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Sacred Books and Traditions of the Yezidiz, by Isya Joseph, [1919], at



Generally speaking, the Yezidis are an industrious people, but they do not engage in business. This is due to their belief that any form of business leads to cheating and lying, and hence to cursing Melek-Ṭâ’ûs, i.e., the devil. Their usual occupation is agriculture and cattle-raising. The Yezidis of Sinjar, who constitute almost the entire population, raise fruit, such

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as figs and grapes; also almonds and nuts. Jabal Sinjar is famous for its figs. Those who live in the Russian territory, like the sweeper class of India, are mainly engaged in menial work. But those in the districts of Reḍwan and Midyat are given to housebreaking and highway robbery; they are the terror of those regions.

The Yezidis seldom appear in the cities; and when they do they conceal their peculiarities as much as possible, for the Christians and Mohammedans are wont to seek amusement at their expense. When they find a Yezidi in their company, they draw a circle about him on the ground, from which he superstitiously believes he cannot get out, until some one breaks it. They annoy him by crying out, Na‘lat Šaitan, i.e., Satan be cursed. Moreover, city people keep aloof from the habitations of these despised devil-worshippers. Accordingly the Yezidis have little intercourse with their neighbors.

Next: Notes on Chapter V