Hisên Begê Dasinî (Hussein Beg Dasini) is regarded as one of the most important personalities of Yazidi history. In 1534 he ruled from Mosul over the Emirates of Behdinan with the capital Amediye, and Soran with the capital Erbil. So he also ruled over regions that were mainly populated by Muslims. On the map we have created, his approximate territory of rule is highlighted. As the religious leader of the Yazidi with the title Mîr he ruled over a much larger area than marked on the map.

During the heyday of Yazidic life, from the 12th to the 17th century, the Yazidic elite built up seven large principalities with an independent administrative apparatus. Annually or half-yearly Qewals (trained itinerant preachers) with military protection from the central power structure and the spiritual centre of Lalish were sent out into the Yazidic principalities. They instructed the Yazidi population in religion and received donations for this, which flowed into Lalish. Each of these seven principalities had a specific and unique “Sincaq”, bronze standard (visible on the top right of the map). Sincaqs are iron flags and stand as administrative symbols for the centre of power in Lalish. They differ from each other in shape and were kept and maintained in Lalish. The delegates carried the corresponding Sincaq as a symbol of power during their annual pilgrimage through the Yazidi principalities to symbolize the authorization by Lalish. The Sincaqs also gave the Qewals the right and power to judge people. Only the Principality of Sheikhan (Welatsheikh) is still intact, the other principalities disintegrated in the course of the changeful centuries marked by war and persecution.

The seven iron flags were named as follows and were intended for named regions:

  1. Tawisa Enzel: Welatşêx – Laliş
  2. Tawisa Şingalê: Greater Schingal region
  3. Tawisa Hekkarê sometimes also called Tawisa Zozana: today’s tri-border corner of Iraq, Iran, Turkey
  4. Tawisa Welatê Xalta: region around Siirt, Batman, Diyarbakir, Mardin, etc.
  5. Tawisa Helebê: Aleppo and Afrin (these areas were under the rule of the family of Şêx Mend)
  6. Tawisa Tewrêzê: the city of Tabriz, situated in present-day Iran (Yazidi lived in the western outskirts in the Khoy region)
  7. Tawisa Misqofa: formerly Tawisa Serhedê (after the flight of the Yazidi from Serhed to the Russian tsardom, the name, which has been used for about 200 years, was adapted in reference to Moscow)

During the reign of the Hisên Begê Dasinî, the Yazidi enjoyed enormous political and military power and freedoms that had never before been granted to the Yazidi in the Ottoman Empire. The famous Kurdish history book “Şerefname” from 1597 by the Kurdish prince Şerefxanê Bitlîsî (Sheref Khan Bitlisi) is the most important source about the life and work of the Hisên Begê Dasinî.

Hisên Begê Dasinî comes from the Qatani Sheikh group and was the son of Hassan Beg, who is also called Sultan. Hassan Beg attained enormous power through skilful political and diplomatic manoeuvres. After the Battle of Chaldiran between the Ottomans and Safavids in 1520, he allied himself with the victorious Ottomans and was thus able to bring Mosul under his rule. Until his death in 1534, he used his power for a pacification of his dominion and improvement of the living conditions. From 1534 his son Hisên Beg succeeded him. Through him his principality experienced an economic heyday, which made him famous beyond his borders and helped the Yazidi to the peak of their political power. However, he also made many enemies: above all Muslim-Kurdish princes and rulers. The French orientalist and author A. Christian writes about this:

“In 1534, Suleyman Qanuni, the Ottoman Sultan, appointed Hussein Beg as ruler of the Yazidi. The Yazidi or Dasini became so strong by their new ruler that the Sultan gave them the rule over the Emirates of Soran and Erbil. This was a thorn in the side of the Muslim-Kurdish rulers of Soran and Erbil. The Muslim rulers of the region, such as Izeddin Scher and Sayfaddin, the ruler of Simaqli, came together to form an alliance against Hussein Beg.”

But Hisên Beg could always successfully fend off the attacks of the Muslim Kurds. His greatest adversary was the Kurdish ruler Sayaddin Sorani. Only with the Kurdish ruler Bieka Beg, who refused to take action against Hussein Hisên Begê Dasinî, he maintained friendly relations. Sayfaddin Sorani called for a “holy war” against Hisên Beg and the Yazidis and was able to assemble a large Muslim-Kurdish force.

