Introduction: Kitab al-Bakura, Kitab al-Majmu' and Debates on Authenticity
The study of the Alawite religion has been hampered by the fact that the details of the faith were traditionally kept secret from outsiders. Western scholarship on the Alawites took off in earnest in the nineteenth century and relied heavily on a work called Kitab al-Bakura al-Sulaimaniya fi Kashf Asrar al-Diyana al-Nusairiya ('The Book of the First Works of Sulaiman in Revealing the Secrets of the Nusayri Religion') in purporting to explain the religion. The work was first printed in Beirut in 1863 and was written by an individual going by the name of Suleiman Effendi al-Adhani.
The author claimed to be an Alawite convert to Christianity who had been initiated into the Alawite faith and thus learned its secrets. According to Dr. Van Dyke, a missionary based in Beirut and cited by Edward Salisbury (who published a study on the Kitab al-Bakura in the Journal of the American Oriental Society in 1866),[i] the author was an Alawite who doubted his religion, then became Jewish, Muslim, Greek [Orthodox], and then finally Protestant. He was conscripted and sent from Adana to Damascus, and after being discharged from military service, he came to Beirut where he wrote his work, and then went to Latakia and stayed with a Protestant missionary, before returning to Beirut to have his work printed at his own expense.
In his study on Alawites published in 1900 and entitled 'History and Religion of the Nusayris' (Nusayris having been the conventional term for Alawites at the time), the French scholar René Dussaud included the Kitab al-Bakura in his list of 'Nusayri documents.'[ii] According to Dussaud, the book had already become very hard to obtain by the end of the nineteenth century, and he had to rely on the French consul in Latakia- M. Adolphe Geofroy- to obtain a copy.[iii] Geofroy wrote in a letter dated 25 March 1898: 'You will be able to rely on it, because as a result of the information I have taken, I have found that all that he [the author of the work] says is exact.'[iv]
To lend further credibility to the Kitab al-Bakura, Dussaud also cited the testimony of a 'Nusayri very versed in the matters of his religion' who is recorded as having said the following to him (and others it seems, based on the use of the first person plural pronoun nous) about the book: 'The Kitab al-Bakura is scrupulously exact and absolutely complete. If you have it in its entirety and without it having been distorted, you have no further piece of information to ask for. Its author was a Nusayri sheikh of a village of the environs of Antioch, who knew the religion perfectly. He must have become in succession Greek [Orthodox], Protestant, Armenian [Apostolic] and Muslim. In the end, he must have been assassinated, in Tarsous, by some Nusayris.'[v]
The Kitab al-Bakura presented some purported Alawite religious texts, one of which is the focus of this post: the Kitab al-Majmu' (Book of Totality), which I have translated in full with commentary. Composed of sixteen suras (chapters), the Kitab al-Majmu' was considered by Dussaud to be the 'book of prayers par excellence and the book of religious instruction' for the Alawites. He attributes to the 'Nusayri whom we asked about this subject' the following words regarding the Kitab al-Majmu': 'The Kitab al-Majmu' is the fundamental stone of the religion. It contains all the doctrine.'[vi]
However, Dussaud also says that there is no information on the composition of the work or the era in which it was written. However, he cites a 'legend that we have collected on the ground' as follows: 'The most widespread legend attributes to the Prophet Muhammad the Kitab al-Majmu', which contains the words and commandments of Ali. Muhammad gave it to the Nusayris without revealing it to the Muslims and handed it over to the twelve naqibs ('leaders')- cited in the sixteenth sura- and to the 24 najibs ('noble ones') on the night of al-Aqaba in the Wadi Mina, near Mecca.'[vii]
Whereas early researchers considered the Kitab al-Majmu' as an invaluable source of information on the Alawite religion and Dussaud apparently found some local Alawite testimony vouching for the work (which is a point at least worth taking into consideration here), some more modern writing has cast doubt on the authenticity of the Kitab al-Majmu'. For example, Hashim Othman- a modern Alawite author cited by Kais Firro in a study published in 2005- attacked the Kitab al-Majmu' as a fabricated work.[viii] Othman argued that the purported author of the Kitab al-Bakura was likely a concoction of foreign Christian missionaries.[ix] Othman's arguments against the authenticity of the Kitab al-Majmu' primarily rest on issues of alleged anachronisms and inconsistencies in the work.
Of course, the questions of whether there are anachronisms and if so, how glaring they are, depend on who is considered to be the author of the work. If one assumes the legend that Dussaud recorded about Muhammad being the purported author of the Kitab al-Majmu' is accurately represented, then the work contains major anachronisms in featuring Muhammad bin Nusayr and other personalities who were born and lived well after Muhammad's death. If the work is attributed to Muhammad bin Nusayr, then it has similar issues of anachronisms in featuring personalities who were born and lived after him, as has been pointed out in prior literature.
Some specific points Othman raises should be outlined more fully. He claims that 'in the Kitab al-Majmu', which al-Adhani published in al-Bakura, is more than one line of evidence that this book is fabricated, and it is written after 1828 CE.'[x] The evidence he cites is a prayer of Ibn Nusayr that curses, among others, Sheikh Muhammad al-Maghribi (on whom see more in the notes). But this prayer is not in the Kitab al-Majmu'. Like Nibras Kazimi (see the endnotes for more), Othman has misattributed mention of Sheikh al-Maghribi to the Kitab al-Majmu'. On this count, therefore, he is mistaken. He is similarly wrong when he claims that the eighth sura of Kitab al-Majmu' describes Muhammad bin Nusayr as the grandfather of Abu Abdullah al-Khasibi.[xi]
An objection raised by Othman that actually pertains to the text in the Kitab al-Majmu' comes in the book's first chapter, in which he says that Muhammad bin Nusayr is quoted as saying to a disciple that the one who has guided 'us' (i.e. the Nusayris) to the true understanding of the religion and path is Abu Abdullah al-Hussein al-Khasibi. How could this be the case, asks Othman, when Muhammad ibn Nusayr died in 259 AH and Abu Abdullah al-Khasibi died in 358 AH? This apparent anachronism is somewhat more ambiguous, and I will address it during the commentary on the text itself. As for apparent inconsistencies in ideas, I give these less weight in determining authenticity, for apparent problems of consistency in religious texts are widespread across multiple religious traditions.
An Alawite friend in Syria I spoke to who does internal religious outreach among his community says the following about Kitab al-Majmu' in response to questions I raised about authenticity:
'They [Kitab al-Majmu' and other works] are attributed works. You can compose a book and attribute it to whomsoever you like. How great is the amount of that which is attributed! Is it the case that whenever a book is attributed to us, we must come out to respond? My words are clear. How great is the amount of attribution, and we are not obliged to pursue what has been attributed and issue a statement and justify. How great is the amount of attribution and how little is the amount of verification! There are many books attributed to the sect...the more important thing is to investigate the aims of the books.'[xii]
I leave it to the reader to judge these words. I will add the following regarding the issue of the authenticity of the Kitab al-Majmu': it is notable, as Firro points out, that one running theme in the work is the concept of a trinity embodied in the Arabic letters 'Ain (standing for Ali bin Abi Talib, the Prophet's cousin), Mim (standing for Muhammad) and Sin (standing for Salman the Persian, a companion of the Prophet).[xiii] This is indeed a part of Alawite tradition. I will also add that many figures mentioned in the Kitab al-Majmu', such as Muhammad bin Nusayr, Abu Abdullah al-Hussein al-Khasibi and some companions of the Prophet are definitely of importance to the Alawites.
In my view, one reasonable position to take is that even if one considers the form of Kitab al-Majmu' to be a fabrication and parts of the contents to be fabricated and embellished, it undoubtedly transmits some basic and genuine Alawite ideas.
The other more general point I would make is that religions in general do not have to remain fixed in their beliefs and deciding what books are authoritative, but rather they adapt to changing circumstances. The Alawite community is no exception particularly with the development of modern Syria and the issue of relations with the wider Muslim world and more orthodox Muslim beliefs.
Early Theories on the Origin of the Alawites
Partly tied to the debates on the Kitab al-Majmu' and other Alawite texts are various theories as to the origins of the Alawite community. Dussaud provided an overview of those theories as well as his own hypothesis in his book, which I will transmit here in detail before delving further into the contents of the Kitab al-Majmu'.
According to Dussaud, some had portrayed the Alawites as a crossover between indigenous Levantine people and the Franks in the 12th and 13th centuries, but Dussaud dismissed the evidence used to support such a theory as 'very weak.'[xiv] Any posterity that the Franks could have left behind 'in the Nusayri mountains over the course of an ephemeral domination has certainly disappeared from our days.'[xv]
Instead, Dussaud highlighted 'two more plausible hypotheses' on the community's origins.[xvi] One of these claimed that Nusayri is a diminutive form of the Arabic word Nasrani (Christian). However, this hypothesis was not based any formal text, but simply assumes the conversion of the Nusayris to Christianity, and Dussaud argues this did not happen.[xvii] Indeed, he says that to assert Nusayri is a diminutive form of Nasrani and therefore is equivalent to 'little Christian' is as bad an error as arguing that the term Yezidi derives from Jesuit and means disciple of Jesus.[xviii] The more widespread account, he notes, traces the origin of the word Nusayri to Muhammad bin Nusayr, a partisan of Hassan al-Askari (the eleventh Shi'i imam) and reputed founder of the sect at the end of the ninth century.[xix] He quotes Stanislas Guyard as follows on the matter: 'The Nusayri religion therefore had an origin similar to that of the Ismailis. It also brings forth with this latter sect some analogies that have deceived the Muslim authors to the point of making them conclude they are completely identical. Far from it, there existed between the Ismailis and Nusayris an ancient hatred that is still not extinct.'[xx]
Dussaud says that the Nusayris themselves have 'adopted the theory of the Arab authors' (i.e. about the origin of the name of their sect) but also relates a 'popular legend'[xxi] in which Muhammad bin Nusayr is transposed back to the seventh century and made the son of Nusayr, a good minister of the cruel caliph Mu'awiya. Nusayr himself (unknown to Mu'awiya) was a Nusayri, but allowed his only son to be killed in place of Ahmad al-Banna, who was a Nusayri that the caliph wanted to execute for refusing to renounce his religion, but kept transforming into Mu'awiya's son Yazid each time he was about to be executed and then reverted back to his original form each time the planned execution was stopped. The angel Gabriel told Nusayr that for his actions he would have another son who would lead all the Nusayris. This second son was Muhammad bin Nusayr.
