Tag Archives: Christ

Syrian Complications

I have been following the news in Syria. Like most people I have had little understanding of the forces that have been driving such extreme violence. Recently I have been coming across some references that have made me think of Syria in similar terms as the situation in Rwanda in the 1990’s.

I was reading an article, can’t recall now where it was from, in which a young Syrian Alawi was telling how he was glad that the government gave them weapons to attack the Sunnis because, “It’s only a matter of time before they try to kill us all.”

The conflict seems to involve over 1100 years of sectarian hatred and sporadic violence or even attempted genocide.

Recently the LA Times reported:

The Local Coordination Committees, another opposition group, said security forces were targeting “homes and anyone who moves in the neighborhood” with mortar, artillery and other heavy weapons fire.

“There are no words to describe the situation today,” said an activist reached in Bab Amro who did not want his name published for safety reasons. “The shelling has not stopped since 6 a.m. Whole families are being killed under the rubble of their houses. … The apartment I’m in right now had a shell dropped on the floor above us and five shells around the building.”

Violence has escalated in Syria as the government sends tanks and troops to subdue restive neighborhoods and a growing number of military defectors join the ranks of the opposition. Some civilians have also taken up arms to defend their communities, raising the chances that the country could slide into civil war.

Atlantic Sentinel:

Violence and intimidation have been Damascus’ high cards, but provoking the Sunni Islamist boogeyman has long been the option of last resort for Bashar, an Alawi president who gains most of his support from Syrian Christians, Druze and Alawis who fear a Sunni takeover of the country. The men and women who pour into the streets know this full well and have been well disciplined not to retaliate against the Alawi community, even as armed Alawi militias have entered a number of cities to shoot up the demonstrators.

Ah! Now we are getting somewhere! This sent me to Wikipedia

The Alawis, also known as Alawites, Nusayris and Ansaris (‘Alawīyyah Arabic: علوية‎, Nuṣayrī Arabic: نصيريون‎, andal-Anṣāriyyah) are a prominent mystical and syncretic religious group who are a branch of Shia Islam centred inSyria.

It turns out that Alawis have been targeted for over a thousand years by the majority Sunnis, with various unsuccessful attempts to wipe them out. Through most of this time they have been considered, officially, apostates and therefore subject to death. Only in the past century have Alawis been considered to be Muslims at all by the majority Sunnis.

An interesting discussion of the Alawi between young Muslims will be found here.

What beliefs set Alawi apart from other Muslims? Traditionally, the group has been very secretive. They are considered to be mystical and much of their “knowledge” is not known outside of the inner circle of initiates. While in the past 30 years there has been a deliberate effort by Alawi leaders to make the group appear more “Islamic”, for over 1100 years they have diverged quite distinctly from mainstream Islam.

Orthodox Alawi do not believe in the importance of prayer, they have not (until recently) participated in the Haj, they have not believed in temples or mosques as special places of worship. They include Jesus, some apostles and the Muslim Imams up to the 3rd, Ali, as prophets, maybe even incarnations of the deity. They have embraced several Christian practices including celebration of Christmas and the Holy Sacrament.

From Wikipedia:

According to some sources, Alawis have integrated doctrines from other religions (Syncretism), in particular from Ismaili Islam and Christianity. According to scholar Cyril Glasse, it is thought that “as a small, historically beleaguered ethnic group”, the Alawi “absorbed elements” from the different religions that influenced their area from Hellenistic times onward,[33] while maintaining their own beliefs, and “pretended to adhere to the dominant religion of the age.”[33] Alawites are reported to celebrate certain Christian festivals, “in their own way”, including Christmas, Easter, and Palm Sunday, and their religious ceremonies make use of bread and wine. According to Matti Moosa, a “leading scholar of the Nusayris”,

The Christian elements in the Alawite sect are unmistakable. They include the concept of trinity; the celebration of Christmas, the consecration of the Qurban, that is, the sacrament of the flesh and blood which Christ offered to his disciples, and, most important, the celebration of the Quddas (although Shia scholars dispute these allegations) (a lengthy prayer proclaiming the divine attributes of Ali and the personification of all the biblical patriarchs from Adam to Simon Peter, who preached the gospel sermon originating the Church (Matthew 16:18, Acts 2), who is perceived as the embodiment of true Islam).

