By August 8, 2014 0 Comments Read More →

Why The Media Doesn’t Seem To Know What Exactly The Yazidi Religion Is

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If you’ve been watching anything on the mainstream media recently about the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) genocide being attempted against the Yazidis of Iraq, you may have noticed something strange: the pundits who usually have so much to say about just about everything, don’t even seem to know how to say “Yazidi,” let alone inform you as to what this community believes. 

When asked today to describe the religious community in one sentence, I reluctantly said that the closest I could define Yazidis as is: “Islamo-Satanist-mystics with a connection to the historical figure of Yazid ibn Mu`awiyah, and a strong Zoroastrian influence.”

Allow me to explain, for those who might not have heard of this persecuted Iraqi religious minority until recently…

The Yazidi pantheon has a monotheistic God at the top of a hierarchy, but He is only the Creator, He is aloof and is no longer an “acting force.”

The “acting forces” are represented by “Malak Ta’us” or “Peacock Angel” and “Shaykh Adii.” There are many theories as to the identity of “Shaykh Adii.” Most suppose he could have been the Sunni “Khalif” Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah, but while there seems to be some connection between Yazid and the Yazidi’s, most claim that they are given the name Yazid from the Persian word “ized”, “Angel.” Conversely, the Yazidis call themselves “Dasin,” rather than “Yazidi.” That’s important to know, so you don’t sound like an idiot.

Others identify “Shaykh Adii with Shaykh Adii ibn Moosaafir, a Sufi mystic who died in 1162 CE. However, historians say that the shaykh was a perfectly orthodox Sunni Muslim who has had Yazidism thrust on him posthumously. Both of these explanations, however, might seems unlikely due to the fact that this “Shaykh” is mentioned in ancient times in the Creation mythology of the Yazidi “Meshaf Resh.”

In Yazidi theology, “Shaykh Adii” is said to be a man, risen to “divinity” through transmigration, and is now an acting and “good deity.” “Shaykh” Adii is acting in a cooperation with Malak Ta’us, the Peacock Angel that have fallen into disgrace, but who is said to repent. In Yazidi theology, the Malak Ta’us is said to have filled 7 jars of tears throughout 7,000 years. His tears were used to extinguish the fire in Jahannam (Arabic for “Hell”). Therefore there is no belief in punishment in Jahannam in Yazidism. Yazidism has 6 other minor deities, which are also honored.

Yazidis insist on the oral status of their religion, but two scriptures have been claimed for them: the Kitaabu-l-Jelwa (“The Book of Revelation”) and the Meshaf Resh (“The Black Book”), copies of which appeared in the West in the late 19th century. Written copies and summaries began appearing soon afterwards and fell into the hands of outsiders in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The earliest of these were most likely obtained through subterfuge. By the early twentieth century there were more than half a dozen manuscripts of the Yazidi sacred books in the West, translated into various Western languages.

Typical of the stories that surround their appearance is that of a Yazidi named “Habeeb,” who, claiming to have been a “librarian” for a Yazidi chief religious official, converted to Christianity, escaped to Baghdad, and sought refuge and instruction in the Carmelite mission there. He was baptized as “`Abdu-l-Maseeh” (Servant of Christ), and, as proof of his new faith, he divulged what he knew of the Yazidi religion. Before he died he handed over `Arabic copies of the Jelwa and Resh to a Carmelite priest Père Anastase, telling him that “the Yazidi sacred books had originally been written in Kurdish and had been handed by God to the Yazidis in the days of Adam. Long ago they had been translated into Arabic in order to shield the originals from human eyes or touch.”

In the “Mishaf Resh” we read that the forbidden fruit to Adam and Eve was wheat, and that wheat was associated with the Qur’anic Iblis: “Satan.” In Yazidism, he is the one who introduced wheat to humankind. See below, for the relevant passage from the Mishaf Resh.

“The Lord then descended on the Holy Land and ordered Gabriel to bring him dust from the four corners of the Earth: dust, air, fire, and water. He created Adam and put in him a soul, out of His own might. Then He commanded Gabriel to put Adam in paradise, and ordered that he might eat from all the fruits of paradise. But He commanded that he should not eat wheat.”

As you can see, in this and all other ways, the Malak Ta’us exactly parallels the “Satan” figure in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. Moreover, the Yazidis do not disavow that association. In spite of what this might make religious fundamentalists think about them, they are a generally lovely community, and extremely peaceful. That makes the targeting by ISIS all the more tragically effective. Some Western over-night “experts” on religions and sects in the region will try to down play the identification of the Malak Ta’us, almost as though them being “Satanic” in some religious way would make a genocide against them some how more bearable to American viewers.

If you didn’t know anything about Yazidism, now you officially know more than anyone on any mainstream media outlet… That is, until they read this and begin regurgitating it as though they knew it all along.

Posted in: Religious Terrorism

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