Yazidism is a syncretic, monotheistic religion practiced by the Yazidis, an ethnoreligious group which resides primarily in northern Iraq, northern Syria, and southeastern Turkey. Yazidism is considered by its adherents to be the oldest religion in the world and the first truly monotheistic faith. The Yazidi calendar states that the religion, as well as the universe, is almost 7,000 years old, which is 5,000 years older than the Gregorian Calendar and 1,000 years older than the Jewish calendar. Yazidism has had a rich history of syncretic development. For thousands of years, Yazidism incorporated elements of Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam, all of which coalesced from 1162 CE to the 15th century CE. Ultimately, this process created Yazidi culture and ethnic identity. However, to understand Yazidism, its history must first be explained.

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  • 680 - 683
    Yazid ibn Mu'awiya reigns over the Umayyad Caliphate.
  • 1100 - 1167
    Muslim historian 'Abd al-Karim al-Sam'ani first records the Yazidis as a distinct community.
  • c. 1100 - 1162
    The Sufi mystic Sheikh 'Adi journeys to the Kurdish mountains in Iraq. His followers eventually call themselves "Yazidis."
  • 1162 - c. 1400
    Yazidi culture and ethnic identity coalesce after the death of Sheikh 'Adi in 1162 CE.
  • c. 1200 - 1253
    Sheikh Hasan, the grandson of Sheikh 'Adi's nephew, expands Yazidi influence throughout the Muslim world. Yazidis immigrate to large swathes of the Middle East.
  • 1253
    Fearing a Kurdish revolt, the provincial governor of Mosul sends his forces to burn Sheikh 'Adi's bones in Lalish. Sheikh Hasan, the leader of the Yazidis, is captured and beheaded.