However, Dussaud also dismissed the hypothesis tying the Nusayris' origin to Muhammad bin Nusayr. As he wrote:
'One can recognize the usual theme of the birth of the privileged son- eponymous hero and religious leader- accorded to a very old father, as a particular sign of the divine care. This story, of which the moral is that all the Nusayris are brothers, has been imagined on the fantastical etymology of the Arab authors. By accepting it, one has forgotten to note that Muhammad bin Nusayr, partisan of the eleventh Imam of the Shi'a, could not have founded a religious system derived from Ismaili doctrine which stopped at number seven of the Imams. The onomastic closeness is of the same value as that of the Yezidis claiming themselves descendants of the caliph Yazid.'[xxii]
As such, Dussaud also dismisses the Alawites' own claims to have migrated from Iraq. Finally he also rejects as absurd the hypothesis that the Nusayris derived from the Ansar of the Prophet Muhammad, though he says it is necessary to mention it 'so that the series of the etymological legends should be complete.'[xxiii]
Instead, Dussaud ties the word Nusayri to the Latin word Nazerini, as recorded in Pliny the Elder's account of Coele-Syria in his work Natural History: 'Coele habet Apameam Marysa amne divisam a Nazerinorum tetrarchia' ('Coele has Apamea separated by the Marysa [Orontes] river from tetrarchy of the Nazerini').[xxiv] As he puts it: 'One cannot better specify the Nusayri territory, of which Nazerini exactly transcribes the name. The testimony of Pliny- confirmed as we will see later, by Sozomen, is valuable to gather because Pliny is well informed on the region. He provides us the ancient name of the Nusayri mountains: Mount Bargylus.'[xxv] Thus, in his view, Nusayri does not designate a Muslim sect but a people whose first reported mention came at the start of the Christian era when Levantine pagan cults still flourished. But he also admits: 'Until now we do not have a text that informs us on the Nusayris beyond the Christian era.'[xxvi] Dussaud argues that in order to 'go back in knowledge of the Nusayris beyond the text of Pliny,' one has to rely 'uniquely on historical and religious considerations.'[xxvii]
What follows is a hypothesis by Dussaud that is interesting but a rather speculative reconstruction of the history of the Alawite community. He says that 'before the Roman era, the history of the Nusayris escapes us: it is merged with that of the Phoenicians of the coast.'[xxviii] But in the first century CE, the Nusayris were grouped into the tetrarchy as described by Pliny, 'which indicates a certain degree of independence vis-à-vis the Phoenician coast. The power of Arad had strongly declined. Latakia and Seleucia supplanted its port. However, the Aradians still possessed a large part of the land in the Nusayri mountain.'[xxix] The Nusayris' 'semi-independence' in antiquity- Dussaud theorizes- allowed them to preserve their pagan faith 'despite the triumphant Christianity.'[xxx] Dussaud asserts that towards the end of the fourth century CE 'one sees the Nusayris descend from their mountains and lend a helping hand to the pagans of Apamea in their struggle against the Christians.'[xxxi] Dussaud's source for this is a passage of Sozomen regarding pagan resistance to Christianity in the Middle East, which I will produce here in fuller context in the Greek with my translation:
Συρων δε μαλιστα ὁι του ναου 'Απαμειας της προς τῳ 'Αξιῳ ποταμῳ οὑς ἐπυθομην ἐπι φυλακῃ των παρ' αὐτοις ναων συμμαχιας χρησασθαι πολλακις Γαλιλαιων ἀνδρων και των περι τον Λιβανον κωμων
'But of the Syrians especially those of the temple of Apamea that is along the Axios river, whom I have learnt made use many times of allies forces of Galilean men and of the villages around Lebanon for the purpose of the protection of the temples among them.'[xxxii]
Dussaud argues that the part about the Galileans is a confusion by Sozomen of the Nusayris/Nazerini with the Nazerenes, because 'it is inadmissible that Galileans, Christians demanded the maintenance of the idols against the bishopric of Apamea.'[xxxiii] He also says that 'all the mountain area that lies along the coast from Sidon to Antioch was commonly called Lebanon in this era. This text provides us an important confirmation of that of Pliny on the Nazerini.'[xxxiv] I find Dussaud's reading to be too much of a stretch of the evidence even as it is worth laying it out here. Rather than being a separate 'Nusayri' community, the pagans mentioned here by Sozomen were likely just pagans of the wider Levant region, including some people in the Galilee area.
Dussaud argues that the Nusayris were able to be sheltered in their mountainous areas from the persecutions that arose as Christianity dominated the region, something that supposedly explains the lack of churches in the styles of the fifth, sixth and seventh centuries in those mountainous areas.[xxxv] Dussaud theorizes that the Nusayris maintained their paganism even after the Arab conquests of the Levant, which 'do not seem to have penetrated into the mountain [of the Nusayris].'[xxxvi] He then postulates that the Nusayris eventually became influenced by Ismaili beliefs, though the Nusayri religion that was constituted would deviate significantly from Ismaili doctrine while 'having preserved all the basis of the old practices.'[xxxvii]
The more modern scholarship of course rejects Dussaud's hypothesis and considers the Alawites to have originated in Iraq as an offshoot of Shi'i Islam. Also, as far as the term Nusayri goes, the connection of it with Muhammad bin Nusayr is far more plausible than Dussaud's attempt to tie it to the Nazerini mentioned in Pliny the Elder's Natural History.
On the origins and lineages of the Alawite community, my Alawite friend says the community has diverse lineages:
'In the Alawite sect, there are lineages going back to Christian roots before the Islamic da'wa and they are the first Christians who entered into the Islamic da'wa at the hands of the family of Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon them). And they are among the people most loyal to the family of Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon them): the Eastern Orthodox Christian creed, they are [of] origin, but the Catholics have no roots. No [i.e. I do not mean that all Alawites were originally Christians who became Muslims], I mean that there are lineages that were before Islam Christians. The Alawites are of diverse lineages: among them are the Hashemites, Alawite of blood, and they trace lineage back to the family of Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon them), and among them are those who trace lineages to the supporters of the family of Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon them): Qaisis and Yemenis, like the Kalabis and Kinanis, and like the Qaisis, the likes of al-Sayyid Sa'sa'a bin Suhan al-Abadi (peace be upon him, may God be pleased with him). And among them are the Taghlibis like the Banu Hamdan, who ruled Aleppo during the days of Sayf al-Dawla al-Hamdani, and they are the descendants of the supporters of the commander of the believers who waged war with him.'[xxxviii]
Kitab al-Majmu': Summary and Main Ideas
As noted above, the Kitab al-Majmu' is composed of sixteen suras. Dussaud sees the Kitab al-Majmu' as a derivative of Ismaili writings (in keeping with his theory of Ismaili influence on the formulation of the Nusayri religion), claiming 'all the proper nouns of those of Ismaili personalities.'[xxxix] The most striking assertion within the Kitab al-Majmu' is that Ali (described repeatedly as the 'amir of the bees') is God. Muhammad, meanwhile, takes the role of the 'veil' (hijab) and Salman the Persian is the door (bab). Together, the three constitute the mystery of 'Ain-Mim-Sin pointed out earlier. Another notable doctrine in the text is that of metempsychosis (the transmigration of the soul): a belief that Dussaud claimed was among those that the Alawites had preserved since the time of antiquity.[xl] As Dussaud explains:
'We have seen that the virtuous Nusayri was assured after his death of having a place among the stars. But if he has been impious, his body will have to undergo various transformations. Their theory is very clearly exposed in the formulation of the Druzes that attempts to refute it: 'He also said that every Nusayri, until he is purified in passing through the different cycles, by returning into the world and reassuming the human form, becomes, after this purification, a star in the sky, which is his first center. If on the contrary, if becomes guilty of sin by transgressing the commandments of Ali ibn Abi Talib- the supreme lord- he returned into the world as Jewish, Muslim, a Sunnite or Christian, which will repeat itself, until he is as pure as the silver that one has purified through lead, and then he becomes a star in the sky. As for the infidels who have not adored Ali ibn Abi Talib, they will become camels, mules, asses, dogs, sheep- destined to be sacrificed- and other similar things. But if we wanted to explain all that, and in particular the transmigration of souls into beats and animals without reason, that would go too far for us."[xli]
Dussaud notes that the doctrine of transmigration is found in other Muslim sects,[xlii] but 'the Nusayri doctrine offers us a very important particularity: the number of transformations is, for the faithful, limited to seven. In other words, the faithful comes back seven times on earth before reaching the definitive luminous form.'[xliii]
A few parts of the suras are identical to verses from the Qur'an, which will be pointed out in the explanatory notes. Dussaud speculates that these were transmitted orally.[xliv]
Here I will provide the perspective of my Alawite friend on these beliefs. Regarding the issue of supposed deification of Ali, he says:
'Look at the general mass of books of the preachers of tashayyu' [Shi'ism]: there is in them what there is from the hadiths. The one who reads them, then erases what they have been covered with from expressions of by-permission-of or prayer to the divine, will raise the accusation and charge.'[xlv]
As for the issue of metempsychosis, he says:
'These are matters requiring doctrinal study whose exclusive basis should be the Noble Qur'an and the words of the pure family and the sacrosanct imams (prayers and peace be upon them) and not historians who attribute what they consider to be suitable for the tickling of their imaginations. For over the course of the centuries hundreds of compositions have been circulated and attributed in all the madhhabs. Is it sound that the historian on history should be the one who judges the soundness of an idea or religious belief? Imagine if a building engineer were to undertake the work of the surgeon, the result would be shocking.'[xlvi]
Again I will leave the reader to judge these words.
