual relations with others than one’s spouse, and many more. The high point was in 1665-66, when Shabbtai, with his followers, marched on the sultan’s palace expecting to be greeted as the Messiah. This of course did not happen. To shorten this story, Shabbtai was given the choice “convert to Islam or die.” To the consternation of his followers, he chose conversion.

Most of his followers return to their homelands where, after penitence and sometimes flagellation, they were received into the congregations. However, some hundreds of families of his inner circle considered his apostasy as part of his overall plan of reaching the depth before attaining redemption. They too converted to Islam, although for about 200 years they lived as Moslems but secretly passed on their secret quasi-Jewish Shabbatean beliefs and practices to their children. They continued learning and praying in Hebrew and Ladino. As the generations passed, the knowledge of Hebrew was reduced to reciting certain prayers and expressions by memory in a barely understood Hebrew. They were known in Turkish as Domneh, meaning “converts”; to the Jews they were Minim, meaning “heretics.” They referred to themselves as Ma’aminim, the “believers.” They were never really accepted by the Turks nor by the Jews.

As we get into the middle and late 1800s and education and enlightened thinking spread through parts of the region, young Domneh men who were dissatisfied with their status as “neither-nor” turned to secular nationalism to establish their identity. They neglected all forms of religious belonging and saw in the Young Turk movement their emancipation.

The Jewish Roots

In 1911 in the Hotel Kamenetz in Jerusalem, Itamar Ben Avi, a newspaperman and writer who was the son of Eleazer Ben Yehudah (credited as the main proponent of the establishment of Modern Hebrew) met with a young Turkish Army officer. After enjoying a good quantity of Arak, the officer, Col. Mohammed Kemal, turned to his drinking partner and recited the “Shema” in fluent Hebrew and indicated that he came from a Domneh family. They met again on a few occasions and Kemal filled in more of his background. This man was of course to become General Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey. Remnants of Domneh still exist. There is an unidentifiable building known as the Jewish Mosque where Domneh still meet. During World War II, when Turkey was close to Germany, there were separate tax lists for different religious categories, and the “D” list was for Domneh. During his lifetime and continuing today, there have been whispered rumors among Islamic activists that Kemal Ataturk and other Young Turks were of Jewish origin. Publicly, he denied this and his biographers avoided the issue. However, there is little doubt that 300 years after the death of Shabbtai Zvi, his influence and twists and turns of his Domneh followers provided the activist secular basis which is one of the underlying principles of modern Turkey –without which the Turkish-Israeli connection would have been most unlikely.

To bring this story up to date and possibly complete the circle, we now learn that some Domneh living in Turkey have made inquiry of American Jewish religious organizations about the possible re-entry of Domneh into today’s Jewish world.

When Israel Helped Yemen’s Shiites

The Houthis see a Jewish conspiracy behind for the campaign against them. But in the Yemeni civil war of the 1960s, Israel helped the Shiite tribes from which the rebels hail.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels accuse Israel of standing behind the Saudi-led military campaign launched against them in February. The charge is not unusual—blaming Israel for the Mideast’s sundry ills is a time- honored regional pastime. For once, though, the allegation has some historical basis: During Yemen’s 1962-1970 civil war, the Jewish state airlifted a steady supply of money and arms to the ruling monarchy. On one point, however, the Houthis’ accusation falls flat: That monarchy actually represented the same Shiite tribes from whom today’s rebels spring.

At the time, Yemen was divided—as it was for most of its history—between the absolute monarchy of the Mutawakelite dynasty in the north, and a British protectorate in the south centered on the strategic port of Aden. The Mutawakelites were Zaydis—a sub-minority within the Islamic minority of Shiism who consider Muhammad’s great-great grandson Zayd the rightful heir to the prophet’s mantle.

Zaydis are commonly known as Fivers, because they deem Zayd the fifth and final leader of the faithful, as opposed to the majority of Shiites who recognize a chain of 12.

Pan-Jewish History

The Hebrew Bible describes four historical exoduses near or across deserts:

First Exodus from Sumer to Canaan
Second Exodus from Canaan to Egypt
Third Exodus from Egypt to Canaan
Fourth Exodus from Israel to Assyria

The first three desert exoduses are all documented in the Torah (the Pentateuch) and are celebrated by the three original pilgrimage festivals which entailed walking by foot from across the land of Israel to the Temple in Jerusalem (Hebrew Aliyah ba’Regel) in thus commemorating the journeys of the three Exoduses of the Torah. The three pilgrimage festivals all exoterically commemorate the narrative of the Exodus from Egypt, a historiography which by textual synthesis integrates events from the different Biblical exoduses into one foundational national narrative of the sacred nation of Israel.

1. Sumer and Israel

The first three desert exoduses are all documented in the Torah (the Pentateuch) and are celebrated by the three original pilgrimage festivals which entailed walking by foot from across the land of Israel to the Temple in Jerusalem (Hebrew Aliyah ba’Regel) in thus commemorating the journeys of the three Exoduses of the Torah. The three pilgrimage festivals all exoterically commemorate the narrative of the Exodus from Egypt, a historiography which by textual synthesis integrates events from the different Biblical exoduses into one foundational national narrative of the sacred nation of Israel.

Ur III Empire

2. Israel and Egypt

Ancient Egypt

Samuel anoints David.

