Barrasi-ye didgahha-ye tafsiri va ta’vili-ye Alaviyan [A Study of the Exegetical Views of the Alavis]

Author: Ali-Reza Otar
Reviewed by: Dr. Muhammad-Reza Fakhr-Rohani University of Qom

Alaviylarning qarashlari va talqinlarini o'rganish

Ali-Reza Otar, Barrasi-ye didgahha-ye tafsiri va ta’vili-ye Alaviyan [A Study of the Exegetical Views of the Alevis], Qum: Majma Zakha’ir Islami, 1421 Sh/ 2022. 143 pp.

This is a noteworthy book on the doctrinal as well as exegetical aspects of the Alevis who live mainly in Turkey and Syria. Despite some minor differences between them, their basic articals of faith are the same. The book first gives a vivid background of the cult and denomination of the Alevis, together with their origins in Turkey. Albeit short and rather abrupt, the literature review provided in the book gives a clear and vivid panorama of the way the Turkish Alevis behave, both religiously and socially.

Based on the well-documented materials, it has since been a rather mystical denomination that was originated by ancient Turkish mystics. They believe in the principle of imamate, hence sharing the same footing with the Shiis. As a mystical denomination, their religious manuals invite the believers to be sincere, pious, and philanthropic, all based on sound Islamic teachings. They do have concrete injunctions on observing moral instructions, too.

They have also both pragmatic and mystical understandings of the Holy Quran. As the foundational text of the Islamic religion, the Holy Quran has been of utmost importance to the Alevis. Due to their belief in the 12 Infallible Imams, they have and share certain similarities with the Shiis. However, their long centries-long presence in Turkey has taught them to be cooperative with other Muslim denominations.

Originally a graduate-level thesis, the book turns to the Alavis’ views and attitudes towards the Holy Quran and the Shii trends of Islamic religious scholarship, particularly their views of the Holy Quran and ijtihad, the high level of independent and principled reasoning in religious affairs. As Alavis have long adopted some mystical attitudes toward the Islamic religion and Quran-oriented interpretation of Islamic rulings, the book invites the reader to short assessments of Alavi interpretations of Islamic sources of religious scholarship. The book also deals with certain problematic aspects of Alavis’ attitudes towards the Holy Quran and other sources of Islamic teachings. This is done in comparison with Shii trends of Islamic scholarship.