Histories & Culture

The Talbani are distributed throughout a number of areas in northern Iraq, though most of them reside in Kirkuk, Kufri, Daquq, Khanaqin, Kwaysanjiq, and al-Suleimaniya. 


The Talbani clan acquired its name from the  village of Talban in the governorate of Ta’meem/Kirkuk.  It is thought that this Kurdish clan with Sufi roots, is a branch of the Zankanah tribe which in turn is descended from the Arabian bani Asad tribe. Others believe that this clan  came from the regions of Surdash, and is related to the Kakih Sur and the Mir Sur, descendants of Sheikh Musa and Sheikh ‘Isa, and therefore are not Zankanah.


The Talbanis are sheikhs of the Qadiri Sufi order, which was founded by Sufi Sheikh Abdul Qadir al-Gilani, and whose grave is in Baghdad. The earliest ancestor of the Talbani, Ahmad bin al-Sheikh Mahmud, had many sons who also became religious sheikhs.  They acquired villages and farms in Kirkuk, Jimjamal and Kufri, all in Kirkuk governorate.  


Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Talbani was among these many sons; head of a well-known Sufi order in Kirkuk, he was known as an outstanding poet and Sufi master. He left behind a collection of qasidas in Persian and Turkish, carved in stone, which praised Sufism and Abdul Qadir al-Gilani. He also composed ghazal (love poetry) in mystical language, later printed in Istanbul by Rushdie Beg ibn Rasheed Pasha al-Kuzalki, Wali of Baghdad in Istanbul.  


Abdul Rahman was known as “al-Khalis”, or “the Pure”, and he had a large influence on the Kurdish tribes and on the followers of the Qadiri order.  


Other poets of the clan include Sheikh Rida bin Abdul-Rahman. who composed poetry in Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish and Persian.  His collected works have been reprinted several times. Present day members of the Talbani include Jalal Talbani,


elected President of Iraq in 2005 and leader of the Kurdish Patriotic Union in northern Iraq, and Dr. Mukaram Jamal Talbani, who was Minister for Irrigation in 1972.  


Source: الطالبان
Translated from the Arabic by Andrew Leber, Brown University, Class of 2012.