ḤĀJI ʿALILU, a Turkic tribe of Persian Azerbaijan. Its main branch lives north of Varzaqān and Ahar, in Qarājadāḡ (Arasbārān); another branch dwells in the vicinity of Marāḡa. In 1960, both branches were still nomadic. The summer quarters of the Ḥāji ʿAlilu of Qarājadāḡ were in the subdistricts (dehestān) of Dezmār and Uzumdel; their winter quarters were in the subdistricts of Keyvān and Garmāduz. The summer quarters of the Ḥāji ʿAlilu of Marāḡa were in the Kuh-e Sahand; their winter quarters were on the eastern shores of Lake Urmia, from Gogān (northwest of Azaršahr) to the delta of the Jaḡatu/ Zarrinarud River. The clans (tira) of the Ḥāji ʿAlilu of Qarājadāḡ are: Qarāḵānlu, Tarākema, Yāḡbastelu, Moqaddam, Uzbek Moqaddam, Ganjalu, Qarābāḡlu, Čāreklu, Madadlu, Pir ʿAlilu, Zeynbeglu, Kangarlu, and Qarādāḡlu. The clans of the Ḥāji ʿAlilu of Marāḡa are: Ināllu, Zargar, Yāḡbastelu, and Došmāllu (Oberling, pp. 71, 72 and 75). According to Lady Sheil, the Ḥāji ʿAlilu tribe comprised some 800 families in 1849 (p. 396).

At least some of the Ḥāji ʿAlilu clans lived north of the Aras River before the wars with Russia in the early 19th century, and indeed the names Ganjalu and Qarābāḡlu do suggest a past association with that region (Oberling, p. 72). It is said that the Ḥāji ʿAlilu distinguished themselves during these conflicts and that the chief of the tribe, Asad-Allāh Solṭān, lost as many as nine sons fighting for Persia (Mojtahedi, II, pp. 56-57). After the Treaty of Turkamānčāy in 1828, ʿAbbās Mirzā (q.v.) invited the Ḥāji ʿAlilu who inhabited the region north of the Araxes, along with many other Turkic nomads of Qarābāḡ, to move south of the new border with Russia, and offered them new pastures (Oberling, p. 72).

The Ḥāji ʿAlilu played an important role in the Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906-11 (q.v.). Their chief, Sām Khan Amir(-e) Aršad, and his brother, Moḥammad Ḥosayn Khan Sardār(-e) ʿAšāyer, supported the Constitutionalists. In the winter of 1288 Š./1909-10, they helped Epʾrem (Yeprem) Khan (q.v.) crush the Čalabiānlu (q.v.) and their allies, who, under the leadership of Raḥim Khan, had been the major supporters of the deposed Moḥammad-ʿAli Shah in his bid to regain the Qajar throne. After the execution of Raḥim Khan in Tabriz, in September 1911, Amir (-e) Aršad filled the power vacuum left by him. He extended his influence as far as Khoy, and, for ten years held sway over a vast area north of Tabriz, Varzaqān and Ahar. But in 1300 Š./1921-22, when the governor-general of Azerbaijan, Moḵber-al-Salṭana, sent him with a force of approximately 1,000 tribal warriors and 1,500 gendarmes on a campaign against the insurgent Kurdish rebel leader, Esmā’il Āqā Simqo Šakāk, he was killed in the village of Tasuj, near Marand. He was succeeded as chief by Sardār(-e) ʿAšāyer. However, with the emergence of Reżā Khan (the future Reżā Shah), the influence of the Ḥāji ʿAlilu in northern Persian Azerbaijan quickly waned. In 1301 Š./ 1922-23, Sardār(-e) ʿAšāyer was arrested and his private army disbanded, thus putting an end to Ḥāji ʿAlilu hegemony in Qarājadāḡ.



Ḥosayn Bāyburdi, Tārik-e Arasbārān, Tehran, 1341 Š./1962, pp. 139-54.

Kasravi, Āḏar-bāyjān, pp. 739, 740, 743, 881, 882, 893.

Mahdi Mojtahedi, Rejāl-e Āḏarbāyjān dar ʿaṣr-e Mašruṭiyat, Tabriz, 1327 Š./1948, pp. 184-85.

Pierre Oberling, “The Tribes of Qarāca Dāġ: A Brief History,” Oriens 17, 1964, pp. 60-95.

Mary Leonora Woulfe, Lady Sheil, Glimpses of Life and Manners in Persia, London, 1856.

(Pierre Oberling)

Originally Published: December 15, 2002

Last Updated: March 1, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XI, Fasc. 5, pp. 548-549