18 Facts About Alevis


Differing from Sunnism and other Twelver Shia, Alevis have no binding religious dogmas, and teachings are passed on by a spiritual leader.

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Alevis believe in the unity of Allah, Muhammad, and Ali, but this is not a trinity composed of God and the historical figures of Muhammad and Ali.

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Alevis believe in the immortality of the soul, the literal existence of supernatural beings, including good and bad angels, bad ones as encourager of human's evil desires (nefs), and jinn (cinler), as well as the evil eye.

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Alevis remains at God's service, but rejects the final test and turns back to darkness.

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Unlike Sunnis and Shia, Alevis do not regard interpretations of the Quran today as binding or infallible, since the true meaning the Quran is considered to be taken as a secret by Ali and must be taught by a teacher, who transmits the teachings of Ali to his disciple.

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The existence of the third and fourth gates is mostly theoretical, though some older Alevis have apparently received initiation into the third.

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Alevis celebrate and commemorate the birth of Ali, his wedding with Fatima, the rescue of Yusuf from the well, and the creation of the world on this day.

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Some Alevis make pilgrimages to mountains and other natural sites believed to be imbued with holiness.

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Alevis donate money to be used to help the poor, to support the religious, educational and cultural activities of Alevi centers and organizations, and to provide scholarships for students.

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Alevis have been victims of pogroms during both Ottoman times and under the Turkish republic up until the 1990.

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In October 2013, tens of thousands of Alevis protested the lack of Alevi rights in a series of reforms introduced by Erdogan.

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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.

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Alevis accept Twelver Shi'a beliefs about Ali and the Twelve Imams.

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Alevis are classified as a sect of Shia Islam, and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini decreed Alevis to be part of the Shia fold in the 1970s.

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Some sources mistake Alawites living in Turkey to be Alevis (calling Alevis "a blanket term for a large number of different heterodox communities"), but others do not, giving a list of the differences between the two groups.

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Hundreds of Alevis were murdered in sectarian violence in the years that preceded the 1980 coup, and as late as the 1990s dozens were killed with impunity.

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The Alevis are traditionally predominantly rural and acquire identity by parentage.

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Alevis's missionaries spread a message of revolt against the Sunni Ottomans in Anatolia, claiming that Isma`il was the awaited mahdi, and Anatolia became the scene of protracted warfare between Ottomans and Safavids.

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