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JAFF FAMILY (paternal grandparents)

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 JahfJaafJafCaf 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 (Hanna Jaff’s great grandmother) 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” (Hanna Jaff’s grandfather), 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

Click: Tribute of the Jaff Tribe


Tribute to Mohamed Pasha Jaff at the Cultural House in Tlalpan in Mexico City




Personalities of Kurdistan

Personalidades de Kurdistan 1Link

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.

Iraq and the persian gulfLink


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

To mesopotamia and kurdistan in disguiseLink


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.

A short history of iraqLink


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.



Here is a British source about Sheikh Ubeydullah rebellion, was friends with Khalid I Baghdadi.


Khalid I Baghdadi

This is all about Khalid I Baghdadi’s disciples of the El Cezeri clan, who became Sheikhs under his guidance. Most of it is in Turkish.

The El Cezeri clan is a Kurdish religious clan of Cizre of the Red Medrese. Cizre was leveled recently in 2015 in war between the PKK and the Turkish Army.

Khalid I Bahdadi is a major religious leader of the Jaff tribe, he influenced the political structure in Modern day Turkey from the Government Diyanet to the ruling AKP.

Khalid influenced the belief system of the Kurds in South Eastern Turkey as well, and that their religious leaders were his disciples, which is what the paper talks about. Cizre is a main cultural center for Turkish Kurdistan.



Khaled I Baghdadi tomb

Mausoleum and Tomb of Khaled I Baghdadi in Damascus, Syria, a great Sheikh from the Jaff tribe during the reign of Mohamed Pasha Jaff and Khashrow Kai Beg Jaff in the early 19th Century. The Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid II, who issued the Gulhanne Edict of reform in the Ottoman Empire, was a member of his sect. He built this mausoleum for his tomb after his death in Damascus, Syria.


In Quest for God and Freedom: The Sufi Response to the Russian Advance in the North Caucasus

This book explains in detail Sheikh Khalid I Baghdadi Jaff and his rise to prominence, and spread of his influence within the 19th century Ottoman Empire, and transformation of it’s belief system.

Sheikh Khalid I Baghdadi would shape Mahmud Pasha Jaff and even Sheikh Mahmud Barzinji’s belief system. His influence spread in response to the Russian Armenian expansion within the Ottoman Empire with the rise of such Khalidi figures as Sheikh Ubeydullah of Nehri.

Mahmud Pasha Jaff would join in Ubeydullah’s war against Russian Armenian subversion, and would fight the Pro Russian Hamavands, conquering Persian Zohab.



Sheikh Ubeydullah of Nehri

Here are British Embassy reports of Sheikh Ubeydullah’s invasion of the Persian Qajar Vilayet of Kordestan, and his spreading of the Naqsbendi Khalidi Order to the Ardalan regions and homeland of the future Jaff Queen Adela Khanum in the early 1880s.

Sheikh Ubeydullah was a disciple of Jaff Sheikh Khalid I Baghdadi from the Hakkari region of Turkish Kurdistan.

Mahmud Pasha Jaff would join in the invasion of Persia, besieging Qasr I Shirin to destroy the remnants of the Aziz Beg Faction and Hamavand to avenge the death of Mohamed Pasha Jaff his father. Mahmud Pasha Jaff would take all of Zohab. The old Ardalan foes of the Jaff would come to respect the Jaff, who were the tribe of Sheikh Khalid I Baghdadi, patron of Sheikh Ubeydullah.

The Ardalan would give Adela Khanum as a bride to Mahmud Pasha Jaff’s brother Osman Pasha Jaff to cement an alliance with the Jaff.


Living in Romantic Baghdad

This is memoir of Ida Donges Staudt, an American Missionary teacher, who taught one of Adela Khanum’s daughters at a School opened by an American Mission Board. She has nothing but praise for Adela Khanum.

Living in romantic baghdadLink


Belief and Islam

Here is another analysis of Sheikh Khalid I Baghdadi’s Belief and Islam: Fundamentals of Islam comparison with the Gospel of Matthew: Sermon on the Mount.

Sheikh Khalid I Baghdadi, he greatly influenced many people and history in the Middle East.



