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Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir

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Adī ibn Musāfir
The sarcophagus of Sheikh Adi
Bait Far (today near Baalbek, Lebanon)
Resting placeLalish, Iraq
EraLate Abbasid
SuccessorSakhr Abu l-Barakat
FamilyUmayyad dynasty
Shrine of Sheikh 'Adi in the Valley of Lalish.

‘Adī ibn Musāfir (Kurdish: شێخ ئادی, romanized: Şêx Adî, Arabic: الشيخ عدي بن مسافر born 1072–1078, died 1162)[1] was a Sunni Muslim Arab[2][3][4] sheikh who is also considered a Yazidi saint.[5] The Yazidis consider him as an avatar of Tawûsî Melek, which means "Peacock Angel". His tomb at Lalish, Iraq is a focal point of Yazidi pilgrimage.[6][7]



Sheikh Adi was born in the 1070s in the village of Bait Far, in the Beqaa Valley of present-day Lebanon.[8] ‘Adī's house of his birth is a place of pious pilgrimage to this day.[9] Descending from the family of Marwan I, the Caliph of the Umayyads, he was raised in a Muslim environment.[8] His early life he spent in Baghdad, where he became a disciple of the Muslim mystic Ahmad Ghazali, among his fellow students in Ghazali's circle were the Muslim mystics Abu al-Najib Suhrawardi and Abdul Qadir Gilani;[10] with the latter he undertook a journey to Mecca.[1] He became a disciple also to Hammad ad Dabbas and then Oqeil al Manbidji, from who he received the Khirqa.[11] With time he became a teacher himself.[12][11] He chose an ascetic way of life, left Baghdad and settled in Lalish.[13] Despite his desire for seclusion, he impressed the local population with his asceticism and miracles.[14] He became well known in present-day Iraq and Syria and disciples moved to the valley of Lalish to live close to Sheikh Adi. Following he founded the Adawiyya order.[15] The Valley of Lalish is located within the environs of the village of Ba'adra, 20 miles to the east of Rabban Hormizd Monastery of the Church of the East.[16] Before he died, he named his successor his nephew Sakhr Abu l-Barakat.[17]

Physically, he was said to be very tanned and of middle stature. He lived an ascetic lifestyle in the mountains in the region north of Mosul not far from the local Hakkari Kurds. As people flocked to his residency in the hills, he would end up founding a religious order later referred to as al-'Adawiyya ('the followers of 'Adi'). He died between 1162 CE (557 Hijra) and 1160 CE (555 Hijra)[1] in the hermitage that he had built with his followers in the mountain.



In his writings he reasoned that it was God who created the devil and evil for which he cited passages of the Quran and the Hadiths.[18] He also taught that the true Muslim should adhere to the teachings in the Quran and the Sunna and that only the ones who follow the principles of the Muslim caliphs Abu Bakr, Uthman and Ali are true believers.[19] According to some sources, he established the Sufi Adawiyya order.[20] He is said to have performed several miraculous acts such as reading the thoughts of others, becoming invisible, and moving a mountain by force of his word. He also returned the life of a man who was crushed by a rock.[19] Some Muslims respect him as one of the pioneers of asceticism and the scholars of Sufism who held firmly to the Quran and Sunnah.[21]

Aftermath and legacy


This hermitage within the Valley of Lalish, would continue to be occupied by his followers and his descendants until the present day despite periods of unrest, destruction, and persecution by outsiders.[22] In 1254, as a result of a violent conflict with the members of the Adawiyya order, the Atabeg of Mosul, Badr al-Din Lu'lu ordered the bones of Sheikh Adi to be exhumed and burned.[23] As the holiest site in the Yezidi religion, his tomb (marked by three conical cupolas) still attracts a great number of people even outside holy festivals and pilgrimages. Nightly processions by torch light include exhibitions of the green colored pall, which covers the tomb; and the distribution of large trays with smoking harisa (a ragout with coagulated milk).

