The Yarsan, Ahle Haqq or Kaka'i (Kurdish: یارسان, Yarsan, Persian: اهل حق; "People of Truth"), is a syncretic religion founded by Sultan Sahak in the late 14th century in western Iran. The total number of Yarsanis is estimated at around 2,000,000 or 3,000,000. They are primarily found in western Iran and eastern Iraq and are mostly ethnic Goran Kurds, though there are also smaller groups of Turk, Persian, Lori, Azerbaijani and Arab adherents. Some Yarsanis in Iraq are called Kaka'i. Yarsanis are also found in some rural communities in southeastern Turkey. Yarsanis say that some people call them disparagingly as "Ali-o-allahi" or "worshipers of Ali" which labels Yarsanis deny. Many Yarsanis hide their religion due to pressure of Iran's Islamic system, and there are no exact statistics of their population.
The Yarsanis have a distinct religious literature primarily written in the Gorani language. However, few modern Yarsani can read or write Gorani (a Northwestern Iranian language belonging to the branch Zaza-Gorani) as their mother tongues are Southern Kurdish and Sorani, which belong to the other two branches of the Kurdish languages. The speakers of Sarli living near Eski Kalak are adherents, as Edmonds (1957: 195) and Moosa (1988: 168) observed. Their central religious book is called the Kalâm-e Saranjâm, written in the 15th century based on the teachings of Sultan Sahak.
The goal of Yarsanism is to teach humans to achieve ultimate truth. The Yarsani believe sun and fire are holy things and follow the principles of equalization, purity, righteousness, and oneness, which leads some researchers to find Mithraic roots in this religion.
Yarsanism is barely mentioned in historical religious books as its doctrine and rituals are largely secret. The followers of Yarsanism perform their rituals and ceremonies in secret, but this has not relieved the harassment of many of the Yarsani by Islamic or other governments over the centuries. The followers of this religion say that after the Islamic Revolution in Iran, pressure on the Yarsani community has increased and they have been deprived and discriminated against for over 30 years.
One of the signs of Yarsanic males is the mustache, as the Yarsanic holy book Kalâm-e Saranjâm says that every man must have a mustache to take part in Yarsanic religious rites.
The Yarsani follow the mystical teachings of Sultan Sahak. From the Yarsani point of view, the universe is composed of two distinct yet interrelated worlds: the internal (Bātinī) and the external (zāhirī), 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. This aspect of the Yarsani faith can be identified as Kurdish esoterism which emerged under the intense influence of Bātinī-Sufism during the last two centuries.
Among other important pillars of their belief system are that the Divine Essence has successive manifestations in human form (mazhariyyat) and the belief in transmigration of the soul (dunaduni in Kurdish). Yarasani believe that every man needs to do what is written within their holy book, the Kalâm-e Saranjâm, otherwise they are not part of Yarsan. There is no compulsion or exclusion in Yarsan – anyone who chooses to follow its precepts is welcome.
The Yarsani faith's features include millenarism, Innatism, egalitarianism, metempsychosis, angelology, divine manifestation and dualism. Many of these features are found in Yazidism, and they also have many things in common with Zoroastrians and Christians. Unlike other indigenous Persian faiths, Yarsanism explicitly rejects class, caste and rank, which sets them apart from the Yezidis and Zoroastrians.
According to Yarsani philosophy, the universe is evolving in through different Epochs and that these Epochs are:
2. Second Epoch, or Tariqat, which includes the period from Ali ibn Abi Talib until Shah Khoshin, also known as the "Doctrine" period.
3. Third Epoch, or Marefat, which includes the period from Shah Khoshin until Sultan Sahak, also known as the "Mystical" period.
4. Fourth Epoch, or Haqiqat, which includes the period from Sultan Sahak until today, also known as the "Truth" period.
The Yarsani are emanationists and incarnationists, believing that the Divine Essence has successive incarnations known as mazhariyyats (similar to the Hindu avatars). They believe God manifests one primary and seven secondary manifestations in each epoch of the world, in either angel or human form. These seven persons are known as "Haft tan" which means "The Seven Persons"
The primary mazhariyyat of the First Epoch was the Divine Essence known as Khawandagar, who created the world.
