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Jaff (Caf, )
Mohamed Pasha Jaff 2.JPG
LocationSulaymaniyah to Sanandaj

Jaff (Kurdish: ; also Jahf, Jaaf, Jaf, Caf) is the largest Kurdish tribe also known as clan, living in the borderlands of Iran and Iraq. Their heartland is between Sulaymaniyah to Sanandaj.[1][2] The tribe predominantly adheres to the Shafi'i school with many Naqshbandi and Qadiriyya followers.[2] It originated in the year 1114 by Zaher Beg Jaff,[3][4] other important leaders were Mohamed Pasha Jaff, Lady Adela, Osman Pasha Jaff and Mahmud Pasha Jaff, their ancestral home is Sherwana Castle.[5][6][7] The Ottoman Empire bestowed on them the name Pasha, a noble title, in the 1700s.[8][9] They are the biggest Kurdish tribe in the Middle East with approximately 4 million people[10] and they speak Babani Sorani.[11][12] They ruled the Ardalan Principality until the 1860s.[2]

Geographic distribution

The Jaff tribe lives in the following cities and towns: Helebce, Kelar, Silêmanî, Ravansar, Sine, Ciwanrro, Selas-bawecanî, Kirma?an, Xaneqîn.[2][1][13]


The West began ties with the Jaff tribe during World War I, when Ely Bannister Soane established contact. After the war, the tribe opposed Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji, as well as Great Britain's failure to grant Kurdish autonomy in Iraq.[14] At the beginning of the 20th century, the tribe controlled one ninth of Iraq and controlled the communication system of the country. In 1933, about 100,000 rifles were in the hands of the tribe, contrary to the only 15,000 by the newly-established Iraq. During this period, the tribe sedentarized.[13]

Notable members

Mahmud Pasha Jaff in his bedroom.
Jaff Kurdish bag, Persia, mid 19th century
Leaders and politicians
  • Mohamed Pasha Jaff, a Kurdish king and supreme chief of the Jaff tribe, he built Sherwana Castle in 1734.
  • Osman Pasha Jaff, (born 1846) a Kurdish king, leader of the Jaff tribe, and married to Adela Khanum of the old Ardalan tribe.[15]
  • Adela Jaff (1847-1924), called Princess of the Brave by the British; married Kurdish King Osman Pasha Jaff, was famous for her role in the region, namely in the era of Shiekh Mahmood Al-Jaff Hafeed.
  • Ahmed Mukhtar Jaff (1898-1934), was a member of Iraqi parliament and mayor of Halabja.
  • Nawzad Dawood Beg Jaff (also known as Nozad Dawood Fattah Al Jaff), Chairman of North Bank Iraq and leader of the Jaff tribe.[16][17][18]
  • Akram Hamid Begzadeh Jaff, a Kurdish leader, politician, and former Minister Of Agriculture in Iraq.
  • Hanna Jaff (born 1986), American born Mexican-Kurd who is a politician, philanthropist, author, and spokeswoman.[19][20][21]
Artists, poets, singer
Scholars and academics


  1. ^ a b Archibald Roosevelt (1944). "Kurdish tribal map of Iraq : showing the Iraq portion of Kurdistan and the major Kurdish tribal divisions within Iraq". Yale University.
  2. ^ a b c d Hamzeh'ee, M. Reza Fariborz (2008). "Jaf". Iranica Online. Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ "Jaff family, Jaff Tribe, and Kurdistan". Revista Kuadro. 4 April 2019. Archived from the original on November 27, 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ "A Brief Reading About Jaff Tribe". zivmagazine.com. Zîv Kurdish Mosaic. 1 June 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  5. ^ "Jaff family, Jaff Tribe, and Kurdistan". bizarro.fm. Bizarro FM. 2 April 2019. Retrieved 2020.
  6. ^ "Develan monumento a Mohamed Pasha Jaff en Tlalpan". noticieros.televisa.com (in Spanish). Noticieros Televisa. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 2020.
  7. ^ "Hanna Jaff vive un amor 'real'". elimparcial.com (in Spanish). El Imparcial. 22 June 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "Hanna and Harry: A Mexican Netflix Reality Star Will Soon Marry Into the British Royal Family". nbcsandiego.com. NBC San Diego. 19 June 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ "Hanna Jaff pospone su boda con aristócrata inglés". revistaclase.mx (in Spanish). Revista Clase. 20 June 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ "La tribu jaff en la actualidad". altonivel.com.mx (in Spanish). Alto Nivel. 10 October 2016. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ "Kurdish woman plans to run for seat in Mexican Congress". kurdistan24.net. Kurdistan 24. 3 April 2017. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ Mirwaisi, Hamma F. (2010). Return of the Medes: An Analysis of Iranian History. Wheatmark, Inc. p. 330. ISBN 9781604944495.
  13. ^ a b "Country Policy and Information Note Iraq: Blood feuds". United States Department of Justice. 2017: 14-16. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ Tripp, Charles. A History of Iraq. Cambridge Press, 2007. Page 33-34
  15. ^ Tarih :17/N /1312 (Hicrî) Dosya No :35 Gömlek No :1312 Fon Kodu :?..HUS.mm
  16. ^ "North Bank "in Good Position for Growth"". Iraq Business News. 31 May 2014. Retrieved 2018.
  17. ^ ""Don't miss out, be a pioneer"". The Worldfolio. 2012. Retrieved 2018.
  18. ^ "La tribu Jaff en la actualidad" (in Spanish). The Worldfolio. October 10, 2016. Retrieved 2018.
  19. ^ "Meet Hanna Jaff, the Latina who'll soon be part of the British royal family". HOLA!. Retrieved 2020.
  20. ^ "Hanna Jaff, la mexicana que formará parte de la familia real inglesa". Vogue (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020.
  21. ^ "Filántropa mexicana se casará con un miembro de la realeza inglesa". Cosmopolitan (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020.
  22. ^ N? QOB?DI, Encyclopedia Iranica, accessed December 1, 2012
  23. ^ Keith Hitchins, "NALÎ" in Encyclaopedia Iranica
  24. ^ World on Your Street, BBC Radio 3.
  25. ^ "Fereidoun Biglari". scholar.google.com.

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