3. Assyria, Media and Persia

The united monarchy of Israel was partitioned into two kingdoms in 930 BCE; the southern Kingdom of Judah (Hebrew Mamlekhet Yehudah) and the northern Kingdom of Israel (Hebrew Mamlekhet Israel). The northern kingdom was attacked by the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 732 BCE and its Israelite population was in subsequent decades deported in several waves to areas in and near present-day Kurdistan.

After the deported Jews settled in what is now Kurdistan, they resorted to religious secrecy so as to protect themselves and their form of Israelite religion from the domination of their Assyrians rulers. Following upon the Assyrian deportations, Israelites generally became known as Jews (Hebrew Yehudim meaning Judeans) rather than as Israelites (Hebrew Bnei Israel meaning Children of Israel) as Jews is not merely a designation for those descended from the southern Kingdom of Judah, from the Tribe of Judah (Hebrew Shevet Yehuda) or from the Yehuda tribal area in ancient Israel but rather describes the sacred nation of Israel generally, Jews as well as Crypto-Jews, the rabbinically Jewish people as well as Para-Jewish peoples.

With the fall of the Neo-Assyrian Empire in 627-605 BCE and the rise of the Median Empire which existed in the period of 678-549 BCE; the deported Jewish population gained prominence as Median Judaism became the leading religion in the Median Empire in becoming part of the ethnic religion of the Medes. The Median state with its capital Ecbatana was founded in the part of the region to which Israelites were deported by Assyrian king Sargon II in the years 716-715 BCE.

The Levite priestly tribe remained distinctive and also preserved within itself the Kohanim priestly caste which thus became the priestly caste of the Medes generally. Both Levites and Kohanim in Media are historically known in Latin as Magi (singular Magus), a term which is derived from the Hebrew Maggid, meaning preacher. Maggid Levites thus became one of the six tribes of the Medes and this is still strictly esoterically commemorated in Rabbinic Judaism with the six dishes on the Passover Seder plate. While originally the term “Magi” referred both to the Levite tribe and to the Kohanim caste within that tribe, when later ancient sources refer to “the Magi”, they probably only meant the Kohanim of Priestly Judaism.

                                     Lag baOmer and Newroz are celebrated with bonfires.

A fire festival known as Lag baOmer in Rabbinic Judaism and Newroz in Median Judaism was instituted to esoterically commemorate the Median conversion to Judaism and the establishment of the Median Empire. The festival of Purimis known as Khal Gagane (Hebrew Chagiganu, i.e. we celebrated) among the Crypto-Jewish Alevis and is a biblical narrative deliberately designed to place the drama of Cyrus, his mother Queen Madane och his wicked grandfather king Astyages of Media in a different historiographical context.

In 550 BCE, Cyrus transformed the Median Empire into the Persian Empire which initially made no religious difference as the Maggid Kohanim served both Medes and Persians. With the expansion of the Median Empire in becoming the Persian Empire, the land of Israel thus once more came under Jewish rule and the Jews living in Babylonian captivity could return to Judea and rebuild the temple in Jersualem. Cyrus is for these reasons referred to in the Book of Isaiah as a messiah/mashiach (Hebrew JHVH limshicho).

Tomb of Cyrus the Great.

So said the Lord, your Redeemer, and the One Who formed you from the womb, “I am the Lord Who makes everything, Who stretched forth the heavens alone, Who spread out the earth from My power. Who frustrates the signs of imposters, and diviners He makes mad; He turns the wise backwards, and makes their knowledge foolish. He fulfills the word of His servant, and the counsel of His messenger He completes; Who says of Jerusalem, “It shall be settled,” and of the cities of Judah, “They shall be built, and its ruins I will erect.” Who says to the deep, “Be dry, and I will dry up your rivers.” Who says of Cyrus, “He is My shepherd, and all My desire he shall fulfill,” and to say of Jerusalem, “It shall be built, and the Temple shall be founded.” So said the Lord to His anointed one, to Cyrus, whose right hand I held, to flatten nations before him, and the loins of kings I will loosen, to open portals before him, and gates shall not be closed. I will go before you, and I will straighten out crooked paths; I will break portals of copper and cut off bars of iron. And I will give you treasures of darkness, and riches hidden in secret places, in order that you know that I am the Lord Who calls [you] by your name-the Holy One of Israel. For the sake of My servant Jacob, and Israel My chosen one, and I called to you by your name; I surnamed you, yet you have not known Me. I am the Lord, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God: I will strengthen you although you have not known Me. In order that they know from the shining of the sun and from the west that there is no one besides Me; I am the Lord and there is no other. Who forms light and creates darkness, Who makes peace and creates evil; I am the Lord, Who makes all these.
Isaiah 44:24-45:7
               Greatest extent of the First Persian (Achaemenid) Empire.

The new religion of Zoroastrianism was much later established as state dominant religion. Priestly Judaism adapted creatively to this new reality by integrating into Zoroastrianism as the Median Maggid hereditary priests successfully transformed themselves into the hereditary priesthood of Zoroastrianism as well. The religious tradition of esoteric secrecy was continued with Priestly Judaism becoming symbiotic with the dominant Zoroastrianism and therefore surviving in spite of Zoroastrian religious imperialism. Zoroaster himself, the founder of Zoroastrianism, was a Maggid Kohen as Zoroastrianism was very much shaped and influenced by ancient Priestly Judaism, including by the Jewish belief in angels.

