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the name given to those Kurds who profess the Yezidi religion. Of the 150,000 Yezidis (1969), most live in Iraq and Turkey; there are smaller numbers in Iran, Syria, and Soviet Transcaucasia. The founder of the Yezidis’ religion was Sheikh Adi (c. 1074-1164), whom they regard as their prophet. Their religion is syncretistic, containing elements of paganism, ancient Indo-Iranian beliefs, Judaism, Nestorian Christianity, and Islam. The Yezidis believe in one god and his emanation—the highest angel Melek Taus, who is depicted as a bronze or copper bird on a pedestal.
The Yezidis are divided into the laity, or murid, and the priesthood, orruhan, comprising the higher clergy (the emir, the sheikhs, and the pir) and the lower clergy (the kawwale and thekochak). The Yezidis’ doctrine is set forth in the Book of Revelation and the Black Book, written in a secret script. Their religious worship is distinctive in that they have no churches; their only place of pilgrimage is the tomb and sanctuary of Sheikh Adi at Lalesh, near the city of Mosul.
REFERENCESVil’chevskii, O. L. “Ocherki po istorii ezidstva.” Ateist, 1930, no. 51.
Lescot, R. Enquete sur les Yesidis de Syrie et de Djebel Sindjar. Beirut, 1938.
Taufiq Wahby. The Yazīdīs Are Not Devil-worshippers. London, 1962.
M. B. RUDENKO