Explorations in History and Society

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

Archive for August 2009

The Hintire between 1880-1910

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The Hintire

Like the nearby Geledi, the Hintire were a clan of mixed pastoralists and farmers. They occupied a compact stretch of territory flanking the Shabeelle River town of Mereerey.

Although the Hintire were considered raaciye (“followers”) of the Geledi sultan from the early nineteenth century and had supported him in the Baardheere campaign of 1843, they themselves claim that their ancestors never accepted the religious supremacy of the Gobroon shaykhs. In the middle of the nineteenth century, the recognized leader of the Hintire was Shaykh Madow Mahad.

According to Hintire traditions, it was this higher education that enabled Madow to surpass even the Gobroon shaykhs in knowledge of the mystical arts. The religious rivalry between Shaykh Madow and Shaykh Ahmed Yusuf of Geledi—who is also said to have studied at Baraawe as a young man—is the subject of numerous anecdotes, some in the form of Sufi stories extolling the superior insight of one or the other.

Although the Hintire could not hope to match the warrior strength of the Geledi, Madow’s religious esteem proved helpful to the Geledi, at least initially. When Ahmed Yusuf became sultan of Geledi in 1848, Madow is said to have given him some land as a sign of friendship and a token of their school days together at Baraawe.

And the Hintire claim that the prestige of their shaykh aided Ahmed in regaining the loyalty of many clans that had defected after the Biimaal victory over his father in 1848.

However, at the same time, Madow was acquiring a religious following of his own, notably among the Hober clan of Daafeed, a district where the Gobroon shaykhs had been dominant for several generations.

Limited political cooperation between these neighboring clans thus did not prevent competition between their leaders for spiritual ascendancy. Without some awareness of this traditional religious rivalry, the particular response of the Hintire to the colonial occupation would be less understandable.

Madow was succeeded as head shaykh of the Hintire by his eldest son Ashir, who from all accounts was every bit as gifted as his father. Ashir was truly a man of religion; where his father had combined the roles of shaykh and islao  (politico-military head), Ashir gave the responsibilities of managing day-to-day affairs to one of his kinsmen, though he continued to be regarded by outsiders as spokesman for the Hintire.

(Until very recently there had existed among the Hintire both an islao and a head shaykh. In 1970 the revolutionary government abolished honorific titles, replacing them with the more egalitarian term Aw, a word signifying “respected elder”.)

Ashir had little sympathy for the military exploits of his Geledi neighbors; when Sultan Ahmed Yusuf tried to mobilize a large army to attack the Biimaal in 1878-79, Ashir refused to allow his people to participate.

This refusal appears to have marked the end of whatever cooperation had existed between the two clans. During the last two decades of the century, there occurred a number of skirmishes between the warriors of the Hintire and Geledi. The verdicts were mixed, although the Hintire won a last-minute victory in a battle in 1903-4, which proved to be the last between these riverine rivals.

The Geledi themselves admit losing the battle of Axad Mereerey (“the Sunday [year] of Mereerey”) because one of their warrior contingents attacked prematurely. The dating of a year by the battle suggests that it was one of the more important events that year (1903)

This background of antagonism toward the Geledi influenced the initial Hintire response to the “Italian problem.” Immediately after the battle of Lafoole in 1896, the Wacdaan sent a courier to Mereerey to solicit Shaykh Ashir’s support in their continuing struggle with the colonials. The courier asked Ashir to use his spiritual influence to help defeat the infidels. The Hintire leader refused on the grounds that the Wacdaan had assisted the Geledi in earlier battles with his clan. Ashir abruptly spurned the Wacdaan’s conciliatory offer of a gift of one hundred cows; the messenger is said to have ridden off without a parting word.

Shaykh Ashir’s position toward the colonials remained consistent throughout his lifetime and gives the lie to all simplistic views of Somali resistance. He felt that the Hintire, as good Muslims, should go to war only if their territory were invaded.

This policy he had applied in his dealings with other Somali clans as well. He had declined to participate in Sultan Ahmed’s aggressive campaigns against the Biimaal. He had counseled patience when his militant son and other kinsmen wanted to raid Geledi herds and seize land in dispute between the two clans. And as late as 1904, when acts of open resistance were becoming commonplace in the Benaadir, a colonial informer reported that Ashir refused to join the resisters: it was claimed that the shaykh would encourage his followers to take up arms only if the Italians moved inland and directly threatened Mereerey.

