What Is the Kurdish Religion?


Quick Answer

The major Kurdish religion is Sunni Muslim, but a significant number of Kurds adhere to other religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Zoroastrianism and the distinctly Kurdish faith of Yazidism. Other Islamic faiths of the Kurds include Alevism and a small number of Shi'ites.

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Full Answer

Until their land was conquered by Muslim invaders in the seventh century, most Kurds were Christian, adhering most closely to the Eastern Orthodox Church but also retaining a large portion of their previous Zoroastrian beliefs. Even under Islam, however, a large minority of Kurds retained their earlier beliefs. The most Kurdish of these faiths is Yazidism, a religion closely related to ancient Mesopotamian faiths and to Zoroastrianism.

Yazidis believe in the God of the Old Testament, but they tell the story of creation quite differently. Instead of the chief angel, named Melek Taus in their religion, being the antagonist and tempter of Adam, they say he was ordered to bow to Adam and refused. Instead of being cast out for disobedience, as the Old Testament Satan was, Melek Taus was honored and made the main caretaker of the world. Other religions, such as Islam and Christianity, accuse the Yazidi of devil worship because of this worldview. The concepts of free choice, religious purity and reincarnation are central to the Yazidi religion.

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