Yazdânism is a term used to describe the group of ancient monotheistic Kurdish religions that predate Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. The Yazdâni faiths are the native religions of the Kurdish people, and Yazdanism include several branches that exist today including Yazidism, Yarsanism and Alevism.
A Modern Term To Describe Ancient Religions
The term “Yazdanism” was introduced by Dr. Mehrdad Izady in his 1992 book on Kurdish history. While the Yazdani faiths are not unique to the Kurds, they were the primary faiths among the people who lived in the Zagros Mountains — primarily Kurds — which, today, border Iraqi Kurdistan and the Kurdish region of Iran.
Branches of Yazdanism
The three branches of Yazdanism that exist today (Yazidism, Yarsanism and Alevism) have several features in common, including a cyclical belief in the world and the transmigration of the soul through numerous reincarnations. Another common feature between these groups of Kurds who follow Yazdanism is that they often refer to themselves as “Alawites,” or “Kurdish Alawites.” This is to differentiate their faith and culture from other branches of Yazdanism.
The Yazdani religions also share intricate origins with Zoroastrianism. All three aforementioned religions share similar features and competed for followers in ancient times.