4. Hellenism

Byzantine-Italian depiction of the Three Magi of the New Testament.

The Maggids are known to have been present in many parts of the ancient world as were likewise overt Jews of Antiquity. Little is known about the relationship between open Jews and Crypto-Jews in the ancient world, yet there are numerous references to anonymous sages in the Talmud as those very anonymous authorities most likely were Maggids of Priestly Judaism. The seeming mobility and apparent geographic diffusion of the Maggids allowed the Maggids to win over large numbers of Humans and doing so by themselves as priests integrating into the pre-existing religions of those regions as the Maggids travelled wide and afar even geographically far beyond what morphed into the Hellenistic civilization of Antiquity. Peoples as diverse as the Igbo of Nigeria, the Japanese and the Pashtun of Afghanistan and Pakistan were converted by the Maggid as some of these migrating Maggids settled among the many peoples that were thus integrated into Maggid Judaism while apparently respecting their pre-existing religions. Rather than spreading in Africa and Asia by means of individual conversions, Priestly Judaism was inserted into the cultural frames of pre-existing ethnic religions in therefore giving rise to a great many different syncretistic forms of Maggid Judaism worldwide. This of course followed the pattern of the Levites in Canaan and the Maggids in Media.

Hellenistic Jewish depiction illustrating events in the Book of Esther.

It was quite common to have more than one religion in Hellenistic civilization of Antiquity (as is still very common in China) and this was true for ancient Jews as well. Median Judaism meaning Priestly Judaism prospered in the religious milieu of Hellenistic Antiquity where symbiosis with dominant societal patterns of organized religion allowed Priestly Judaism to attract more and more converts by complementing rather than competing with the dominant religion of the time. Parts of Priestly Judaism morphed into open Hellenistic Judaism but also prospered in the form of esoteric mystery cults.

                                Hellenistic Jewish depiction of Joshua of the Hebrew Bible.

Proto-Christianity originally emerged in the Roman Province of Judea (Latin Provincia Iudaea) as a Jewish sect within Pharisaic Judaism as led by a later world-famous Pharisaic rabbi but was subsequently disseminated byPaul (originallyShaul of Tarsus) in the Aegean cultural context of Hellenistic Judaism. The name of “Jesus” is known from the entirely Greek-language text of the New Testament and since this was written directly in Greek, it has remained unclear whether the name of “Jesus” in Hebrew was “Jeshua” or “Joshua” since these two names are spelled identically in Greek. The explanation for this and for the reported sighting post-execution was apparently the existence of a pair of identical twins with one being executed by the Romans and the other surviving and likely so mostly in hiding from Roman persecution.

Priestly Judaism and Christianity in Anatolia were both forms of Hellenistic Judaism and Priestly Judaism evolved into a symbiotic relationship with Christianity as earlier already with Zoroastrianism. Priestly Judaism continued to attract more converts and spread throughout the Zoroastrian, Hellenistic and Christian eras by simply being symbiotic with the dominant form of religion at the time yet remaining distinctive by means of esotericism specifically and through religious secrecy generally.

5. Islamic Era

8 century CE Arabian conquerors had a political need to build an official imperial religion to justify its imperialist pretensions and colonial activities and so became strongly influenced by Rabbinic Judaism and adopted much of rabbinic law, Halakha and recodified it as Sharia, colonial Arabian religious law. Sharia is a simple translation of the Hebrew word Halakha into Arabic as both words obviously not coincidentally mean path. The advantage for Arabian colonialists in selectively adopting and adapting elements of Rabbinic Judaism for their own imperialist purposes was clearly the prior existence of a detailed legal code that was simultaneously both judicial and religious.
Priestly Judaism and its Crypto-Jewish adherents often suffered terribly under Islamic rule although as for rabbinic Jews the nature of those regimes largely depended on the attitudes of individual rulers and their associated religious leaderships.

                                                        Alevi esoteric depiction of Ali.

A new type of religious symbiosis evolved under Islamic rule as rather than having more than one religion at the same time as under Zoroastrianism, Hellenism and Christianity; Priestly Judaism rather adapted and precariously survived as Crypto-Jewish denominations with often Muslim-style exoteric surface meant to protect the real esoteric Israelite religious content of Priestly Judaism. Priestly Judaism shrunk geographically under Islamic rule due to religious persecution and religious imperialism but Crypto-Jewish communities of descendants of former adherents can still be identified by the strong cultural influence of Priestly Judaism upon particular folk cultures during the long history of Priestly Judaism prior to involuntary Islamization. The Crypto-Jewish adherents of Priestly Judaism became known as Ghulat, an Arabic adjective that means extremists, indicating how Priestly Judaism deliberately culturally positioned itself on the very religious margins of the religious civilization of Islamdom and thus precariously surviving to some degree.

The Druze temple of the Shrine of Jethro in Israel.