Below is the full text of Kitab al-Majmu' (taken from Dussaud , pp. 181-198), translated with explanatory footnotes:
The First Sura Called al-Awal[xlvii]
The one who has attained the wilaya[xlviii] of the one of the bald forehead[xlix] has attained success. I begin with the fact that I am a servant and have begun in the first of my response with love for the holiness of the Ma'anawiya[l] of the amir of the bees[li] Ali bin Abi Talib- the one called Haydara Abu Turab. In him I have begun and in him I have sought success and through mention of him I succeed and in him I am saved and to him I seek refuge and in him I have been blessed and in him I have sought help and in him I have begun and in him I have concluded with the soundness of the religion and the establishment of certainty.
al-Sayyid Abu Shu'aib Muhammad bin Nusayr[lii] said to Yahya bin Mu'in al-Samiri[liii]: 'Oh Yahya, if some misfortune should befall you in life, or some catastrophe should afflict you in death, pray a high prayer, sincere and devoted, pious, pure and white, Alawi, pure, blameless, radiant, shining with light, which will free you of these human covers of flesh and blood, and make you join the structures of light.[liv] So say: in you I have been blessed oh one who guides by his guidance, oh one who displays his power, oh one who hides his wisdom, oh one who answers himself by himself, oh one who addresses his name by his qualities! Oh he, oh all, oh old one, oh eternal one who has not disappeared, oh causer of causes,[lv] oh destroyer of the activities of states, oh goal of goals
Oh end of ends, oh knower of the mysteries of things hidden, oh one present and existing, oh one who is manifest, oh one intended, oh one hidden without sheaths. Oh you from whom your lights rise and in whom they set and from whom they have appeared and to whom they return, oh one who has placed for every light an appearance and for every appearance a name and for every name a place and for every place a settlement and for every settlement a door as the door guides from one to the other and the door allows entry from one to another.
Oh you, oh amir of the bees, Ali bin Abi Talib, the guide to it and all, you are that person, oh that one, oh that one. Oh you whom no one knows but you: I implore you- by the questions of Sin[lvi] that have been entangled with each other like threads woven together, by what those who implore have asked you, by the guide of guides, by Ali Zain al-Din wa al-Abideen[lvii]- to conciliate between our hearts and the hearts of our believing brothers, on the basis of piety, fear of God, order, knowledge and religion. We recall your pure presence, your great power, your encompassing mercy and the necessary obligation and obligatory right that are mysteries and remembrance, and glory and pride, and might and victory. We also recall your bright appearance, your proud qubbas,[lviii] the qubba of loftiness, the crown of guidance, the authentic religion, and the straight path.[lix] And whoso has known its interior and exterior has succeeded and been saved, and the one who made us know that is our Sayyid Salsal[lx] Salman, who causes us to follow. And we have been led to it and guided to it by our Sheikh and our Sayyid and the crown of our heads and the example of our religion, and the apple of our eyes: al-Sayyid Abu Abdullah al-Hussein bin Hamdan al-Khasibi.[lxi] May the most High sanctify his spirit, because his shrine is the shrine of purity, and his place is the place of truth and faithfulness. In the name of God and by God, the mystery of al-Sayyid Abu Abdullah who knows the knowledge of God, the mystery of his just memory. May God help his mystery!'[lxii]
The Second Sura Called Taqdisat Ibn al-Wali[lxiii]
The best thing that the sleeper sees in his dream as he hears the sensation and has not seen the person, as he calls and he says: 'Labbayk Labbayk[lxiv] oh amir of the bees, oh Ali bin Abi Talib, oh desire of every desirer, oh old one in divinity, oh mineral of the kingdom. You are our God inwardly, and our Imam outwardly, oh you who have appeared in what you have been hidden, and have been hidden in what you have appeared, and have appeared in being veiled, and have been veiled in appearance, and have appeared in essence, and have been exalted in Alawiness, and have secluded yourself in Muhammadness, and have called from yourself and to yourself by yourself. You oh amir of the bees, oh Ali, your light has arisen, your unveiling has appeared, and your light has shone, and your blessings have been exalted, and your praise has been magnified: as you keep me safe from the evil of your evil transformations, and you keep us and all our believing brothers safe from the evil of faskh, naskh, maskh, waskh, raskh, qashsh and qashash.[lxv]
Indeed you are capable of that, the mystery of the trustee: the son of the trustee, Abu al-Hussein Muhammad bin Ali al-Jalli.[lxvi] May peace be upon us through commemoration of him! May God help his mystery!'[lxvii]
The Third Sura Called Taqdisat Abi Sa'id[lxviii]
I ask you, oh possessor of sovereignty, oh amir of the bees, oh Ali, oh granter, oh eternal, oh accepter of repentance, oh one who pushes the door,[lxix] I ask you by the five of al-Mustafa,[lxx] and the six revelations,[lxxi] and the seven glittering stars, and the eight powerful bearers of the throne,[lxxii] and the nine of Muhammad,[lxxiii] and the ten clever hens,[lxxiv] and the eleven turns of the door,[lxxv] and the twelve Imami persons,[lxxvi] by their right in your eyes oh object of the totality, oh amir of the bees oh owner of the high state, oh you who are the one and your name is the only One and your door is oneness, oh you who have appeared in the seven qubbas of essence: I ask you to make our hearts and limbs firm upon knowing you in purity, and free us of these human frameworks, and dress us in raiment of light, amid the heavenly stars. We commemorate our esteemed sheikh and sayyid the most magisterial and greatest pious young man Abu Sa'id al-Maymun bin Qasim al-Tabarani[lxxvii] who has knowledge of God and refrains from what was forbidden, who took his right by his hand from the nape of Abu Dhuhaiba[lxxviii] and upon Abu Dhuhaiba be God's curse and upon Abu Sa'id be the peace and mercy of God. May God aid the mystery of Abu Sa'id- the pious, virtuous young man- al-Maymun bin Qasim al-Tabarani.
The Fourth Sura Called al-Nisba[lxxix]
How great are my guarantee of success in God and my path to God, and how great are my hearing and listening from my sheikh,[lxxx] sayyid, and guide by whom God blesses me just as He blessed him through getting to know 'Ain-Mim-Sin and it is in testifying that there is no deity but Ali bin Abi Talib the bald one of front and temples to be worshipped, and there is no veil except Sayyid Muhammad the praised, and there is no door except Sayyid Salman the Persian the intended one, and this is what I heard from my sheikh and sayyid, and my goal and reliance, who guides me to the path of salvation, and conveys me to the spring of life, who emancipates my neck from the slavery of servitude, by knowing the essence of the supreme essence: the eminent sayyid and the great mountain my uncle and sheikh and sayyid and crown of my head and my true father Ahmad and this great mystery was conveyed to me in such and such year in such and such month and on such and such day from him.
And Ahmad heard from Ibrahim, and Ibrahim heard from Qasim and Qasim heard from Ali
And Ali heard from Ahmad and Ahmad heard from Khidr and Khidr heard from Salman and Salman heard from Subuh and Subuh heard from Yusuf and Yusuf heard from Jibra'il and Jibra'il heard from Ma'alli and Ma'alli heard from Yasin and Yasin heard from Eisa and Eisa heard from Muhammad and Muhammad heard from Hada Muhammad and Hada Muhammad heard from Radha Ahmad and Radha Ahmad heard from Safandi and Safandi heard from Bladhri Asad and Bladhri heard from Hassan al-Rashiqi and Hassan al-Rashiqi heard from Muhammad and Muhammad heard from Murhaf Misr and Murhaf Misr heard from Aqd Jibra'il and Aqd Jibra'il heard from Abdullah al-Joghali and Abdullah Joghali heard from Ismail al-Laffaf and Ismail al-Laffaf heard from Ja'afar al-Warraq heard from Ahmad al-Tarraz and Ahmad al-Tarraz heard from Abu al-Hussein Muhammad ibn Ali al-Jalli and Abu al-Hussein Muhammad bin Ali al-Jalli heard from al-Sayyid Abu Abdullah al-Hussein bin Hamdan al-Khasibi and al-Sayyid Abu Abdullah heard from his sheikh and sayyid Abu Muhammad Abdullah bin Muhammad al-Jabban al-Junbalan the ascetic worshipper who is from the land of Persia, and Abdullah al-Jabban al-Junbalan heard from Muhammad bin Jundab and Muhammad bin Jundab heard from al-Sayyid Abu Shu'aib Muhammad bin Nusayr al-Abdi al-Bakri al-Numairi who is the door of al-Hassan al-Akhir al-Askari:[lxxxi] from him is peace and to him salutations and from Muhammad bin Nusair who established the lineages and religion. And our Almighty lord al-Hassan al-Askari is far removed from what those in error say and what the wrongdoers have asserted. The mystery of the religion and the mystery of our exalted brothers- wherever it has been from them- is strong. May God help them all in their mystery and I bear witness that al-Hassan al-Akhir al-Askari is the first and the last and he is the hidden and apparent and he is capable over everything.