The primary mazhariyyat of the Second Epoch was Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth Caliph and first imam of Shia Islam. This explains the alternative name for Yarsanis Ali-Allahi, 'Believers in the divinity of Ali'.
The primary mazhariyyat of the Third Epoch was Shah Khoshin.
In the Fourth Epoch, the primary mazhariyyat is held to be Sultan Sahak. It is said that he was given birth by Dayerak Rezbar or Khatun-e Rezbar, a Kurdish virgin, and as in the case of Mary, it was a virginal conception. While sleeping under a pomegranate tree a kernel of fruit fell into her mouth when a bird pecked the fruit directly over her.
According to Yarsani legend after Sultan Sahak had completed the revelation of his esoteric teachings (haqiqat) to his first disciples among the Guran he took his leave of them. Disappearing from the Guran country without a trace, he reappeared in Anatolia in the form of Haji Bektash Veli. He taught mystical doctrines and techniques (tariqat) in those lands for almost a hundred years, and then returned to the Guran country. In the perception of his disciples there, he had been away for only an hour.
Each Epoch in Yarsani belief saw the appearance of the seven secondary divine manifestations or Haft Tan. In the First Epoch they appeared in their true angelic form, while in subsequent Epochs they appeared in human incarnations. The "Haft Tan" are charged with responsibility for the affairs of the internal realm.
The mazhariyyats of the Second Epoch include Salman, Qanbar, Mohammed, Nusayr (who is either Jesus Christ or Theophobus) and Bahlool. It also includes Fatimah, the daughter of Mohammed as the incarnation of the female angel.
The mazhariyyats of the Third Epoch include Shah Fazlullah Veli, Baba Sarhang Dudani and Baba Naous.
In the Fourth Epoch, the Haft Tan or 'seven persons' charged by Sultan Sahak with responsibility for the affairs of the inner realm consist of the following:
The "Haft Tan" (The Seven Archangels) are key figures in the Yarsani belief system and their history. The only female among them is Khatun-e Rezbar, the mother of Sultan Sahak.
These seven persons are known as "Haft tan" Which means by word "The Seven Persons"
The traditions of the Yarsani are preserved in poetry known as Kalam-e Saranjam (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], ‘Alī, Shah Khoshin and Sultan Sahak, the different manifestations of divinity. The epoch of Shah Khoshin takes place in Luristan and the epoch of Sultan Sahak is placed in Hawraman near the Sirwan River, the land of the Goranî. Also important to the Goranî is the Daftar-e kezana-ye Perdivari (Book of the Treasure of Perdivar), a collection of twenty six mythological poems or kalams.
The sayings attributed to Sultan Sahak are written in Gorani Kurdish, the sacred language of the Ahl-e Haqq, which also is known as Hawrami dialects. However, few modern Yarsani can read or write Gorani (a Northwestern Iranian language belonging to the branch Zaza-Gorani) as their mother tongues are Southern Kurdish and Sorani Kurdish, which belong to the other two branches of the Kurdish language family. Some Yarsani literature is written in the Persian language.
Two important sanctuaries of the Yarsani are the tomb of Bābā Yādgār about 40km away from Sarpol-e Zahab in Kermanshah Province and the tomb of Dawoud at Zarde about three kilometres east of Sarpol-e Zahab. Another important shrine is that of Sultan Suhak in Sheykhan near Perdīvar bridge in Kermanshah Province. The tombs of Pir Benjamin and Pir Musi in the town of Kerend in Kermanshah Province, Iran are also important shrines.
One of Yarsani men's apparent signs is to have a full moustache, because in the holy book Kalâm-e Saranjâm it says that every man has to have a moustache to take part in their religious rites.
Yarsanism is organised into spiritual houses or Khandans, seven of which were established at the time of Sultan Sahak, and four afterwards, making eleven Khandans in all. The Khandans were established when, along with the Haft Tan, Sultan Sahak also formed the Haft Tawane, a group of seven holy persons charged with the affairs of the outer world. They were Say-yed Mohammad, Say-yed Abu'l Wafa, Haji Babusi, Mir Sur, Say-yed Mostafa, Sheykh Shahab al-Din and Sheykh Habib Shah. Each of the Haft Tawane was charged with responsibility for the guidance of a number of followers, and these followers formed the original seven Khandans, namely Shah Ebrahim, Baba Yadegar, Ali Qalandar, Khamush, Mir Sur, Sey-yed Mosaffa and Hajji Babu Isa. After Sultan Sahak's time another four khandans were established, namely Atesh Bag, Baba Heydar, Zolnour and Shah Hayas.
