Melek Taus

Melek Taus

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Melek Taus the Peacock Angel, is the 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...

 name for the central figure of their faith.

In the Yazidi belief system, God created the world and it is now in the care of a Heptad of seven Holy Beings, often known as Angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

s or heft sirr (the Seven Mysteries). Preeminent among these is Melek Taus|Tawûsê Melek (frequently known as "Melek Taus" in English publications), the Peacock Angel. According to the Encyclopedia of the Orient,
Furthermore, the Yazidi story regarding Tawûsê Melek's rise to favor with God is almost identical to the story of the jinn Iblis in Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, except that Yazidis revere Tawûsê Melek for refusing to submit to Adam, while Muslims believe that Iblis' refusal to submit caused him to fall out of Grace with God, and to later become Satan himself.

Tawûsê Melek is often identified by Muslims and Christians with Shaitan (Satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

). Yazidis, however, believe Tawûsê Melek is not a source of evil or wickedness. They consider him to be the leader of the archangels, not a fallen angel. They are forbidden from speaking the name Shaitan. They also hold that the source of evil is in the heart and spirit of humans themselves, not in Tawûsê Melek. The active forces in their religion are Tawûsê Melek and Sheik Adî.

Religious significance


The Yazidi consider Tawûsê Melek an emanation of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 and a benevolent angel
Angel
Angels are mythical beings often depicted as messengers of God in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles along with the Quran. The English word angel is derived from the Greek ἄγγελος, a translation of in the Hebrew Bible ; a similar term, ملائكة , is used in the Qur'an...

 who has redeemed himself from his fall and has become a demiurge
Demiurge
The demiurge is a concept from the Platonic, Neopythagorean, Middle Platonic, and Neoplatonic schools of philosophy for an artisan-like figure responsible for the fashioning and maintenance of the physical universe. The term was subsequently adopted by the Gnostics...

 who created the cosmos from the Cosmic egg
Cosmic Egg
Cosmic Egg is the second studio album by Australian rock band Wolfmother, released on 23 October 2009. It is the first album by the second lineup of the band, featuring vocalist, songwriter and lead guitarist Andrew Stockdale, bassist and keyboardist Ian Peres, rhythm guitarist Aidan Nemeth and...

. After he repented, he wept for 7,000 years, his tears filling seven jars, which then quenched the fires of hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

.

Tawûsê Melek is sometimes transliterated Malak Ta'us, Malak Tawus, or Malik Taws. Melek was borrowed from the Arabic term "king" or "angel". Tawûs is uncontroversially translated "peacock"; in art and sculpture, Tawûsê Melek is depicted as peacock. However, peacocks are not native to the lands where Tawûsê Melek is worshipped.

The Kitêba Cilwe "Book of Illumination", which claims to be the words of Tawûsê Melek, and which presumably represents Yazidi belief, states that he allocates responsibilities, blessings and misfortunes as he sees fit and that it is not for the race of Adam to question him. Sheikh Adî believed that the spirit of Tawûsê Melek is the same as his own, perhaps as a reincarnation. He is believed to have said:Yazidi accounts of creation differ from that of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 and Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. They believe that God first created Tawûsê Melek from his own illumination (Ronahî ) and the other six archangels were created later. God ordered Tawûsê Melek not to bow to other beings. Then God created the other archangels and ordered them to bring him dust (Ax) from the Earth (Erd) and build the body of Adam. Then God gave life to Adam from his own breath and instructed all archangels to bow to Adam. The archangels obeyed except for Tawûsê Melek. In answer to God, Tawûsê Melek replied, "How can I submit to another being! I am from your illumination while Adam is made of dust." Then God praised him and made him the leader of all angels and his deputy on the Earth. (This likely furthers what some see as a connection to the Islamic Shaytan, as according to the Quran he too refused to bow to Adam at God's command, though in this case it is seen as being a sign of Shaytan's sinful pride.) Hence the Yazidis believe that Tawûsê Melek is the representative of God on the face of the Earth, and comes down to the Earth on the first Wednesday of Nisan
Nisan
Nisan is the first month of the ecclesiastical year and the seventh month of the civil year, on the Hebrew calendar. The name of the month is Babylonian; in the Torah it is called the month of the Aviv, referring to the month in which barley was ripe. It is a spring month of 30 days...

 (April). Yazidis hold that God created Tawûsê Melek on this day, and celebrate it as New Year's Day. Yazidis argue that the order to bow to Adam was only a test for Tawûsê Melek, since if God commands anything then it must happen. (Bibe, dibe). In other words, God could have made him submit to Adam, but gave Tawûsê Melek the choice as a test. They believe that their respect and praise for Tawûsê Melek is a way to acknowledge his majestic and sublime nature. This idea is called "Knowledge of the Sublime" (Zanista Ciwaniyê). Şêx Adî has observed the story of Tawûsê Melek and believed in him.

Yazidis believe that good and evil both exist in the mind and spirit of human beings. It depends on the humans, themselves, as to which they choose. In this process, their devotion to Tawûsê Melek is essential, since it was he who was given the same choice between good and evil by God, and chose the good.

The Yazidi believe that the founder of their religion, Sheikh Adi Ibn Musafir, was an incarnation
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....

 of Tawûsê Melek.

Outside views


Some Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s, Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s and others identify Tawûsê Melek as Lucifer
Lucifer
Traditionally, Lucifer is a name that in English generally refers to the devil or Satan before being cast from Heaven, although this is not the original meaning of the term. In Latin, from which the English word is derived, Lucifer means "light-bearer"...

 or Shaytān (Satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

). According to the Yazidi Black Book
Yazidi Black Book
The Yazidi Black Book or Meshaf Resh is one of the two holy books of the Yazidi religion, the other being the Book of Revelation ....

, the Yazidi are forbidden to say the name "Shaitan" because their people would be religiously persecuted by other faiths.