The Fifth Sura Called al-Fatah[lxxxii]
When the victory of God and al-Fatah come, and you see the people entering into the religion of God in companies, exalt the praise of your Lord and seek His forgiveness: indeed He is accepting of repentance.[lxxxiii] I bear witness that my Lord the amir of the bees Ali devised Muhammad from the light of his essence, and called him by his name, soul, throne, chair and qualities. He is connected with him and not separated from him, and not connected with him in the true sense of connection, and not separated from him in the alienation of separation, but rather connected with him in light, and separated from him in the display of appearance. For he[lxxxiv] is from him[lxxxv] as the feeling from the soul or the shining of the Sun from the disk or the sound of water from the water or the fatq from the ratq[lxxxvi] or the shine of lightning from lightning or the glance from the eye or the movement from rest.
So if Ali bin Abi Talib wishes for the appearance, he makes him appear, and if he wishes for the absence, he makes him absent under the shining of his light. And I bear witness that al-Sayyid Muhammad created al-Sayyid Salman from the light of his light and made him his door and the bearer of his book so he is Salsal and Salsabil, and he is Jaber[lxxxvii] and Jibra'il, and he is guidance and certainty, and he is in truth the Lord of the Worlds.
And I bear witness that al-Sayyid Salman created the five noble Incomparables, the first of them being the greater incomparable, and the most radiant star, and the most fragrant musk, and the red ruby, and the green emerald: al-Meqdad bin Aswad al-Kindi[lxxxviii] and Abu al-Dhir al-Ghafari[lxxxix] and Abdullah bin Rawaha al-Ansari[xc] and Othman bin Madh'un al-Najashi[xci] and Qanbar bin Kadan al-Dosi.[xcii] They are the servants of our lord the amir of the believers (to commemoration of him be majesty and glorification), and they created this world from the east of the Sun to its west, its south and north, its land and sea, its plain and mountain- that which has been protected by the verdant sky and encompassed by the dusty earth[xciii]- from Jabalqa to Jabarsa to the posts of the dunes,[xciv] and the mountain of Qaf,[xcv] to what has been surrounded by the dome of the celestial sphere moving in rotation, to the city of Samira of al-Sayyid Muhammad in which the believers gathered and agreed on the opinion of al-Sayyid Abu Abdullah.[xcvi] They did not doubt or commit idolatry, and they did not commit offence against the mystery of Ali bin Abi Talib and did not tear its veil and did not enter it except from a door. Make the believers to be believers, assured, supported and powerful over their enemies and our enemies, and victorious. And make us among them believers, assured, helped and powerful against our enemies and their enemies, and victorious, by the mystery of al-Fatah and whoso has carried out al-Fatah and whoso has al-Fatah in his right hand, by the mystery of our Sayyid Muhammad and Fatir and al-Hassan and al-Hussein and Mohsen, the mystery of the unseen and the persons of prayer and the number of those who know. May peace be upon us from commemoration of them and the prayers of God be upon them all.
The Sixth Sura Called al-Sujud[xcvii]
God is greatest, God is greatest, God is greatest, to God be prostration, to the High Lord who is bald and is to be worshipped,[xcviii] oh my Sayyid, oh Muhammad, oh creator, oh vanquisher, oh great light of meaning, and its noble veil, in you I have sought help, so help me in this abode. In you I have sought protection, so protect me from the torment of the Fire.[xcix] Oh mighty, oh powerful, oh capable, oh vanquisher, oh creator of night and day. God is the light of the Heavens and the Earth as He is the Lofty and Great. To Him we intend and point. Almighty and Exalted is He: to the door I have intended, and to the name I have prostrated, and to the Ma'ana[c] have I bowed down in worship and prostrated, and my worn perishable face has prostrated to the face of the living immortal Ali who remains: oh Ali, oh great one, oh Ali, oh great one, oh Ali, oh great one, oh one greater than everything great, oh creator of the Sun of light and creator of the full moon that gives light, oh Ali, to you be glory, oh Ali, to you be unity, oh Ali to you be sovereignty
Oh Ali to you be dignity, oh Ali to you be the sign,[ci] oh Ali to you be obedience, oh Ali to you be intercession, oh Ali to you be creation, oh Ali to you be power, oh Ali you are the Surat al-Baqara.[cii] Your safety oh Ali is your safety from your rage and torment after your contentment. I have believed in your incommensurateness[ciii] and your miracle as you have been exalted oh amir of the bees above weakness befalling you. I have believed and trusted in your interior and exterior and your exterior is my imam and its trustee and your interior is ma'anawi of godhead[civ]: oh it is he oh it is he, oh you who glorify the one who glorifies you and commemorates you and sets you apart. Oh it is he, oh it is he, oh you who lower the one who rejects you, denies you and opposes you. Oh one present, oh one who exists, oh one absent, the one not realized, oh amir of the bees, oh Ali, oh mighty one.
The Seventh Sura Called al-Salam[cv]
I have prostrated, conveyed salutations, and directed my face to the creator of the heavens and the earth as a Hanif Muslim and I am not of the polytheists.[cvi] The beginning of the peace is from the old Ma'ana upon the great name, and the great name has conveyed peace upon the noble door, and the noble door has conveyed peace upon the five Incomparables: the pillars of this world and the religion. Peace be upon the doors, peace be upon the Incomparables, peace be upon the leaders, peace be upon the noble ones, peace be upon the distinguished ones, peace be upon the purely devoted, peace be upon the tested, peace be upon those brought near, peace be upon the cherubim, peace be upon the people of spirit, peace be upon the sanctified, peace be upon those who visit, peace be upon those who listen, peace be upon those who follow, for they are the people of ranks. May all the world of purity be sanctified. Peace be upon those who follow the guidance, are guided and fear the consequences of perdition, and obey the highest lofty king and acknowledge the divinity of Muhammad al-Mustafa. Peace be upon the 100,000 prophets and the 24,000 prophets, the first of them Bab and the last of them one who follows! Peace be upon you oh just servants of God! May God bring us and you all together in the Paradise of blessing amid the heavenly stars.
The Eighth Sura Called al-Ishara[cvii]
Exalted is the deity to whom the necks have subjected themselves, and to whom the hard and difficult matters have been lowered, for the intention and sign rose from al-Sayyid Muhammad al-Mustafa on the day of Eid al-Ghadeer Khumm. The one who has honored it[cviii] and preferred it has a great place in God's eyes. I am a servant from those who point to you oh amir of the bees, oh Ali, oh mighty one in Tawheed, lowering of oneself, cleansing of every blemish and stripping of attributes for you. Oh Ali, oh mighty one, oh eternal one, oh ancient one, oh creator, oh wise one
I ask you by the right of the call by which al-Sayyid Muhammad called on you as he was outside the gate of Mecca and riding the white mule, as he called and said: jihad, jihad, fighting, fighting in the path of God! And this is my sign to you oh light of lights, oh splitter of the rocks, oh tamer of the seas, oh director of matters: may you make the believers dwell in your highest Paradise, whose treasurer is contentment, and happy is the servant who has desired it! So behold from the loftiness, from the right side of the mountain of Sinai from the blessed tree he calls and says oh my darling oh Muhammad: what servant has called me with this call in the purity of his heart and sincerity of his certainty in the daytime of Thursday of the middle of Nisan[cix] or at the evening of Friday or night of the middle of Sha'aban or in five nights of the month of Ramadan or the day of al-Qaddas[cx] or the night of the Milad[cxi] or the day of Eid al-Ghadeer- and I did not make him of my Ummah, and make him dwell in my Paradise, and make him drink with the cup of my mercy, and make him of the believers, upon whom there is no fear and they are not sad?[cxii] I have raised my sign with the mystery of the Alawi 'Ain, with the mystery of the Mim of Muhammad, with the mystery of the Sin of Salsal, with the mystery of 'Ain-Mim-Sin the first of our prayer we point to our Ma'ana as we say in the name of God the Compassionate, the Merciful. And the last of our prayers is we thank the one who has guided us as we say the truth, praise be to God the Lord of the Worlds.
The Ninth Sura Called al-'Ain al-Alawiya[cxiii]
By the mystery of the Alawi 'Ain that is the essence, apparent and of the bald temples, by the mystery of the Mim of Muhammad that is the Hashemite, the kingdom, the veil, the disk-shape and light, and by the mystery of the Sin of Salsal and Jibra'il and Salman and the Bab that is Bakri, Numairi and Nusayri, and by the mystery of 'Ain-Mim-Sin.
The Tenth Sura Called al-'Aqd[cxiv]
I bear witness that God is truth and His words are truth and that the clear truth is Ali bin Abi Talib who is of the bald temples and mysterious, and the fire is an abode for the disbelievers, and Paradise a roaming-ground for the believers, and the water goes around under the throne and above the throne is the Lord of the Worlds, and the eight noble bearers of the throne are those who are brought near to him. They are my equipment in my hardship and the equipment of all the believers. The mystery of 'aqd: 'Ain-Mim-Sin.