As I mentioned- these unique beliefs seem to have become more streamlined recently-

Some sources have suggested that the non-Muslim nature of many of the historical Alawi beliefs notwithstanding, Alawi beliefs may have changed in recent decades. In the early 1970s a booklet entitledal-`Alawiyyun Shi’atu Ahl al-Bait (The Alawis are Followers of the Household of the Prophet), was issued in which doctrines of the Imami Shi’ah were described as ‘Alawi, and which was “signed by of numerous `Alawi` men of religion”. This book and Musa Sadr’s proclamation have led one scholar to wonder whether “a mass conversion from Nusairism to Shi’ah Islam” has taken place. Another scholar suggests that factors such as the high profile of Alawi in Syria, the strong aversion of the Muslim majority to apostasy, and the relative lack of importance of religious doctrine to Alawi identity may have induced Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad and his successor son to press their fellow Alawi “to behave like ‘regular Muslims’, shedding or at least concealing their distinctive aspects.”

In the 19th century, however, an Alawite named Sulaiman al-Adni converted to Christianity and in 1863, compiled a book called Al-Bakurah as-Suliamaniya fi Kashf Asrar ad-Diyanah an-Nusairiyah (The First Fruits of Sulaiman in Revealing the Secrets of the Nusairi Religion). This book was embraced immediately by the English Freemasons as a “proof” of the Eastern origin of Freemasonry.

The only copy I could find of the book was published by the Freemasons. I’ve included it below, in text format more for curiosity than any religious meaning.

secretsofsyria

In the next few posts I hope to explore some of Islam’s more distinct, mystical and less known off-spring. In the meantime, I would love to hear from any out there who have a better understanding of this topic than I do.

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Christ, politics

Wednesday Book Club

Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.

-Aldous Huxley

huxleypainting1

First-

Someone said something the other day and used a phrase I remember from reading Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I don’t remember the phrase but it had to do with Ford (and other US auto companies). I was reminded of how Our Ford was an equivalent of Our Father (who art in heaven, etc.). Anyway, so I got to thinking about Huxley.

brave-new-world-aldous-huxley-poster

And here is the complete Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, now public Domain, for you to download:

Brave New World

And here are some interesting links related to Mr. Huxley- for fans and not-yet fans. The guy was a genius. So check out:

Download Brave New World- The movie shown originally on BBC in the UK in 1980 (it’s a long download- the Movie is 184 minutes, file size about 550 megs:

mystical

Also on my mind this week,

The Upanishads.

When I was about 10 I started reading through the religion section of the library. Many of the texts I found there opened my mind as I read through Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism etc. A couple of books entered my life at that time that especially resonated with me.

One was the Dhammapada. The other was the Upanishads.

Sounds like…. mahanyaasam1-upanishads

Chakras

Some excerpts:

TWELFTH KHANDA.

1. ‘Maghavat, this body is mortal and always held by death. It is the abode of that Self which is immortal and without body [*1]. When in the body (by thinking this body is I and I am this body) the Self is held by pleasure and pain. So long as he is in the body, he cannot get free from pleasure and pain. But when he is free of the body (when he knows himself different from the body), then neither pleasure nor pain touches him.

2. ‘The wind is without body, the cloud, lightning, and thunder are without body (without hands, feet, &c.) Now as these, arising from this heavenly ether (space), appear in their own form, as soon as they have approached the highest light,

3. ‘Thus does that serene being, arising from this body, appear in its own form, as soon as it has approached the highest light (the knowledge of Self [*3]) He (in that state) is the highest person (uttama purusha). He moves about there laughing (or eating), playing, and rejoicing (in his mind), be it with women, carriages, or relatives, never minding that body into which he was born.

‘Like as a horse attached to a cart, so is the spirit [*1] (prana, pragnatman) attached to this body.

4. ‘Now where the sight has entered into the void (the open space, the black pupil of the eye), there is the person of the eye, the eye itself is the instrument of seeing. He who knows, let me smell this, he is the Self, the nose is the instrument of smelling. He who knows, let me say this, he is the Self, the tongue is the instrument of saying. He who knows, let me hear this, he is the Self, the ear is the instrument of hearing.

5. ‘He who knows, let me think this, he is the Self, the mind is his divine eye. He, the Self, seeing these pleasures (which to others are hidden like a buried treasure of gold) through his divine eye, i. e. the mind, rejoices.

‘The Devas who are in the world of Brahman meditate on that Self (as taught by Pragapati to Indra, and by Indra to the Devas). Therefore all worlds belong to them, and all desires. He who knows that Self and understands it, obtains all worlds and all desires.’ Thus said Pragapati, yea, thus said Pragapati.

isaUpanishad1

rishi

boldbeggar

raikva

ms2163

1upanishads99-1

I have the complete Upanishads in 2 parts-

Part one

of the Max Muller translation, in Word document form,

(with copius notes and other debris) can be downlaoded here:

upanishadspt1

I have not finished cleaning up Part 2.

1 Comment

Filed under Christ, Free E-Books, mp3, pictures, poetry, Spirituality, Upanishads