The publically known surviving branches of Priestly Judaism outside of Islam in the Middle East are Alawites, Alevi-Bektashi, Druze, Mandaeans, Samaritans, Yarsanis (including Kakayis and Shabaks) and Yezidis. The Crypto-Jewish adherents of Priestly Judaism are even today divided between Levites (priestly caste) and non-Levites (non-priestly caste). Alevis and Mandaeans are composed of hereditary priests only although Bektashism allows both Alevis and Bektashis to serve as priests. While among Alevis only Alevi Dedes, literally Alevi Davidians (Hebrew singular haLevi Davidi ) meaning Kohanim of the Levite tribe – can serve as priests, among the Mandaeans there are in contrast no Kohanim whomsoever. Rather, the Mandaeans who traditionally live in regions east of the Tigris river are the Israelites beyond the Sambation river as referred to in rabbinic literature where they are described as all being descendants of Moses, meaning in effect Levites without any Kohanim. According to the biblical narrative, brothers Aaron and Moses were Levites and Aaron was the first kohen from whom all Kohanim are claimed to be descended. Egyptian sun symbols and Egyptian sun worship are still very common in Priestly Judaism as well as the Star of David.
The Ismaili Lion of Judah exoterically symbolizing Ali.

The history of Priestly Judaism under the reign of Islamdom is largely one of intervals between humiliating submission under Islamic religious imperialism and terrible persecutions on the part of both Muslim religious imperialist rulers and Muslim religious extremists against the Crypto-Jewish adherents of Priestly Judaism. Some adherents of Open Judaism and Priestly Judaism survived as heterodox dissenters within Islam and became known as Shiatu Ali, meaning exoterically in Arabic followers of Ali. However in terms of Crypto-Jewish etymology this comes from the Hebrew Yah Eli, literally meaning Yah is my God. Zaydis and Ismailis still constitute Crypto-Judaism and their adherents remain Crypto-Jewish. Zaydis are now mostly found in northwestern Yemen and southwestern Saudi Arabia and are the Crypto-Jewish descendants of the Jewish population of the Kingdom of Himyar (110 BCE–520 CE) whose population in great part converted to open Judaism. Twelver Shia however largely morphed into religious imperialism as beginning in the Safavid period.

                                         Crypto-Sumerian gynocentric symbolism in Sufism.

Alevi-Bektashi were once more widespread in Iran as Sufism (Arabic al sufiyya from Greek sophia for wisdom) originated among Alevi-Bektashi in Iran. Although the Safavid Empire was created with the crucial participation of Alevi-Bektashi soldiers (known in Turkish as Kizilbash meaning redheads), the Persian state eventually almost entirely put an end to the longstanding open presence of Alevi-Bektashi Judaism in Iran. The similarities between Alevi-Bektashi and Sufism are due to Sufism originating in Alevi-Bektashi Judaism in northeastern Iran in medieval times and certainly not vice versa as is often falsely presumed. Both Sufism and Freemasonry are gentile brotherhoods of Crypto-Judaism as based on hierarchic esoteric initiation, although there are many millions of Muslim Crypto-Jews in Islamdom who are also Sufis just as there are similarly some individual rabbinic Jews who are Freemasons. (Nowadays there are many Kizilbash, but are separated from the rest of Alevis & Bektashis as if they were a group of their own)

The Romani people migrated out of South Asia and later arrived in Europe after apparently living in regions between India and Europe where they adopted one or more forms of Maggid Judaism. The existence even today of Romani Alevis in Anatolia whose ancestors obviously converted to Alevism is evidence of this as are the many Para-Jewish customs in Romani culture. (The thing is that Romanis are Israelites that went to South Asia from the Holy Land & eventually lost their Israelite consciousness)

Hephthalite Empire

The Hephthalite Empire 408–670 CE (a.k.a. the Naphthalites) practiced a form of Maggid Judaism and included the Para-Jewish country of Pashtunistan within its borders. At some point however, Maggid Judaism in Central Asia turned into religious imperialism with the emergence of the great Turkic and Mongolian empires.

Most gentile Christians in the Fertile Crescent were historically Islamized while almost only endogamous Jewish Christians remained Christian and today constitute the modern Aramean people (subdivided in Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs...), a Para-Jewish people with Priestly particularly fractured ethnic identities, including the Assyrian Jews, a majority of whom today identify as Aramaic-speaking Christian Assyrians. Jewish Christians must have been far more ready to contribute to the paying of the Islamic Jizya poll tax for poor families in their communities so as to prevent their involuntary conversion into Islam than were gentile Christians mutually among themselves inside their respective communities.

Churches of the Aramean people have traditionally maintained either Aramaic or Greek as their liturgical language. Yet, it is precisely due to being a Para-Jewish people that their origins and ancestry have remained unknown and disputed as this information has long been withheld from the people by clerical elites of the various Aramean churches although there is archival and other historical documentation available.

Syrian Bedouin with payot, Jewish sidelocks.

Most of the population in what is now Israel and Judea and Samaria (“West Bank of Jordan”) was most clearly already Jewish by the time of the New Testament. Extensive genetic studies have shown that most Palestinians and Jordanians belong to clans of endogamous Jewish ancestry and many such endogamous clans are still culturally and thus ethnically Crypto-Jewish. This type of Jewish ancestry among ethnically and linguistically similar Sunni Muslims is present in Syria as well. There is now a large-scale, yet quiet Jewish revival underway among Palestinian endogamous clans, mainly in Judea and Samaria but also inside Israel proper.

The Islamization of the broader Middle East is overwhelmingly associated with change of language. The North Arabian Semitic language of Dariyya largely supplanted Tamazight (“Berber”) and the other major North Arabian Semitic language of Amiyya largely supplanted Aramaic, Egyptian, South Arabian languages and Nubian languages. Arabic is long since a dead language whose usage is similar to that of Latin in medieval France and medieval Italy and was never the predominant natively spoken language outside of Arabia.

