Explorations in History and Society

Exploring and Collecting the History of the Somali clan of Hawiye.

Credentials of Hawiye

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The following references are from “Kenya’s past; an introduction to historical method in Africa” by Thomas T. Spear about the early migration of Hawiye clans in Southern Somalia,

The following is a reference from the “Scottish geographical magazine, volume 2; volume 1886” by Scottish geographical society, about the border between the Karanle Somali (Hawiye clan) and the Galla in the far west of Harar,

The following is a short reference is from “The modern history of Ethiopia and the horn of Africa” by Harold G. Marcus about the natural hostility between the Hawiye and the Adones,

The following is a reference from “Camel milk production & marketing in Yaq Bariweyne, southern Somalia” by Urs Herren, about the increasing pressure by Hawiye clans on the native Galla population,

The following is a short reference from “African Minorities in the New World” by Toyin Falola about the nature of slavery in Southern Somalia,

The following are references from “First footsteps in East Africa” by Richard Burton, in the late 19th century, about the antiquity of the Hawiye tribe and the kazi of Zeila,

The Hawiyah are doubtless of ancient and pagan origin; they call all Somal except themselves Hashiyah, and thus claim to be equivalent to the rest of the nation. Some attempt, as usual, to establish a holy origin, deriving themselves like the Shaykhash from the Caliph Abubekr: the antiquity, and consequently the Pagan origin of the Hawiyah are proved by its present widely scattered state; it is a powerful tribe in the Mijjarthayn country, and yet is found in the hills of Harar.

The following is a reference from “Rulers, guns and money; the global arms trade in the age of imperialism” by Jonathan A.Grant, about the Hawiye clan in the Ogaden taking up arms against Menelik,


The following is a reference from “Futuh-al Habasha ‘the conquest of Abysinnia” by Sihab ad-Din, about the role of Hawiya clans in Imam Ahmed Gurey’s campaign against Abysinnia,

At this moment the companions of the imam screamed out, saying, ‘The infidels have tricked us; they are after the livestock,’ whereupon the imam split his forces into two divisions: one he entrusted to Garad Ahmusa, composed of the Somali spearmen of the Marraihan, the Gorgorah and the Hawiya; around one-thousand of them from among the most famous spearmen. And from the soldiers bearing shields, the same number.

 The following is a reference from “Symposium Leo Frobenius: perspectives des études africaines” by Social Science, about the settlement of Hawiye by the 12th century,

The following is a reference from the “Journal of historical society of Nigeria, volume 3” by the historical society of Nigeria, about the reaction of Hawiyya political and religious dissidents after the death of the Imam Yahya ibn Hussein, the leader of the Zaidite state in Yemen in the 15th century,


The following is a reference from the “The cambridge history of Africa, from c.1050 to c.1600” edited by Roland Anthony Oliver. Under the chapter headed as “ISLAM IN ETHIOPIA AND THE HORN”, it mentions the Hawiye as coastal settlers,

Mogadishu, the Jami, was also apparently built in that century, according to the inscription on the tower gate, which bears the date 1238. The other two old mosques, Arba’ Rukun and Fakhr al-Din, also belong to the same period. Perhaps the most important development at that time was the first establishment of the first sultanate of Mogadishu by Abu Bakr b.Fakhr al-Din, sometimes before 1629. Mogadishu had certainly acquired it’s prominent position on the Benadir coast by that time, and al-Dimashqi (1256-1327) described it as a leading commercial port, where merchants from Arabia, Persia and India came regularly and did business with the local traders, who also seem to have established vital communications with the interior of the Horn. The two other important towns on the Benadir coast, Brava and Merca, had also taken shape in about the same period. Cerulli reports an Arabic inscription from Brava, commemorating the death of a Muslim resident in 1104/05, which certainly indicates the existence of a highly developed Muslim community there in the eleventh century. Merca was also an important settlement in the same period. Al-Idrisi (1100-62) gives a fairly accurate description of its location in his geographical treatise written in about 1150. It was a coastal town and two stages away from it in the interior there was a river of which the river valley produced much corn. This was certainly the Webe Shebele, to which al-Idrisi also seems to make another reference when he locates fifty villages of the Hawiya along the bank of an unnamed river. The Hawiya still form one of the most important tribes of the Somali, and at the time when al-Idrisi was writing his book they occupied the coastal area between Ras Hafun and Merca, as well as the lower basin of the Webe Shebele. Al-Idrisi’s mention of the Hawiya is the first documentary reference to a specific Somali group in the Horn, and it constitutes a very important testimony to the early Somali occupancy of the whole region. Later Arab writers also make references to the Hawiya in connection with both Merca and the lower valley of the Webe Shebele. Ibn Sa’id (1214-74), for instance, considered Merca to be the capital of the Hawiya, who lived in fifty villages on the bank of a river which he called ‘the nile of Mogadishu’, a clear reference to the Webe Shebele. Yaqut, another thirteenth century Arab geographer, also mentions Merca, which he says belongs to the “Black Berbers”.

The following is a reference from “Proceedings of the Royal Geographical society of London, volume 6” by the Royal Geographical society, about the country of the Hawiye.

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