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Arabic: nusayriyya


Religious ideology, or theoretical system, which usually is defined as a branch of Shi'i Islam.
This definition relates, unfortunately to the work of distant-located Western scholars. Newer works have brought forth much information suggesting that the Nusayris must be described by more complex definitions. The placing of Nusayris within the confines of Islam is part of taqiyyism.
The origins of the term Nusayri may clarify the content of the system. The Arabic word is close to the term for Christians, nasraniyy, the roots beeing respectively "n-s-r" and "n-s-r-n". Hence it has been suggested that the nusayris have relations to Christianity. The other understanding of the term is that it may be linked to the Khurrami leader Narseh, known as Nasir the Kurd, who settled in Byzantine Empire in the 9th century, fleeing the Abbasid Caliphate. Breakign with the Sevener Shi'is in 874, his followers were persecuted. As many as 60,000 were killed by Muslims in retaliation of their faith.
The Nusayri orientation has been central in the formation or change of other religious groups which may not be classified as Shi'i, mainly Alawism of Syria and Alevism of Turkey.Alawism is often referred to as Nusayrism, and other Muslims of Syria often refer to Alawites as Nusayris.
While there are similarities between Alevism and Nusayrism, the views on women differ dramatically. Nusayrism considers woman as without soul. Such a view has caused them to deal with certain theological problems. Among which Muhammad's daughter, Fatima, is considered a man, named Fatim. Fatim became a woman only to give birth to two sons with Ali, Hasan and Husayn.

By Tore Kjeilen