Melek Taus

Melek Taus (Ezdiki: Tawûsê Melek), also spelled Malik Tous, translated in English as Peacock Angel, is one of the central figures of Yazidi religion. In Yazidi creation stories, God created the world and entrusted it to the care of seven Holy Beings, often known as Angels or heft sirr ('the Seven Mysteries'), preeminent of which is Tawûsê Melek, the Peacock Angel.

Like many aspects of the secretive Yazidi religion, Tawûsê Melek is subject to varied and ambiguous interpretations. The Yazidi Book of Revelation (Ketêbâ Jelwa), a text believed by some to have been written by non-Yazidis in the early twentieth-century but based on Yazidi oral tradition, even though a nineteenth-century translation of the text exists, is purported to contain the words of Tawûsê Melek; it states that he allocates responsibilities, blessings and misfortunes upon humanity as he sees fit and that it is not for the race of Adam to question his choices.

Since the late 16th century, some Muslims have accused Yazidis of devil worship due to the similarity between the Quranic story of Iblis and the account of Tawûsê Melek's refusal to bow to Adam. Whereas Muslims revile Iblis for refusing to submit to God and bow to Adam, believing that his defiance caused him to fall from God's grace, Yazidis revere Tawûsê Melek for his independence and believe that God's command to Tawûsê Melek was a test to see if he understood his own majestic and sublime nature. Accusations of devil worship fueled centuries of violent persecution, which have led Yazidi communities to concentrate in remote mountainous regions of northwestern Iraq. The Yazidi taboo against the Arabic word Shaitan (الشیطان) and on words containing the consonants š (sh) and t/ṭ have been used to suggest a connection between this Tawûsê Melek and Iblis, although no evidence exists to suggest Yazidis worship Tawûsê Melek as the same figure.

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