Who are/were the Yezidis? 4

For the convenience of our readers, we repeat our post on this religious group, founded in the 11th century and now facing extinction in Iraq at the hands of the savage Islamic State (IS). (Many reports of them in the Western media confuse them with the Mandeans, another minority religious group living in Iraq – south of Baghdad – otherwise known as Sabeans; one of the religions, along with Christianity and Judaism, recognized by Islam as “people of the book”, who may be spared death or conversion if they submit to Islam and pay the jizya tribute to their Muslim overlords. Put “Mandeans” into our search slot to know more about them.)

The Yezidis [or Yazidis] worship  The Peacock Angel, Malak Taus. He’s identified by Muslims and Christians with Shaitan/Satan, so the Yezidis are held to be devil-worshipers. They are ethnic Kurds, most of them  settled in Mosul, Iraq. There are some in Iran, Kurdistan, Armenia, and the Caucuses. In all, it’s estimated, there are about half a million of them. Their cult is in part an offshoot of Sufism, with various accretions. They build small temples, shrines with conical white spires, and they keep sacred snakes. They practice circumcision. The colour blue is repulsive to them*, and the eating of lettuce is forbidden. They have an hereditary  priesthood under a High Priest, and sacred books.

There is no need, they believe, to worship the Supreme God, because he is all good and so will never do you harm. The Peacock Angel, on the other hand, must be propitiated. He is capable of doing harm or good, and so must be won over to doing you good. Eventually he will be reconciled with the Supreme God, and that eventuality could come about at any moment.

In their cosmogony, the Supreme God created the world, which is watched over by 7 lesser divinities or “mysteries”, chief among whom is the Peacock Angel, Malak Taus. God created him first, out of his own light, and ordered him never to bow to other beings. Then God created the other six angels, and ordered them to make Adam out of the dust of the earth. God took the inanimate body of Adam and breathed life into him, and instructed the angels to bow down to him. Of course Malak Taus did not bow. “I cannot submit to him because,” he reminded God, “I am made of  your own light, while he is made of dust.”  This pleased God who then appointed him his vicar on earth. As its ruler, Malak Taus visits the earth on the first Wednesday of Nisan (March/April – roughly the same time as Easter), which is the Yezidi New Year’s Day, and the anniversary of the day on which God made the Peacock Angel. On that day they feast, make music, dance, and decorate eggs.

God made the earth by first making a pearl, which remained very small for some forty thousand years, and was then expanded and reworked into its present state. From time to time the 7 angels are incarnated in human form and dwell among the living on earth.  Their main annual festival is a week-long pilgrimage to the tomb of Sheikh Adi, their founder, who they say was the incarnation of one of the 7 angels. The tomb is at Lalish, north of Mosul.

All Yezidis are descended directly from Adam, not through Eve. At first the sexual roles of Adam and Eve were not fixed. Each produced a seed which was was sealed in a jar. Eve’s seed bred creepy-crawly things, but Adam’s developed into a boy-child who grew up, married a houri, and fathered the Yezidis.

As Adam’s seed, they are different from all other peoples. They permit marriage only within the sect, and members of each caste of their social and religious hierarchy can only marry among themselves.

They pray five times a day facing the sun. Their holy day is Wednesday, but their day of rest is Saturday.

In 2007,  al-Qaeda suicide bombers drove oil tankers into two Yezidi communities near Mosul which they exploded, killing more than 500 and injuring about 1,000 more. This sent thousands of Yezidis to the Syrian border to seek asylum.

When the city of Sinjar was recently taken by the Sunni Muslims of IS, the Yezidis fled to Mount Sinjar. Their choice was to die of hunger and thirst on the mountain, or be slaughtered by the IS.

It has been reported that the IS offered them another choice – between conversion to Islam or death. That is not likely to be true. The Muslims call them “devil worshipers” and consider them fit only for death.

Many have already died from starvation and lack of water. Some parents threw their children off the mountain to save them from such a death.

Today US military aircraft dropped packages of food and water to them. Will they continue to do so? For how long?

This sect – numbering in all fewer than 100,000 – is almost certainly now doomed to extinction. (Though there are a few Yezidi communities in Europe, North America and Australia, amounting altogether to a few thousand, which might continue for a while yet.)

Whatever would the human race do without the blessings of religion?

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It seems that in modern times, Yezidis no longer recoil from the color blue. Other  interdiction may have changed too.

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  • liz

    Weird but interesting religion! Isn’t it something that out of all those weird teachings, none of them involves killing everyone else on the planet!
    Just amazing. Yes, sheikh whatsisame may have had some odd ideas, but at least he wasn’t a murdering psychopathic megalomaniac, who passed on to his posterity every one of his psychotic tendencies.

  • Don L

    The 7 mysteries…I can hear Groucho Marx now, “Well, that’s a mystery to me!”. The media sure isn’t going to play up the satan worship aspect of these non-christians…since this is all about saving christians. LOL.

    Well, they aren’t running around the world killing people…yes, keep them from being slaughtered. But, kill/bomb the crap outta the ISIS forces full-time. You-know-who is only planning pinpricks. I know where I’d target a precision weapon…

    • liz

      Anyone else but Obama would have bombed the IS off the map by now, before they had the chance to slaughter Yezidis, and everyone else. He is such a pathetic insult to his office.