While Ashir sought to avoid endangering the lives of his kinsmen, he nonetheless wanted nothing to do with the infidels. He consistently rebuffed messengers sent to him by the Italian authorities.

Even his Somali enemies praised his nonaccommodating stance. A poet of Afgooye, recording the attitudes of the various southern clans toward the foreign invaders, said

Ashir Madow Alin Mahad refused to take the road to damnation [By receiving the infidels].

Yet Ashir was aging, and his sons had begun jockeying for succession to his position of authority. At his death in May 1907, the three sons of his youngest wife decided to take a stance that was openly hostile to the Italians.

These three sons did not enjoy as much influence in Hintire clan councils as did Ashir’s older children. It is also possible that they had been excluded from Ashir’s political inheritance, for his eldest son, Muhyeddin, had become head shaykh of Mereerey while the second oldest, Isma’il, had assumed the leadership of the Hober at Daafeed. As a result, the three junior sons may have sought increased prestige and power by taking an independent stand on the colonial issue. The three began cooperating actively with the ever-growing group of Benaadir resisters, and Mereerey soon became a major center for the gethering of dervish recruits. Those Hintire who chose to fight still invoked the name of their deceased leader: oral accounts recall how one warrior rose during a shir   and vowed that he would never offer an infidel the hand he had used to greet Shaykh Ashir.

At the news of his father’s death, another son, Abokor—soon to become the most famous—returned to Mereerey from the upper Shabeelle, where he had been assisting some kinsmen in their struggle against Ethiopia’s imperial armies. Already at this time Abokor was a declared dervish; nonetheless, he counseled his kinsmen to observe his late father’s dictum and refrain from following the example of the three younger brothers. Only when the Italians began to march inland in August 1908 did Abokor and his brothers reach an accord: they decided to oppose the occupation with arms. The town of Mereerey was one of the few places along the Shabeelle which met the Italians with a united show of force. More than seventy Hintire perished in a field outside the town, which was later burned to the ground. Several of those involved in the fighting were self-proclaimed supporters of the northern dervish leader Sayyid Muhammad Abdullah Hassan, among them Hussein Muhammad Yahiyow, nephew of Abokor Ashir, and Ibrahim Sha’ayb, who fired the first shot with a newly acquired musket.

A local poet recalled the battle some years later:

Abokor Ashir Madow said, I will not hoist the [infidels’]   flag;   The Hintire preferred death to disgrace.   When the infidels came thundering into Mereerey,   We saw many young men confront the barrels of guns;   They were fired upon and silenced forever.   We saw many people wearing mourning cloths,   And many children who became orphans.


Lee Cassanelli “The shaping of Somali society”



Taariikh kooban ee ku saabsan Warsheikh

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Warsheekh waa degmo ka tirsan Gobolka Shabeelaha Dhexe, waxayna ilaa 90-Km dhinaca Waqooyi uga beegan tahay magaalada Muqdisho, waxay ku taalaa Xeebta Badweynta Hindiya waana magaalo qadiimi ah.
Magaca magaaladani leedahay ee Warsheekh wuxuu iska saaran yahay labo eray oo kala ah “War” iyo “Sheekh”, waxaana loo la jeedaa hadalkii Sheekha iyadoo Soomaalidu Sheekh u taqaano qofkii barta Cilmiga gaar ahaan Diinta Islaamka.Sababta magacaan uu ugu baxay degmada Warsheekh ayaa lagu sheegay in ay ka dhalatay arrin dhexmartay Wadaaddo Suufiyaal ahaa iyo boqor xilligaas xukumi jiray magaalada Muqdisho.
Wadaaddan oo ka koobnaa afar magacyadoodana lagu kala sheegay Sheekh Sacad Daawuud, Sheekh Cakwaaq, Sheekh Isxaj Waaq iyo Sheekh Muuse Ileey ayaa waxay khalwo cibaado ah oo ay dadka uga foganayaan ku galeen meel u dhaxaysa deegaanada Jaziira iyo Dhannaane, goobtaas oo saarneyd Xeebta Badda.

Culimadaan afarta ah ayaa waxay halkaas ku cibaadeysanayeen in ka badan 30 sano, waxayna khalwadii ka soo baxeen sanadkii 1034-tii Hijriyada, waxayna u soo dhaqaaqeen dhinaca magaalada Muqdisho.
Markii ay Muqdisho yimaadeen ayaa dad iyaga xaasid ku ahaa waxay Boqorkii xilligaa xukumayey magaalada si bara-bagaando ah ugu sheegeen in wadaadani ay yihiin dad saaxiriin ah oo doonaya in ay sixir soo geliyaan magaalada Muqdisho ee uu xukumayey.

