Ahl-e Haqq

Ahl-e Haqq
Kurdish Yarsani men in Suleimaniyah, Kurdistan Region. Picture on the wall contains religious symbolism.

The Ahl-e Haqq or Yârsân (Kurdish: یاڔﮦساﻥ‎ Yâresân,[1][2] 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.[3] The total number of members is estimated at around 1,000,000,[4] primarily found in western Iran and Iraq, mostly ethnic Kurds and Laks, though there are also smaller groups of Luri, Azeri and Arab adherents.[5] 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 Yâresânî can speak or read Gorani, as their mother tongues are Gorani and Soranî. The Sarl living near Eski Kalak are adherents, as Edmonds (1957: 195) surmised and Moosa (1988: 168) observed.

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.[6] There are some groups located around Kirkuk in Iraq. The Arabic-speaking adherents are based in the Iraqi cities of Mandali, Baquba, and Khanaqin.[7][8] 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"[9]


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.[10]

The Yâresân 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 Yâresân are often explicitly of Muslim origin. Unlike other indigenous Persianate faiths, the Yâresân explicitly reject class, caste and rank, which sets them apart from the Yazidi and Zoroastrians.[11]

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."[citation needed] Human beings go through a cycle of 1001 incarnations. During this process, they may become more purified based on their actions.

Yârsânism is also the faith of the Lak people.[12][13]

The Yârsânî are emanationists and incarnationists, believing that the Divine Essence has successive avatars (mazhariyyat) in human form. They believe God manifests one primary and seven secondary manifestations in each of the seven epochs of the world. The avatars of the First Epoch closely matched by name the archangels of the Semitic religions; the avatars 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 avatar 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.[14] 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 phygian cap.

The Haft Tan "Seven Archangels" are key figures in the Yâresân belief system and their history. The only female among them is Khatun-e Rezbar, the mother of Sultan Sahak.

  1. Benjamin, considered the incarnation of the archangel Gabriel
  2. Dawud (David), the incarnation of the archangel Michael
  3. Mustafā', the incarnation of archangel Azrael
  4. Pir Musi, incarnation of the recording angel
  5. Shah Husain
  6. Baba Yadegar
  7. Khatun-e Rezbar

The traditions of the Yâresân 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).[6] 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.[8]

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.[citation needed]

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 few reliable sources on the subject[citation needed]. 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


  1. ^ Hamzeh'ee, M. Reza Fariborz (1995). Krisztina Kehl-Bodrogi, et al., ed.. ed. Syncretistic Religious Communities in the Near East. Leiden: Brill. pp. 101–117. ISBN 9004108610. Methodological Notes on Interdisciplinary Research on Near Eastern Religious Minorities. 
  2. ^ 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 392296883X. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, Vol.55, No.3, pp.565-566.
  3. ^ Elahi, Bahram (1987). The path of perfection, the spiritual teachings of Master Nur Ali Elahi. ISBN 0712602003.
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa (Detroit: Thompson Gale, 2004) p. 82
  5. ^ Principle Beliefs and Convictions
  6. ^ a b 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.
  7. ^ Kjeilen, Tore. "Ahl-e Haqq". Encyclopaedia of the Orient. http://lexicorient.com/e.o/ahl-e_haqq.htm. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  8. ^ a b Leezenberg, Michiel. "Gorani Influence on Central Kurdish: Substratum or Prestige Borrowing?" (RTF). http://home.hum.uva.nl/oz/leezenberg/GInflCK.rtf. 
  9. ^ Firqan-al-Akhbar at Encyclopædia Britannica.
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ 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 
  12. ^ "Religion: Cult of Angels". Encyclopaedia Kurdistanica. Archived from the original on 2006-08-28. http://web.archive.org/web/20060828201511/http://www.kurdistanica.com/english/religion/yazdani/cult.html. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 
  13. ^ "Yazdanism". Encyclopaedia of the Orient. http://lexicorient.com/e.o/uyazdanism.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-25. 
  14. ^ Nebez, Jamal (1997-09-19). "The Kurds: History and Culture" (PDF). Western Kurdistan Association. p. 23. Archived from the original on 2006-05-25. http://web.archive.org/web/20060525152728/http://www.bakhawan.com/dotkurd/nebez/Inglizi/TheKurds.pdf. Retrieved 2006-09-01. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ahl-e Haqq — Die Ahl e Haqq (kurdisch ‏ﯼاڔﮦساﻥ‎; persisch ‏اهل حق‎; persoarabisch für Volk der Wahrheit), auch Kaka i bzw. Yarsan genannt, sind eine fast überwiegend kurdische Religionsgemeinschaft, die zwischen der Grenze der Autonomen Region… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ahl-i Haqq — Die Ahl e Haqq (kurdisch ‏ﯼاڔﮦساﻥ‎; persisch ‏اهل حق‎; persoarabisch für Volk der Wahrheit) auch Kaka i bzw. Yarsan genannt sind eine fast überwiegend kurdische Religionsgemeinschaft, die zwischen der Grenze der Autonomen Region Kurdistan im Irak …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ahl-e Haqq — Yârsânisme Le Yârsânisme (Kurde) ou Yaresanisme (Perse:اهل حق, Ahl e Haqq , dérivé de l arabe et qui peut se comprendre comme Peuple de la vérité aussi bien que Homme de Dieu [1]) est une religion principalement présente dans l ouest de l Iran.… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ahl-e Ḥaqq — ▪ Islam       (Arabic: “People of Truth,” or “People of God”), a secret, syncretistic religion, derived largely from Islām, whose adherents are found in western Iran, with enclaves in Iraq. They retain the 12 imams of the Ithnā ʿAsharīyah sect… …   Universalium

  • Ahl-i Haqq — (People of the Truth or Spirit)    This is an ancient indigenous Kurdish religion that still persists in Iraqi and Iranian Kurdistan, where with some exceptions it corresponds with Gurani speaking Kurds. It is also called Kakai, Yarsanism, Aliul… …   Historical Dictionary of the Kurds

  • Burhan al-Haqq — (PerB|برهان الحق) is a 1963 (1342 Persian calendar) seminal work [Hamzeh ee, M. Reza. The Yaresan, ISBN 3 922968 83 X (1990). Page 22] by Nur Ali Elahi which is a theological and spiritual work, dedicated to showing the inner spiritual aims… …   Wikipedia

  • Hajj Nematollah Mokri Jeyhounabadi — Nom de naissance Hajj Nematollah Mokri Jeyhounabadi Naissance 1871 Jeyhounabad, Iran Décès 28 février 1920 (à 49 ans) Jeyhounabad Nationalité Iranienne Hajj Nematollah (1871 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kurdish people — Kurd redirects here. For other uses, see Kurd (disambiguation). Kurds 1st row: Saladin …   Wikipedia

  • Hajj Nematollah — Infobox Writer name = Hajj Nematollah nationality = Kurdish order = Author and Mystic successor = Nur Ali Elahi birthdate = 1871 birthplace =Jeyhounabad, Persia deathdate = death date and age|1919|2|28|1871|7|15 deathplace =Jeyhounabad, Persia… …   Wikipedia

  • Yârsânisme — Le yârsânisme ou yaresanisme (kurde : yâresân[1]) ou Ahl e Haqq (Perse:اهل حق, Ahl e Haqq , dérivé de l arabe et qui peut se comprendre comme Peuple de la vérité aussi bien que Homme de Dieu [2]) est une religion, fondée par Sultan Sahâk à… …   Wikipédia en Français

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