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  • Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland, Volume 24, Issue 1
  • January 2014, pp. 1-16

The Rediscovery of Samuel Lyde's Lost Nuṣayrī Kitāb al-Mashyakha (Manual for Shaykhs)

  • DOI:
  • Published online: 30 October 2013

The K. al-Mashyakha is a manual for Nuṣayrī shaykhs. Its significance as a window into the otherwise secret world of Nuṣayrī ritual was augmented by the role it played in the formation of Nuṣayrī studies: in 1860, it served as the basis for the first monograph on the Nuṣayrī religion, Samuel Lyde's posthumously published Asian Mystery. However, for over 150 years, the K. al-Mashyakha has been missing. This article announces its rediscovery in two identical manuscripts and identifies two additional works based on this text, the well-known Nuṣayrī catechism, K. Taʿlīm diyānat al-nuṣayriyya, and the recently published K. al-Mashyakha issued by the Lebanese press, Dār li-ajl al-maʿrifa. In solving the mystery of its disappearance and rediscovery in two copies, this article provides new insight into the nineteenth-century Nuṣayrī world from which the K. al-Mashyakha emerged, as well as that of the European orientalists who pioneered this field.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Necati Alkan, “Fighting for the Nuṣayrī Soul: State, Protestant Missionaries and the ʿalawīs in the Late Ottoman Empire.” Die Welt des Islams 52 (2012), pp. 2350.

Yaron Friedman, The Nuṣayrī-ʿAlawīs: An Introduction to the Religion, History, and Identity of the Leading Minority in Syria (Leiden, 2010).

Yvette Talhamy, “American Protestant Missionary Activity among the Nusayris (Alawis) in Syria in the Nineteenth Century.” Middle East Studies 47, no. 2 (2011), pp. 215236.

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Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society
  • ISSN: 1356-1863
  • EISSN: 1474-0591
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-the-royal-asiatic-society
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