God has borne witness that there is no deity but He. The angels and those of knowledge also attest, as He establishes justice, that there is no deity but He, the Mighty and Wise, that the religion in God's eyes is Islam: 'Our Lord, we have believed in what You have sent down and we have followed the Messenger, so prescribe for us with those who bear witness, the testimony of 'Ain-Mim-Sin. Bear witness upon me, oh great veil, bear witness upon me oh noble door, bear witness upon me oh my Sayyid al-Meqdad al-Yamin
Bear witness upon me oh my Sayyid Abu al-Dharr al-Shamal, bear witness upon me oh Abdullah, bear witness upon me oh Othman, bear witness upon me oh Qanbar bin Kadan, bear witness upon me oh leader, bear witness upon me oh excellent one, bear witness upon me oh distinguished one, bear witness upon me oh purified one, bear witness upon me oh tested one, oh one brought near, oh Cherub, oh spiritual one, oh sanctified one, oh visitor, oh listener, oh one who joins.[cxvii] Bear witness upon me oh people of ranks[cxviii] and world of purity entirety: that I bear witness that there is no deity but Ali bin Abi Talib of the bald front and to be worshipped, and there is no veil except al-Sayyid Muhammad the praised one, and there is no door except al-Sayyid Salman the Persian the intended one, and the greatest angels are the five Incomparables, and there is no opinion except the opinion of our Sheikh and Sayyid al-Hussein bin Hamdan al-Khasibi who mandated the beliefs in all of the lands. I bear witness that the visual form that has appeared in mankind is the epitome of totality, and it is the appearance in light, and there is no deity except it and it is Ali bin Abi Talib and he has not been measured or confined, and he has not been comprehended or grasped. I bear witness that I am Nusayri of religion, Jundabi of opinion, Junbalani of way, Khasibi of madhhab, Jalli of article, Maymuni of jurisprudence. And I acknowledge the white return,[cxix] and the bright renewal, and the uncovering of the cover, and the clearing of the heavy clouds, and the showing of what has been hidden and the announcement of what has been concealed and the appearance of Ali bin Abi Talib from the eye of the Sun, seizing every soul, the lion underneath him, the Dhu al-Fiqar in his hand, and the angels behind him and al-Sayyid Salman in front of him, and the water pouring out between his feet, and al-Sayyid Muhammad calling and saying: this is your Lord Ali ibn Abi Talib, so know him and praise him and glorify him and declare him great, this is your creator and provider, so do not deny him. Bear witness upon me, oh my sayyids, that this is my religion and doctrine, and upon it I rely, and by it I live and upon it I die, and Ali bin Abi Talib is alive and does not die, and in his hand are power and might: and that hearing, sight and insight, for all those things he has been responsible. May peace be upon us from commemoration of them.'[cxx]
The Twelfth Sura Called al-Imamiya[cxxi]
Bear witness upon me oh bright stars, and luminous stars, and spheres in orbit, that this visible form that examines and sees is Ali bin Abi Talib the old one, the one, the individual, the eternal,[cxxii] who is not divided, partitioned, broken up and does not come into a number, for he is my God and your God and my God and my Imam and your Imam, and your Imam and my Imam: the Imam of the imams, and the torch of the darkness, Haydara Abu Turab, who appears with bald forehead, and hidden with bald temples, appearing from the eye of the Sun, seizing every soul, which is for him, for the great glory of respect for him
And for the grandeur of splendor of the lightning of his godhead. To him have the necks have subjected themselves and the difficult matters have been lowered. He is the mystery of God in the sky and he is Imam on the earth, the mystery of the imam of every imam, the mystery of Ali bin Abi Talib, the old of time, the mystery of his veil al-Sayyid Muhammad and his door al-Sayyid Salman, the door of guidance and faith. May contentment and peace be upon us from commemoration of them.
The Thirteenth Sura Called al-Musafira[cxxiii]
What is in the heavens and what is in the earth have praised God as he is the Mighty and Wise. And we have arisen in the morning, and praised, and sovereignty has become for God, and sovereignty has praised God. In the name of God and by God, and the mystery of al-Sayyid Abu Abdullah, the mystery of the Sheikh and his distinguished children, drinking from the sea of 'Ain-Mim-Sin, for they are 51, among them seventeen Iraqis, seventeen Shamis,[cxxiv] and seventeen hidden, as they stand at the door of the city of Harran, taking up the truth, and giving by the truth, and whoso professes their religion and worships their cult, God has granted him success to know Him, and whoso does not profess their religion and does not worship their cult, upon him is God's curse. By the mystery of the Sheikh and his distinguished children, by their mystery, may God help them all!
The Fourteenth Sura Called al-Bayt al-Ma'mour[cxxv]
By Sinai, and a written book on published parchment, and the built house, and the raised roof, and the sea heated up, by the mystery of Talib, Aqeel, Ja'afar al-Tayyar who are the brothers of Ali bin Abi Talib,[cxxvi] light from light, substance from substance, and by Ali bin Abi Talib who is kept aloof from the brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, as one eternally present, hidden without sheathes, the mystery of the house and the roof of the house, and the land of the house and the four pillars of the house. As for the house, it is the Sayyid Muhammad and the roof of the house is Abu Talib and the land of the house is Fatima the daughter of the lion[cxxvii] and the four pillars of the house are Muhammad, Fatir, al-Hassan and al-Hussein, the mystery of the obscure hidden recess that is in the middle of house. It is Mohsen. The mystery of what is hidden, the mystery of the owner[cxxviii] of the noble Hashemite Alawi house who has destroyed the horns and smashed the idols. May contentment and peace be upon us from commemoration of it.
The Fifteenth Sura Called al-Hijabiya[cxxix]
The mystery of the great veil, the mystery of the noble door, the mystery of my Sayyid al-Meqdad al-Yamin, the mystery of my Sayyid Abu al-Dhir al-Shamal, the mystery of the two pure noble kings
Who are al-Hassan and al-Hussein, the mystery of the two trustees who are Nofal bin Haritha and Abu Barzah, the mystery of the pure one and the world of purity, the mystery of every star in heaven, the mystery of the sanctity of loftiness and its inhabitants. Upon us be contentment and peace from commemoration of them.
The Sixteenth Sura Called al-Naqibiya[cxxx]
As they had explored in the land. Is there any escape?[cxxxi] We mention the names of the master leaders whom al-Sayyid Muhammad chose from the 70 men on the night of al-Aqaba in Wadi Mina, the first of them Abu al-Haitham Malik bin al-Tahyan al-Ashhali,[cxxxii] al-Bara' bin Ma'rour al-Ansari, al-Mundhar bin Lodhan bin Kannas al-Sa'adi, Rafi' bin Malik al-Ajalani, al-Asad bin al-Hasin al-Ashhali, Abbas bin Ubada al-Ansari, Ubada bin Samit al-Nofali, Abdullah bin Omar bin Hazzam al-Ansari, Salim bin Umair al-Khazraji, Ubay bin Ka'an, Rafi' bin Warqa, Bilal ibn Riyah al-Shanawi, the mystery of the leader of the leaders, and the noble of the noble ones, our Sayyid Muhammad bin Sinan al-Zahiri. Contentment and peace be upon us from commemoration of them.
[i] Edward Salisbury, 'The Book of Sulaiman's First Ripe Fruit: Disclosing the Mysteries of the Nusairian Religion,' Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 8 (1866), p. 228.
[ii] René Dussaud, 'Histoire et Religion des Nosairis' (1900), p. XIII
[iv] Ibid., p. XIV
[vii] Ibid. Nibras Kazimi, in his work 'Syria Through Jihadist Eyes' (2010), mentions the Kitab al-Majmu' in an endnote (p. 88), saying that it is also called al-Dustur ('The Canon'). It is notable however that Kazimi has confused the contents of the Kitab al-Majmu' with another reputed Alawite work. Contrary to what Kazimi claims and as can be seen in the text with translation, there is no reference in Kitab al-Majmu' to Muhammad al-Maghribi, a scholar who lived in Syria in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and issued a fatwa against the Alawites (Kazimi , p.15). In fact the only individual cursed by name in the Kitab al-Majmu' is Abu Dhuhaiba. Usefully, Kazimi cites a work called Risa'il al-Hikma al-Alawiya (2006, Vol. 1, p. 8) that provides another theory of attribution of the Kitab al-Majmu':
'The Kitab al-Majmu', which al-Adhani published, is called al-Dustour. And it was composed by Abu Sa'id al-Maymun bin al-Qasim al-Tabarani, and it is erroneous to attribute it to Abu Shu'aib Muhammad bin Nusayr, and this is a well-known matter. For had Muhammad bin Nusayr composed it, how could we explain the presence of two suras- one of al-Jalli, another of Abu Sa'id- that mention the event of the killing of Abu al-Dhuhaiba at the hands of Abu Sa'id al-Maymun, and this event occurred more than 200 years after the death of Abu Shu'aib Muhammad bin Nusayr?!'
[viii] Kais Firro, 'The 'Alawis in Modern Syria: From Nusayriya to Islam via 'Alawiya,' Der Islam 82 (2005), p. 6
[x] Ibid., p. 120.
[xi] Ibid., p. 121.
[xii] Conversation, May 2020.
[xiii] Firro (2005), p. 8.
[xiv] Dussaud (1900), p. 8.
[xvi] Ibid., p. 9.
[xx] Ibid., pp. 9-10.
[xxi] Ibid., pp. 10-11.
