Yazidi Black Book

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The Yazidi Black Book or Meshaf Resh (Kurdish: مسحهفا ڕه‌ش Mishefa Reş) is one of the two holy books of the Yazidi religion, the other being the Book of Revelation (Kitêba Cilwe).

Yezidis believe the Black Book originated when the Lord descended Black Mountain. The Yazidi holy books are written in the Kurmanji dialect of the Kurdish language. The Black Book is not divided into chapters and is longer than the Book of Revelation. The first half of it contains a creation myth, beginning with the creation of a white pearl and Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel. There follows an account of the Fall (in which the forbidden comestible is wheat), and the creation of Eve after Adam has been driven from Paradise.

This is followed by the names of ancient kings who belonged to the Yazidi community. Next comes a statement of food taboos of the Yazidis, prohibitions connected with personal hygiene and verbal taboos.

The discussion then reverts to the subject of ancient Yazidi kings, and the Book concludes with another account of the Creation, which diverges quite considerably from the first.

The original text of the Yazidi Black Book is kept in the village of Qasr 'tzz at-Din.[1] Nevertheless, scholars generally agree that the manuscripts of both books published in 1911 and 1913 were forgeries written by non-Yazidis in response to Western travelers’ and scholars’ interest in the Yazidi religion; they do reflect authentic Yezidi traditions, however.[2] The real core texts of the religion that exist today are the hymns known as qawls.[2]

The notion that Yazidi religion is "devil worship" is a misconception[3] based on a confusion of the archangel Melek Taus with the Islamic Shayṭān or Satan, whose narratives bear a superficial resemblance.


  1. ^ Guest, John S (1993). Survival Among the Kurds: A History of the Yezidis. London: Kegan Paul International. p. 154n. ISBN 0-7103-0456-0. 
  2. ^ a b Encyclopaedia Iranica:Yazidis
  3. ^ Christine Allison, "The Evolution of Yezidi Religion from Spoken Word to Written Scripture," in ISIM Newsletter 1 (1998), p. 14.

External links[edit]

  • English text of The Black Book, from Devil Worship; The Sacred Books and Traditions of the Yezidiz by Isya Joseph (1919)