The surname Alavi (often spelled as Alvi) () signifies ancestry from Hazrat Ali ibn Abi Talib (), the fourth Caliph of Sunni Islam and the first Imam in Shia Islam. Ali was the cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Muhammad and titled Amir al-Mu'minin () by his follower (Commander of the Faithful)

The Alavi family can be found in the Middle East and South Asia. Alavis are scattered in Northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh with their main concentration in Kakori near Lucknow. Alavi of Kakori referred as Moulvizadigan (Moulvis) or Makhdoomzadigan (Makhdooms) indicating whether they are descendent of Mullah Abu Bakr Jami Alavi, who settled in Kakori in 1461 or descendent of Qari Amir Saifuddin Alavi, who settled in Kakori in 1552. The spelling of (Arabic: علوي) varied greatly. Although, the Alavi spelling is most prevalent in Iran and Indian sub-Continent, but Alvi, Alawi and Alwi spellings are frequently found in India and some Middle Eastern Countries. Awan is second name of this tribe, belonged to Hadrat Qutub Shah, a renowned sufi and minister of Mehmood Gaznavi, the great.

Alavi was also the name of a city in India at the time of the Buddha (500 BC), and Buddha went to visit there several times.

In 2006, detailed genealogical records of the Alavi family of Kakori, entitled the Hashimites of Kakori, published on-line.

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