[xxii] Ibid., p. 11.
[xxiii] Ibid., p. 13.
[xxiv] Ibid., p. 14.
[xxvi] Ibid., p. 15.
[xxvii] Ibid., p. 16.
[xxviii] Ibid., p. 17.
[xxix] Ibid., p. 17.
[xxxii] Sozomen, Ecclesiastical History, Book 7 Chapter 15.
[xxxiii] Dussaud (1900), p. 17.
[xxxv] Ibid., p. 19.
[xxxvi] Ibid., p. 20.
[xxxvii] Ibid., pp. 26-7.
[xxxviii] Conversation, May 2020.
[xxxix] Dussaud (1900), p. XV.
[xl] Ibid., p. 120.
[xlii] Ibid., p. 122.
[xliii] Ibid., pp. 123-124.
[xliv] Ibid., p. XV.
[xlv] Conversation, May 2020.
[xlvi][xlvi] Ibid. Some more recent apologetic writings that claim to represent authentic Alawite belief and aim to represent the faith as more in keeping with Muslim orthodoxies have explicitly denied transmigration of souls (Arabic: tanasukh). For example, the site alawiyoun.net features an article entitled 'The words against tanasukh' asserting that:
'Tanasukh is in the view of the family of the household (may God be pleased with him) disbelief in God, and denying Paradise and Hellfire. Among this are the words of al-Imam al-Ridha (peace be upon him): 'Whoso asserts tanasukh is a disbeliever in God Almighty, and denies Paradise and Hellfire.' And the words of the Imam al-Sadiq (peace be upon him): 'Those who assert tanasukh have left behind them the manhaj of the religion [...]'. And it has not been for the Alawite Muslim to contravene his imams in what they have made clear. And had the author [who claimed that Imam Ja'afar al-Sadiq asserted the doctrine of tanasukh] inquired with on the matter with the people concerned about it, the truth would have been revealed to him, and had he examined what is quoted from them in seeking what they said, and examined their words on it, he would have known what they entrusted, and would not have made his book include a meaning besides what they intended.'
The same site features another article entitled 'al-Hulul wa al-Ittihad- al-Tanasukh- al-Ta'wil al-Batini':
'Then the beliefs of the Alawites have been summed up in what I have quoted from the Western writers and the falsehood of the historians, with three claims:
1. Asserting Hulul and Ittihad [incarnation and union with God]
2. Asserting Tanasukh
3. Batini [inner meaning] Interpretation
Here I say that Hulul and Ittihad are two innovations asserted by some of the older scholars, the likes of al-Halaj, Ibn Arabi, al-Nabulusi, al-Jaili, al-Kaylani, Ibn al-Faridh, and others. And the Alawites are not bound by the assertions and beliefs of these 'ulama, and it is not fair for the Alawite to be accused of what others besides him have said, or to be held to account for others besides him.
For the creed of the Alawite is Tawheed [monotheism] of God (Exalted and Almighty is He), holding Him above [Tanzih] the attributes of the created things and features of embodied things and attributes of the describers, and there is nothing like Him as He is the hearing and seeing, so there is no Ittihad or Hulul, but rather Tawheed and Tanzih: 'Say: He is the One God, the Eternal God. He begat not, nor was He begotten. And there has been none like unto Him'- Surat al-Ikhlas.
As for Tanasukh, we have presented the statement that it is not an Alawite doctrine, but rather an explanatory theory asserted by some of the Greek sages and 'ulama of the Muslims, but they are not Alawites, and we are not compelled to defend them or attack them. As for defending them, their followers are more obliged with it, and as for attacking them it is not of our traits to attack anyone except in the event of defending the self and the doctrine, because it is a Shari'i right for every person.
As for Batini interpretation, it is the historians who very much to be held to account for that, for it is an Ismaili doctrine and perhaps we have been accused of it as some have erred in not distinguishing between us and the Ismailis, so we refer it to gaining insight into getting know the Islamic sects, and distinguishing them from each other to avoid confusion.'
[xlvii] Meaning 'the first.'
[xlviii] I leave this untranslated here. The word can have multiple meanings though Dussaud argues the meaning here is 'to be compare to that conserved among the Sufis...[citing an Arabic text]: wilaya is when the servant undertakes the truth on the obliteration of the self.'
[xlix] Referring to Ali, who as Dussaud notes is compared to a lion (Dussaud , p. 161)
[l] i.e. Embodiment of meaning.
[li] Two interpretations of this title exist: one (followed by Dussaud- ibid.) that the title means 'amir of the stars', the other that it means 'amir of the angels' (ibid., p. 59).
[lii] According to my Alawite friend (Conversation, May 2020): 'al-Sayyid Abu Shu'aib is the ambassador of the two Imams al-Hassan al-Askari and al-Qa'im (prayers and peace be upon them), just as the general mass of tashayyu' have their four ambassadors, like Othman bin Sa'id and his son. And we consider that al-Sayyid Abu Shu'aib Muhammad bin Nusayr (God's peace be upon him) is the ambassador.'
[liii] Disciple of Ibn Nusayr.
[liv] i.e. The stars.
[lv] Original Arabic word: العلل, which can have negative connotations of defects, maladies (a reading followed by Dussaud (Dussaud , p. 162).
[lvi] Referring to Salman the Persian.
[lvii] Referring to the fourth Shi'i Imam.
[lviii] Qubba (Arabic plural: qibab): dome structure, especially for shrines and tombs of saints.
[lix] Arabic: al-sirat al-mustaqeem. Cf. Qur'an 1:5: 'Guide us to the straight path' (ihdina al-sirat al-mustaqeem).
[lx] Water of Paradise and a name used here to refer to Salman the Persian. Compare with Salsabil (the name of the spring of Paradise) that is also used in the Kitab al-Majmu' to refer to Salman the Persian.
[lxi] His name is sometimes incorrectly transcribed as al-Khosaibi. Yaron Friedman describes him as the founder of the Alawite sect (Friedman: The Nusayri-Alawis: An Introduction to the Religion, History and Identity of the Leading Minority in Syria , p. 17). He was born in Iraq and lived in the ninth and tenth centuries CE, and is considered to have been part of a ghulat ('extremist') line of Shi'ism going back to Ibn Nusayr as follows according to Friedman (Ibid., p. 19):
Ibn Nusayr-Muhammad bin Jundab-Abdullah al-Jannan al-Junbalani-al-Hussein al-Khasibi.
One should compare this with the fourth sura of the Kitab al-Majmu'.
According to my Alawite friend (Conversation, May 2020): 'al-Sayyid Abu Abdullah al-Hussein bin Hamdan al-Khasibi (may God sanctify his secret) is our sheikh and in his time he increased the number of supporters of the family of Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon them), and his hands stretched from the state of the Buyids to the state of the Hamdanids and his hands entered into the Fatimid state and raised the banners of loyalty to the family of Muhammad (prayers and peace be upon them). And in his time the general mass of the Shi'a were able to spread their doctrines and express their loyalty.'
[lxii] The original Arabic text has the word انتهت (intahat) here, which can be used to indicate an end-quote after quotation. So the question that arises here: does this indicate the end of an extended quotation of Muhammad bin Nusayr's words to Yahya? If so, then the point raised by Othman about an alleged anachronism in the speech here is valid. In his translation, Dussaud does not indicate where he thinks Muhammad bin Nusayr's speech in the first sura ends, whereas Salisbury (Salisbury , p. 235) marks it as ending just before the line 'Oh you, oh amir of the bees, Ali bin Abi Talib...' (وانت يا امير النحل يا علي بن أبي طالب...), though I do not find that convincing because Salisbury's punctuation leaves out from Muhammad bin Nusayr's speech the prayer to Ali for conciliation of the hearts of the believers. One should bear in mind that in the original transmission of the text, little work was done on correcting possible mistakes, supposedly for the sake of preserving authenticity (Ibid., p. 234). I suggest it is possible that the end-quote should have come after mention of al-sirat al-mustaqeem as after that there is a definite shift away from the second person address.
[lxiii] 'Sanctification of the son of the trustee.'
[lxiv] 'At your service, at your service.'
[lxv] I follow Dussaud here in not translating these terms. As he notes (Dussaud , p. 124), these are the seven kinds of transformations.
'In the year 336 AH the situation changed in Baghdad when the Buyids took control so our sayyid al-Khasibi (peace be upon him) returned to Iraq and visited the Buyids to whom preachers had come before, so they answered and he arranged a number of them on the path of the da'wa, and the first of his students among them was our sayyid Abu Mansur Shihab al-Din Bakhtiyar al-Dulaimi (may God sanctify his secret) to whom our sayyid al-Hussein bin Hamdan al-Khasibi (peace be upon him) gave the book of 'Ras al-Hikma'. Then he returned to his abode in al-Kufa in the year 340 AH to receive his Hamdani relatives and direct the preachers to them, until he returned in his last years to Bilad al-Sham and chose to reside in Aleppo as the Hamdani dynasty was ruling Aleppo since the year 333 AH. And our sayyid al-Khasibi (peace be upon him) would visit Sayf al-Dawla so he wrote to him al-Hidaya al-Kubra, and other works, and he appointed our sayyid Muhamad bin Ali al-Jalli (may God sanctify his secret) to lead his followers in Aleppo...and one must note that 'the trustee' [al-wali] is a characterization applied to three people: the first of them our sayyid Muhammad bin Jundab (peace be upon him), and the second our sayyid Abu al-Hussein Muhammad bin Ali al-Jalli (may God sanctify his secret) who assumed responsibility for the da'wa after our sayyid Abu Abdullah al-Hussein bin Hamdan al-Khasibi (peace be upon him), and the third is the trusted trustee who is our sayyid al-Maymun Sarur bin al-Qasim al-Tabarani al-Hamdani (may God sanctify his secret) because he carried the banner of knowledge after our sayyid Abu al-Hussein al-Jalli (may God sanctify his secret) and followed his example on the path of our sayyid al-Khasibi (peace be upon him).'