Armenian dialects in 1909

What became the Turkish-speaking parts of what are now Turkey did natively speak Greek in the West and Armenian in the East before historically enforced Islamization. In Kurdistan, enforced Islamization is historically associated with shift of language away from Zazaki (Dmili-Gorani) and Armenian towards Kurdish (Kurmanji-Sorani). Much of North Azerbaijan spoke Armenian prior to Islamization while much of South Azerbaijan spoke Talysh-Tati (Azari) prior to Islamization.

Modern Iranian languages 

There was once a dialect continuum spanning a continuous territorial region of Kurdish, Zazaki (Dmili-Gorani), Talysh-Tati (Azari), Mazandarani-Gilaki, Semnani languages, the Central Iranian languages and the historical literary language of Parthian spoken in what is now northeastern Iran. This historical dialect continuum was in ancient times known as Media. The Balochi language is also related to this group of languages, although having become geographically isolated from the other languages in this group. Islamization in what is now Iran thus caused the spread of Azerbaijani Oghuz and Persian at the expense of Median/Parthian.
History of Iranian languages

6. House of David

Rabbinic Jews are divided into three types of patrilineage; (1) Kohanim, (2) Levites and (3) Israelites and this division is found inside Priestly Judaism as well. Genetic studies have confirmed that the majority of Kohanim among rabbinic Jews are indeed descended from a common male ancestor – who in the Hebrew Bible is named as Aaron the high priest, brother of Moses.

Druze kohen

Alevi Dedes (i.e. Alevi Davidians meaning Alevi Kohanim) are religiously connected with King David in multiple ways as the expected mashiach (messiah) in Rabbinic Judaism is traditionally expected to be a patrilineal descendant of King David. This helps explain the consistent and utmost emphasis on retaining the patrilineage of Kohanim in both Rabbinic Judaism and Priestly Judaism in accordance with universal royal convention as Kohanim are royal patrilineal descendants of the polygamous King David, constituting the House of David with Levites being the aristocracy and everyone else known as “Israelites” namely ordinary Jews.

The Tel Dan Stele from the 8th or 9th century BCE which mentions the House of David.

This also helps explain why Alevis literally treat Alevi Dedes as kings. Otherwise, how would it logically actually be possible to verify that the Mashiach (Messiah) is truly a confirmed patrilineal descendant of King David if supposedly there are no genealogical records in this regard? Furthermore as already pointed out, King David’s son and successor King Solomon is described in the biblical account as having 700 royal wives and 300 concubines which obviously provided quite significant demographic basis for the continued proliferation of the world’s oldest and largest, still existing royal family.

The historical fact that a number of very important historical rabbis exoterically claimed Davidic descent only means that they were fully aware of the Davidic ancestry of the Kohanim and deliberately kept it secret in order to protect the Kohanim from being singled out for persecution by religious imperialism. By saying so, they essentially proclaimed that they as eminent poskim (rabbinic legislators) of their respective Jewish generations of course knew the historical truth on this matter and that it would be publically revealed at the appropriate time in the future as the Davidic Mashiach (Hebrew Mashiach ben David) in Rabbinic Judaism is expected to be a king of Israel (Hebrew Melekh HaMashiach or in idiomatic English his Majesty the Messiah) in the genealogical capacity of being a direct patrilineal descendant of King David.

        The hand sign of the Priestly Blessing that is performed by Kohanim in Rabbinic Judaism.

This is a particularly important knowledge from the perspective of Halakha (Rabbinic law) as the expected Mashiach of Judaism must therefore be someone of kohanite patrilineal ancestry. The Kohanim (the House of David, mixed with Israelite priests) are hence the world’s oldest (3000 years old) and by far the world’s largest royal family in terms of membership (in the hundreds of thousands), much larger than even the Saudi royal family (the House of Saud).

Ottoman sayyid performing the Jewish (and Alevi) religious gesture of placing the right hand on the heart. The right hand symbolizes Benjamin (which means right hand) and the heart symbolizes Jerusalem which was part of the ancient tribal region of Benjamin.

There are many cases of Sayyid (priestly) patrilineages inside Islamdom in both West Asia and South Asia. Members of these patrilineages typically claim to be descended from Muhammad’s daughter Fatima and Muhammad’s nephew Ali. However, genetic research has shown that these disparate Sayyid patrilineages do not have a shared 7 century male patrilineal ancestor yet do nevertheless seem to patrilineally originate in the Middle East and so it seems increasingly clear that these patrilineages are actually descended from Islamized Levites and Islamized Kohanim from various denominations in Judaism and Crypto-Judaism of Antiquity.

The Magi Kohanim were apparently appointed as local state priests throughout the Median Empire and later Persian Empire and the reason why the Magi Levites also spread throughout the Empire is that they were the ruling class who today are mostly known as Sayyids.

7. Pagan Sexuality

The wicked Israelites often followed the wicked pagan practices of the peoples which sojourned with them or surrounded them. During more righteous times they preserved some symbols & signs that reminded them events of the past as well as covenants with the Lord. The crossing of arms is an Egyptian symbol made by different pharaohs, including Akhenaten, in honor to Osiris,  the monotheistic one that broke with polytheism.