The Yazidis under Hisên Begê Dasinî first succeeded in fending off all attacks. However, when the Yazidi prince was absent in 1534 – some sources say he had visited Sheikhan, others say he had visited Constantinople – the Muslim Kurds under Sayfaddin took this opportunity and attacked Erbil. Erbil fell into their hands. Attempts at reconquest failed because the Muslim population joined the new rulers. Hundreds of Yazidi fighters lost their lives. The Kurdish historian Hussein Huzni Mukriyani writes:

“The Emir Sayfaddin Hussein Pir Budaq, the ruler in Simaqli, did not tolerate Hussein Bag’s rule at all, and both became bitter enemies. In the last warlike conflict between the two rivals, Hussein Beg was able to gain the upper hand. The Emir Sayfaddin had no choice but to flee to the Emir of Erdelan (Bieke Beg) and ask him for help and support against the Yazidi Emir. But the emir refused to support him in his fight against Hussein Beg. He himself was afraid of the revenge of the Ottoman Sultan. Disappointed, Sayfaddin returned to Irbil. There he mobilized the masses and was able to raise a group of hard fighters. The Emir Hussein Beg was in Constantinople (Istanbul) when Sayfaddin attacked the city of Irbil with his warriors. The Emir Hussein Beg returned immediately to restore peace and order in his emirates. There were clashes between the two camps. This time Sayfaddin was able to gain the upper hand. More than 500 Yazidi warriors were killed. Sayfaddin and his loyal warriors were able to seize vast amounts of weapons. This quick victory over his Yazidi rival enabled him to win back all the lands in the two regions. When the Ottoman Sultan learned of the Yazidi Emir’s defeats, he invited him to his home and had him executed. Although the Sultan was able to mobilise the other Kurdish rulers against the Emir Sayfaddin, he was not able to disempower him. Sayfaddin became the sole ruler of Irbil and Soran without any competition.

Wie diese Quelle belegt, ließ der osmanische Sultan Hisên Beg nach dieser Niederlage 1566 nach Istanbul rufen und ordnete dann seine Hinrichtung an. Nach seiner Ermordung verloren die Jesiden ihre politische Macht und waren fortan einer neuen Welle von Verfolgung und Unterdrückung ausgesetzt.


Ismail, Alia Bayezid: „Ihre Spuren sind bis heute nicht verwischt: Hussein Beg al-Dassini und Ali Beg, Sohn des Hassan Beg“, in: „Yezidische Helden – Mêrxasên Êzîdiyan“, Oldenburg, 2011, S. 44 – 89.

Guest, John S.: „The Yezidis: A Study in Survival”, London, 1987.

Brennan, Shane und Herzog, Mar: „Turkey and the Politics of National Identity: Social, Economic and Cultural Transformation”, London, 2014.

Acikyildiz, Birgul: „The Yezidis: The History of a Community, Culture and Religion”, London, 2014.

Prof. Barb, Heinrich Alfred: „Geschichtliche Skizze der in der Chronik von Scheref behandelten dreiunddreissig verschiedenen kurdischen Fürstengeschlechter“, 1856.

Azad, Abu: „Das Land der Dassini – ein Symbol des Widerstandes gegen Unterdrückung und Verfolgung“, in: „Yezidische Helden – Mêrxasên Êzîdiyan“, Oldenburg, 2011, S. 13-20.

Hecî, Bedel Feqîr: „Hevrikya Şemsanî, Adanî u Qatanyê li ser mîryatîya Êzidîyan“, Zeitrschrift „Êzdînas 1 – Kovara Navenda Lêkolînên Êzdînasiyê“, Dengê Êzîdiyan, Oldenburg, 2014.

Dr. Reşo, Xelîl Cindi (Dr. Khalil Jindy Rashow): „Mirgeha Şêxan û Şingal û Kilîs“, Zeitschrift „Roj“, 6. Ausgabe, 2003.

Picture sources:

H. Layard, Niniveh and Babylon, Londra, 1853, s.48.

Map template: Image ID : 88034236, zuletzt geöffnet am 06.04.2020, https://www.123rf.com/photo_88034236_stock-vector-iraq-old-treasure-map-sepia-engraved-template-of-pirate-map-stylized-pirate-map-on-vintage-paper-.html