The Yezidee (Devil worshipers?)


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To deny a wish expressed by him is to incur very unpleasant results in this world, and also to bring upon one's self the consequences of having offended the bodily descendant and representative on the earth of the great prophet Sheik Adi. All contests are settled at his tribunal, not by any fixed law, but according to his will and passing mood. Bloodshedding is atoned for by pecuniary indemnity; adulterous women are executed by their husbands without further proceedings. The Turkish Government is satisfied to receive its tribute, and lets the internal affairs of the people alone.

It deals with the Myr, to a certain extent, as a state within a state.

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The Yezidees will not serve in the Turkish army, because their religion forbids them to mingle with the hated Mussulmans, but escape by paying a good round commutation fee yearly. The people are at the lowest stage of civilization, with no hope of rising so long as Sheik Adi's rules are in force. Under the influence of these conditions and of the prejudices of their neighbors against them, they have become a sinister, malicious, treacherous people.

The rite of hospitality, so sacred among the Bedouins, is unknown to them.


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No one can feel safe among them. They attach no value to human life. To these ordinary dangers are added those arising from the embarrassing etiquette of conversational intercourse with them; for if any one inadvertently lets escape the word devil, Satan, or anything sounding like it, he commits a mortal offense; and to cut off his head is a God-pleasing act, and a sacred duty of the Yezidee, the fulfillment of which will insure him a place in paradise.

Several letters are in like manner wholly banished from the language, chiefly those which contain the sound of a "shun"; also the Arabic word nallet , "Thou art damned," which was spoken by God to the fallen angel when he pitched him into hell. Therefore all words containing similar sounds are set aside, and other combinations not belonging to any language are used in their stead.

The great national sanctuary of the Yezidees is "Sheik Adi," the supposed burial-place of the founder and prophet of the religion. It was formerly a Chaldaic cloister, called Lalish, but was captured by the adherents of Sheik Adi, about the middle of the tenth century. It is in a beautiful valley, shaded with a rich vegetation, through which flows the sacred brook Semsen, coming down underground from Jerusalem, and here leaping from terrace to terrace.

Every Yezidee is baptized and has his winding-sheet dipped into its holy waters, in order that he may be more sure of entering the paradise which Sheik Adi has promised him. Here resides the great sheik, who is next to the Myr, and whose blessing is good for the healing of diseases and for the assurance of a large posterity. The next place in the hierarchy is held by Mullah Haidar, a descendant of the learned Hassan el Bassri, and keeper of the book with the seven seals.

In one of the apartments of the temple are preserved the six sacred brazen images. They are roughly cast figures, in the shape of plumply developed cocks, one of which weighs more than seven hundred pounds, while the others are smaller. They are a gift from the dying prophet. There were originally seven of them, but one has been unaccountably lost. The holy book was also concealed for a time in Sheik Adi. This book was probably written in fairly good Arabic, at about the end of the tenth century, by Hassan el Bassri, Sheik Adi's disciple.

It has existed since then in only a single copy, and is divided into two parts, of which the first contains the history of the creation, in occasional agreement with the Biblical narrative; and some account of the origin of the Yezidees and their subsequent fortunes, not always accurate, and containing many anachronisms. The second part—which is evidently to a considerable extent of later origin, for it shows various handwritings—explains the doctrines, precepts, and rites. The occurrence of Chaldaic words indicates that some Christian or ex-Christian priest or monk had something to do with its construction.

According to this curious book, darkness prevailed before God created the heavens and the earth. He became tired of hovering over the water, and made a parrot, with which he amused himself for forty years. Then he became angry with the bird, and trampled it to death. The mountains and valleys arose out of its plumage, and the sky from its breath. God then went up, made the dry sky, and hung it to a hair of his head. In the same way hell was made.

God then created six other gods out of his own essence, in the same way that a fire divides itself into several flames. Each of them made himself a mare, with which to travel over the sky. The gods talk with one another in Kurdish, the speech of paradise, the language of languages. The seven gods together created the angels. It came to pass that the angel created by the first god rose against his lord, and was cast into hell for it.

He at once set up a great lamentation, with confessions of his faults, and wept continually for seven thousand years, filling seven great earthen jars with his tears, till at last the all-good and merciful God had pity on him, and took him again into paradise. This angel afterward so excelled the others in doing good that God loved him more than all of them. The other angels once in a quarrel taunted him with his single sin and punishment. God overhearing this became very angry and said: "Whoever of you offends this little one with another word shall be accursed; whom God hath pardoned, the creature shall not make ashamed.

