My friend David Friedman has a new post on his website that notes:
The Wikipedia page says that they "follow a branch of the Twelver school of Shia Islam," and goes on to add that "Alawite beliefs are kept secret for outsiders, even for non initiated Alawites. Therefore many rumours about their religious beliefs have arisen," but says nothing about what those beliefs are.
With a little searching, however, I found quite a detailed account on another web page. I do not know if it is accurate, although my guess on internal evidence is that it probably is. If so, it sounds as though their beliefs deviate from Islamic orthodoxy as much as Muslim beliefs deviate from Christianity and probably more than Muslim beliefs deviate from Judaism. They apparently believe that Ali was some sort of incarnation of God, reject the Koran, and believe in reincarnation for males but not females.
Which makes me wonder whether the absence of information in the Wikipedia page reflects a successful attempt to defend the identification of Alawites as Shia in support of Assad's alliance with (twelver Shia) Iran. . . .
At the very least, it is additional evidence that one should be very careful before trusting anything on Wikipedia.
Labels: muslim, Wikipedia