The Yârsân or Ahl-e Haqq (Kurdish: یارسان, Yarsan, Persian: اهل حق Ahl-e Haqq "People of Truth"), are members of a religion founded by Sultan Sahak in the late 14th century in western Iran. The total number of members is estimated at around 1,000,000, primarily found in western Iran and Iraq, mostly ethnic Kurds, though there are also smaller groups of Persian, Luri, Azeri and Arab adherents. Some Yârsânî in Iraq are called Kaka'i.
The Yârsân have a distinct religious literature primarily written in Gorani and partly in Persian, although few modern Yârsânî can speak or read Gorani, as their mother tongues are Gorani and Soranî. The Sarl living near Eski Kalak are adherents, as Edmonds[disambiguation needed] (1957: 195) surmised and Moosa (1988: 168) observed. Their central religious book is called as Kalâm-e Saranjâm, written in the 15th century based on the teachings of Sultan Sahak.
Up to the 20th century, the Yârsânî faith was strictly for Kurds who were born into it, called checkedea ("a drop of"), as opposed to individuals who married into a Yârsânî family, called chasbedea ("attached"). Adherents today are mainly found among the Kurdish tribes of the Guran, Qalkhani, Bajalani and Sanjabi, located in western Iran, forming approximately a third of the population in the religiously diverse province of Kermanshah. There are some groups located around Kirkuk in Iraq. The Arabic-speaking adherents are based in the Iraqi cities of Mandali, Baquba, and Khanaqin. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, "The chief source of information about the Ahl-e Haqq is the Firqan al-Akhbar, written in... early 20th century by Hajj Nematollah"
Religious beliefs 
From the Ahl-e Haqq point of view, the universe is composed of two distinct yet interrelated worlds: the internal (batini) and the external (zahiri), each having its own order and rules. Although humans are only aware of the outer world, their lives are governed according to the rules of the inner world. Among other important pillars of their belief system are that the Divine Essence has successive manifestations in human form (mazhariyyat, derived from zahir) and the belief in transmigration of the soul (or dunaduni in Kurdish). The Ahl-e Haqq do not observe Muslim rites and rituals.
The Yârsân faith's unique features include millenarism, nativism, egalitarianism, metempsychosis, angelology, divine manifestation and dualism. Many of these features are found in Yazidism, another Kurdish faith, in the faith of Zoroastrians and in Shī‘ah extremist groups; certainly, the names and religious terminology of the Yârsân are often explicitly of Muslim origin. Unlike other indigenous Persianate faiths, the Yârsân explicitly reject class, caste and rank, which sets them apart from the Yezidis and Zoroastrians.
The Yârsân have a famous saying about death: "Men! Do not fear the punishment of death! The death of man is like the dive which the duck makes." Human beings go through a cycle of 1001 incarnations. During this process, they may become more purified based on their actions.
The Yârsânî are emanationists and incarnationists, believing that the Divine Essence has successive incarnations in human form known as mazhariyyats (similar to the Hindu avatars). They believe God manifests one primary and seven secondary manifestations in each of the seven epochs of the world. The mazhariyyats of the First Epoch closely matched by name the archangels of the Semitic religions; the mazhariyyats of the Second Epoch, which begins with ‘Alī as the primary avatar, also includes all Muslim figures except for one, Nusayr - either referring to the "Nazarene" (i.e. Jesus), or Nârsh, the minor avatar who later came to be known as Theophobus. (See Nazarene (sect), Mandaeism)
In the Fourth Epoch, the primary mazhariyyat is held to be Sultan Sahak. It is said that he was given birth by Dayerak Rezbar or Khatun-e Rezbar, a Kurdish virgin, and as in the case of Mary, it was a virginal conception. While sleeping under a pomegranate tree a kernel of fruit fell into her mouth when a bird pecked the fruit directly over her. Though some mistake this as an incarnation of the Virgin Mary and of the mother of ‘Alī, it echoes Mithraic and Zoroastrian beliefs, of the birth of the Saoshyant, the savior of Zoroastrianism born of a virgin, impregnated by the seed of Zoroaster or Zarathushtra in lake Hamun in Sistan. Mithra was also believed to be both Savior and son of God, born out of a rock - wearing only a phrygian cap.
- Benjamin, considered the incarnation of the archangel Gabriel;
- Dawud (David), the incarnation of the archangel Michael;
- Mustafā', the incarnation of archangel Azrael;
- Pir Musi, incarnation of the recording angel;
- Shah Husain;
- Baba Yadegar;
- Khatun-e Razbar.
