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 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.
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.
Yârsânism is also the faith of the Lak people.
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. 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.
- 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 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). 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.
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, . 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.
- 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
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