Department for Studying Kurds

Department for Studying Kurds

One of the research projects of the Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia, which started in 2007 and is still ongoing, is the Kurd and Kurdistan History and Culture project.

The Kurdology department was established to implement this plan, and the project started with the collaboration of Iranian and foreign professors. However, its implementation takes place sluggishly because:

1) There are few academic studies in this field, particularly in our country. The Kurdology department was established in many European and American universities at least since one hundred years ago. Dozens of centres in this field have been established even in neighbouring countries such as Turkey and Kazakhstan. Still, there is no such major in our country’s universities and research centres.

2) Iranian researchers rarely research Kurdology, and comprehensive studies in this field are infrequent. Most existing works are ethnographies and historiographies, often created by personal love and interest.

Compilation of Kurdish history and culture in several volumes can not only provide a reference for those interested in this field and recognition of Kurdish people, but it is also helpful for a better understanding of Iranian and Islamic history and civilization. According to the opinion of most Kurdish scholars, Kurds are descended from Aryans, have lived in the Iranian plateau since ancient times, and have historical and cultural connections with other Iranian tribes. Most of the Medes-Assyrians, Achaemenids-Greeks, Parthians-Romans, Sasanians-Romans, and Sasanians-Arabs wars took place in the Kurdish regions.

Today, after centuries, there is still a rich treasure of oral literature among the Kurdish people about all those events. Recording this fertile culture is one of the essential priorities for knowing the history and culture of Iran. A glance at several Kurdish Shahnamehs reveals the significance of this culture for understanding Iranian myths and legends.

During the Islamic caliphate, the Kurdish regions were located at the crossroad between the Islamic caliphate capital and its borders in Armenia, Eastern Rome and the eastern areas of Iran. During the Islamic era, the Kurdish regions were always the site of many famous wars as well, such as the war between the Abbasids and the army of Marwan, the last Umayyad caliph, the battle of Tahir ibn Hussain (known as Dhul-Yaminayn) with Amin’s army, and the Seljuq wars with the local rulers of western Iran. Most importantly, Iran and Ottoman wars from Safavid to Qajar took place in the Kurdish regions. Recognizing these historical events with the approach of local history can increase Iranian historians’ knowledge. From the cultural point of view, familiarity with written and oral Kurdish literature, customs and popular culture, traditional sciences and Sufism in the Kurdish regions can open new doors for a deeper understanding of Iranian culture.

In the cultural and civilizational trends in Islamic history, the role of the Kurdish people is significant. Kurdish lands are located between central Iran and the Arab world. For this reason, Kurdish scholars have long been fluent in Persian, Arabic and later, Turkish languages ​​in addition to their mother tongue, and they played a substantial role in the cultural links between Persian speakers, Arab speakers, and Turkish speakers in the Ottoman Caliphate. In continuation of this historical tradition, many Iraqi Kurdish scientists and even their political leaders speak Persian and Arabic like their mother tongue. Another noteworthy point is that the Kurds were the founders of one of the famous dynasties in Islamic history called the Ayyubids, and their name and the founder of this dynasty, Salah al-Din Ayyubi, is linked with the history of Egypt, Syria, Palestine and the Crusades.

Due to these issues and the fact that the Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia is a centre for Islamic and Iranian studies, the Kurdology department was established. In addition to preparing Kurdish History and Culture plans, this department also covers other fields, such as preparing research resources and scientific files and compiling articles related to Kurds and Kurdish regions for The Great Islamic Encyclopaedia, Encyclopaedia of Iran, Encyclopaedia of Iranian Folklore, and other encyclopaedias.

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