Every Yarsani therefore belongs to one specific khandan, which is led by a spiritual leader called a say-yed, to whom each member must swear obedience. The say-yed is the spiritual leader of the community and is normally present during the ceremonies attended by the followers. Say-yeds are the only ones allowed to have full access to the religious texts of Yarsanism, and have traditionally competed with each other to have the largest number of followers. The position of Say-yed is hereditary, being passed down through the generations from the original founders. As the say-yed are considered spiritual 'parents', it is the tradition for them not to marry their followers.
The Yarsani in Iran are mostly found in Lorestan and Kermanshah provinces There are also large communities of Yarsanis in some regions of Iranian Azerbaijan. The town of Ilkhichi (İlxıçı), which is located 87 km south west of Tabriz is almost entirely populated by Yarsanis. For political reasons, one of which was to create a distinct identity for these communities, they have not been called Goran Kurds since the early 20th century. They are called various names, such as Ali-Ilahis and Ahl-e Haqq. Both the Dersim (Zazaki / Zaza) people and the Gorani, who speak a language that is considered to belong to the Hawramani branch of the North West Iranian languages, adhere to a form of Kurdish Alawi faith which resembles the religions of the Yezidi, Ali-Ilahians or Druze.
The Yarsani are known in Iraq as the Kaka'i. There are Yarsani in Iraqi Kurdistan, around Kirkuk and Sulaymaniyah. The speakers of Sarli, living near Eski Kalak in Iraq, are adherents, as Edmonds (1957: 195) surmised and Moosa (1988: 168) observed.
Yarsanis are also found in some rural communities in southeastern Turkey.
A group of native, allegedly Iranian, but archaeologically Mesopotamian, monotheistic religions practiced by Kurds consisting of Yarsani and Êzidî along with Chinarism/Ishikism (Ishik Alevism) are claimed as "Yazdânism" by Mehrdad Izady.
An excerpt from the French Review of the Muslim World describes the difficulty in nomenclature for Yarsanism and related Shi'ite mysticism. The English translation reads:
First of all, we must clear up the confusion resulting from the variety of names given to the sect of "Ahlé-Haqq", which are liable to be misunderstood. Like any religion, the one we are dealing with considers itself to be the only true and orthodox one, and it is natural that its adherents give themselves the name of "People of Truth" (Ahlé-Haqq or Ahlé-Haqîqat). This term lacks precision, as other sects, for example the Horoufis, occasionally apply it to themselves. Still, the name Ahlé-Haqq to refer to the sect of our particular interest has every advantage over appellations such as "Gholat", "Alî-Allâhi", and "Noséïri" that the Muslims and most European travellers use in speaking of them. The first term, which encompasses all of the extremist Shi’ites, is too broad and too vague. The second term, "deifiers of Ali", has the same fault and emphasizes what is only a detail in the religious system under discussion. Finally, the name "Noséïri" belongs to that well-defined Syrian religion, which, despite some resemblances with the doctrines of the Ahlé-Haqq (the worship of Ali, the communion, etc.), appears to present a complex of quite different old beliefs.
Ahl-e Haqq view Islam as a product of a cycle of divine essence, which was made manifest in Ali, and established the stage of shai'at (Islamic law). This was followed by the cycle of tariqat (Sufi teachings), then ma'rifat (Sufi gnosis), and finally the current cycle of haqiqat (Ultimate Truth), which was made manifest in Sultan Sahak. The final stage supersedes the previous ones, which frees Ahl-e Haqq from observing the shari'a rules incumbent on Muslims. Ahl-i Haqq class other Muslims as either Ahl-i Tashayyu (followers of Shi'ism) or Ahl-i Tasannun (followers of Sunnism). The Ahl-i Haqq neither observe Muslim rites, such as daily prayers and fasting during the month of Ramadan, nor share Islamic theology and sacred space, such as belief in the day of resurrection and sanctity of the mosque.
