BANĪ ṬOROF (Banu Turuf), a large Shiʿite Arab tribe of Howayza (Ḥawīza) district in Ḵūzestān, mostly sedentary, centered north of Howayza between Sūsangerd and Bostān (Besaytīn). In the early years of this century their population was put at 20,000 (Lorimer, Gazetteer II, p. 119), and in the 1930s at 8,000 families. They are organized in two sections, the slightly larger Bayt Saʿīd and the Bayt Ṣayyāḥ, a division which tradition attributes to a feud between brothers (Oppenheim, IV, pp. 24, 27-38; Persia, pp. 378-79; Field, p. 199). They trace their lineage to the Ṭayyeʾ tribe, and are related to the Banī Ṭorof of Hendīya (near Najaf) in Iraq.
Their history is obscure until the 1850s, when they are mentioned as a small group of meʿdān (marsh Arabs) under the patronage of the Banī Lām. Later in the century they were flourishing northeast of the Hawr al-Ḥawīza, along the new course of the Karḵa as far as Sūsangerd, still living partly as meʿdān, raising buffalo, cows, and sheep, cultivating rice, barley, and wheat, and attracting clients. By the 1890s the Banī Ṭorof had grown strong enough to throw off the rule of the Shaikh of Howayza and deal directly with the government of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah. In 1906 it took an Iranian army to force them to pay taxes. During the Constitutional Revolution, Shaikh Ḵaẓʿal of the Banī Kaʿb acquired the right to their taxes and drew on their manpower to advance his own ambitions (Oppenheim, IV, pp. 39-40; Kasrawī, pp. 139, 233, 235; ʿAzzāwī, IV, pp. 190-91). During World War I they joined the Turks against the British forces occupying Ahvāz, and suffered when the Ottoman army withdrew and the British delivered them to Ḵaẓʿal. In 1924, when Ḵaẓʿal broke with Tehran, the Ṭorof rebelled against him and all other authority; in 1928 they stormed the tax office in Howayza, killed the director, and demanded the removal of Iranian officials. They were finally dispersed by government forces using aircraft.
Thereafter, some Banī Ṭorof emigrated to twelve new villages centered on Ḥamīdīya in the Nahr Hāšem district, where for some time they exercised a hegemony over the Banī Kaʿb and Banī Lām residents before being absorbed by them (Oppenheim, IV, pp. 40-41).
(Great Britain) Admiralty, Persia, Geographical Handbook Series, Oxford, 1945.
ʿA. ʿAzzāwī, ʿAšāʾer al-ʿErāq, 4 vols., Baghdad, 1947.
H. Field, Contributions to the Anthropology of Iran, Chicago, 1939.
A. Kasrawī, Tārīḵ-epānṣad-sāla-ye Ḵūzestān, Tehran, 1330 Š./1951.
M. F. von Oppenheim, Die Beduinen, ed. W. Caskel, 4 vols., Wiesbaden, 1967.
Originally Published: December 15, 1988
Last Updated: December 15, 1988
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Vol. III, Fasc. 7, p. 696