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Subject Religion

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631181392.1995.x


[ xviii ] A Kurdish sect, originating with the Muslim mystic Shaikh Adi ibn Musafir (d. 1162 ce ) [4; 8]. Shaikh Adi's followers formed an order which became influential in many parts of the Islamic world [8: 101f] ( see S ufi orders ). A rift occurred in this movement, one group staying within the pale of I slam while another claimed that obedience to the outer requirements of Islam (P illars of islam ) was unnecessary. The latter tendency became dominant in Kurdistan, which had remained an important centre of the movement; there, moreover, local myths and traditions of ancient Iranian origin came to form part of the beliefs of the group. This offended orthodox Muslims, who branded the movement as heretical [4: 90]. In the 14th and 15th centuries the Kurdish Yezidi tribes were large and influential, but their power and numbers declined from the 16th century onwards. Since the 15th century the Yezidis have been the object of persecutions and intense hostility on the part of their neighbours, who came to regard them as devil-worshippers. In the 1980s almost the entire Yezidi population of Turkey was forced to migrate to Germany because of Muslim ill-will. There are now c. 200,000 Yezidis in northern Iraq, c. 40,000 in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and c. 5,000 in Syria. Until recently all that was known of the Yezidi sacred tradition were two short works, known as the Sacred ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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