About Jaff Tribe   -   Short History About Jaff Tribe
A Short History Of Jaff Kurdish Tribe
There have not been, in the old authoritative Islamic texts, references to the Jaff as an independent tribe under such specific name. The acclaimed Kurdish historian Sharfaghan Al Badleesi, in his invaluable text Sharafnama of 1595, presented no significant information which may lead us to trace the history of the tribe and the role it played in the history of the Kurdish people as he did of other tribes of which he outlined comprehensively at length.

But the word jaff can be detected in the religious texts of the Yarsan sect or “People of the Truth” (ahlu lhaq), many years prior to the writing of the Sharfnama, such as Noor Ali Alhi’s reference in his book Burhan Elhaq –page 38- to Dayrak Khatoon, the daughter of Hussain Beg and the mother of Sultan Ishaaq Soohaq or Sahaq, who modernized the Yarsan belief, “ Jella e Jaff”. And according to religious texts of the Ahlu lhaq sect, that a number of the religious sheiks and other leaders of the sect, belong to the Jaff tribe. Sadeeq Zade BoraKey in his book Serodhai Deeni Yarsan –page 6- gives names of those persons such as Aeel Be gee Jaff, Abed Ben Jaf,f and Ibrahim Jaff.

In modern history the name Jaff clearly appears in the political events in Iran and Iraq. The French historian Jean Cora states in his outstanding book “Khwaja Tajdran” which was translated to Farsi –book 1 page 110- that Merza Mehi Istarabadi, Nadir Shah Afshar’s minister and confidant, requested help and assistance from Kurdish tribes who resided in Western Iran after the the murder of Nadir Shah, that only the chieftains of Jaff and the Mankor tribes heeded his calls during the period of the Zendis (1166-1209 hijri, 1753-1209) . The name Jaff also appeared in some historic events of that period as mentioned by Abo Alhasan Bin Mohamed Amin Golistana ( Mojmal altawareekh Ifshareia Wa zandeia –page 300) ,whereby we can deduct Jaff played significant part in those eventes
The Origin of Jaff Tribe

There is a clear disagreement between researchers on the history of this tribe, itsorigin, and the origin of the name. In the 1920s the late Karim Beg ben Fattah jaff stated in his memoirs that the name Jaff originated from “ Jafa Kesh” meaning “ The tribe which bears hardship and troubles,” because it was constantly at the forefront of the armies of the Kurdish emirates bearing the burdens of hardships and miseries of wars and battles. The word Jefa kesh was then modified to Jafa, which in turn became Jaff. The well known poet Kanea believes that Jaff were the remains of the “Jaffay cavaliers” who were the selected elite of the avant-garde of the army of Shah Hussain the last king of the Safawaites (1694-1722), whose responsibilities were the safeguarding of the securities of Asfahan the capital and it’s surrondings from thieves and criminals. In time the Jafay cavaliers became a strong and courageous army,

Jaffay cavaliers

There is a clear disagreement between researchers on the history of this tribe, itsorigin, and the origin of the name. In the 1920s the late Karim Beg ben Fattah jaff stated in his memoirs that the name Jaff originated from “ Jafa Kesh” meaning “ The tribe which bears hardship and troubles,” because it was constantly at the forefront of the armies of the Kurdish emirates bearing the burdens of hardships and miseries of wars and battles. The word Jefa kesh was then modified to Jafa, which in turn became Jaff. The well known poet Kanea believes that Jaff were the remains of the “Jaffay cavaliers” who were the selected elite of the avant-garde of the army of Shah Hussain the last king of the Safawaites (1694-1722), whose responsibilities were the safeguarding of the securities of Asfahan the capital and it’s surrondings from thieves and criminals. In time the Jafay cavaliers became a strong and courageous army,

Jaff cavalier

Jaff and Jawan

The scholar Mr. Minorski and the late well known Kurdish historian Mohamed Jameel Rozbiani, and the historian Dr. Hasan Aljaf all believe that the word Jaff extracted from the Kurdish tribe Jawan, who immigrated from the mountain area Damawand in the north of Tehran to the western part of Iran where they settled in the Jawanrod area .Jawan Rod, which means Jawanein river. Consequently Jawanrod area is considered the original settlement place of both sections of jaff tribe, the Moradi and Jawanrodi.

Jaff is regarded as the largest Kurdish tribe ( Mustafa Jawad : Jawan the forgotten Kurdish tribe ), was mentioned by Muslim historians such as Almasoodi in his acclaimed book “ Morooj Althahab”, and Alqalqashendi in “Sobh al A’asha”. “ This tribe abandoned their place of settlement west of Iran and immigrated to middle Iraq, where in alliance with Alasadi Arab tribe built together present day Alhilla town, and established the Jawani Emirate in this area where graves of some of their princes can still be found till nowadays. As to how Jawan changed and developed to Jaff is logically explained by Alrozbani in that the name Jawan is pronounced “ Javan” in the Northern Kirmanji , whereby the “W” is pronounced “V” in this accent. And, as it is also known, that there is no “V” in the Arabic language, but pronounced “F”, consequently becoming Jafan in Arabic. In time the double Jafan changed into the singular Jaff.( Minorski, Kareem Bek Aljaf,and History of Jawan and the Jawieen – Mohamed Jameel Rozbani.)

Damawand mountain area

Jaff Tribe

By Dr.Sarwat Jaff
jaffsarwat@yahoo.com jaff.sarwat@gmail.com