[lxvii] As in the first sura, the original Arabic text has the word انتهت here, marking an end-quote that is appropriate here.
[lxviii] 'Sanctification of Abu Sa'id.'
[lxix] Dussaud explains this as meaning that Ali incited Salman the Persian to propagate the true faith.
[lxx] Dussaud translates this as 'les cinq Élus' ('the five elect') and explains it as follows (Dussaud , p. 69):
'The five elect are none other than 'the people of the coat'- thus called in the Muslim legend, whether because Muhammad enveloped in his coat Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Hussein, or because the angel Gabriel himself covered with a veil these five persons, Muhammad included. A passage of the form of the Druze gives us certainly the latter state of the legend. Affirming that the Nusayris had separated from the unitary religion, it attributes to them this belief, that divinity 'was hidden in the sky, and that, being enveloped in a blue coat, had fixed its journey in the Sun.
A Nusayri writing, reported by Niebuhr, gives another grouping for the divinity in five persons. He recounts: al-Ma'ana, al-Ism, al-Bab, the Incomparables (only counting for one person) and Hussein, who becomes a generic term. These variants are secondary, but they highlighting the crafting of these denominations. The important thing is to find always the divinity in five persons. This conception seems to us intimately linked to the notion of Greek origin regarding the five primitive elements: the universal Reason, the universal Soul, the first Material, Space and Time.'
[lxxi] Dussaud (Ibid., p. 164) explains that this refers to Salman the Persian and the five Incomparables (al-Maqdad bin Aswad al-Kindi, Abu al-Dhir al-Ghafari, Abdullah bin Rawaha al-Ansari, Othman bin Madh'un al-Najashi and Qanbar bin Kadan al-Dosi).
[lxxii] The five Incomparables, as well as Talib, Aqeel and Ja'afar al-Tayyar (Ibid.). The latter three were brothers of Ali.
[lxxiii] Muhammad, al-Hassan, al-Hussein, Ali Zain al-Abideen, Muhammad al-Baqir, Ja'afar al-Sadiq, Musa al-Kadhim, Ali al-Ridha, Muhammad al-Jawad (Ibid., p. 165).
[lxxiv] Dussaud (Ibid., p. 184) suggests the alternative reading of الزكية ('pure'), and says they constitute the five Incomparables along with Nofal, Abu al-Harith, Muhammad bin al-Hanafiyah, Abu Barzah and Abdullah bin Nadhla (Ibid., p. 165).
[lxxv] Ruzbah bin al-Marzaban, Abu al-'Ala Rashid al-Hajari, Kankar bin Abi Khalid al-Kabouli, Yahya bin Mu'ammar, Jabir bin Yazid al-Ju'fi, Muhammad bin Abi Zainab al-Kahili, al-Mufaddal bin Omar, Omar bin al-Mufaddal, Muhammad bin Nusayr al-Bakri al-Numairi, Dahya bin Khalifa al-Kalabi, Umm Salama (Ibid.).
[lxxvi] Muhammad and the eleven Shi'i imams that followed Ali (Ibid.).
[lxxvii] The third wali mentioned in the account by Hisham Abu Saqr, who also writes regarding him:
'The trusted scholar our sayyid Abu al-Hussein Muhammad bin Ali al-Jalli (may God sanctify his secret) assumed responsibility for the da'wa in Aleppo while our knowledgeable sayyid Abu al-Hassan Ali bin Eisa al-Kitani al-Jisri (may God sanctify his secret), then our sayyid Abu Sa'id al-Maymun Sarur bin al-Qasim al-Tabarani al-Hamdani (may God sanctify his secret) assumed responsibility for it. He was born in 337 AH in a household of knowledge, acquiring knowledge, discipline, asceticism and knowledge, into a family of Arab ethnicity by its lineage and glories, known for its loyalty to the commander of the believers (Ali)- upon us be peace from commemoration of him- and its following of the Khasibi, Nusayri Islamic Alawite path. And Tiberias was at that time purely Arab and among the bases for the Khasibi knowledge, and a gathering for the scholars, so he took up knowledge as a young man, acquiring understanding at the hand of our sayyid al-Jalli (may God sanctify his secret).'
[lxxviii] Original text has Abu Duhaiba. The individual in question is Abu Dhuhaiba Ismail bin Khilad, who was an enemy of Abu Sa'id. The meaning of the phrase here is that Abu Sa'id avenged himself against Abu Dhuhaiba.
[lxxix] 'The Lineage': that is, establishing the lineage of the transmission of the Alawite faith.
[lxxx] Supposedly the sheikh who presides over the initiation of the person into the faith (Dussaud , p. 166).
[lxxxi] The eleventh Shi'i imam.
[lxxxii] 'The Conquest'- also the title of Sura 110 of the Qur'an.
[lxxxiii] These lines are taken directly from the Qur'anic sura of the same title.
[lxxxiv] i.e. Muhammad.
[lxxxv] i.e. Ali.
[lxxxvi] Cf. Qur'an 21:30: 'Or have those who have disbelieved not considered that the Heavens and the Earth were a joined entity [ratq] so We split them apart [fataqnahuma] and made from water every living thing? So will they not believe?'
[lxxxvii] Dussaud (Dussaud , p. 168) says that this refers to Jaber bin Abdullah, one of the first supporters of the Prophet who died aged 94 years old in 78 AH in Medina.
[lxxxviii] A companion of the Prophet Muhammad and close companion Ali regarded highly by the Shi'a.
[lxxxix] An early follower of the Prophet and another close companion of Ali.
[xc] One of the Ansar of the Prophet who was killed in the Battle of Mu'ta.
[xci] An early companion of the Prophet.
[xcii] Servant of Ali.
[xciii] Dussaud (Ibid., p. 169) takes 'mountain' as the subject of the relative clause here and the 'sky' and the 'earth' as the object: 'the mountain that supports the sky and encompasses the earth' (la montagne qui supporte le ciel et entoure la terre). However, this translation is wrong, because jabal in Arabic is a masculine noun and the verb forms in the relative clause are feminine, indicating that 'sky' and 'earth' are the subjects. I also believe that Dussaud should have noted the additional senses of meaning in the Arabic nouns الخضراء ('the verdant sky') and الغبراء ('the dusty earth'), which were captured by Salisbury (Salisbury , p. 264).
[xciv] Arabic: al-Ahqaf. This is also the title of Sura 46 of the Qur'an. It was also the location of the people of 'Ad to whom the Prophet Hud was sent. God punished the people of 'Ad for their disobedience.
[xcv] A legendary mountain that supposedly surrounds the earth.
[xcvi] i.e. Abu Abdullah al-Khasibi.
[xcviii] i.e. Ali.
[xcix] Dussaud (Dussaud , p. 170) writes the following on this part of the text: 'It means Hell. The expression عذاب النار is borrowed from the Qur'an (cf. Sura 2:120), but does not in any way correspond to the belief of the Nusayris, because these people have to be purified of their sins in returning to the earth. The torment of the fire or hell is interpreted by the Nusayris as the Ismailis do cf. St. Guyard Fragments p. 221 and 222, as the return below.'
[ci] As Dussaud (Ibid.) explains: 'This sign is the one that Muhammad would have made on the day of Ghadeer Khumm' (i.e. Eid al-Ghadeer).
[cii] The second and longest sura of the Qur'an. But Dussaud (Ibid., p. 171) suggests the alternative reading of صورة البقرة ('the form of the cow') as a correction. Salisbury (Salisbury , p. 248) also takes this line. Dussaud writes: 'There is no need to give this passage too much importance. The Shi'a would look in the Qur'an with an untiring patience and ingenuity for all the possible allusions to Ali. Some Shi'i tracts were dedicated to 'The names of the commander of the faithful in the book of God'...For the Nusayris, Ali appeared under the cow that Moses would have ordered to sacrifice as per Qur'an 2:63.' This assertion is based on the remarks of the author of the Kitab al-Bakura, who says that al-Khasibi taught that Ali had taken the form of certain animals such as the dog of the Companions of the Cave, the camel of Salih and the cow that Moses ordered to be sacrificed.
[ciii] Original Arabic: عجزك, which poses some difficulties as the word العجز follows soon after (in which the sense there is clear in that Ali is above weakness befalling him). 'Incommensurateness' is the suggestion of Salisbury (Salisbury , p.248), while Dussaud (Dussaud , p. 171) suggests 'pardon' (pardon, forgiveness etc.). I think the former is a sounder interpretation: that is, the relationship of the believer with Ali is unlike any other relationship.
[civ] i.e. The interior of Ali pertains to Ma'ana and divinity.
[cvi] Cf. Qur'an 6:79: 'Indeed I have directed my face to the One who created the Heavens and Earth as a hanif, and I am not of the polytheists.'
[cvii] 'The Sign.'
[cviii] i.e. Eid al-Ghadeer.
[cix] The month of April.
[cx] The Epiphany (Dussaud , p. 173).
[cxi] Night of the Nativity of Jesus.