Soane at Halabja

Within this book is mentioned Tahir Beg’s Education and knowledge.

Ely Banister was directed to Halabja by the Ottoman Sheikh Ul Islam from Constantinople, who was the successor of Sheikh Khalid I Baghdadi of Sanandaj.

Amin Effendi was a German medical doctor, who advised Lady Adela Khanum, and hated Soane.

Tahir Beg found out that Soane was British and sent him away for fear of reprisal from the Ottoman government.

soane at halabjaLink


Iran at War

This is a book about Adela Khanum’s grandfather cementing ties with the Qajar emperor, Mohammed Agha Qajar in his rise to power against the Zand in his war for the Persian throne.

iran en la guerraLink


Document collections

Click to open: Sheikh Ubeydullah had many Armenian Christians swell his ranks within his army


Involvement of the Jaff under Mahmud Pasha Jaff in the Armenian and Kurdish Khalidiyya Sectarian violence in the aftermath of the Russo Ottoman war of 1878.



Mahmud Pasha Jaff and The Triumph of the Jaff Tribe’s Inevitable Destiny



Google Books document

A piece most unique to the Jaff, concerning Christian Jaff scholar of the insurrectionist Sheikh Ubeidullah in the 1880s, Keffee Effendi. Keffee Effendi was translating Christian texts for the Armenians, who were revolting against the Ottoman Empire along with Sheikh Ubeydullah.

The Jaff have a hand in the Armenian Christian identity through Keffee Effendi.



Jaff family findings

Click to open: Report on the Sulaimania district of Kurdistan


Sherwana Castle



Sherwana Castle with Saddam Hussein

Here are Saddam Hussein era articles on the Sherwana Castle from Baathist Iraq times.


Dawood Beg Jaff  with the President of Iraq, Abdul Karim Qasim, in 1958.


The Ottoman Origins of Modern Iraq

This book mentions Mohamed Pasha Jaff’s appointment as governor of Gulanbar by the Mutasarrif of Suliamania, and a document that states this in 1869.



Kurds, Turks and Arabs: Politics, Travel and Research in North-Eastern Iraq, 1919-1925

London, 1957

Cecil J. Edmonds



Narrative Of A Residence In Koordistan, And On The Site Of Ancient Nineveh; Vol. I


The Jaff are mentioned on pages:  11, 12, 15, 153, 155, 156,164,165,169,170,175,187, 205,226,227,229,231,233,234,235,236,238,242,269,280,328,329,330,334,340,341


Narrative of a residence in Kurdistan, and on the site of ancient Nineveh


Here are pages about the Jaff’s relationship to the Babans before Mohamed Pasha Jaff became the governor of the Shahrizor of the present day Garmiyan Region of Kurdistan. The chief was Kai Khosrow Beg Jaff.

Pg. 109

Pg. 112

Pg. 118

Pg. 123

Pg. 129

One page mentions the history Khalid I Baghdadi.

Pg. 141

One page mentions the Mohamed Pasha Jaff and his father, Qadir Beg Jaff.

Pg. 188

One page mentions the Jaff’s relation to the Ardalan.

Pg. 217


The Ottoman Reformation and the Muslim Generation

This book is about how Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II ultimately dealt to contain Mahmud Pasha Jaff during his insurgencies in the aftermath of the Russo Ottoman war of 1878 and how the he was considered a great threat by not only the Ottomans but the Barzanis as well, who were rivals in region.



Ottoman-Iranian Borderlands: Making a Boundary, 1843-1914 – Sabri Ateş

This book supports my hypothesis about Mahmud being Hamid. The graph is for the Zohab region, which this book states Mahmud Pasha Jaff occupied.



The translation of Chirikov’s books … mentions the Jaff family

The book written by Colonel Egor Ivanovich Chirikov in Russian language, entitled: Putevoi Zhurnal by Turetsko Persidiskomu razgranicheniiu in 1849-1852.

It is clarified why Mahmud Pasha Jaff lost power over the Jaff to his brother Osman Pasha Jaff, and the popularity of the Ottoman Sultan and Qajar Shah.