Books of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir


Four books attributed to Sheikh Adi have been preserved:[24]

  1. The doctrine of the Sunnis (Arabic: Iʿtiqād ahl as-sunna)
  2. The Book of the formation of the soul (Arabic: Kitāb fīhi dhikr adab an-nafs)
  3. Instructions of Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir to the successor (Arabic: Wasaya al Shaykh Adi ibn Musafir ila l-Halifa)
  4. Instructions to his disciple, the leading sheikh, and the other murids (Arabic: Wasaya li-Muridial Shaykh al-qaid wa-li-sāʾir al-murīdīn). This book focus on several issues but are in lone with Islamic teaching, which according to the Hanbali scholar Ibn Taymiyyah describes Sheikh Adi as a "sincere Muslim who followed the Sunnah of the Prophet".[25]


Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir
Preceded by
Shaikh of the ‘Adawiyya Ṣūfī Order Succeeded by


  1. ^ a b c Lescot, Roger (1975). Enquête sur les Yézidis de Syrie et du Djebel Sindjâr (PDF). Beirut: Librairie du Liban. p. 22.
  2. ^ Bocheńska, Joanna (2018). Rediscovering Kurdistan's Cultures and Identities. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 261. ISBN 978-3-319-93087-9.
  3. ^ Leppakari, Maria (2017). Pilgrimage and Tourism to Holy Cities: Ideological and Management Perspectives. CABI. p. 148. ISBN 978-1-78064-738-8.
  4. ^ "The Yezidis, People of the Spoken Word in the midst of People of the Book". Diogenes. 22 September 1999. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  5. ^ "Yazīdīs - Oxford Islamic Studies Online". www.oxfordislamicstudies.com. Archived from the original on October 23, 2020. Retrieved 2022-01-09.
  6. ^ Spät, Eszter (2005), The Yezidis (2 ed.), London: Saqi, ISBN 0-86356-593-X
  7. ^ Langer, Robert (2010). "Yezidism between Scholarly Literature and Actual Practice: From 'Heterodox' Islam and 'Syncretism' to the Formation of a Transnational Yezidi 'Orthodoxy'". British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies. 37 (3): 397. doi:10.1080/13530194.2010.524441. ISSN 1353-0194. JSTOR 23077034. S2CID 145061694.
  8. ^ a b Kreyenbroek, Philip G.; Rashow, Khalil Jindy; Jindī, Khalīl (2005). God and Sheikh Adi are Perfect: Sacred Poems and Religious Narratives from the Yezidi Tradition. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 3. ISBN 978-3-447-05300-6.
  9. ^ The Encyclopædia of Islam: A Dictionary of the Geography, Ethnography and Biography of the Muhammadan Peoples. Holland: EJ Brill. 1913. pp. 136–137.
  10. ^ Victoria Arakelova, Garnik S.Asatrian (2014). The Religion of the Peacock angel The Yezidis and their spirit world. Routledge. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-84465-761-2.
  11. ^ a b Lescot, Roger (1975). p.23
  12. ^ "Religion as a social bond". The Hindu. 1 January 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  13. ^ Lescot, Roger (1975). Enquête sur les Yézidis de Syrie et du Djebel Sindjâr. Beirut: Librairie du Liban. p. 24.
  14. ^ Kreyenbroek, Philip G; Jindy Rashow, Khalil (2005), God and Sheikh Adi are Perfect: Sacred Poems and Religious Narratives from the Yezidi Tradition, Iranica, vol. 9, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 3-447-05300-3
  15. ^ Lescot, Roger (1975), p.29
  16. ^ Kreyenbroek, Philip G.; Rashow, Khalil Jindy; Jindī, Khalīl (2005). God and Sheikh Adi are Perfect: Sacred Poems and Religious Narratives from the Yezidi Tradition. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 4. ISBN 978-3-447-05300-6.
  17. ^ Lescot, Roger (1975), p.33
  18. ^ Lescot, Roger (1975), p.25
  19. ^ a b Lescot, Roger (1975), p.26
  20. ^ Arakelova, Victoria (2001). "Sufi Saints in the Yezidi Tradition I: Qawlē H'usēyīnī H'alāj̆". Iran & the Caucasus. 5: 183–192. doi:10.1163/157338401X00215. ISSN 1609-8498. JSTOR 4030858.
  21. ^ Mawlana ‘Abd al-Hafiz al-Makki (20 September 2015). "Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and Sufism". Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  22. ^ Kreyenbroek, Philip G. (1995). Yezidism: Its Background, Observances, and Textual tradition. Lewiston, NY: E. Mellen Press. pp. 27–44. ISBN 9780773490048.
  23. ^ Lescot, Roger (1975). Enquête sur les Yézidis de Syrie et du Djebel Sindjâr. Beirut: Librairie du Liban. p. 102.
  24. ^ Dulz, Irene (2001). Die Yeziden Im Irak Zwischen Modelldorf und Flucht. Lit Verlag Münster. p. 32. ISBN 3-8258-5704-2.
  25. ^ "Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir". Memim Encyclopedia. 22 September 1999. Retrieved 14 September 2020.