AYNALLŪ (or ĪNALLŪ, ĪNĀLŪ, ĪMĀNLŪ), a tribe of Ḡozz Turkic origin inhabiting Azerbaijan, central Iran and Fārs. The name of this tribe, Minorsky believed, was derived from the Turkic title īnāl, or yenāl. He suggested that the original Aynallūs might have constituted the family and retinue of Ebrāhīm Yenāl, the half-brother of the Saljuq ruler Ṭoḡrel. When the tribe was later incorporated into the Shiʿite Šāhsevan tribal confederacy, its name was changed to Īmānlū, “Those of the faith,” and Īnānlū, from the Turkish verb īnān “to believe.” As for the subsequent evolution of the name into Aynallū, Minorsky maintained it was probably influenced by the sobriquet of the Austrian Wrendl rifle, āʾīnalū (having mirrors, see Minorsky, “Äḭnallu/Inallu,” pp. 1-11). In any case, the tribe was already known as Aynallū in the early 1800s (J. M. Jouannin’s list of tribes in Dupré, Voyage II, p. 460).

The Aynallū tribe probably settled down in southeastern Anatolia or Azerbaijan in Saljuq times. Later, it was absorbed by the powerful Afšār tribe and became one of its major components. On the list of notables during the reign of Shah ʿAbbās I (r. 996-1038/1588-1629), the Aynallū amirs are to be found among the Afšārs (cf. Taḏkerat al-molūk, p. 16). The Aynallūs backed the Safavids, first as qezelbāš and then as Šāhsevan (R. Tapper, “Shahsevan,” pp. 339-40).

The Aynallūs form one of the chief clans of the Afšār tribe of Urmia (Nikitine, “Les Afšārs d’Urumiyeh,” pp. 105-08) and of the Šāhsevan tribe of northeastern Azerbaijan (Oberling, The Turkic Peoples, pp. 6, 13, 26). Kalb-e ʿAlī Khan Īmānlū was given the Urmia region as a fief by Shah ʿAbbās I and he was followed by a series of other Aynallū governors (Nikitine, op. cit., pp. 73, 105, 106). A third group of Aynallūs belongs to the Šāhsevans of central Iran. According to H. Field, these Aynallūs were forced to move into the area from northeastern Azerbaijan by Āqā Moḥammad Khan Qājār (r. 1193-1212/1779-97) (Contributions, p. 171). Field estimated their number at from 5,000 to 6,000 families (ibid.) and Kayhān at 10,000 families (Joḡrāfīā II, p. 112). Their winter quarters are near Sāva; their summer quarters are near Qazvīn. Many have settled down in villages in the baḵšes of Zarand and Ābyak (Razmārā, Farhang I, pp. 72, 194, 234).

A fourth group of Aynallūs inhabits southeastern Fārs. These Aynallūs almost certainly came to Fārs by way of central Iran. Ḥasan Fasāʾī’s list of the clans of the Aynallūs of Fārs (II, p. 3l0) includes several names which suggest a past connection with that region, e.g., Gūkpar (which is also one of the clans of the Aynallūs of Sāva and Qazvīn), Qūrt Beglū (which is also one of the clans of the Šāhsevans of central Iran), and Zarand-qolī. In addition, the list contains the name of Afšār Ūšāḡī, which recalls the tribe’s past association with the Afšār tribe. When it was still nomadic, the Aynallū tribe of Fārs had its winter quarters in the bolūks of Ḵafr, Dārāb, and Fasā, and its summer quarters in the bolūks of Rāmjerd and Marvdašt (cf. Fasāʾī, p. 309). In 1278/1861-62, when the Ḵamsa tribal confederacy was formed to counterbalance the growing influence of the Qašqāʾī tribal confederacy, the Aynallū tribe was one of the five tribes selected for that purpose. It thereby fell under the domination of the wealthy Qawām family of Shiraz, which had been placed in charge of the new confederacy. The Aynallūs of Fārs were accomplished raiders and banditti. But in 1293/1876 they were severely punished by Moʿtamed-al-dawla Farhād Mīrzā, the governor general of Fārs, and were forced to become sedentary (Fasāʾī, pp. 309-10; G. Demorgny, “Les réformes,” p. 102). Before World War I, Demorgny estimated their number at 5,000 families (op. cit., p. 102), and A. T. Wilson at 4,000 families (Report, p. 48). Today, these Aynallūs inhabit several villages on the open country east of Fasā (Razmārā, Farhang VII, pp. 59, 113, 159, 171).



L. W. Adamec, ed., Historical Gazetteer of Iran I: Tehran and Northwestern Iran, Graz, 1976, pp. 589-91.

G. Demorgny, “Les réformes administratives en Perse: Les tribus du Fars,” Revue du monde musulman 22, 1913, pp. 85-150.

H. Field, Contributions to the Anthropology of Iran, Chicago, 1939.

L. S. Fortescue, Military Report on Tehran and Adjacent Provinces of North-Western Persia, Calcutta, 1922.

M. S. Ivanov, Plemena Farsa, Moscow, 1961.

J. M. Jouannin’s list of the tribes of Iran, in A. Dupré, Voyage en Perse, Paris, 1819, II, pp. 456-68.

T. Kowalski, “Sir Aurel Stein’s Sprachaufzeichnungen im Äḭnallu-Dialekt aus Südpersien,” Polska Akademia Umietjetności 29, 1937.

B. V. Miller, “Kochevye plemena Farsistana,” Vostochnyĭ Sbornik 2, 1916, pp. 200-23.

V. Minorsky, “Äḭnallu/Inallu,” Rocznik Orientalistyczny 17, 1953, pp. 1-11.

B. Nikitine, “Les Afšārs d’Urumiyeh,” JA, January-March, 1929, pp. 67-123.

P. Oberling, The Turkic Peoples of Azerbayjan, American Council of Learned Societies, 1964. R. Tapper, “Shahsevan in Safavid Persia,” BSOAS 37/2, 1974, pp. 321-54.

A. G. Tumansky, “Ot Kaspiĭskogo morya k Hormuzdskomu prolivu i obratno,” Sbornik Materialov po Azii 65, 1986, pp. 76-81.

A. T. Wilson, Report on Fars, Simla, 1916.


Search terms:

 اینللو aynanlo  inanloo inanlou


(P. Oberling)

Originally Published: December 15, 1987

Last Updated: August 18, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. III, Fasc. 2, pp. 143-144