       Gesture of crossing the arms of Akhenaten in Bektashi art.

            Greeting the captive Sabbatai Zevi through the gesture of crossing the arms of Akhenaten.

In order to survive in a world dominated by Christian religious imperialism and later Muslim religious imperialism Rabbinic Judaism had to become even more secretive about its own teachings. Most other forms of Judaism for similar reasons even completely hid the fact that they were Jewish.

King Solomon loved many foreign women and the daughter of Pharaoh; Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites. Of the nations about which the Lord had said to the Children of Israel, “You shall not go (mingle) among them and they shall not come among you, for certainly they will sway your heart after their deities.” To these did Solomon cleave to love [them]. And he had seven hundred royal wives and three hundred concubines, and his wives turned away his heart. And it was at the time of Solomon’s old age, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not whole with the Lord, His God, like the heart of David his father. And Solomon went after Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Zidonians and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did what was displeasing to the Lord, and he was not completely devoted to the Lord as was David his father. Then did Solomon build a high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab on the mountain that is before Jerusalem and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And so he did for all of his alien wives who offered incense and slaughtered sacrifices to their deities. I Kings 11:1-8

The many wives (700) and concubines (300) of King Solomon are described in the Hebrew Bible as priestesses religiously leading King Solomon astray. They were clearly not sex slaves confined to a closed harem as they were mobile in maintaining their own religious institutions. The biblical text makes very clear that these were not mere wives but pagan  priestesses as well.

The Crypto-Jewish Yezidis, refer to God as Khuda and the name Yezidi itself means Yehudi (Jewin Hebrew) although apparently what was originally the same word was given different meanings and subsequently diverged phonetically during 27 centuries since the Assyrian deportations of the people of the northern Kingdom of Israel.

The Hebrew Bible describes King David as being descended from Ruth the Moabite and this certainly gives us a clue as to the ethnic origins of the tribe of Judah considering that Judah and Moab lived on different sides of the Dead Sea and were thus geographically near to each other.

Religions usually view deities as anthropomorphic in a psychological sense and most religions in ancient times also usually regarded deities as essentially being persons with at least partly Human bodies yet endowed with extensive natural religious powers. There is a very famous rabbinically Jewish song originally from the Talmud which describes King David as living and existing. This sentence is sung five times and apparently so as hasten the return of a reborn David to his former position and crucially so in the shape of one of his direct patrilineal descendants from among the Kohanim:

Both Yezidis and Rabbinic Jews have been falsely accused of being devil worshipers.

8. Shifting Paradigm

During the era of European colonialism, European imperialists discovered numerous Para-Jewish peoples in Africa and Asia that are still even today to varying degrees practicing Maggid Judaism. In the racialized thinkingd of European colonialism of the time these Para-Jewish peoples were expected by the Western “explorers” to be in significant part genetic descendants of “the lost tribes of Israel”. Their Israelite ancestors were converted to Maggid Judaism by Maggid hereditary priests travelling the world in ancient times.

                             Alevi female makes the sign of Akhenaten crossing his arms.

Most Crypto-Jewish peoples in Islamdom did in contrast remain highly secretive about their being Jewish and this includes the various Middle Eastern denominations of Priestly Judaism. This white spot which is Islamdom on the world map of documented Para-Jewish peoples certainly helps explain why historians failed to connect the dots with regard to the very Para-Jewish peoples that Euro-Christian imperialists encountered in Asia and Africa.

Most Crypto-Jewish peoples in Islamdom did in contrast remain highly secretive about their being Jewish and this includes the various Middle Eastern denominations of Priestly Judaism. This white spot which is Islamdom on the world map of documented Para-Jewish peoples certainly helps explain why historians failed to connect the dots with regard to the very Para-Jewish peoples that Euro-Christian imperialists encountered in Asia and Africa.

Euro-Christian colonialists who attempted to “identify” so called lost tribes in Asia and Africa actually encountered real-world practitioners of Maggid Judaism and so they made comparisions with the Hebrew Bible and Rabbinic Judaism only. Yet, these Para-Jewish peoples were originally converted by hereditary priests of Priestly Judaism and certainly not by rabbis of Rabbinic Judaism and so each of these Para-Jewish peoples will need to be carefully anthropologically compared with the various denominations and cultures of Priestly Judaism as well as of course with each other. Also, understanding the history of Priestly Judaism specifically and Maggid Judaism generally in an integrated way will help shed much light on biblical history.

                                          Bacı women as depicted by a European artist.

Another vital scientific matter is to carefully map the maximum historical extension of Priestly Judaism before historical contraction began with Islamic rule and doing so by understanding local folk cultures through multi-disciplinary inquiry. As in Anatolia where the indigenous Anatolian Sunni Muslims still maintain Alevi-Bektashi folk culture due to being descended from involuntarily Islamized Bektashis, the maximum geographical-historical extension of Priestly Judaism from the Balkans to South Asia is best understood by studying the respective local folk cultures in light of Priestly Judaism. Apparently, Priestly Judaism inside Iran east of Iranian Kurdistan/Luristan survived in the guise of both Shia Sufism and Crypto-Jewish Sayyid lineages.

Did the Maggids also reach the Americas? Many different sources indicate the Israelite origin of native all over the Americas. Other sources point at the world wide Israelite trade roots. The Maggids could have taken these roots. This would explain the picture of a Maggid in the Americas.

