Ahl-e Haqq

Ahl-e Haqq

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The Ahl-e Haqq or Yârsân (Kurdish
Kurdish language
Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

: Yâresân, Ahl-e Haqq "People of Truth"), are members of a religion founded by Sultan Sahak
Sultan Sahak
Sultan Sahak, or Soltân Sahak was a religious leader who founded the secret and syncretistic religion of the Ahl-e Haqq, also known as the Yârsân. He is considered to be the manifestation of the total divine essence by the Ahl-e Haqq...

 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
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

 and Laks
Lak people (Iran)
The Laks are an Iranian group in southwestern Iran. They speak Laki , a Northwestern Iranian language, that is usually grouped with Southern Kurdish dialects...

, though there are also smaller groups of Luri, Azeri
Azerbaijani people
The Azerbaijanis are a Turkic-speaking people living mainly in northwestern Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, as well as in the neighbourhood states, Georgia, Russia and formerly Armenia. Commonly referred to as Azeris or Azerbaijani Turks , they also live in a wider area from the Caucasus to...

 and Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 adherents. Some Yârsânî in Iraq are called Kaka'i.

The Yârsân have a distinct religious literature primarily written in Gorani
Gorani language
Gorani is a Northwestern Iranian language, that includes Hewrami, and is spoken by Kurdish populations in the southernmost parts of Iranian Kurdistan and the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Some linguists classify it as a member of the Zaza–Gorani branch of the Northwestern Iranian languages...

 and partly in Persian
Persian language
Persian is an Iranian language within the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages. It is primarily spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and countries which historically came under Persian influence...

, although few modern Yâresânî can speak or read Gorani, as their mother tongues are Gorani
Gorani
Gorani may refer to:In culture:* Gorani people, a Balkan ethnic groupIn geography:* Gorani, a village in Uda Commune, Argeş County, Romania* Gorani, a village in Odăile Commune, Buzău County, Romania...

 and Soranî
Soranî
Soranî is the name of a Kurdish language that is spoken in Iran and Iraq. Soranî is one of the main Kurdish languages, which are a branch of the Iranian languages.- Name :...

. The Sarl living near Eski Kalak are adherents, as Edmonds
Edmonds
Edmonds may refer to:* Edmonds, Washington, a US city* Edmonds , people with the surname Edmonds-See also:* Burnaby-Edmonds, an electoral district in British Columbia, Canada.* Edmonds Cookbook* Edmonds Station* Edmonds's matching algorithm...

 (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
Kurdish tribes
Kurdish tribes of Kurdistan consist of:*Republic of Azerbaijan*Sheylanli tribe*West Azarbaijan Province:*Jalali*Milan*Haydaran*Donboli*korahsuni*Shekak*Herki*Bagzâdah*Zerzâ*Pirân*Pizhdar*Mâmash*Mangur*Mokri*Dehbokri*Gowrâg*Malkari*Suseni...

 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
Kermanshah Province
Kermanshah Province is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. The province was known from 1969 to 1986 as Kermanshahan and from 1986 to 1995 as Bakhtaran.-Counties:...

. There are some groups located around Kirkuk
Kirkuk
Kirkuk is a city in Iraq and the capital of Kirkuk Governorate.It is located in the Iraqi governorate of Kirkuk, north of the capital, Baghdad...

 in Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

. The Arabic-speaking adherents are based in the Iraqi cities of Mandali
Mandali
Mandali from the Sanskrit mandala meaning circle, connection, community, is a term that Meher Baba used for his closest disciples.-Inner circle:...

, Baquba, and Khanaqin
Khanaqin
Khanaqin is a city in Iraq. It is located at 34.3°N, 45.4°E in the Diyala Governorate, near the Iranian border on a tributary of the Diyala River...

. 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
Hajj Nematollah
Hajj Nematollah was born in Jeyhounabad, Persia and is considered one of the greatest leaders and mystics in Kurdish and Ahl-e Haqq history. Two of his most famous works of poetry and history are Furqān al-Akhbar and Ḥaqq al-Ḥaqāyiq yā Shāhnāmah-ʾi Ḥaqīqat...

"

Religious beliefs


From the Ahl-e Haqq point of view, the universe is composed of two distinct yet interrelated worlds: the internal (batini
Batin (Islam)
Batin is defined as the interior or hidden meaning of the Quran. This is in contrast to the Quran's exterior or apparent meaning . Some Muslim groups believe that the Batin can only be fully understood and interpreted by a figure with esoteric knowledge, who for Shi'a Muslims is the Imam of the...

) and the external (zahiri
Zahir (Islam)
According to some Muslim groups, zahir is the exoteric or apparent meaning of the Quran. In other words, this refers to interpretations of Quranic doctrine that are conducted by normal human beings...

), 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
Kurdish language
Kurdish is a dialect continuum spoken by the Kurds in western Asia. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian group of Indo-European languages....

). The Ahl-e Haqq do not observe Muslim rites and rituals.

The Yâresân faith's unique features include millenarism, nativism
Nativism
Nativism may refer to:* Nativism or political nativism, a term used by scholars to refer to ethnocentric beliefs relating to immigration and nationalism; antiforeignism...

