Extremist Shiites : The Ghulat Sects

 Extremist Shi'ites (shi'ah) - The Ghulat Sects,
*Hardback xxiii + 580 = 603 total pages,
by Matti Moosa,
Published by Syracuse Press.

Description :

Extract from the Preface : Little is known in the West about the division of the Islamic world into Shi'ites (shi'ah) and Sunnites (Sunni) and even less about the stratification of these two groups, with most of the attention going to the Sunni'tes.

Moosa's comprehensive study of the origins and cultural aspects of the different extremist, or Ghulat, Shi'ite sects in the Middle East is a ground-breaking work. This book is an immense study of the cultural aspects of the different ghulat (extremist Shiites) sects in the Middle East. The extremism of these sects is essentially religious, and should not be confused with the religio-political radicalism of the shiite regime in Iran and its antagonism to the West. Members of these sects live in an area extending from western Iran to Iraq, Syria and Turkey. They are known by different names but share common religious beliefs, the most fundamental being that the Imam Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, the blood-cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is God.

Extract from the Introduction :  The Shi'ah community at present is divided into many sects who hold religious beliefs quite at variance with those of other Muslims and who are therefore considered heretics. In fact, some of the beliefs of the Ghulat have a greater affinity with ancient astral cults and Christianity than with Islam: some Western writers therefore consider these shiites as nominal ''Christians.''

Transcending this multi-denominationalism is their common belief in the apotheosis of Hadrat Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, [d. 661ce], and in a trinity of God, Muhammad, may Allah bless him & grant him peace, and Ali (or, as amongst the Nusayris (or Alawis), of Ali, Muhammad and Salman al-Farsi). They also share the practices of holy communion and public and private confession, which distinguish them from Sunnis' and the Ithna-ashari (Twelver) Shi'ah Muslims. One of these sects, the Nusayris, managed to assume political and military power in Syria; the present president Bashar al-Assad, (like his father Hafiz al-Assad) is a Nusayri Alawi, and his brutal regime represents a minority of extremist Shiites considered by the majority of Sunnis' as heretics.

Ghulat, plural of ghali, is an arabic term deriving from the verb ghala, meaning ''to exaggerate or exceed the proper bounds."  The verbal noun is ghuluw, meaning ''exaggeration.'' In an Islamic theological context, the Ghulat are those who have exceeded the proper bounds of Religion, ascribing divine attributes to human beings. In a strict religious sense, Muslim heresiographers define the Ghulat as those Shiites who have exaggerated their veneration of the Imams, from Hadrat Ali ibn Abi Talib, may Allah be pleased with him, to the Imam Mahdi, (believed to have miraculously disappeared in 874ce) by attributing to them qualities belonging only to God. The Ghulat are those Shi'ah who deify the Imam Ali, and the rest of the Imams. Thus, the apotheosis of Hadrat Ali becomes the cornerstone of the Ghulat's religious system. By definition, the Druzes, although rooted in Ismaili Shiism, are excluded because they deify the Fatimi Caliph al-Hakim bi Amr-Allah [d.1021ce] instead of Hadrat Imam Ali, may Allah be pleased with him.

This is a comprehensive academic work suitable for scholars and those doing research into such sects. 

Table of Contents :


---[1]. The Shabak,
---[2]. The Bektashis,
---[3]. The Safawis and Kizilbash,
---[4]. The Bektashis, the Kizilbash, and the Shabak,
---[5]. The Ghulat's Trinity,
---[6]. The Miraculous Attributes of Ali,
---[7]. The Family of the Prophet, may Allah bless them & grant him peace,
---[8]. Religious Hierarchy,
---[9]. The Twelve Imams,
---[10]. The Abdal,
---[11]. Rituals and Ceremonies,
---[12]. Social Customs,
---[13]. Religious Books,
---[14]. The Bajwan and Ibrahimiyya,
---[15]. The Sarliyya-Kakaiyya,
---[16]. The Ahl-i Haqq (Ali Ilahis): Origin and Identity,
---[17]. The Ahl-i Haqq : Cosmology and Cosmogony,
---[18]. Sultan Sahak: Founder of the Ahl-i Haqq,
---[19]. The Ahl-i Haqq : The Cult of Dawud,
---[20]. The Ahl-i Haqq : The Jam,
---[21]. The Ahl-i Haqq : The Role of Ali,
---[22]. The Nusayris (The Alawi's) : Ancient Period,
---[23]. The Nusayris : Middle Period,
---[24]. The Nusayris : Under the French Mandate,
---[25]. The Nusayris : Rise to Political Power,
---[26]. The Nusayri Religious System : Concept of God,
---[27]. The Nusayri Religious System : The Apotheosis of Ali :
---[28]. The Nusayri Concept of Light : Shamsis and Qamaris,
---[29]. The Nusayri Trinity : Ali, Muhammad and Salman al-Farsi,
---[30]. The Nusayri Religious System : The Twleve Imams,
---[31]. The Nusayri Religious System : Role of the Aytam and Spiritual Hierarchies,
---[32]. The Nusayri Religious System : Metempsychosis,
---[33]. The Nusayri Religious System : Initiation,
---[34]. The Nusayri Ceremonies : Festivals,
---[35]. The Nusayri Mass,
---[36]. The Nusayris, Sunnites and Twelver Shiites,
---[37]. Pagan, Christian and Islamic Elements in the Beliefs of the Ghulat,
---[38]. Armenian elements in the Beliefs of the Kizilbash Kurds.

 *Hardback - 603 pages - [*Book cover may vary].


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