History of the Jaff Family and the Tribe 

Numerous people, tribes, empires, and governments all made contributions that helped to create the world as we know it today. The Jaff tribe of Kurdistan, is a noble family, and one such tribe with a 900-year history. It is also referred to as Jahf, Jaaf, Jaf, Caf, etc. There are an estimated 40 million Kurds worldwide who live in the Kurdistan territory, which includes parts of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria. The extraordinary history of the Jaff tribe gives the world an understanding of the influence this tribe had on Kurdistan. Zaher Beg Jaff founded the clan that is now the biggest in Kurdistan and one of, if not the oldest, dating back to the year 1114. The tribe has 4 million members as of right now. Although Kurdistan does not currently have its own state, it does have its own regional administration, people, culture, language, and music. 

Pictured: Dawood Beg Jaff (center) and other Arab leaders on Time Magazine, use to be known as Life Magazine.

Mahmud Pasha Jaff was an individual who lived in close proximity to the Ottoman Empire. He was born around 1262. He rose to the position of Pasha and was the Jaff tribe’s top leader, ruling with mercy. The region had previously been ripped apart by violence, but a great leader who believed in serving the people had also created peace and brought together numerous Kurdish tribes. At its height, his reign encompassed regions in North Africa, the Middle East, and southern Europe.

Pictured: President Jimmy Carter, MP Sardar Dawood Beg Jaff, and King of Iran Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi all working as allies.

Mohammed Pasha Jaff, who was born in 1714, was the head of the Jaff tribe and one of the most adored and revered Kurdish Pashas. He advocated for human rights during his rule and is now regarded as one of the few pioneering leaders who publicly fought for those rights at the time. He openly backed Kurdish independence as well. He constructed the Sherwana Castle, the ancestral house of the Jaff family, which is situated in Kalar, Kurdistan, Iraq. 

Pictured: Iranian King Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Dawood Beg Jaff, leader of the Jaff tribe

Kurdish King Osman Pasha Jaff, who was born in the late 1850s and demonstrated his ability to rule by being wise and brave, did likewise. He made a concerted effort to pinpoint and address the Middle Eastern issue of women’s suffrage. Since the Jaff tribe also resided on the other side of the border (Iran), the Ottoman Empire trusted him to maintain peace between all the borders, including Persia. He received honorific titles and medals from the Ottoman Empire for his efforts and administration of the region. Osman Pasha received the sword of honor from the Shah of Persia in 1894 in recognition of his efforts to maintain peace. 

Together with Lady Adela Khanem, also referred to as “Princess of the Brave” by the British, Osman Pasha ruled the territory. In addition, she was a talented administrator who sat over Kurdish courtrooms after being chosen as a “Qadi.” (meaning Judge in English).

The Sahibqeran family was another known aristocratic family, and the birth family of Lady Adela Khanem Jaff. She was able to aid in the restoration of trade and law in the area thanks to her intellect, ability to make wise decisions, and influence over the Jaff tribe. While Osman Pasha was on the front lines of the 1914–1918 conflict, Adela remained and granted the British sanctuary. She succeeded in saving the lives of numerous British soldiers and assumed control of the administration when her husband was away. She received the “Medal of Honor” from the British for promoting peace and showing them kindness.

Pictured: Iranian Prince Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and Saryas Dawood Fattah Al Jaff

Dawood Fattah al Jaff, also known as Dawood Beg Jaff, was born in 1905 and is recognized as “The Lion of Kurdistan.” Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi named him as the head of the Jaff tribe and a Royal Minister in Iran and Member of Parliament in Iraq. He made major contributions to peace, the defense of human rights, and the independence of Kurdistan. His children Salar and Sardar were also Members of Parliament and his son Nozad Dawood Fattah Al Jaff is the current leader of the Jaff tribe. 

Sherwana Castle, family seat of the Jaff family since 1700s

What we said is only a small portion of the tribe’s history. The contributions of Jaff leaders to human rights, independence, peace, equality, and women’s empowerment will endure forever. The majority of the Jaff tribe’s discoveries are written in ancient languages or are not in English. However, you may read more about Jaff history below, as well as locate books, articles, interviews, treaties, acknowledgments, images, and documents from the UK and Turkey’s National Archives.

Pictured: Jaff towers, tallest towers in Iraq and Jaff tribe headquarters, built by Nozad Dawood Fattah Al Jaff


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 acknowledgement

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


Saryas Jaff

Dawood Jaff

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.