The seven jars filled with the tears which he wept in hell are to be preserved till Sheik Adi shall return after having completed his mission on the earth, to be used in extinguishing the fires of hell. The seventh god created the various species of animals, gradually, one out of the other, and finally Adam and Eve.

But their posterity could not maintain themselves. After ten thousand years the earth destroyed them all, and then remained desolate for ten thousand years longer. Only the genii survived. The same thing happened five times again, each god creating a human pair in his turn. Finally the first god, with Melek-Taus, created the last first pair. Eve a considerable time after Adam, and not till after he had been expelled from paradise.

Adam lived in paradise, and was allowed to eat of all the fruits growing there except of wheat. In the course of time Melek-Taus said to God: "You have created Adam to people the earth; but he still lives in paradise, while the earth is uninhabited. God then determined to give Adam, who was still alone, a companion, and made Eve from his ribs, who bore him seventy-two pairs of twins. The Yezidees are not, however, descended from this race, but from a son miraculously given by God to Adam, named Shehid-ibn-Giarr, and a houri from paradise.

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Their posterity, the Yezidees, do not mingle with the children of Adam and Eve. The Mussulmans are descended from Ham, who, having detected his mother in an intrigue, mocked her to his father. The children of Eve and of Ham hate the children of Yezdani, because they are the chosen people of Melek-Taus, who induced their father to eat the forbidden fruit, thereby forfeiting paradise. The children of Eve laughed at Noah while he was building the ark in anticipation of the flood. When the ark struck on Mount Sindiar, it sprung a leak.

The snake swelled itself up and stopped the hole with its tail; but after the flood, the snakes increased so fast as to do much harm to men. Noah was so vexed at this that he seized one of them and threw it into the fire.

From its ashes arose fleas. The history is continued, with a mixture of distorted incidents from the Old and New Testament accounts, the life and sufferings of Christ, stories of the Koran, and secular history. Christ, after suffering, but not actually dying, upon the cross, was taken by Melek-Taus into heaven, where, with him and God, he forms the Trinity. Yezid, who made war upon his father, the Caliph Moanzeh, although he lived in reality a Mussulman, but unorthodox, is fabled in these books to have been a great champion of the religion of Sheik Adi, and to have possessed miraculous powers.

He is said to have ordered all the books of Islam to be brought together and cast into the sea, and to have pronounced a curse of body and soul against every one, except those to whom special license might be given, who should thereafter read or write a letter of the Arabic language. Having overcome Hussim and Hassan, the sons of Ali , Yezid lived three hundred years at Damascus and then ascended to heaven.

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The Mohammedans obtaining possession of Damascus again, and beginning to oppress the faithful, Yezid was sent down to earth to protect them. This time he took the name of Sheik Adi. He again performed many wonderful works and effected some marvelous conversions, receiving the adhesion, among others, of the Caliph and of Hassan el Bassri, and drove the Christian monks from Lalish, where he established the seat of his religion.

Jews, Christians, and Mohammedans, says the book of Sheik Adi, "curse and blaspheme in the way that they are led by their books. They are blind and hardened, and do not know that God comes down from heaven every thousand years and punishes blasphemers.


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  • They habitually speak of Satan, meaning thereby our holy Melek-Taus, who is one with God. This wicked name was invented by infamous and accursed people to shame our august protector. Whoever speaks one of these words is guilty of the most heinous blasphemy and deserves to die, and his soul shall be embodied in a mangy dog or a beast of burden.

    Therefore God forbids the reading of books, because such words are contained in them. Neither the Bible nor the Koran originally had these blasphemous passages, but they were added by evil-doers. It is also a great sin to eat salad, because its name in Arabic sounds like one of the titles of our saints. On the way, the two of them give me their view of the faith. There are religious texts, like the Black Book, but they are not crucial. The faith is really handed down by kawwas, sort of musical preachers. And who is Melek Taus? Halil looks slightly uncomfortable: "We believe he is a proud angel, who rebelled and was thrown into Hell by God.

    He stayed there 40, years, until his tears quenched the fires of the underworld. Now he is reconciled to God.

    The Yezidee (Devil worshipers?)
    The Yezidee (Devil worshipers?)
    The Yezidee (Devil worshipers?)
    The Yezidee (Devil worshipers?)
    The Yezidee (Devil worshipers?)
    The Yezidee (Devil worshipers?)
    The Yezidee (Devil worshipers?)
    The Yezidee (Devil worshipers?)

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