Extremist Sunni Islamic groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and al-Qaeda regard the followers of Yarsanism as unbelievers who have to convert to Islam or die. These militants have prosecuted Yarsanis during the Iraq conflict, possibly prompting some Iraqi Yarsan community leaders to declare in 2013 that their people were actually Muslims to avoid sectarian attacks.
Ali Illahism (Persian: علیاللّهی) is a syncretic religion which has been practiced in parts of Iranian Luristan which combines elements of Shia Islam with older religions. It centers on the belief that there have been successive incarnations of the Deity throughout history, and Ali Ilahees reserve particular reverence for Ali, the son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, who is considered one such incarnation. Various rites have been attributed as Ali Ilahian, similarly to the Yezidis, Ansaris, and all sects whose doctrine is unknown to the surrounding Muslim and Christian population. Observers have described it as an agglomeration of the customs and rites of several earlier religions, including Zoroastrianism, historically because travelogues were "evident that there is no definite code which can be described as Ali Illahism".Sometimes Ali-Illahism is used as a general term for the several denominations that venerate or deify Ali, like the Kaysanites, the Alawis or the Ahl-e Haqq/Yarsanis, others to mean the Ahl-e Haqq.Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture
The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture (abbreviation: EIEC) is an encyclopedia of Indo-European studies and the Proto-Indo-Europeans. The encyclopedia was edited by J. P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams and published in 1997 by Fitzroy Dearborn. Archaeological articles are written by Mallory, linguistic articles are written by Adams, and includes a distinguished Who's Who of 1990s Indo-Europeanists who made contributions as sub-editors. While not a polemic, the work in part responds to Colin Renfrew's Anatolian hypothesis of Indo-European origins.Erbil
Erbil, also spelled Arbil (Kurdish: ھەولێر / Hewlêr), locally called Hewlêr by the Kurds, is the capital city of Iraqi Kurdistan and the most populated city in the Kurdish inhabited areas of Iraq. It is located approximately in the center of Iraqi Kurdistan region and north of Iraq. It has about 850,000 inhabitants, and Erbil governorate has a permanent population of 2,009,367 as of 2015.Human settlement at Erbil can be dated back to possibly 5th millennium BC, and it is one of the oldest continuously inhabited areas in the world. At the heart of the city is the ancient Citadel of Erbil. The earliest historical reference to the region dates to the Third Dynasty of Ur of Sumer, when King Shulgi mentioned the city of Urbilum. The city was later conquered by the Assyrians.Erbil became an integral part of the kingdom of Assyria by at least the 21st century BC through to the end of the seventh century BC, after it was captured by the Gutians, and it was known in Assyrian annals variously as Urbilim, Arbela and Arba-ilu. After this it was part of the geopolitical province of Assyria under several empires in turn, including the Median Empire, the Achaemenid Empire (Achaemenid Assyria), Macedonian Empire, Seleucid Empire, Parthian Empire, Roman Assyria and Sasanian Empire (Asōristān), as well as being the capital of the tributary state of Adiabene between the mid-second century BC and early second century AD.
Following the Muslim conquest of Persia, it no longer remained a unitary region, and during the Middle Ages, the city came to be ruled by the Seljuk and Ottoman empires.Erbil's archaeological museum houses a large collection of pre-Islamic artefacts, particularly the art of Mesopotamia, and is a center for archaeological projects in the area. The city was designated as Arab Tourism Capital 2014 by the Arab Council of Tourism. In July 2014, the Citadel of Arbil was inscribed as a World Heritage site.
