The world as we know it today has been shaped by the contribution of many individuals, tribes, empires, and governments. One such tribe with 900 years of history is the Jaff (also known as Jahf, Jaaf, Jaf, Caf or جاف) tribe of Kurdistan. The Kurdistan territory (refers to areas in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria) has an estimated 40 millions Kurds worldwide. The remarkable history of Jaff tribe presents the world a sense of how this tribe influenced Kurdistan. Being the largest clan in Kurdistan, and if not the oldest, going back to the year 1114, was originated by Zaher Beg Jaff. Today, the tribe holds 4 million members. Kurdistan today, is not an independent state, but holds its own regional government, people, culture, language, music, food, and history.
Mahmud Pasha Jaff, he was born in 1262 and shared a close relationship with the Ottoman Empire. He became a Pasha and the supreme leader of the Jaff tribe who ruled with compassion. A peacemaker, a great leader, who believed in serving the people had not only brought peace to the otherwise war-torn region and unified several Kurdish tribes. The peak of his power extended its dominion to territories in southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
Mohammed Pasha Jaff, born in 1714, he was also one of the most loved and remembered Kurdish Pashas and Jaff tribe’s supreme leaders. Under his reign, he remained vocal about human rights and is still known around the world as one of the first few leaders who openly struggled at that time for human rights. He openly supported Kurdish autonomy as well. He built the Sherwana Castle, the Jaff family ancestral home, that is located in Kalar, Kurdistan, Iraq.
Osman Pasha Jaff, born in the late 1850s, who also proved his mettle by ruling the region with wisdom and courage. He worked hard to identify women’s suffrage in Middle East and endeavored to resolve it. He received medals from the Ottoman Empire for his work and administration of the region, and since Jaff tribe also existed on the other side of the border (Iran) he was entrusted by the Ottoman Empire to keep peace among all the borders including Persia. The Shah of Persia awarded Osman Pasha with his sword of honor for his peacekeeping efforts in 1894. Osman Pasha governed the region with Lady Adela Khanem, also known by the British as “Princess of the Brave”. She was also a peacemaker and a highly skilled administrator, who presided over judicial courts in Kurdistan after being appointed as a “Qadi” (meaning Judge in English).
Lady Adela Khanem Jaff was born in the Sahibqeran family. Her wisdom, decision-making skills and influence on Jaff tribe had enabled her to help restore commerce and law in the region. During the 1914-1918 war, while Osman Pasha was in the battlefield, Adela stayed and gave asylum to the British. She was able to save lives of many British soldiers, and took over the reins of the government in the absence of her husband. The British awarded her with the “Medal of Honor” for her peacemaking and kindness towards them.
Dawood Fattah al Jaff also known as Dawood Beg Jaff was remembered as “The Lion of Kurdistan”, born in 1905, was appointed as the leader of the Jaff tribe and a Royal Minister in Iran by Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. His notable efforts were focused towards the independence of Kurdistan, peace, and worked tirelessly for defending human rights.
What we remarked is just a glimpse of the history of the tribe. Jaff leaders will always be remembered towards human rights, independence, peace, equality, and women empowerment. Most of the findings of the Jaff tribe are in ancient languages or not in English. Though, below you can read more, and find National Archives of United Kingdom and Turkey, books, articles, interviews, treaties, acknowledgments, photographs, and documents about Jaff history.
Click to open: Minorsky_1945_Tribes_West_Iran
Personalities of Kurdistan
Pg. 103-104 talks about Adela Khanum
British Documents on Foreign Affairs: Reports and Papers from the Foreign Office Confidential Print
Halabja and the Jaff
Adela Jaff Khanum and the Ardalan Persian Divanship
Iraq & The Persian Gulf – Naval Intelligence Division
A book written by the British Naval intelligence division, acknowledging that Osman Pasha Jaff and Princess Adela Jaff are the makers of Halabja.
Minorsky’s Russian acknowledgement of the Jaff’s Zohab heritage from the conflicts of Ottoman Sultan Murad IV’s Ottoman Safavid war 1623-1639.
To Mesopotamia and Kurdistan in disguise
A Short History of Iraq – Thabit Abdullah
On page 62 it explains the origin of the Jaff conflicts and claims over the Persian Zohab region, dating back to Ottoman Sultan Murad IV’s war with the Persians in the 16th century. The treaty of Zohab would divide the Jaff lands in half between Persia and The Ottoman Empire from 1623 to 1639 during the Ottoman Savafid war.
This treaty would declare the boundaries for the modern Middle East countries.
This would be the root of all Kurdish conflicts and division.
The Encyclopedia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information
Claiming that Mahmud Pasha Jaff was detained in Mosul after participating in a revolt with Mahmud Barzinji in 1810.
The Naqshbandi-Khalidi Order and Political Islam in Turkey
Mohammed Seyh Said Seyda El Cezeri, head of the Seyda clan of modern day Cizre, Turkey, was a disciple of Jaff Sheikh Khalid I Baghdadi. El Cezeri received a diploma from Baghdadi. El Cezeri was friends with Kurdish insurrectionist Sheikh Ubeydullah, who Mahmud Pasha Jaff was aligned with, who was also a disciple of Khaled I Bagdadi.
Turkish President Recip Erdogan is also a follower of Jaff Sheikh Khaled I Baghdadi.