The traditions of the Yârsân are preserved in poetry known as Kalam-e Saranjam "The Discourse of Conclusion", divinely revealed narratives passed down orally through the generations. These traditions are said to have been written down by Pir Musi, one of the seven companions of Sultan Sahak (also the angel in charge of recording human deeds). The collection consists of "The Epochs of Khawandagar [God]", "Ali", "Shah Khoshin" and Sultan Sahak, the different manifestations of divinity. The epoch of Shah Khoshin takes place in Luristan and the epoch of Sahak is placed in Hawraman near the Sirwan River, the land of the Gorani. The sayings attributed to Sultan Sahak are written in Gorani Kurdish, the sacred language of the Ahl-e Haqq. Some of their literature is written in the Persian language.
The 12 families of the Ahl-e Haqq 
The original 7 families or Sadat-e Haqiqat established during the time of Sultan were Shah Ebrahim, Baba Yadegar, Ali Qalandar, Khamush, Mir Sur, Seyyed Mosaffa and Hajji Babu Isa. The 5 families established after Sultan Sahak are Atesh Bag, Baba Heydar, Zolnour, Shah Hayas and Hajj Nematollah.
Notable adherents 
The Iranian musician and mystic, Nur Ali Elahi, was a high-ranking member of Ahl-e Haqq and published a book titled Burhan al-Haqq, one of the major and most reliable sources on the subject. Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji, the self-proclaimed King of the Kingdom of Kurdistan after World War I, claimed to be descended from the brother of Sultan Sahak in the twelfth generation.
See also 
- Hamzeh'ee, M. Reza Fariborz (1995). In Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi, et al., ed. Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East. Leiden: Brill. pp. 101–117. ISBN 90-04-10861-0.
- P. G. Kreyenbroek (1992). Review of The Yaresan: A Sociological, Historical and Religio-Historical Study of a Kurdish Community, by M. Reza Hamzeh'ee, 1990, ISBN 3-922968-83-X. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol.55, No.3, pp.565-566.
- Elahi, Bahram (1987). The path of perfection, the spiritual teachings of Master Nur Ali Elahi. ISBN 0-7126-0200-3.
- Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa (Detroit: Thompson Gale, 2004) p. 82
- Edmonds, Cecil. Kurds, Turks, and Arabs: politics, travel, and research in north-eastern Iraq, 1919-1925. Oxford University Press, 1957.
- "Religion: Cult of Angels". Encyclopaedia Kurdistanica. Archived from the original on 2006-08-28. Retrieved 2006-09-01.
- "Yazdanism". Encyclopaedia of the Orient. Archived from the original on 21 October 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-25.
- Principle Beliefs and Convictions
- Z. Mir-Hosseini (1994). "Inner Truth and Outer History: The Two Worlds of the Ahl-e Haqq of Kurdistan", International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol.26, pp.267-269.
- Kjeilen, Tore. "Ahl-e Haqq". Encyclopaedia of the Orient. Archived from the original on 23 July 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-01.
- Leezenberg, Michiel. "Gorani Influence on Central Kurdish: Substratum or Prestige Borrowing?" (RTF).
- Firqan-al-Akhbar at Encyclopædia Britannica.
- Z. Mir-Hosseini, Inner Truth and Outer History: The Two Worlds of the Ahl-e Haqq of Kurdistan, International Journal of Middle East Studies, Vol.26, 1994, p.267-268
- Hamzeh'ee, M Reza (1990). The Yaresan : a sociological, historical, and religio-historical study of a Kurdish community. Islamkundliche Untersuchungen 138. Berlin: Schwartz. ISBN 3-922968-83-X
- Nebez, Jamal (1997-09-19). "The Kurds: History and Culture" (PDF). Western Kurdistan Association. p. 23. Archived from the original on 2006-05-25. Retrieved 2006-09-01.
- Izady, Mehrdad R. (1992), The Kurds : a concise handbook, Washington & London: Taylor & Francis, pp. 170 passim, ISBN 0-8448-1727-9
- Hamzeh'ee, M. Reza. The Yârsân, ISBN 3-922968-83-X (1990). Page 22
- Weightman, Simon. The significance of Kitab Burhan al- Haqq. Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies, 2 (1964)
- Ahl-e Haqq - "An Oriental Order of Mysticism".
- Ostad Elahi (Nur Ali Elahi) - official website.
- Razbar Ensemble - sacred music of Ahl-e Haqq.
- Ali-Ilahi and Ahl-e-Haq
- Status of Minorities in Iran - excerpted from Report on Iran, 16 January 2002, by the UNCHR.
- Gorani Influence on Central Kurdish: Substratum or Prestige Borrowing? Leezenberg, Michiel: ILLC - Department of Philosophy, University of Amsterdam
- The Shabak and the Kakais in Northern Iraq, Syncretistic religious communities in the Near East: collected papers of the International Symposium "Alevism in Turkey and comparable sycretistic religious communities in the Near East in the past and present" Berlin, 14–17 April 1995, Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi, Barbara Kellner-Heinkele, Anke Otter-Beaujean, Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi, Barbara.
- , Leezenberg, Michiel: ILLC - Department of Humanities, University of Amsterdam