The city has an ethnically diverse population of Kurds (the majority ethnic group), Armenians, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriacs, , Kurdish Yezidis, Shabakis and Mandaeans. It is equally religiously diverse, with believers of Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Christianity (mainly followed by Chaldeans and Armenians), Yezidism, Yarsanism, Shabakism and Mandaeism extant in and around Erbil.Guran (Kurdish tribe)
Guran (or Goran; Kurdish: گوران) is a Kurdish tribe. They live in some regions of Iranian Kurdistan like Hawraman and Dalahu near Iran-Iraqi border. Although the vast majority of Guran people follow Islam, some Gurans in Dalahou county in Kermanshah Province are very old followers of Sultan Sahak and Yarsanism religion. They speak Gurani dialect of Kurdish, a very similar to Hawrami dialects, a kind of Gorani language. The Kurdish Shahnameh has been written in Gurani dialect and is sacred to the followers of Yarsan. Strabon also mentions the western and northwestern tribes of Medes, He also mentioned a Mede's tribe that called Gouranioi.Jem (Alevism)
The central Alevi communal worship service is called a cem (Turkish: Cem or Âyîn-i Cem, meaning amass, gather-together, congregation or assembly meeting), which is performed in special houses called as Cem Evi. Alevis believe that the Jem has its roots in an original worship and teaching meeting of forty spiritual individuals Kirklar Majlisi (Turkish: Kırklar Meclisi) led by Ali. It takes place in a Cem EviKakai
Kakai may refer to:
Kaka'i, also called Yarsan or Ahl-e Haqq, followers of Yarsanism, a religion of Iran and Iraq
Neferirkare Kakai, pharaoh of Egypt during the fifth dynastyKalhor Kurds
Kalhor is a Kurdish tribe and their dialect has been as categorized a southern branch of Southern Kurdish.
The tribe is described as the most powerful tribe mainly in the province of Kermānšāh and other parts of the region as "one of the most ancient, if not the most ancient, of the tribes of Kurdistan". The Kelhors were already mentioned by Šaraf-al-Din Bedlisi in the late 16th century, according to whom, the chiefs of the Kalhor claimed to be descended from Gudarz, son of Giv (q.v.), a major hero in the ShahnamehThe majority of the Kalhors are Shiites, while others are followers of the Yarsanism.Kermanshah County
Kermanshah County (Persian: شهرستان کرمانشاه) is a county in Kermanshah Province in Iran, part of what is unofficially referred to as Iranian Kurdistan. The capital of the county is Kermanshah. At the 2006 census, the county's population was 950,400, in 235,408 families. Majority of people in Kermanshah are Shia Muslims, and there are minorities such as Sunni Muslims, Yarsanism and so on.The county is subdivided into four districts: the Central District, Kuzaran District, Mahidasht District, and Firuzabad District. The county has four cities: Kermanshah, Robat, Kuzaran, and Halashi.Kurdish cuisine
Kurdish cuisine (Kurdish: چێشتی کوردی Çêştî Kurdî) consists of a wide variety of foods prepared by the Kurdish people. There are cultural similarities of Kurds and their immediate neighbours in Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Armenia. Some dishes, such as biryani, are shared with the Indian subcontinent. Kurdish food is typical of western Asian cuisine.Kurdish mythology
Kurdish mythology is the collective term for the beliefs and practices of the culturally, ethnically or linguistically related group of ancient peoples who inhabited the Kurdistan mountains of northwestern Zagros, northern Mesopotamia and southeastern Anatolia. This includes their Indo-European pagan religion prior to them converting to Islam, as well the local myths, legends and folklore that they produced after becoming Muslims.Kurdish rugs
Kurdish rugs (Kurdish: قالی کوردی) are rugs woven by the Kurdish people in the Middle East, predominantly the larger Kurdistan region including the Eastern part of Turkey near the Taurus Mountains, Northern Iraq, southernmost Caucasus, Armenia and North-Western Iran. When referring to Kurdish rugs within the rug industry, one is referring to those made within Iranian Kurdistan.Mir (title)
Mir (مير) (which is derived from the Arabic title Emir 'general, prince') is a rare ruler's title in princely states and an aristocratic title generally used to refer to a person who is a descendant of a commander in medieval Muslim tradition.
It was adopted in many languages under Islamic influence, such as Balochi, Sindhi, Ottoman Turkish, Turkish, Persian, Azeri, Kurdish and Pashto meaning leader of a group or tribe.
According to the book Persian Inscriptions on Indian Monuments, Mir is most probably an Arabized form of Pir. Pir in Old Persian and Sanskrit means the old, the wise man, the chief and the great leader. Pir is a religious leader' title for Alevi and Yarsanism faith meaning old and wise spiritual leader. Amir, meaning "Lord" or "commander-in-chief", is derived from the Arabic root a-m-r, "command".National symbols of the Kurds
The national symbols of the Kurds is a list of flags, icons or cultural expressions that are emblematic, representative or otherwise characteristic of the Kurdish people.Norse clans
The Scandinavian clan or ætt/ätt (pronounced [ˈæːtː] in Old Norse) was a social group based on common descent.Priestly caste
The priestly caste is a social group responsible for officiating over sacrifices and leading prayers or other religious functions, particularly in nomadic and tribal societies.
