Alevism (Turkish Alevîlik, also called Qizilbaš, Shī’ah Imāmī-Tasawwufī Tarīqah, and Ja’afaris, among others) is a syncretic religious tradition, spread primarily in Anatolia, generally approached as a heterodox Shi’a trend. Alevism is a part of a larger nondogmatic Shi’a environment, represented by various ‘Ali-oriented communities—the Alawites (Arab, Alawīyah, the “Ali supporters” of Syria), the Ahl-i Haqq (“The People of Truth,” also known as Ali-Ilahī “Deifiers of ‘Ali”), or Yāresān (“Abode of Lovers [Brothers]” in Iran and the Kaka’i in Iraq)—focused on the extreme veneration of Imam ‘Ali (cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad and the fourth righteous caliph of Islam) and thus classified as ghulat (literally, extreme).

The esoteric (bātenī) nature of the doctrines and endogamy allowed the communities to acquire the character of well-shaped ...

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