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Sacred Books and Traditions of the Yezidiz, by Isya Joseph, [1919], at

p. 145



Although comparatively few in number, ignorant, and practically without a literature of any sort, the followers of Yezid are not without definitely formulated doctrines of faith which bind them together as a sect, and distinguish them from every other religious body. They cherish two fundamental beliefs. They believe in a deity of the first degree, God; and in a deity of the second degree, who, they seem to think, is composed of three persons in one, Melek Ṭâ’ûs, Šeiḫ ‘Adî and Yezid. 1



It is not easy to discover whether the conception of God, which exists to-day among the Yezidis, however shadowy, has come from Mohammedan or Christian sources, or whether it comes from that primitive stage where the worship of God and of inferior deities exists side by side. One thing, however, is apparent, and that is that the Yezidi notion of God does not seem to be influenced by any "positive religion"

p. 146

which traces its origin to the teachings of a great religious founder, who spoke as the organ of a divine revelation, and deliberately departed from the traditional religion. The Yezidis' idea of God is rather an image left on their mind than the result of any reflection. Hence, simple as it is, this conception is not so easy to define. The notion, so prominent in Greek philosophy, of God as an existence absolute and complete in himself, unchangeable, outside of time and space, etc., is unknown in Yezidi theology. So also the theocratic conception of Jehovah in Judaism is foreign to the dogma of this sect. Not even the Mohammedan idea of God as an absolute ruler, and the distinctive notion which the Christians have of God as Christ-like in character, are to be found in the religion of the devil-worshippers. And we have accustomed ourselves to think of the Supreme Being in these conventional terms. There is one element, however, which may be traced to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, namely, the belief in a personal God. But Yezidism holds that this deity is only the creator of the universe and not its sustainer. Its maintenance, according to this system, is left to the seven gods. Another element which may be said to be a remnant of some other religions is the idea of a transcendent God. But in this point, as in the other, the notion of transcendentalism in the religion of the devil-worshippers is not of the same degree as that of the other religions The former conceives of the Almighty as retiring far away, and as having nothing to do with

p. 147

the affairs of the world, except once a year, on New Year's day, when he sits on his throne, calls the gods unto him, and delivers the power into the hands of the god who is to descend to the earth. To sum up, the Yezidis' conception of a personal God is transcendental and static of the extreme type. In this it resembles somewhat the Platonic idea of the absolute. They call God in the Kurdish Khuda, and believe that he manifested himself in three different forms; in the form of a bird, Melek Ṭâ’ûs; in the form of an old man, Šeiḫ ‘Adî; and in the form of a young man, Yezid. They do not seem to offer him a direct prayer or sacrifice.


145:1 p. 167 P. Anastase: Al-Mašrik, Vol. II, p. 151; Bedrus Efendi Ar-Riḍwani, his letter to A. N. Andrus, April 22, 1887.

Next: II. The Deity of the Second Degree: 1. Melek Ṭâ’ûs