Boqorkii wuxu amar ku bixiyey in afartaas wadaad la soo qabto jeelkana la dhigo, sidaas ayaana Xabsiga loogu taxaabay, markii habeen la gaaray ayey waxay ku fekereen qaab ay uga baxaan xabsiga mugdiga ahaa ee maamulka Boqorku uu geliyey.

Maadaama ay sanado badan soo cibaadeysanayeen waxay isku raaceen in ay Alle baryaan si uu dhibaatada ay ku jiraan uga saaro, mid kasta oo ka mid ah afartoodii waxaa loo dhiibay howl.

Mid ka mid ah waxay u xilsaareen in uu Alle baryo si albaabka Xabsigu uga furmo, mid kale ayaa isagana loo xilsaaray inuu Alle baryo si waardiyuhu u arki waayaan marka ay sii baxayaan, kan saddexaad ayaa isna loo xilsaaray inuu Alle ka baryo sidii uu wadada ugu fududeyn lahaa oo intii habeenimo meel fog ay u gaari lahaayeen, midka afaraad ayaa waxaa loo xilsaaray in uu Alle ka baryo in meeshii ay ku waabariistaan aysan ka waayin biyo ay ku weeseystaan.

Waxay ku dhaqaaqeen waxyaabihii ay ka showreen, waxaana ka furantay iriddii, waardiyihii ilaalinayey ma uusan arkin, waxayna u dhaqaaqeen dhulka Waqooyi ka jira magaalada Muqdisho, xilligii salaadda subax ayey gaareen halka ay hadda Warsheekh ku taalo oo ahayd meel aan magaalo ahayn oo ay dagan yihiin dad xoolaaleey ah.

Sheekhii loo xilsaaray inaan Salaadda subax la waayin biyo lagu weyseysto ayaa la gaaray doorkiisii, wuxuu qoday goob Badda cirifkeeda ah, waxaana ka soo baxay biyo, weyna ku weyso qaateen salaaddii subaxna sidaas ayey ku tukadeen.

Markii ay dhameysteen Salaadda ayey waxay raadiyeen cid uun martiqaadda maadaama ay yihiin safar qariib ah, waxay arkeen dad reer miyi ah oo si teel teel ah u daganaa dhulka baadiyaha ah, qofkii ugu horreysay ee ay u yimaadaan waxay ahayd haweeney magaceeda lagu sheegay Caasha, waxayna u sheegeen in ay yihiin culimo Xabsi ka soo baxday, waxayna ka dalbadeen in ay martiqaad u fidiso.

Haweeneydii waxay culimadii u sheegtay in reerku haysto raashin, balse aysan wax biyo ah haysan, waxay culimadii u sheegeen Haweeneydii in ay meel biyo ku ogyihiin, waxayna siiyeen tilmaan si ay biyo uga soo qaadato goobtii badda cirifkeeda ahayd ee ay xilligii salaadda subax ka weeseysteen, Haweeneydii waxay qaadatay weelashii xilligaas biyaha lagu doonan jiray, waxayna u dhaqaaqday goobtii culimadu u tilmaameen.
Dadkii reer miyiga ahaa ee meesha la deganaa Haweeneyda ayaa weydiiyey halka ay u socoto, waxayna Haweeneydii ku tiri “Waxaan ku socdaa War-sheekh” oo ay ula jeedday waxaan ku socdaa hadal uu ii sheegay Sheekh oo ah in meel ku dhow Badda biyo laga helayo, sidaas ayeyna Warsheekh magacaas ku qaadatay.

Xilligaas kaddib waxay Warsheekh noqotay meel magaalo ah oo dad fara badan dagan yihiin, dhowr jeer ayey magaaladaasi baaba’day haddana dib u dhisantay, waxaa deegaan ahaan u soo maray dadyow kala geddisan oo Ujuuraan ay ka mid ahaayeen, balse xilliga ay culimadani halkaasi tagayeen iyadoo aan meeshu magaalo ahayn ayaa Haweeneyda ay la kulmeen waxaa Shariif Caydaruus oo taariikhda Soomaalida wax ka qoray uu ku sheegay inay ahayd Wacdaan.