, egalitarianism
Egalitarianism
Egalitarianism is a trend of thought that favors equality of some sort among moral agents, whether persons or animals. Emphasis is placed upon the fact that equality contains the idea of equity of quality...

, metempsychosis
Metempsychosis
Metempsychosis is a philosophical term in the Greek language referring to transmigration of the soul, especially its reincarnation after death. It is a doctrine popular among a number of Eastern religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Druzism wherein an individual incarnates from one...

, angelology, divine manifestation and dualism
Dualism
Dualism denotes a state of two parts. The term 'dualism' was originally coined to denote co-eternal binary opposition, a meaning that is preserved in metaphysical and philosophical duality discourse but has been diluted in general or common usages. Dualism can refer to moral dualism, Dualism (from...

. Many of these features are found in Yazidism, another Kurdish faith, in the faith of Zoroastrians
Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...

 and in Shī‘ah extremist
Ghulat
Ghulāt , is a term used in the theology of Shia Islam to describe some minority Muslim groups who either ascribe divine characteristics to a member of Muhammad's family , or hold beliefs deemed deviant by mainstream Shi'i theology...

 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 avatar
Incarnation
Incarnation literally means embodied in flesh or taking on flesh. It refers to the conception and birth of a sentient creature who is the material manifestation of an entity, god or force whose original nature is immaterial....

s (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
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

 as the primary avatar, also includes all Muslim figures except for one, Nusayr - either referring to the "Nazarene" (i.e. Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

), or Nârsh, the minor avatar who later came to be known as Theophobus. (See Nazarene (sect)
Nazarene (sect)
The Nazarene sect is used in two contexts:* Firstly of the New Testament early church where in Acts 24:5 Paul is accused before Felix at Caesarea by Tertullus of being "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes."...

, Mandaeism
Mandaeism
Mandaeism or Mandaeanism is a Gnostic religion with a strongly dualistic worldview. Its adherents, the Mandaeans, revere Adam, Abel, Seth, Enosh, Noah, Shem, Aram and especially John the Baptist...

)

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
Kurdish people
The Kurdish people, or Kurds , are an Iranian people native to the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey...

 virgin, and as in the case of Mary, it was a virginal conception. While sleeping under a pomegranate
Pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

 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
Saoshyant
Saoshyant is a figure of Zoroastrian eschatology who brings about the final renovation of the world, the Frashokereti. The Avestan language name literally means "one who brings benefit," and is also used as common noun.-In scripture:...

, the savior of Zoroastrianism born of a virgin, impregnated by the seed of Zoroaster or Zarathushtra in lake Hamun
Lake Hamun
Lake Hāmūn or Hamoun Oasis is a term applied to wetlands in endorheic Sīstān Basin on the on the Irano-Lake Hāmūn or Hamoun Oasis is a term applied to [[wetland]]s in [[Endorheic_basin|endorheic]] [[Sistan_Basin|Sīstān Basin]] on the on the [[Iran]]o-Lake Hāmūn or Hamoun Oasis is a term...

 in Sistan
Sistan
Sīstān is a border region in eastern Iran , southwestern Afghanistan and northern tip of Southwestern Pakistan .-Etymology:...

. Mithra
Mithra
Mithra is the Zoroastrian divinity of covenant and oath. In addition to being the divinity of contracts, Mithra is also a judicial figure, an all-seeing protector of Truth, and the guardian of cattle, the harvest and of The Waters....

 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
    Gabriel
    In Abrahamic religions, Gabriel is an Archangel who typically serves as a messenger to humans from God.He first appears in the Book of Daniel, delivering explanations of Daniel's visions. In the Gospel of Luke Gabriel foretells the births of both John the Baptist and of Jesus...

  2. Dawud (David), the incarnation of the archangel Michael
    Michael (archangel)
    Michael , Micha'el or Mîkhā'ēl; , Mikhaḗl; or Míchaël; , Mīkhā'īl) is an archangel in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic teachings. Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Lutherans refer to him as Saint Michael the Archangel and also simply as Saint Michael...

  3. Mustafā', the incarnation of archangel Azrael
    Azrael
    Azrael is the name of the Archangel of Death in some extrabiblical traditions. He is also the angel of death in Islamic theology and Sikhism. It is an English form of the Arabic name ʿIzrāʾīl or Azra'eil , the name traditionally attributed to the angel of death in some sects of Islam and Sikhism,...

  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
Kalam-e Saranjam
The Kalâm-e Saranjâm is the central religious text of the Ahl-e Haqq, written in the 15th century based on the teachings of Sultan Sahak. The Ahl-e Haqq believe the Kalam-e Saranjam to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind and consider the text in its original Gurani language to...

"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
Divinity
Divinity and divine are broadly applied but loosely defined terms, used variously within different faiths and belief systems — and even by different individuals within a given faith — to refer to some transcendent or transcendental power or deity, or its attributes or manifestations in...

