Explorations in History and Society

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

The Hintire between 1880-1910

with 23 comments

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”



23 Responses

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  1. anoo ah wiil cumar beri kaah roowaale adeer waxaan rawaa walaalayaal inaan barto taariikhda beesheyda hintire marka hintire waxa uu yahay qabiilka uuyahay inaan ogaado ayaan ubaahanahay

    keynaan maxamed cali

    November 28, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    • Kuu soo dhawaaw groupkaan walaal faadumo wana kuu farahsanahay inaad nagu soo beerto. Inshallah, waxaan mar daw soo gale doona tarhiqda dheer ee besha Hintire hado ilaahey idmo.

      daud jimale

      December 3, 2010 at 6:59 am

  2. hintire iyo digil maxaa iska galay hintire iyo jareerweyna maxaa iska galay marka suaashaana haliga soo jawaabo

    keynaan maxamed cali

    November 28, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    • salaan sare bro salaan kadib,Digil waxaa la yiraahdaa collective people.dad isku dhaf ah shere with the same traditional culture.dhaqamo isku mid ah.ay ka dhaxleeyn waoowayaashoodii hore .handed down from their own ancient ancestors.

      Abdirahman mahomed omar

      March 9, 2011 at 2:04 am

  3. walaaliyaal waxaan rawaa inaan ogaado hintire imisa dhalinyaro ayaa ooga jirtay syl plz suaashaan kaliya haliga soo jawaabo

    faadumo cali cumar dhalxa

    November 28, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    • Saaxiib salaan qaali kadib. khabiilk hitire SYL. waxaa kaga jiray 1-Huudow macalin.Sheekh saqaawa diin.
      waxa ayna ka mid ahaayeeen dadkii uu horeeyay aas aaska looga soo horjeeday gumeeysataha taliyaaniga haddii aan ka soo xigto shirib ay shaxuurtooda ku muujinayaan waagaa wuxuu ahaa hintire hooy ma qaate hilib dadaad ayuu u hiraanhiraa……………

      Abdirahman mahomed omar

      March 9, 2011 at 1:43 am

    • qaaliyeey salaan qaali kadib. digil waa collective people shere with same environments and have sane traditional which they handed down from their ancient ancestors

      Abdirahman mahomed omar

      March 9, 2011 at 1:57 am

  4. waxaan aad ugu farxsanahay walaaliyaal inaan barto tariiqda beesheena hintire plz qofkii wax kayaqaana hintire waain uu noo faaideeyaaa beesha hintire

    cabdisalaan maxamed

    December 5, 2010 at 11:36 pm

  5. waxaan ahay wiil kusoo barbaaray mareerey awxasan waxaan jeclahay taariiqda buuxda beesheena hintire inaan hello

    cabdisalaan maxamed

    December 5, 2010 at 11:38 pm

  6. walaal waxaan aad ugu farxsanahy inaan arko dhalinyaro faro badan oo wadda hintir ah aniga waxaan joogaa holland waxaadna ila soo xariiri kartaan loverbornboy@hotmail.com wsc

    cabdiraxmaan maxamed cumar

    December 13, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    • Walaal, aniga runti waxaan ahay wiil Mudulood Hiraab eh, laakin waxaan xeeseeya tarikhda Somalia. Marka, waan kuu faraxsanahay inaan soo galiyo webka tarikhda Beesha Hantire oo runti ah mid aad iyo aad uu dheere. Inshallah, mardowna article badan ayaan soo galin doona.

      daud jimale

      December 31, 2010 at 8:25 am

  7. hintire bahal cade hoy maqaate hilib dadoo ayuu uhiraanhiraa maashaallh walaal aad baad ugu mahadsantahay daauud hintire maah rutii qabiil kaa dheer hambalyo ayaan ku leenahay guuleyso weligaa

    cabdisalaan hareeri

    January 6, 2011 at 3:12 pm

  8. maashaallh bro aad baan kaaga mahad celineynaa taariikhda dheer walaalahaaga hintire waxaay ahaayeen waxaay wadanka usoo qabteen aad baan kaaga hambalyeeneynaa tnks daud

    xasan cali

    January 24, 2011 at 7:30 pm

  9. walaal craxmaan waad qaldantahay is sax waxaa qaldan inuu qofka ogaado wax ka sheego qofaan heysan laakiin wax aan ku dhihi majiro waxaa noqday dheri meel walbo ka gubanaayo


