Jaff (Kurdish: جاف; 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. The tribe predominantly adheres to the Shafi'i school with many Naqshbandi and Qadiriyya followers. It originated in the year 1114 by Zaher Beg Jaff, other important leaders were Mohamed Pasha Jaff, Lady Adela, Osman Pasha Jaff and Mahmud Pasha Jaff, their ancestral home is Sherwana Castle. The Ottoman Empire bestowed on them the name Pasha, a noble title, in the 1700s. They are the biggest Kurdish tribe in the Middle East with approximately 4 million people and they speak Babani Sorani. They ruled the Ardalan Principality until the 1860s.
The Jaff tribe lives in the following cities and towns: Helebce, Kelar, Silêmanî, Ravansar, Sine, Ciwanrro, Selas-bawecanî, Kirmaşan, Xaneqîn.
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. 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.
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