In some cases, as with the Brahmins of Vedic India and the Kohanim and Levites of ancient Israel, the caste was a hereditary one, with a person's position as a priest depending on his biological descent. Zoroastrianism also has a hereditary priesthood, as does Alevism, Yezidism and Yarsanism. In Sufism, the spiritual guide is also often a hereditary leader, while the Sayyids of India, who claim descent from the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, have been described as a priestly caste.In the Russian Eastern Orthodox Church, the clergy, over time, formed a hereditary caste of priests. Marrying outside of these priestly families was strictly forbidden; indeed, some bishops did not even tolerate their clergy marrying outside of the priestly families of their diocese. In 1867, the Synod abolished family claims to clerical positions.In other cases, as with the Druids of the Celtic world and the shamans of ancient Eurasian nomads, the position within the caste may have depended more upon apprenticeship; the exact nature of the "caste" in these cases is difficult to ascertain due to our lack of primary sources.Religion in Iran
According to the CIA World Factbook, around 90–95% of Iranians associate themselves with the Shia branch of Islam, the official state religion, and about 5–10% with the Sunni and Sufi branches of Islam. The remaining 0.6% associate themselves with non-Islamic religious minorities, including Bahá'ís, Mandeans, Yarsanis, Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians. The latter three minority religions are officially recognized and protected, and have reserved seats in the Iran parliament. Zoroastrianism was once the majority religion, though today Zoroastrians number only in the tens of thousands. Iran is home to the second largest Jewish community in the Muslim world and the Middle East. The two largest non-Muslim religious minorities in Iran are the Bahá'í Faith and Christianity. The Bahá'í Faith, historically the largest religious minority in Iran, is not officially recognized, and has been persecuted during its existence in Iran.The Iranian government does not officially recognise the existence of non-religious Iranians. This leaves the true representation of the religious split in Iran unknown as all non-religious, spiritual, atheist, agnostic and converts away from Islam are likely to be included within the government statistic of the 99% Muslim majority. Sunnism was the predominant form of Islam before the devastating Mongol conquest, but subsequently Shi'ism became eventually utterly dominant in all of Iran and modern-day Azerbaijan (though highly secular) with the advent of the Safavids.In a May 2019 study, the Pew Research Center found out that 87% of Iranians pray on a daily basis, which was the second-highest percentage in Asia-Pacific, after Afghanistan (96%) and ahead of Indonesia (84%).Religion in Iraq
Islam is the religion state of Iraq, comprising an estimated 97% of the country's population. The second largest religion in Iraq is Christianity, at 1% of the population. Yazidism and Religious syncretism practiced by minorities in Iraq includes Mandaeism, Shabakism, and Yarsanism accounts for 2%. The Iraqi Jewish community no longer exists.Religion in Kurdistan
Religious diversity has been a feature of Kurdistan for many centuries. Main religions that currently exist in Kurdistan are as follows: Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Yarsanism, Yazidism, Alevism, and Judaism. Today, Sunni Islam is the most adhered religion in Kurdistan.Yazdânism
Yazdânism, or the Cult of Angels, is a proposed pre-Islamic, native religion of the Kurds. The term was introduced by Kurdish scholar Mehrdad Izady to represent what he considers the "original" religion of the Kurds.According to Izady, Yazdânism is now continued in the denominations of Yazidism, Yarsanism, and Ishik Alevism. The three traditions subsumed under the term Yazdânism are primarily practiced in relatively isolated communities; from Khurasan to Anatolia, and parts of western Iran.
The concept of Yazdânism has found a wide perception both within and beyond Kurdish nationalist discourses, but has been disputed by other recognized scholars of Iranian religions. Well established, however, are the "striking" and "unmistakable" similarities between the Yazidis and the Yaresan or Ahl-e Haqq, some of which can be traced back to elements of an ancient faith that was probably dominant among Western Iranians and likened to practices of pre-Zoroastrian Mithraic religion. Mehrdad Izady defines the Yazdanism as an ancient Hurrian religion and states that Mitanni could have introduced some of the Vedic tradition that appears to be manifest in Yazdanism.