Sharafkhan Bidlisi

Sharaf al-Din Khan b. Shams al-Din b. Sharaf Beg Bedlisi (Kurdish: شەرەفخانی بەدلیسی, Şerefxanê Bedlîsî; Persian: شرف‌الدین خان بن شمس‌الدین بن شرف بیگ بدلیسی; 25 February 1543 – c. 1603–04)[3] was a Kurdish[4] Emir of Bitlis. He was also a historian, writer and poet. He wrote exclusively in Persian. Born in the Qara Rud village, in central Iran, between Arak and Qom, at a young age he was sent to the Safavids' court and obtained his education there.

Sharaf Khan Bidlisi
Şerefxanê Bedlîsî
شەرەفخانی بەدلیسی
Emir, Mir and Khan
ჩობან აღა.png
A portrait of Sharaf Khan Bidlisi
Emir of Bitlis
    • Shamsaddin Beg (as emir of Bitlis)
    • Ulama Tekelü Han[1]
      (as beylerbey of Bitlis)
SuccessorShamsaddin Beg Abulmalik
Born25 February 1543
Karahrud, Principality of Bitlis
Died1603–1604 (60–61 years old)
IssueShamsaddin Beg Abulmalik
Sharaf Khan Bidlisi
FatherShamsaddin Beg
MotherA daughter of Emîr Han Musullu[2]
ReligionSunni Islam
Sharaf Khan Bidlisi statue at Slemani Public Park in Silêmanî, Iraqi Kurdistan

He is the author of Sharafnama, one of the most important works on medieval Kurdish history, written in 1597.[5] He created a good picture of Kurdish life and Kurdish dynasties in the 16th century in his works. Outside Iran and Kurdish-speaking countries, Sharaf Khan Bidlisi has influenced Kurdish literature and societies through the translation of his works by other scholars.

He was also a gifted artist and a well-educated man, excelling as much in mathematics and military strategy as he did in history.

Early lifeEdit

Sharaf Khan Bidlisi was born on 25 February, 1543, in the Markazi province of Iran in the Garmrood village, during the exile of his father. His father was Shamsheddin, a Kurdish Beg[6] and his mother belonged to the Musullu tribe of Turkic descent.[7]

He was a member of the Rojkî tribe, whose members governed the Bitlis Emirate at the time[8] and had ruled intermittently as an independent emirate since at least the 9th century. Sharafkhan therefore never took up the common tribal title of "Khan", preferring instead the royal title of emir or mir, "prince." He was most commonly known as Mir Sharaf (Prince Sharaf).

Later his family was taken under protection of the Safavid dynasty.[9] He was schooled at Tahmasb's court, and wrote in 1596:

"When I turned nine (in 1551) I entered the private harem (haram-i khass)... for three years (1551–1554) I served the family (Silsila) of that refined (pakiza atvar) shah as a page at the inner palace."

— Sharaf Khan Bidlisi

Bedlîsî spoke of his education entailing instruction in the Quran, readings on the principles of shari'a, piety and purity. Due to Shah Tahmasp's religious disposition, Bidlisi was introduced to religious scholars, who warned him against evil people, and instead encouraged friendship with the virtuous. And once Bidlisi attained maturity, he was taught the martial arts (sipahigira), archery, polo, racing, swordsmanship, and the precepts of chivalry – humanism and generosity.[10]


In 1576 Tahmasb of the Safavids gave him the title of Mir of Mirs and appointed him leader of all Iranian Kurdish tribes.[11] He accepted his title, but only two years later, Sharafkhan abandoned his previous stand, and supported the Ottomans in their war against the Iranians, offering them 400 soldiers. In 1578, Sultan Murad III, the Ottoman Sultan, granted Sharafkhan the title of Emir and he became the Mir of the Emirate of Bitlis.[12] Between 1578 and 1588, Sharafkhan virtually led all the Ottoman wars against the Persians.[13] In 1597, Sharafkhan gave the authority of his dynasty to his son Šams-al-Dīn.[3]


Sharaf Khan Bidlisi was planning for a long time to write a book about Kurdish history, and finally in 1597 he started writing his epic, Sharafnama. The Sharafnama divides its history into four parts. The first one deals with the five Kurdish dynasties that have enjoyed status as royalty (Saltant): the Marwanids of Amed, the Hasanwayhids of Dinavar and Sharizur, the Fadluyids of the Great Lur, the princes of little Lur, and finally, Saladin the Great and the Ayyubids. The second part lists dynasties that have had coin struck and the khutba recited in their names. (The Khutba is a religious invocation pronounced at the Friday day prayers meeting that mentions the Prophet, the first four caliphs and the current rulers). The third part numbers the families of the hereditary governors, while the fourth details the history of the mirs of Bitilis.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kemal H. Karpat (2003). Ottoman Borderlands: Issues, Personalities, and Political Changes. Center of Turkish Studies, University of Wisconsin. p. 150.
  2. ^ Osman Gazi Özgüdenli (1988–2016). "ŞEREF HAN (ö. 1012/1603-1604) Şerefnâme adlı tarihiyle meşhur olan Bitlis hâkimi.". TDV Encyclopedia of Islam (44+2 vols.) (in Turkish). Istanbul: Turkiye Diyanet Foundation, Centre for Islamic Studies.
  3. ^ a b Glassen, Erika. "BEDLĪSĪ, ŠARAF-AL-DĪN KHAN". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
  4. ^ Gunter, Michael M. (22 June 2009). The A to Z of the Kurds. Scarecrow Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-8108-6334-7.
  5. ^ R. Izady, Mehrdad (2005). The Sharafnam̂a, or, The history of the Kurdish nation, 1597. ISBN 9781568590745.
  6. ^ Gunter, Michael M. (22 June 2009). The A to Z of the Kurds. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-6334-7.
  7. ^ "ŞEREF HAN - TDV İslâm Ansiklopedisi". TDV İslam Ansiklopedisi (in Turkish). Retrieved 9 September 2021.
  8. ^ Aktürk, Ahmet Serdar (2018). "Family, Empire, and Nation: Kurdish Bedirkhanis and the Politics of Origins in a Changing Era". Journal of Global South Studies. 35 (2): 393. doi:10.1353/gss.2018.0032. ISSN 2476-1419. S2CID 158487762 – via Project MUSE.
  9. ^ Singh, NK (2004). Encyclopaedic Historiography of the Muslim World. ISBN 9788187746546.
  10. ^ R. Babaie, Sussan (2004). Slaves of the Shah: new elites of Safavid Iran. ISBN 9781860647215.
  11. ^ R. Izady, Mehrdad (1991). The Kurds: a concise handbook. ISBN 9780844817279.
  12. ^ Eppel, Michael (8 August 2018). "The Kurdish emirates". Routledge Handbook on the Kurds. Routledge Handbooks Online. pp. 35–47. doi:10.4324/9781315627427-4. ISBN 978-1-138-64664-3. S2CID 186808301.
  13. ^ N. S. Sellers, Mortimer (1996). The New world order: sovereignty, human rights, and the self-determination. ISBN 9781859730645.
  14. ^ M. Gunter, Michael (2009). The A to Z of the Kurds. ISBN 9780810863347.


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