NAFAR, a tribe of Fārs and the Tehran region. Although of Turkic origin, the Nafar of Fārs have become a mixture of Turkic, Arab, and Lor elements. In 1861-62, the Nafar of Fārs became one of the five tribes of the Ḵamsa tribal confederacy (Ilāt-e Ḵamsa). The Nafar were so closely associated with the Bahārlu, already long before the two tribes joined the Ḵamsa tribal confederacy, that sometimes the two tribes would share the same kalāntar (chief). One of the better known of these was Ḥājji Ḥosayn Khan Nafar, who became chief of the Bahārlu and Nafar tribes during the reign of Nāder Shah (r. 1736-1747). His son, Moḥammad-Taqi Khan, followed, in turn, by his son, ʿAli Akbar Khan, also headed both tribes (Fasāʾi, II, p. 314, Fasāʾi, ed. Rastgār, II, p. 1583). According to Ḥasan Fasāʾi, the Nafar comprised the following sub-tribes: Bādeki, Tātemlu, Čengezi, Duluḵānlu, Zamānḵānlu, Settārlu, Sanjarlu, Šuli, Ṭāṭem, Ṭāʾefa-ye Jen, ʿArāqi, Qādlu, Qobādlu, Qarabājaḡlu, Qeydārlu and Lor (Fasāʾi, II, p. 315; Fasāʾi, ed. Rastgār, II, p. 1585).

When the Nafar of Fārs were still nomadic, their winter quarters were in the districts (boluks) of Dārāb and Jahrom, as well as in Lārestān, and their summer quarters were in the district of Ābāda-ye Tašk, north of lake Neyriz (Demorgny, p. 106). Some population estimates of the Nafar of Fārs are as follows: Lady Mary Leonora Sheil (1849), 850 families; Aleksandr Griorovich Tumansky (1896), 2,500 families (p. 79); Gustave Demorgny (1918), 3,500 families (p. 106); Masʿud Kayhān (1932), 3,500 families (Vol. II, p. 87); Arthur Cecil Edwards (1953), 450 families (p. 288).

Although it was once one of the largest tribes of Fārs province, the Nafar tribe has been steadily disintegrating. Already in the 19th century, a part of it was absorbed by the Qashqāʾi tribal confederacy. During the 20th century, many more Nafar were absorbed by the Bāṣeri tribe of the Ḵamsa tribal confederacy (Barth, p. 85). The harsh rule of Reza Shah Pahlavi (1925-1941) further undermined the unity and cohesion of the tribe. In 1940, Rāhdār Khan, a son-in-law of the Nafar kalāntar Sardār Khan, and some of his men murdered ʿAbd al-Ḡaffār Behruz, the director of the Shiraz branch of the Bānk-e Melli (q.v.), and his entire party as they were heading for Lār in a motorcade, apparently mistaking this official for a personal enemy. After several futile attempts to apprehend Rāhdār Khan, the central government offered him a fertile tract of land near the Persian Gulf in return for a pledge on his part to refrain from any further acts of violence (personal interview with Moḥammad Khan Żarḡāmi, former kalāntar of the Bāṣeri tribe, Shiraz, May 4, 1957). According to Oliver Garrod, by 1945 the Nafar had “sunk into a lawless rabble of a few hundred families, camped in the rocky wastes to the south of Lar, where they prey upon the few settled inhabitants who remain in this inhospitable region” (p. 44).

Today, the Nafar are scattered over a huge area in southeastern Fārs. A substantial group of them have also settled down in the district of Rāmjerd, north of Shiraz. According to Ḥosayn-ʿAli Razmārā, they are Qashqāʾi Nafar (VII, p. 114). But, according to Moḥammad Khan Żarḡāmi, they are Bāṣeri Nafar (personal interview, Shiraz, May 4, 1957). The Nafar of Fārs are Shiʿites and speak a Western Ghuz Turkic dialect which they call Turki.

According to Masʿud Kayhān, in 1932 there was also a tribe of Nafar in the Tehran region. Their winter quarters were in the district of Ḵāvar, south of the capital, and their summer quarters were in the Alborz mountains (Vol. II, p. 111).



Fredrik Barth, Nomads of South Persia: The Basseri tribe of the Khamseh Tribal Confederacy, Oslo, 1961.

Gustave Demorgny, “Les réformes administrative en Perse: les tribus du Fārs,” RMM 22, March 1913, pp. 85-150.

Arthur Cecil Edwards, The Persian Carpet, London, 1953.

Ḥasan Fasāʾi, Fārs-nāma-ye nāṣeri, 2 vols. in 1,Tehran, 1895-96; repr. Tehran, n.d.; ed. M. Rastgār, 2 vols., Tehran 1988.

Oliver Garrod, “The Nomadic Tribes of Persia To-Day,” Journal of the Royal Central Asian Society 33, 1946, pp. 32-46.

Masʿud Kayhān, Joḡrāfiā-ye mofaṣṣal-e Irān, 2 vols., Tehran, 1932-33.

Pierre Oberling, The Qashqāʾi Nomads of Fārs, The Hague, 1974.

Ḥosayn-ʿAli Razmārā, Farhang-e joḡrāfiāʾi-e Irān. Ābādihā, 10 vols., Tehran, 1949-54.

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

Aleksandr Grigorovich Tumansky, “Ot Kapiiskago morya k Hormuzdskomu prolivu i obratno,” Sbornik Materialov po Azii 65, 1896, pp. 76-81.

(Pierre Oberling)

Originally Published: July 20, 2004

Last Updated: July 20, 2004