the Yazidism Where Sharfadin, or religion of the seven angels, is a monotheistic religion of the Yazidi ethno-religious community which is presented by its practitioners (the Yazidis or Yazidis or Yesids) as plunging its roots into ancient Iran.

Yazidism or Sharfadin

Origins of Sharfadin

Between the IXe and the VIIIe century BC BC, Iranian tribes (the Medes) settled in the lands of present-day Kurdistan. THE Zoroastrianism was for hundreds of years the dominant religion and had an important influence on Kurds and on their beliefs. However, some Kurds had not converted to Zoroastrianism. They remained faithful to their ancient religion: Yazdanism.

According to the Kurdologist Serbi Rechid, Zoroastrianism spread in Media from the VIe century BC AD, but did not become dominant. Until Ve century AD. BC, the majority of Kurds living in Zagros, Cizir, Botan and Kirkuk practiced Yazdanism.

This Persian religion survives today through three Kurdish religions: Yazidism, Alevism and Yârsânism. Moreover, the word “Yazdanism” is an academic term from the Kurdologist Merhad Izady. According to the latter, this Persian religion could be called “Yazdanism” but also “Yezidism”. Merhad Izady coined the term “Yazdanism” in order to differentiate this religion from current Yazidism.

Because the Yazidism of the XXIe century has undergone changes since its foundation. In particular during the reform of Sheikh Adi which took place in the twelfthe century. Yezidism is a survival of the ancient Persian religion, which during its existence absorbed exogenous elements in order to adapt to a hostile environment.

Many similarities exist between Yezidism and Zoroastrianism. But, contrary to the indications of numerous published studies, Yezidism is not derived from Zoroastrianism. These two religions indeed have common roots. Yezidism is a survival of the ancient Persian religion, a religion in which the God was all-powerful and had a servant, Mithra, who is, among other things, a solar divinity. Today we find the same interdependence between Xwede and Archangel Taous.

Zoroastrianism, on the other hand, is a reform of Mithraism / Mazdaism, another name for this ancient Medo-Iranian religion.

Religious specialists emphasize the religious syncretism from which Yezidism emerged. The Yazidi cosmogony presents disturbing similarities with the religions of ancient Iran, the pre-Zoroastrian and then Zoroastrian religions of the VIIe century to IVe century BC AD These analogies are mainly due to the presence of numerous Kurds of the old faith in the Lalish valley and to the isolation of the latter.

At XIIe century, Sheikh Adi, Sufi master, settled in Lalish and taught his precepts to the Yazidi population. Adi adapts his Muslim characteristics to Yezidism. However, if for some the Yazidi belief includes elements which allow it to be perceived as religious syncretism, this thesis remains debated.

The oral tradition of this belief is one of the main factors that worked against it in the eyes of Muslims. These, recognizing as their equals only the people of Book, saw with a bad eye these rebellious and pagan communities. Yet the Yazidis are not followers of a purely oral religious tradition: two books sacred would serve as the basis for their laws and rites.

Description of the Yezidi creed

Malek Tawûs is an archangel in the Yezidi religion. Malek Tawus is often represented by a peacock according to its name and because the peacock symbolizes diversity, beauty and power. For the Yazidis, their unique god is the creator of the world but is not its preserver. This task was delegated to a procession of seven angels led by the most important of them: Malek Tawus. According to the Yazidi faith, Malek Tawus is an emanation and servant of the Almighty. On the first day (a Sunday) God created the angel Azrail, which is another name for Malek Tawus. On the second day (a Monday) God created Dardail.

On the third day (a Tuesday) God created Israil. On the fourth day (a Wednesday) God created Machael. On the fifth day (a Thursday) God created Anzazil. On the sixth day (a Friday) God created Chemnail. Finally on the seventh day (a Saturday) God created Nourail. God then proclaimed "Malek Taous" chief of all the other angels. “Malik Tawûs” literally means “peacock angel” in Kurdish. In a way we can make a parallel with the Sun god Iranian Mithras, who himself was not the supreme God, but a servant of God.

In ancient Iran the metaphorical name of the Sun was “Tavous-é Falak”, which means the “Heavenly Peacock”. In the Greece Ancient, the peacock was the symbol of the Sun. In the mythology Hindu peacock feathers were considered a representation of the sky and stars. In Yazidism, the Sun is considered a source of goodness, light, warmth but above all life. However, the Yazidis are not “Sun worshippers”: God created the Sun and the Yazidis bow down before this divine creation.

Traditions and taboos of Yazidism

The Yazidis have two sacred books: the Kiteba Cilwe, the Book of Revelations, and the Mishefa Reş, the Black Book. the Kiteba Cilwe describes Malek Taous and his special relationship with the Yazidis, while the Mishefa Reş describes the creation of the universe, the seven great Angels, the Yazidis and the laws that the latter must follow.

One can observe a large number of rites that Yazidis and Zoroastrians have in common. The Yazidis pray 5 times a day, like the Zoroastrians, and like the Muslims. It is also noted that the Yazidi morning prayer (during which Yazidis pray towards the Sun) resembles the Zoroastrian prayer. Like the Zoroastrians, the Yazidis are organized into castes and have taboos related to the 4 elements (earth, fire, air and water). The Yazidis also practice the sacrifice of the bull (cult of Mithra), which was once practiced by the Mazdeans. Yazidis and Zoroastrians share the same holiday: Wednesday.

Animals hold a special place in old religions, especially in Mithraism. Certain animals are painted on the Mithraic icons, and the same animals are depicted on the Lalesh temple. Their interpretations are also identical to those of the Mithraic religion. Mithras, a deity iranian, sacrificed according to the legend a bull. The Yazidis do the same in autumn. They sacrifice a bull every year for all of humanity and for a more harmonious world.

In ancient times the bull symbolized autumn and its slaughter was to be followed by a green, rainy and fruitful year. In Mithraism the serpent symbolized the cosmos. The Yazidis particularly respect the snake — especially the black snake. According to the Yazidi faith, the snake is a symbol of wisdom. At the entrance of the Lalesh temple, a black serpent is depicted.