The historiography of Islamdom is basically one long list of Arabic names. Non-Muslims are mostly excluded from this unilinear and extremely one-sided narrative of Islamic world conquest that is now empowering both Islamists and the mirroring Anti-Muslim movement. The reality of many groups of Crypto-Jews and Crypto-Judaism inside the civilization of Islamdom will certainly require rethinking many of the narratives of the history of Islamdom.

Much scientific inquiry in diverse fields of study will become necessitated and enabled by knowledge and awareness in academia of the very existence of Priestly Judaism specifically and Crypto-Jews in Islamdom generally. Obviously, the partly shared Pan-Jewish history of the many different Jewish peoples worldwide certainly needs to be compiled, conceptualized, written and published.

Relation Between Jewish Philosophy & Ismaili Philosophy

Sa'adya Gaon

Saadia Gaon, son of a proselyte, is considered the greatest early Jewish philosopher. During his early years in Tulunid Egypt, the Fatimid Caliphate ruled Egypt; the leaders of the Tulunids were Ismaili Imams. They were Ismailis. Their influence upon the Jewish academies of Egypt resonate in the works of Sa'adya. Sa'adya's "Beliefs and Opinions" was originally called "Book of the Articles of Faith and Doctrines of Dogma"; it was the first systematic presentation and philosophic foundation of the dogmas of Judaism, completed at Sura Academy in 933 CE.

Little known is that Saadia traveled to Tiberias in 915CE to study with Abū 'l-Kathīr Yaḥyā ibn Zakariyyā al-Katib al-Tabari (Tiberias), a Jewish theologian and Bible translator from Tiberias whose main claim to fame is the fact that Saadia Gaon studied with him at some point. He is not mentioned in any Jewish source, and apart from the Andalusian heresiographer and polemicist Ibn Hazm, who mentions  him as a Jewish mutakallim (rational theologian), our main source of information is the Kitāb al-Tanbīh by the Muslim historian al-Masūdī (d. 956). In his brief survey of Arabic translations of the Bible, al-Masūdī states that the Israelites rely for exegesis and translation of the Hebrew books—i.e., the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms, twenty-four books in all, he says—on a number of Israelites whom they praise highly, almost all of whom he has met in person. He mentions Abū l-Kathīr as one of them, and also Saadia ("Saīd ibn Yaqūb al-Fayyūmī"). Regardless of what we do not know, Saadia traveled to Tiberias (home of the learned scribes and exegetes) to learn and he chose Abū 'l-Kathīr Yaḥyā ibn Zakariyyā al-Katib al-Tabariya. The extent of Abū l-Kathīr's influence on Saadia's thought cannot be established, however.

Abū l-Kathīr's profession is also unclear. al-Masūdī calls him a kātib, which has been variously interpreted as secretary, government official, (biblical) scribe, Masorete,  and book copyist. For lack of further information, some scholars have tried to identify Abū l-Kathīr with the Hebrew grammarian Abū Alī Judah ben Allān, likewise of Tiberias, who seems to have been a Karaite Jew. However, al-Masūdī unequivocally describes Abu l-Kathīr (as well as his student Saadia) as an ashmathī (Rabbanite).

In "Book of the Articles of Faith and Doctrines of Dogma" Saadia declares the rationality of the Jewish religion with the caveat that reason must capitulate wherever it contradicts tradition. Dogma takes precedence over reason. Saadia closely followed the rules of the Mu'tazilah school of Abu Ali al-Jubba'i in composing his works. It was Saadia who laid foundations for Jewish rationalist theology which built upon the work of the Mu'tazila, thereby shifting Rabbinic Judaism from mythical explanations of the Rabbis to reasoned explanations of the intellect. Saadia advanced the criticisms of Mu'tazila by Ibn al-Rawandi.

Nethan'el al-Fayyumi
Natan'el al-Fayyumi, of Yemen, was the twelfth-century author of "Garden of Intellects", a Jewish version of Ismaili Shi'i doctrines. Like the Ismailis, Nethanel al-Fayyumi argued that God sent different prophets to various nations of the world, containing legislations suited to the particular temperament of each individual nation. Ismaili doctrine holds that a single universal religious truth lies at the root of the different religions. Some Jews accepted this model of religious pluralism, leading them to view Prophet Mohammed as a legitimate prophet, though not Jewish, sent to preach to the Arabs, just as the Hebrew prophets had been sent to deliver their messages to Israel; others refused this notion in entirety. Nethanel's son Yaqub turned to Maimonides, asking urgently for counsel on how to deal with forced conversions to Islam and religious persecutions at the hand of Saladin. Maimonides' response was the Epistle to Yemen.

Bahya ben Joseph ibn Paquda
Bahye ben Yosef Ibn Paquda, of Zaragoza, was author of the first Jewish system of ethics "Guide to the Duties of the Heart". Bahya often followed the method of the Arabian encyclopedists known as "the Brethren of Purity" but adopts some of Sufi tenets rather than Ismaili. According to Bahya, the Torah appeals to reason and knowledge as proofs of God's existence. It is therefore a duty incumbent upon every one to make God an object of speculative reason and knowledge, in order to arrive at true faith. Baḥya borrows from Sufism and Jewish Kalam integrating them into Neoplatonism. Proof that Bahya borrowed from Sufism is underscored by the fact that the title of his eighth gate, "Self-Examination", is reminiscent of the Sufi Abu Abd Allah Ḥarith Ibn-Asad, who has been surnamed "the self-examiner", because he was always immersed in introspection.