    March 29, 2011 at 9:12 pm

  10. waan idin wada salaamay dhamaantiin asc salaan ka dib aad baan ooga faraxasanahay taariikhda my qabiilkeeda hintire inaan barto hadda waxaan jaamacad ka dhigtaa bakistan walaahi aad baan oogu farxsanahy waxaad na ila soo xariiri kartaan farxiyodheyman2008@hotmail.com xariirka wanagsan vive hintire

    farxiyo axmed

    April 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm

  11. walaaliyaa aad iyo aad ayaan umahadsantihiin inaan dadka wax ka tustaan qabiilka hintireiniga waxaan ahay wiil da’yar oona jaamacad ka dhigta ama ka barta dalka masar ama igebti waaxaan doonayyaa inaan wax ka ogaado qabiilkayga hintire walaalayaal dhibka ihaysto ayuu wuxuu yahay arayga hintire waan aqaanaa balse hintire wixii lagusii daro aayaan aqoonin marka ii faa ideeya waxaana leeyahay viva hintire


    May 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    • Hintire waxaa dhalay baalcade baqoon, asna waxaa dhalay ibraahim jambeele hawiye. Mahadsanid


      May 30, 2011 at 2:09 am

  12. asc walaalayaal waxaan ahay wiil hintire ah waxaana ku nolahay wadanka norwey waxaan rawaa walaalayaal inaan barto taariikhda beesheyda hintire inaan barto waxaana rabaa marka hintire waxa uu yahay qabiilka uuyahay inaan ogaado ayaan ubaahanahay waana kufarax sanahay is arageena waxaana iga heli kartaan abuukar_adan @hotmail.com /mahad sanidiin dhamaan

    Abuubakar Cade

    June 22, 2011 at 12:53 am

  13. hintire waa qabiilka keliya oo somali ah lagu garaacay diyaado walaahi taasoo aan ognahy ay ogyihiin adka dega shabeeladda hoose hadan yihiin kuwa ugu liita somali waxaa muhiim inaan ka galno bahal dahab tariiqda somalia


    July 6, 2011 at 10:37 am

  14. sxbyaal haduu hintire hawiye yahay maxuu jareerweyne wax la qeebsadaa waxaan ognahay in dowladda 4.5 uuna hintire kamidyahay anigaan waxaan ahay wiil silcis ah oo hintire dhalad ah marka walaaiyaal dhalxa waanu aqaanaa sii fiican waana hintire waxuuna ku jiraa dowladda waxuuna metelaa jareerweyne marka ,sawabtee ayuu hintire ku noqday hawiye hadii point lagu daray marka hintire wuu ahaa laakiin hada maah waa jareerweyne

    saalax geedi

    July 20, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    • walaal, hintire asalkiisa waa hawiye wuxuuna la dhashay ujuuraanta, balse sanadihii lasoo dhaafay beeshaasi hintire waxay ku lunteen qabaailo jareer ah, saas awgeed ayaa waxaa loogu daray otherska


      July 22, 2011 at 12:12 am

  15. Asc wall yaal aad ban uxii seyaa in aan wax kabarto tariikhda somaliya gaar ahan beelweynta hintire waxana ahay wiil hintire dhalad ah gaar ahan baaytire lkn waxan donayaa inan ogaado xariirka kadhaxeya hintire iyo ajuuraan

    Cali cusmaan cali bolke

    October 18, 2011 at 2:00 pm

  16. Asc dhamaan dhalinta beesha hintire walalayaal waxan ahay wiil sacad ah lks kuso dhexkoray beesha caanka ah ee hintire tariiqdodana waxbadan wanka ogahay ee ciwankan ha la igala soo xiriiro cabdirisaaq-25@hotmail.com

    C.risaaq samatar

    May 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm

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