La traducción de libros de ChirikovLink


Putevoi Zhurnal

Translation of this page is from a Russian book by E.I. Chirikov. The title of the book is Putevoi Zhurnal. It states in page 445 that the Jaff tribe had a dispute with the Qajar Persian government over their summer residences within Khunishehr. Colonel Chirikov of the Russian Imperial Army was part of the Russian British Persian Ottoman Border Commission to mediate in this dispute during 1884. This was in the aftermath of the Russo Ottoman war of 1878 and the Sheikh Ubeidullah revolts. Also, the Jaff had besieged Qasr I Shirin in Persia to take vengeance on the Hewreman and Aziz Bey Faction of the Jaff tribe, which had killed Mohamed Pasha Jaff.

Translation also says:

Colonel Chirikov deals with both Ahmed Bey and Khasro Bey Jaff of the Suliamania faction of the Jaff, who were sons of Mohamed Pasha Jaff. Mahmud Pasha Jaff’s power was dwindling at this time, and Osman Pasha Jaff had not yet succeeded him. The Shahrizor Jaff’s who were directly under Mahmud Pasha Jaff of 500 tents were in full revolt, and were burning villages as stated on this page.

Mahmud Pasha Jaff might mentioned as the Chief of the tribe by Chirikov in the graph, but the name stated is Hamid Bey. I can find no record of a Hamid Beg Jaff in other sources. Hamid Beg Jaf might be a Russian pronunciation of Mahmud Beg Jaff.

This page declares that Russian border commission stayed with the Jaff tribe, and that Colonel Chirikov noted that they were the best dressed of all Kurdish tribes.

Page 448. An enemy tribe close to the Bistani killed one of the Jaffs, (perhaps the Hewreman). The Jaff declared war against the Hewreman as a result.

The Hewreman offered a ransom of one woman and 5 livestock.

The Jaff refused and wanted 10 Hewreman dead.

Final message pg 603 is not about the Jaff tribes crops, but the taxes they payed to Persian government in the disputed Zohab lands they had occupied. 20-50 Tuman. They also payed taxes in Sheep and cattle.


The official translations of all the Ottoman Empire Documents from the National Archives in Turkey that mention the Jaffs. The documents mention Mohamed Pasha Jaff by the name of “Mehmed”.

documentos del Imperio Otomano de los Archivos en TurquíaLink


The Andover Review

On page 22 and 29 you can see the information about Kefee Effendi (was Jaff during Mahmud Pasha Jaff’s time), Said Pasha, and Bahri Pasha Jaff.

andover reviewLink


 Mahmud Pasha Jaff and The Triumph of the Jaff Tribe’s Inevitable Destiny


Mahmud Pasha Jaff

Mohamed Pasha Jaff


Lees documents


Notes on The Southern Tribes of Kurdistan

Click to open

Notas sobre las tribus del sur de KurdistánLink


National Archives in London, United Kingdom

The National Archives in London, United Kingdom. More than 100 documents, treaties, photos, and books written about my Jaff ancestors from 1800-1900s. Took home authentic copies, and an online link on my great grandmother Lady Adela.




National Archives in Great Britain.

Jaff Tribe

Click to open: National Archives in Great Britain


National Archives of United Kingdom


“The government of Kurdistan appreciates the government of Mexico the placement of the statue of Mohammed Pasha Jaff in Mexico City”


Kurds, turks and arabs



Adela Khanum at the Halabja Museum.


Kurdish women should be proud in Women’s world day because of:

The Lady Adela Jaff or Adela Khanem. British appointed her and called her the Princess of the Brave she was a famous and cultured chief of the Jaff tribe, one of the biggest Kurdish tribes.

Lady Adela exerted great influence in the affairs of Jaff tribe in the Sharazor plain. She was married Kurdish King Osman Jaff. The revival of commerce and restoration of law and order in the region of Halabja is attributed to her sound judgement. 

1. Vladimir Minorsky has reported his meeting with Lady Adela in the region of Halabja in 1913.

2. Major Soane wrote about her in his book To Mesopotamia and Kurdistan in Disguise: “a woman unique in Islam, in the power she possesses, and the efficacy with which she uses the weapons in her hands..