. The epoch of Shah Khoshin takes place in Luristan
Lorestan Province
Lorestan Province is a historic territory and province of western Iran, amidst the Zagros Mountains. The population of Lorestan was estimated at 1,716,527 people in 2006.Lorestan covers an area of 28,392 km²...

 and the epoch of Sahak is placed in Hawraman near the Sirwan River
Diyala River
The Diyala River after Darban-e Khan Dam:Kurdish: Sirwan, سيروان, , Persian: سیروان دیاله, is a river and tributary of the Tigris that runs mainly through Eastern Iraq but also Western Iran. It covers a total distance of ....

, the land of the Gorani. The sayings attributed to Sultan Sahak are written in Gorani
Gorani language
Gorani is a Northwestern Iranian language, that includes Hewrami, and is spoken by Kurdish populations in the southernmost parts of Iranian Kurdistan and the Iraqi Kurdistan region. Some linguists classify it as a member of the Zaza–Gorani branch of the Northwestern Iranian languages...

 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
Nur Ali Elahi
Nur Ali Elahi was a spiritual thinker, musician, philosopher and jurist who dedicated his life to investigating the metaphysical dimension of human beings....

, was a high-ranking member of Ahl-e Haqq and published a book titled Burhan al-Haqq
Burhan al-Haqq
Burhan al-Haqq is a 1963 seminal work by Nur Ali Elahi which is a theological and spiritual work, dedicated to showing the inner spiritual aims shared by the Quran, Shia Islam and the Ahl-e Haqq order. The author M. Reza Hamzeh'ee writes in The Yaresan that "Elahi can be regarded both as a...

, . Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji
Mahmud Barzanji
Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji or Mahmud Berzenji was the leader of several Kurdish uprisings against the British Mandate of Iraq. He was sheikh of a Qadiriyah Sufi family from the city of Sulaymaniyah, which is now in Iraqi Kurdistan...

, the self-proclaimed King of the Kingdom of Kurdistan
Kingdom of Kurdistan
The Kingdom of Kurdistan can refer to two short-lived unrecognized states formed in the 1920s in the geo-cultural region of Kurdistan after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, in the territory officially under the jurisdiction of the British Mandate of Mesopotamia.-Northern Iraq:During the collapse...

 after World War I, claimed to be descended from the brother of Sultan Sahak in the twelfth generation.

See also

  • Alawites
  • Ali Akbar Moradi
    Ali Akbar Moradi
    Ali Akbar Moradi,, born 1957 is a well known Iranian Kurdish musician and composer. He was born in the Iranian city of Kermanshah...

  • Ghulat
    Ghulat
    Ghulāt , is a term used in the theology of Shia Islam to describe some minority Muslim groups who either ascribe divine characteristics to a member of Muhammad's family , or hold beliefs deemed deviant by mainstream Shi'i theology...

  • Kalam-e Saranjam
    Kalam-e Saranjam
    The Kalâm-e Saranjâm is the central religious text of the Ahl-e Haqq, written in the 15th century based on the teachings of Sultan Sahak. The Ahl-e Haqq believe the Kalam-e Saranjam to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind and consider the text in its original Gurani language to...

  • Manicheism
  • Mazdakism
  • Proto-Indo-Iranian religion
  • Proto-Indo-European religion
    Proto-Indo-European religion
    Proto-Indo-European religion is the hypothesized religion of the Proto-Indo-European peoples based on the existence of similarities among the deities, religious practices and mythologies of the Indo-European peoples. Reconstruction of the hypotheses below is based on linguistic evidence using the...

  • Sharazor
    Sharazor
    Sharazor was the name of a Sassanid district , Kurdish kingdom, Ottoman vilayet and finally a Sanjak of Mosul vilayet situated to the southern and eastern part of what is now known as Iraqi Kurdistan....

  • Tembûr
    Tembûr
    The tembûr, a fretted string instrument, is a form of tanbūr. It is associated with the Ahl-e Haqq religion in Kurdish areas and in the Lorestān and Sistan va Baluchestan provinces of Iran. It is currently the only musical instrument used in Ahl-e Haqq rituals, and practitioners venerate the...

  • Yazdânism
    Yazdânism
    Yazdânism is a neologism introduced by Mehrdad Izady in 1992 to denote a group of native Kurdish monotheistic religions: Alevism, Yarsan and Yazidism....

  • Yazidi
    Yazidi
    The Yazidi are members of a Kurdish religion with ancient Indo-Iranian roots. They are primarily a Kurdish-speaking people living in the Mosul region of northern Iraq, with additional communities in Transcaucasia, Armenia, Turkey, and Syria in decline since the 1990s – their members emigrating to...

  • Zoroastrianism
    Zoroastrianism
    Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster and was formerly among the world's largest religions. It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Greater Iran.In Zoroastrianism, the Creator Ahura Mazda is all good, and no evil...


External links

  • 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
    United Nations Commission on Human Rights
    The United Nations Commission on Human Rights was a functional commission within the overall framework of the United Nations from 1946 until it was replaced by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2006...

    .
  • Gorani Influence on Central Kurdish: Substratum or Prestige Borrowing? Leezenberg, Michiel: ILLC - Department of Philosophy
    Philosophy
    Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

    , 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