Little known is that Saadia traveled to Tiberias in 915CE to study with Abū 'l-Kathīr Yaḥyā ibn Zakariyyā al-Katib al-Tabari (Tiberias), a Jewish theologian and Bible translator from Tiberias whose main claim to fame is the fact that Saadia Gaon studied with him at some point. He is not mentioned in any Jewish source, and apart from the Andalusian heresiographer and polemicist Ibn Hazm, who mentions  him as a Jewish mutakallim (rational theologian), our main source of information is the Kitāb al-Tanbīh by the Muslim historian al-Masūdī (d. 956). In his brief survey of Arabic translations of the Bible, al-Masūdī states that the Israelites rely for exegesis and translation of the Hebrew books—i.e., the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms, twenty-four books in all, he says—on a number of Israelites whom they praise highly, almost all of whom he has met in person. He mentions Abū l-Kathīr as one of them, and also Saadia ("Saīd ibn Yaqūb al-Fayyūmī"). Regardless of what we do not know, Saadia traveled to Tiberias (home of the learned scribes and exegetes) to learn and he chose Abū 'l-Kathīr Yaḥyā ibn Zakariyyā al-Katib al-Tabariya. The extent of Abū l-Kathīr's influence on Saadia's thought cannot be established, however.

Abū l-Kathīr's profession is also unclear. al-Masūdī calls him a kātib, which has been variously interpreted as secretary, government official, (biblical) scribe, Masorete,  and book copyist. For lack of further information, some scholars have tried to identify Abū l-Kathīr with the Hebrew grammarian Abū Alī Judah ben Allān, likewise of Tiberias, who seems to have been a Karaite Jew. However, al-Masūdī unequivocally describes Abu l-Kathīr (as well as his student Saadia) as an ashmathī (Rabbanite).

In "Book of the Articles of Faith and Doctrines of Dogma" Saadia declares the rationality of the Jewish religion with the caveat that reason must capitulate wherever it contradicts tradition. Dogma takes precedence over reason. Saadia closely followed the rules of the Mu'tazilah school of Abu Ali al-Jubba'i in composing his works. It was Saadia who laid foundations for Jewish rationalist theology which built upon the work of the Mu'tazila, thereby shifting Rabbinic Judaism from mythical explanations of the Rabbis to reasoned explanations of the intellect. Saadia advanced the criticisms of Mu'tazila by Ibn al-Rawandi.

Nethan'el al-Fayyumi

Natan'el al-Fayyumi, of Yemen, was the twelfth-century author of "Garden of Intellects", a Jewish version of Ismaili Shi'i doctrines. Like the Ismailis, Nethanel al-Fayyumi argued that God sent different prophets to various nations of the world, containing legislations suited to the particular temperament of each individual nation. Ismaili doctrine holds that a single universal religious truth lies at the root of the different religions. Some Jews accepted this model of religious pluralism, leading them to view Prophet Mohammed as a legitimate prophet, though not Jewish, sent to preach to the Arabs, just as the Hebrew prophets had been sent to deliver their messages to Israel; others refused this notion in entirety. Nethanel's son Yaqub turned to Maimonides, asking urgently for counsel on how to deal with forced conversions to Islam and religious persecutions at the hand of Saladin. Maimonides' response was the Epistle to Yemen.

Bahya ben Joseph ibn Paquda

Bahye ben Yosef Ibn Paquda, of Zaragoza, was author of the first Jewish system of ethics "Guide to the Duties of the Heart". Bahya often followed the method of the Arabian encyclopedists known as "the Brethren of Purity" but adopts some of Sufi tenets rather than Ismaili. According to Bahya, the Torah appeals to reason and knowledge as proofs of God's existence. It is therefore a duty incumbent upon every one to make God an object of speculative reason and knowledge, in order to arrive at true faith. Baḥya borrows from Sufism and Jewish Kalam integrating them into Neoplatonism. Proof that Bahya borrowed from Sufism is underscored by the fact that the title of his eighth gate, "Self-Examination", is reminiscent of the Sufi Abu Abd Allah Ḥarith Ibn-Asad, who has been surnamed "the self-examiner", because he was always immersed in introspection.

Hoter ben Solomon

Hoter ben Shlomo was a scholar and philosopher in Yemen heavily influenced by Nethanel ben al-Fayyumi, Maimonides, Saadia Gaon and al-Ghazali. The connection between the "Epistle of the Brethren of Purity" and Ismailism suggests the adoption of this work as one of the main sources of what would become known as "Jewish Ismailism" as found in Late Medieval Yemenite Judaism. "Jewish Ismailism" consisted of adapting, to Judaism, a few Ismaili doctrines about cosmology, prophecy, and hermeneutics. There are many examples of the Brethren of Purity influencing Yemenite Jewish philosophers and authors in the period 1150–1550. Some traces of Brethren of Purity doctrines, as well as of their numerology, are found in two Yemenite philosophical midrashim written in 1420–1430: "The Glad Learning" by Zerahyah ha-Rofé and the "Lamp of Intellects", by Hoter ben Solomon.

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