3. Gertrude Bell, British politician and writer, describes Adela Khanem in a letter in 1921 as follow:” The feature of Halabja is ‘Adlah Khanum the great Jaf Beg Zadah lady.


Official Documents Jaff Family of ARCHIVES OF OTTOMAN EMPIRE.



Poetry by Ahmad Mukhtar Beg Jaff.

(The Poetry is all Sorani Kurdish)



Data taken from (now


Poetry from Ahmed Muxter Beg Jaff


Arfa, Hassan. The Kurds. London: New Left Books, 1968.

Bailie, Fraiser K. Travel in Kurdistan. London: Bangor House, 1970.

Beltons D.K. Kurds, Arabs (The Memdin of Wallac Lyon in Iraq) 1918-1944. London: Field House, 2002.

Cecil J. Edmonds, Kurds, Turks and Arabs: Politics, Travel and Research in North-Eastern Iraq, 1919-1925,London, 1957.

Claudius, Gims R. Narrative Residence in Kurdistan and Site of Ancient Nineveh. England: Geag International Publisher, 1972.

Derk, Kinnan. The Kurds: A Kurdistan. New York: Oxford University press, 1970.

Drivbr Gr. Kurds and Kurdistan. London: Zed Press, 1920.

Ely Banister Soane, To Mesopotamia and Kurdistan in Disguise, London 2007

Edmunds, C.G. Kurds, Turks and Arabs. London: Oxford University Press, 1957.

Hitchens, Keith. “Goran, Abdulla”, In Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century. Vol. 2. 3rd ed., completely rev. and enl. Edited by Steven R. Serafin and others, pp. 276–277. Farmington Hills, MI: St. James Press, 1999

Iraq Administration Reports: 1914-1932, Vol1-10.

Joyce Blau, “Written Kurdish Literature,” in Philip G. Kreyenbroek and Ulrich Marzolph, eds., History of Persian Literature, Companion Volume II: Persian Popular Literature; Literatures in Modern Iranian Languages other than Persian, 2010, pp. 103–28.

Khanai Qobadi, Širin o Ḵosrow, ed. M. M. ʿEbd el Kerim, as Šīrīn ū Ḵusrew, akari ṝ‘irî nawdarî kurd Xanay Qubadi, Baghdad, 1975.

Menoasky Menosky. The Goran and the Kurds. London: Oxford University press, 1943.

Millingen F. Wild Life among Kurds. London: Hurst and Blackett Publishers, 1870.

Minorsky, The Tribes of Western Iran, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, pp. 73–80, 1945. (p. 78)

Pattaoe, Hanna. Iraqi Kurdish Tribe (Part1). London: Greenwood Publishing Group, 1988.

P. Lory, “Shahrazuri” in The Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition, ed. by H.A.R. Gibbs, B. Lewis, Ch. Pellat, C. Bosworth et al., 11 vols. (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1960–2002), vol. 9, p. 219

Sadiq Safizade, Pishgouyiha-ye lI-Begi Jaff (‘The Prophecies of Il-Begi Jaff’), Teheran 1988

Soane Banister, E. To Mesopotamia and Kurdistan in Disguise. London: Oxford University Press, 1912.

Stinfly, Long G. Century From Iraq History. London: Oxford University press, 1986

W. Jwaideh, The Kurdish national movement: its origins and development, 419 pp., Syracuse University Press, 2006

1. concerning Adela Khanum Jaff, the writer vladimir minorsky met her in 1913, as mentioned in his books … the tribes of western iran, the journal of the royal anthropological institute of great britain and irland 75: 73-80.

2. Iraqs new history. by: dr. abdulaziz sulaiman nawar (arabic, printed in egypt 1943)

3. A scandanavian women author by the name of hansson, wrote a detailed book on adela khanum called “kurdish women”


Jaff family Links
– – – – – – – –;view=2up;seq=12;skin=mobile;view=2up;seq=32;skin=mobile’s-historic-Pasha-Palace-and-Sherwana-Castle 

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