Balak, باڵەک, Balek is a Kurdish tribe descendant of an ancient Kurdish clan. living in former Soran Emirate which is now part of Erbil Province in Southern Kurdistan. it is located in the mountainous region of northern Erbil Province in Southern Kurdistan., People from the Balak area speak a language that is mixed in the Kurdish Sorani dialect and the Kurdish Kurmanji dialect. Like most Kurdish tribes, the people from the Balak tribe mainly live in mountains. Balak area starts from Rawanduz district ends in Haji Omaran Sub-district. there are two main Districts in Balak; Choman City and Rawanduz City. also five sub-districts: Warta, Smilan, Galala, Qasre and haji Omaran. its 120 Kilometers Northern Hewler City the capital of Erbil province. and bordered with Eastern Kurdistan which currently is under Iranian occupation.
Choman City is the biggest and capital of Balak Tribe nowadays. Rawanduz was the capital of Soran Mirnisheen which was a Kurdish emirate based in the geographic region of Kurdistan, specifically in what is today known as Southern Kurdistan. The emirate presumably gained its full independence from the Ottoman Empire shortly after it was captured from Safavid control, in the 1530s, but was later reincorporated into the Ottoman Empire as a semi-autonomous vassal state. After serving the empire as a semi-autonomous vassal state for the next couple of hundred years, the emirate slowly gained full independence for a second time, during the late 1700s and early 1800s, but was eventually subdued by Ottoman troops in 1835. Its capital for most of that time was the city of Rawanduz
The naming of Balak tribe came from the area that they inhabit. The oldest source that mentions the name of Balak Tribe is (The book of مسالك الأبصار في ممالك الأمصار, Masalik al-absar fi mamalik al-amsar), by the Arab geographer, Ibn Fadl Allah Al-'Omari, the name Balak said to be derived from Balakan Village in Northern Kurdistan which currently is under Turkish occupation. Balakan means home place of Balak's. Also the Ottoman Sharif Pasha mentions in his report that some clans of Balak tribe reside in Zooka and Mashkan regions in Northern Kurdistan. and the name of Balak Tribe was Mentioned in Seyahatname by Evliya Çelebi.
Balak Tribe are neighbors with Mangoor and Mamash tribes in North, Bradost Tribe in West, Khoshnaw Tribe in south and Ako tribe in East. and had good relations with those tribes. Balak was one of the main Tribe members in the union of Billbas Federation. and they took part of many wars and battles against Ottoman and Safavid Empires.
Mala Sharafis are owning the complete eastern side of Balak River and parts of west side. and has control over the tribe, Some of their towns and villages are:
- Kosratan (home place of Haci Agha)
- Nawpirdan (home place of Mostafa Nawpirdani)
- Shiwalok ( home place of Mahmood Sayda)
- Walash (home place of Sheikh Mohammed Agha)
- Merga (Home place of Malasharafis)
- Rezhdur (Home place of Sharif Agha)
- Makosan (Home place of rashid Agha)
- Walza (Home place of Hamza Agha)
- Sherkawa (homeplace of Abdullah Agha)
Shiwazuri Aghas own several villages north of Choman City; these include:
- Goonda Zhor
Wahab Agha of Rawandoz. Landlord of Judian village and resort, north of Rawandoz towards Choman City. Suleman Beg of Dargalla. Landlord of Dergalla, Chomrikhin and Hafiz.
Notables and Tribe Rulers
The tribe supreme chieftain is Mala Sharafi Clan. Mala Sharafis are Land Lords and Tribe Leading Family. People calling them Agha which is the title given to tribal chieftains, is also given to wealthy landlords and owners of major real estates in the urban Kurdish centers, although these landlords are usually with heavy tribal relations.
Leaders and notables from Mala Sharafi Clan
- Mala Sharaf Land lord and Chief of Balak tribe. 17th Century.
- Shaikh Muhammad Agha (Died in 1952) Balak's most powerful Leader. Established Good relation with both British Government and King of Iraq. He became Iraqi Parliament member in 1938.
- Shemhamad Balak Prominent Peshmerga leader, former Politburo member of PASOK.
- Mostafa Nawpirdani Leader of Balak Tribe and Commander of 48th special detachment of Iraqi Fursan Militia, Due to continuous aid to PDK and PUK Peshmerga’s he was imprisoned by Saddam Hussein, after his release he joined Kurdish Peshmerga and participated in the uprising of Kurdish people against Saddam Hussein’s regime and was martyred in a battle near Hawler City in 1991.
- Hasan Kwestani (1950-1994) Prominent Peshmarga Leader in Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. assassinated by KDP in May, 17th 1994.
- Sheikh Muhammad Balak Of Zinwa The owner of Suhrawardiyya Sofism order. Sheikh Muhammad Balak was an Islamic leader from the 17th century. He had over a thousand followers during the Suhrawardiyya Order. Descendents of his followers and the residents of the area visit the shrine regularly and it is considered among Kurdistan’s religious tourism highlights.
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