[cxii] Cf. Qur'an 2:38: 'Whoso follows My guidance, there is no fear upon them and they are not sad.'
[cxiii] 'The Alawi 'Ain.'
[cxiv] 'The Pact [/Covenant].'
[cxv] 'The Testimony.'
[cxvi] 'The Mountain.' Dussaud (Dussaud , p. 174) explains that it is the uninitiated who call the sura by this title and it shows that they 'are not privy to every religious notion.'
[cxvii] Cf. The seventh sura.
[cxviii] Original Arabic text: المراقب, corrected (rightly) by Dussaud (ibid., p. 194) to المراتب on analogy with the seventh sura.
[cxix] According to Dussaud (Ibid., p. 175): 'The Muslims understand by الرجعة the resurrection, the Nusayris the return to life in another body. The luminous return is the final transformation into a celestial body.'
[cxx] The Arabic original has the word تمت in it, signifying an end quote.
[cxxi] 'Of the Imam [/Pertaining to the Imam].'
[cxxii] Cf. Qur'an Sura 112: 'Say He is God the One, the Eternal God' (Qul: Huwa Allahu Ahad, Allahu al-Samad).
[cxxiii] 'The Travel.'
[cxxiv] People of al-Sham (Syria/Levant).
[cxxv] 'The Built House.'
[cxxvi] Symbolically speaking, Dussaud argues (Dussaud , p. 178). He renders the following phrase in this way: 'Light from light, substance from substance, although Ali bin Ali Talib never had brothers, sisters, father or mother' ('Lumière de lumière, substance de substance, bien qu' Ali ibn Abi Talib n'ait jamais eu ni frères, ni soeurs, ni père ni mère').
[cxxvii] i.e. Fatima the daughter of Ali.
[cxxviii] i.e. Muhammad.
[cxxix] 'Pertaining to the Veil.'
[cxxx] 'Pertaining to the Naqibs.'
[cxxxi] Cf. Qur'an 50:36: 'And how many We destroyed before them from generations who were more powerful than they were as they had explored in the lands! Is there any place of escape?'
[cxxxii] It is worth noting that this person, among some others listed in this sura, appears in this Alawite apologetics post defending Alawites against allegations of being disbelievers since Alawites sanctify and honor various companions of the Prophet.
Update (24 May 2020): I notice Kazimi has written an interesting post in response to this article. To which I write in response:
1. Kazimi says that I seem to accuse him of having 'gone further and mischaracterized that same book [Kitab al-Majmu'] under a different name (al-Dustour).' To be clear, I was not accusing him of that. In fact, the literature identifies al-Dustour as an alternative name for the sixteen suras dubbed Kitab al-Majmu'. My sole point in regards to Kazimi's mention of the work is the question of whether al-Maghribi is mentioned in the text of Kitab al-Majmu'.
2. Kazimi's main argument is that Dussaud misidentified the sixteen suras produced in this article with translation as the totality of Kitab al-Majmu': that in fact, the full extent of the work is longer. As he writes:
'To begin with, the group of 16 suras (verses) that al-Tamimi calls K. al-Majmu' is in fact al-Dustour, and al-Dustour is—as far as we can discern—a part of a larger compilation called al-Majmu'.'
This is an intriguing contention, and is discussed at some length in Tendler's 2012 PhD thesis (cited by Kazimi) with some interesting evidence to support it. Specifically, Tendler notes she found a manuscript entitled Kitab al-Majmu' that overlaps with much of the content of Kitab al-Bakura but also contains significant additional parts. That said, some of these additions (most notably the defence of certain sexual practices that would be regarded as scandalous and were hinted at in Rousseau's account of the Alawites) are controversial and could be fabrications.
Further, it should be noted that within the Kitab al-Bakura, reference is made to the 'Kitab al-Majmu'' as containing a clear explanation of the interpretative context of the second of the sixteen suras (p. 11), which would imply an original Kitab al-Majmu' that also contained some explanations of the sixteen suras.
But this does not change the fact that Kazimi wrote the following in his original work that I cited:
'It is interesting that of all the names of the accursed mentioned in a Nusayri-'Alawite collection of psalms (Kitab al-majmu'), al-Maghribi is the only person referred to beyond the thirteenth century as one of the enemies of the Nusayri-'Alawites. See Heinz Halm, Alghinossiyah ﬁl Islam (Cologne, Germany: 2003, translated from German) p. 240. Kitab al-Majmu' is known as the al-Dustoor in Nusayri-'Alawite sources, and it is attributed to al-Maymoun al-Tabarani, an eleventh-century ﬁgure credited with propagating the Nusayri-'Alawite tenets in the Syrian coast'- (Syria Through Jihadist Eyes, p. 88).
At the time Kazimi wrote these words therefore, he appeared to accept the Kitab al-Majmu' and al-Dustour as one and the same, and it was on this basis I made my comments, because if we take the sixteen suras identified as al-Dustour, it remains the case that there is no mention of al-Maghribi in them.
A description of the work called al-Dustour also appears in Vol. 9 of the Salsalat al-Turath al-Alawi, which contains 'the holy books' attributed to the Alawites. The introduction (p. 12) to the work says the following on al-Dustour (reproducing it more fully as Kazimi cites it in his response to me though he dismisses the attribution of identification of al-Dustour with Kitab al-Majmu' as 'retroactive finessing'):
'The second part is the al-Dustour and it does not differ in all the Alawite regions except in some simple divergences between the Haydaris and the Kalazis [Alawite sects], and al-Dustour is composed of sixteen suras, and the Shamalis [another sect] call it al-Majmu', and we have reprinted the Dustour of the 'Shamalis' within the Kitab al-Bakoura al-Sulaimaniya that we published in the series of the secret religions.
Before al-Sheikh Abu Sa'id al-Tabarani it was composed of fifteen suras only and al-Tabarani made them sixteen suras over three parts.'
If one looks at the sixteen suras as produced in that work (pp. 14-28), they are similar in the sura titles and broader outline to the sixteen suras as they appear in Dussaud's book, but there are substantial differences of phrasing and some differences in content. Clearly, Dussaud's book and the Salsalat al-Turath al-Alawi are working off different manuscript transmissions. Even so, there is no mention of al-Maghribi in either set of the sixteen suras.
3. I accept Kazimi's explanation of the انتهت, which, in retrospect, is probably short form for انتهت السورة ('end of sura') rather than 'end quote' (usually just انتهى or انتهى كلام فلان) and is thus meant to indicate a break between citation of the text and the interpretation of the sura by the author of the Kitab al-Bakura. This could similarly be the case for تمت . The fact that انتهت was reproduced in Dussaud's compilation of the sixteen suras as though the word were part of the original sura created the confusion in my mind.
4. In response to Kazimi's question as to where Dussaud got his sixteen suras from, he should observe that Dussaud himself noted that he was able to obtain a copy of the Kitab al-Bakura through the help of the French consul M. Adolphe Geofroy. Looking at Dussaud's various page number citations and his text of the Kitab al-Majmu', it is clear that he was working off a copy of the Kitab al-Bakura that can today be found on Archive.org.
It is worth providing the fuller context in which the reference to al-Maghribi occurs. It does not come in the sixteen suras identified as al-Dustour but in a prayer called al-Tabarri which the author of the Kitab al-Bakura first mentions in the following context (p. 7):
'Then the group departed and the sayyid took me to his house and his name is Ahmad Effendi bin Radwan Agha of the elders of the city of Adana and the second guide who is called al-Sheikh Saleh al-Jabali the head of the ramaleen. Then the sayyid began teaching me first al-Tabarri and it is the Surat al-Shata'im ['Sura of Curses'] the mention of which is coming in the second section in the beginning of the prayer of their festivals. And then he showed me their well-known prayers in which there is worship of Ali bin Abi Talib and they are sixteen suras.'
The al-Tabarri is specifically found on pp. 43-5 of the Kitab al-Bakura. In his bibliography of Nusayri texts, Dussaud does not include this prayer with four other prayers in the same section that bear the title of Quddas (Dussaud , p. XVI). The al-Tabarri curses various people, including Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman, Khalid bin al-Waleed, Mu'awiya and Yazid. It continues:
'And I ask you [Ali], to bring down your wrath and torment on Ishaq al-Ahmar the lame one and Ismail bin Khalad the ignoramus, and curse Sheikh Ahmad al-Badawi and Sheikh Ahmad al-Rifa'i and Sheikh Ibrahim al-Dosaqi and Sheikh Muhammad al-Maghribi...'- (p. 44 of Kitab al-Bakura).
It is plausible, as Kazimi suggests, that the insertion of Maghribi into this prayer was done by later scribes/transmitters of this prayer.
5. In the end though, Kazimi does not bring definitive evidence that al-Tabarri (which also appears with some additions in the Kitab al-Majmu' manuscript found by Tendler) as part of the Kitab al-Majmu', but rather argues that it 'could very well be part of a compendium called al-Majmu'.' With the evidence he highlights, the notion that the original Kitab al-Majmu' probably contained more than just the sixteen suras produced by Dussaud is plausible.
This point though raises again the question of the local testimony that Dussaud cited in his book, which would seem to identify the Kitab al-Majmu' only with the sixteen suras (Dussaud , p. XIV). Were his sources misinformed? Did they deliberately misrepresent the extent of its contents to him? Or did Dussaud misreport what they told him? And what of the original author of Kitab al-Bakura? Why was the author not clearer on which prayers and suras come under Kitab al-Majmu'?
In all though, this has been a useful exercise in tracing sources and exploring the debate further, and I thank Kazimi for his response.