In the name of God/s, part 7: Yezidism/ Yazidism

  • Founder/s: Shaykh ‘Adī ibn Musāfir al-Umawī, aka. Şêx Adî*
  • Approximate age: 900 years (adherents claim it’s 6000 years, making it older than Judaism & Hinduism)
  • Place of origin: Syria and/or Iraq
  • Holy book/s: Mishefa Resh (the Black Book) and Kitêba Cilwe (the Book of Revelation)
  • Original language of holy book/s: Kurdish
  • Demonym of adherents: Yazidis/ Yezidis
  • Approximate number of current global adherents: 200,000-300,000
  • Place of worship name/s: temple (can’t find the name Yezidis themselves use)

* However, his followers heavily syncretised his Islam with local beliefs as soon as he died.

All my knowledge comes from Wikipedia, this site and Birgül Açıkyıldız’s The Yezidis: The History of a Community, Culture and Religion (ISBN: 9781784532161). I’ll leave the details of what this faith is about for another post and go straight onto the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ points:

It’s extremely ethnocentric. Damn near every supernatural event centres around them or places they’re associated with. God lived in Lalish, north Iraq. Their founder built a shrine & tomb in Lalish (see featured image). And no-one can convert to this faith; you can only be born into it. However, you can convert out of it. If that happens you’re absolutely not one of them anymore, and reverting back is impossible. 

It’s highly misogynistic. According to their legends, humanity came from Adam and Eve – except them. They claim descent from Adam alone! Even if parthenogenesis were possible for humans, FROM A MAN?!? They explain that by saying Adam and Eve got into an argument over children; she said all humans will descend from her but he said the man makes life. To settle the matter they put the “fruits of their concupiscence” (cum?) into 2 jars and buried them for 9 months. When the jars were dug up, Adam’s cum had become a beautiful boy (Shehid bin Jerr, from whom Yezidis claim descent) while Eve’s cum became a pile of dirty worms. Then afterward Adam & Eve fucked and gave birth to Muslims, Christians & Jews. 

But! But! But those religions aren’t heredi-


In fact, women seem to appear very little in the faith at all. When the angels take human form it’s always as men. OK…


Yezidis are in denial of their faith’s blatantly syncretic origins. Despite their hatred of Muslims, much of their terminology is straight from Qur’anic Arabic or terms Muslims regularly use:

  • şêx, pronounced the same as shaykh and means the same, 
  • imam, from imam (religious leader), 
  • Tawûsê Melek, from ṭawuws (peacock) & malik (angel/ king),
  • kitêb, from kitab (book),
  • melekê ‘erşê ‘ezîmî, from malikul-‘arshi ‘aẓiym (king of the majestic throne),
  • Ramadan (exactly the same as Ramaḍan, except Yezidis use it as a name of one of their feasts), 
  • ‘Erafat, from ‘Arafat (name of an Arabian mountain. Yezidis use it for the name of a feast), 
  • Khidr Nebî, from khiḍr (green) & nabiy (prophet),
  • zemzem, from zamzam (the name of a ‘holy’ well in Arabia),
  • mîr, from amiyr (leader), 
  • etc. 

Even their name comes straight from the Umayyad-era khalif (caliph), mujahid & imam YAZID ibn Mu’awiya! They revere the man immensely, even elevating him to the status of angel-in-human-form, but they deny any connection to Islam.

Regarding the prohibitions and laws it’s as bad as Judaism! Forbidden acts include: 

  • Saying any verbs beginning with ‘sh’,
  • Certain foods, including pork, fish, cockerel, gazelle, lettuce, okra, cauliflower, cabbage & pumpkin,
  • Wearing blue
  • Hanging around non-Yezidis for too long (especially Muslims), 
  • Using any kitchen utensils used by Muslims, 
  • Entering a masjid, 
  • Shaving the beard (for the clergy caste*), 
  • Being literate (except a certain subgroup of shaykhs) – abolished in early 1900s,
  • Gargling, 
  • Cutting down trees in Lalish,
  • Wearing shoes in Lalish,
  • Littering in Lalish – not so bad,
  • Using water to put out fire; they have to use earth instead – I take it back, 
  • Exogamy – marrying anyone outside their caste or religion, especially Muslims. Punishable with immediate & permanent exile, 
  • Getting married in April

* It has a caste system. Thankfully(-ish) it’s not as complex as Hinduism’s but still pretty bad. There are 3 castes, shaykhs, pîrs & murîds. The first 2 are clergy, the last laypeople. Caste is inherited from both parents therefore immutable. Originally ‘Adi created them as a way to unite the tribes and were only religious roles, but they devolved into their present form. All Yezidis are obliged to have a shaykh – including the shaykhs themselves, and must pay him for services he does for them. Caste systems, especially if any caste is forbidden from being educated, are IMO heaps of shit with no exceptions. 

Their god, Xwedê, is a lazy fuck. He created the heavens and earth – but put the archangel Tawûsê Melek in charge of all earthly affairs! What? A god that doesn’t want to attend to his own creation? In fact, Yezidis very rarely pray directly to God; it’s more often done to Tawûsê Melek. 

Or the pretty bird will pray for the wrath o’ God upon your ass! 


Oh, and God created Eve from Adam’s left armpit.

Now on to what I like:

Like Judaism it doesn’t blame Satan for the existence of evil. In fact, even saying the word Satan is a sin. It’s true Tawusi Melek disobeyed Xwedê’s (God’s) command to bow to Adam, but that was because of his desire to only worship God. Because of that he became God’s main representative on earth. According to one of their myths, ‘prophet’ Muhammad went to heaven and eavesdropped on a conversation between Xwedê and the 7 angels. Tawûsê Melek noticed him and said mortals aren’t allowed to hear such things, but Muhammad got rude. Tawûsê Melek got pissed off and threw him back to Earth! That’s when Muhammad started calling him Shaytan (Satan).

Like Baha’ism (and very unlike Judaism, Christianity & Islam) it believes in progressive revelation. Every 1000 years one of Xwedê’s 7 angels comes down to Earth to give the world new laws to follow. That way people don’t get complacent and think their current ways will remain right eternally.

They’re probably not arrogant. In one of their myths God sent TWO floods, one against Noah’s generation, one against them! Why? Because they didn’t like Adam & Eve’s marriage! 

Oh, and during one of their festivals they eat a special tart. Made of crushed grain & meat, it’s called a harîsa. Never had it but sounds delish! 

Couldn’t find the full text of their holy books but managed to find this. Read at your leisure:

Back to Part 6

On to Part 8

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