Melek Taus

Melek Taus, "The Peacock Angel" (in Arabic script ملك طاووس), is the Yazidis' name for the central figure of their faith.

Religious significance

The Yazidis consider Tawûsê Melek a benevolent angel who has redeemed himself from his fall and has become a demiurge who created the cosmos from the Cosmic Egg. After he repented, he cried for 7,000 years, his tears filling seven jars, which then quenched the fires of hell.

Tawûsê Melek is sometimes transliterated Malak Ta'us, Malak Tawus, or Malik Taws. Melek is from either the Arabic word for "king" or for "angel". Taus is uncontroversially translated "peacock"; however, it is important to note that peacocks are not, at least currently, native to the lands where Tawûsê Melek is worshipped. This has led some to speculate that the worship of Melek Taus was imported from India, though it is more likely the peacock iconography is a development from earlier representations depicting the god as a native fowl, such as a bustard. The Yazidi believe that the founder of their religion, Sheikh Adi Ibn Musafir, was an avatar of Tawûsê Melek. In art and sculpture, Tawûsê Melek is depicted as peacock.

Outside views

Some Christians, Muslims and others identify Tawûsê Melek as Lucifer or Shaytān (Satan). The Yazidis' cultural prohibition against uttering the word – saying God's name is blasphemy – does not make the situation easier. Tawûsê Melek is "God's Angel", and this is how Yazidis themselves see Melek Taus or Taus-e Malak. Because the Yazidis are a minority religion, they have suffered great persecutions, with some pogroms against them nearly wiping out their religion. This has caused them to disguise their religion in the trappings of mainstream Islam.

Tawûsê Melek is also a central figure in many sects of the Feri tradition of modern witchcraft, where he is seen as the embodiment of the "higher self" of collective humanity; i.e. "the God of this world".

References in popular media

In Alan Moore's graphic novel series Top 10, the character of King Peacock is a worshipper of Melek Taus, and it is from this worship that King Peacock claims to receive his matter-control abilities.

The antagonist of John Case's novel The Eighth Day is an unscrupulous businessman attempting to set himself up as the incarnation of Melek Taus to gain control over Yazidi holdings.

"Melek Taus" is the title and subject of a song by the Swedish symphonic metal band Therion, from their 2003 album Sirius B.

Artist Paul B. Rucker has created a painting titled "Melek Ta'us", of a handsome figure seated in a lotus position, with wings made of peacock feathers.

It is speculated that the name of the Sith lord Darth Malak in the computer game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic derives from Melek Taus

S. M. Stirling's The Peshawar Lancers features a modified, apocalyptic cult of "Malik Nous".


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