Melek Taus of the Yezidi

“Before all creation this revelation was with Melek Ta’us, who sent ‘Abd Ta’us to this world that he might separate truth known to his particular people. This was done, first of all/by means of oral tradition, and afterward by means of this book, Al-Jilwah, which the outsiders may neither read nor behold.” – Al-Jilwah (The Revelation)


Melek Taus, The Peacock Angel, is the primary deity of the Yezidi, a Kurdish religious group whose ancient roots link to Zoroastrianism. The reputation of worshipers of Melek Taus being related to Devil worshipers comes from his other name: Shaytan, the name of Satan in the Qur’an.

In Al-Jilwah (The Revelation), Melek Taus declares his domain.

“I was, am now, and shall have no end. I exercise dominion over all creatures and over the affairs of all who are under the protection of my image. I am ever present to help all who trust in me and call upon me in time of need. There is no place in the universe that knows not my presence. I participate in all the affairs which those who are without call evil because their nature is not such as they approve. Every age has its own manager, who directs affairs according to my decrees. This office is changeable from generation to generation, that the ruler of this world and his chiefs may discharge the duties of their respective offices every one in his own turn. I allow everyone to follow the dictates of his own nature, but he that opposes me will regret it sorely.

“I requite the descendants of Adam, and reward them with various rewards that I alone know. More- over, power and dominion over all that is on earth, both that which is above and that which is beneath, are in my hand. I do not allow friendly association with other people, nor do I deprive them that are my own and that obey me of anything that is good for them. I place my affairs in the hands of those whom I have tried and who are in accord with my desires. I appear in divers manners to those who are faithful and under my command. I give and take away; I enrich and impoverish; I cause both happiness and misery. I do all this in keeping with the characteris- tics of each epoch. And none has a right to interfere with my management of affairs. Those who oppose me I afflict with disease ; but my own shall not die like the sons of Adam that are without.

“I will not give my rights to other gods. I have al- lowed the creation of four substances, four times, and four corners; because they are necessary things for creatures. The books of Jews, Christians, and Mos- lems, as of those who are without, accept in a sense, i. e., so far as they agree with, and conform to, my statutes.”


Mashaf Res (The Black Book) details the creation myth of the Yezidi. The following passages from it are pertinent to Melek Taus:

“In the beginning God created the White Pearl out of his most precious essence. He also created a bird named Angar. He placed the White Pearl on the back of the bird, and dwelt on it for forty thousand years. On the first day, Sunday, God created Melek Anzazfl, and he is Ta’us-Melek, the chief of all. On Monday he created Melek Dardael, and he is eih Hasan. Tuesday he created Melek Israfel, and he is Seihams (ad-Din). Wednesday he created Melek Mihael, and he is Seih Abu Bakr. Thursday he created Melek Azrael, and he is Sajad-ad-Din. Friday he created Melek Semnael, and he is Nasir-ad-Din. Saturday he created Melek Nurael, and he is Yadin (Fahr-ad- Din). And he made Melek Ta’us ruler over all.

“Then the Great God said : “O Angels, I wilt create Adam and Eve ; and from the essence of Adam shall proceed Sehar bn Jebr, and of him a separate community shall appear upon the earth, that of Azazil, i. e., that of Melek Ta’us, which is the sect of the Yezidis.

“Then he commanded Gabriel to escort Adam into Paradise, and to tell him that he could eat from all the trees but not of wheat.10 Here Adam remained for a hundred years. Thereupon, Melek Ta’us asked God how Adam could multiply and have descendants if he were forbidden to eat of the grain. God an- swered, ‘I have put the whole matter into thy hands.’ Thereupon Melek Ta’us visited Adam and said ‘Have you eaten of the grain?’ He answered, ‘No, God forbade me.’ Melek Ta’us replied and said, ‘Eat of the grain and all shall go better with thee.’ Then Adam ate of the grain and immediately his belly was inflated. But Melek Ta’us drove him out of the gar- den, and leaving him, ascended into heaven.

“Then Melek Ta’us came down to earth for our sect (i. e., the Yezidis), the created ones, and appointed kings for us, besides the kings of ancient Assyria, Nisroch, who is Nasir-ad-Din ; Kamush, who is Melek Fahr-ad-Din, and Artamis, who is Melek Sams- (ad-) Dm. After this we had two kings, Sabur (Sapor) First (224-272 A. D.) and Second (309-379), who reigned one hundred and fifty years ; and our amirs down to the present day have been descended from their seed. But we hated four kings.

“Before Christ came into this world our religion was paganism. King Ahab was from among us. And the god of Ahab was called Beelzebub. Nowadays we call him Pir Bub. We had a king in Babylon, whose name was Bahtnasar; another in Persia, whose name was Ahsuras; and still another in Constantinople, whose name was Agrikalus. The Jews, the Christians, the Moslems, and even the Persians, fought us; but they failed to subdue us, for in the strength of the Lord we prevailed against them. He teaches us the first and last science.”


The Yezidi revere Melek Taus for refusing to submit to Adam. In traditional Islamic thought, Melek Taus’ refusal to submit caused his fall from grace, drawing further parallels to the Christian narrative of Lucifer.


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