Archive for the ‘Hawiye History before the Somali Republic’ Category
“ Sheekh Xasan Barsane “ ( 1853 – 1927 )Sheekh Xasn Sheekh Nuur Sheekh Axmed oo lo yiqiin Sheekh Xasan Barsane wuxuu dhashay sanadka markuu ahaa 1853, wuxuuna ku dhashay tuulada loo yaqaan Ubaadi oo u jirta qiyaas ilaa 68Km magaalada Jowhar, Gobolka Shabeelaha Dhexe, Soomaaliya.
Si kastaba ha ahaatee Sheekha wuxuu go’aansaday inuu la dagaalamo.
Waqtigii ayaa dhamaaday waxaa bilowday dagaaladii fool ka foolka ahaa ee Sheekhu la galay gumeysihii. Sheeikha iyo gumeystaha waxay kulmeen marar badan iyagoo dhamaan dagaaladii uu la galay gumeystaha uu halkaasi kaga guuleystay. Waxaana dagaaladii u Sheekha la galay gumeystaha ka xusi karnaa :
· Gumar Sheel ( 1905 ) waxa uu ahaa dagaalkii ugu horeeyay ee uu la galay Amxaardii oo markaas isku dayaysay inay la wareegto dhamaan dhulka Soomaaliyeed iyadoo markaas timid Taytayle
( Balcad ). Waxaa jiray dagaalo kale uu Sheekha la galay Ethiopia ilaa markii danbe ay dalka ka baxaan
Waxaa kaloo ka mid ahaa dagaaladii uu la galay gumeystaha gaar ahan Talyaaniga oo aan ka xusi karno :
1. Dagaalkii Buulo Barde oo dhacay 1922
2. Ceel Dheere 1922 iyo 1923
3. Hilweyne 1923
4. Jiliyaale 1924
5. Hareeriile 1924
Waxaa Sheekha lagu xabisay xabsiga loo yaqaaney Gaalshiro iyadoo markaasi maxkamada gumeysiga ay ku xukuntay 30 sano oo xarig ah oo ay u dheertahay shaqo adag iyo jirdil. Si kastaba ah ahaatee hadana gumeystaha ayaa ku qanci waayay inay xabisaan oo kaliya waayo Sheekh Xasan Barsane ayaa ahaa caqabadii ugu weyneyd ee ay gumeystaha Talyaaniga kala kulmeyn koonfurta Soomaaliya iyadoo aanba dhihi karno sheekha wuxuu ahaa quwada kali ah ee dagaalo waaweyn kaga hortimid. Talyaaniga ayaa 3 sano ka dib waxay hadana isku dayeen inay dilaan Sheekha iyagoo ay u suuro gashay sanada Markey ahayd 1927 iyado markaasi ay gumeystuhu ku xireen meel god ah oo aan ku filneyn inuu fariisto godkaas ayaa wuxuu lahaa oo kali ah meel yar oo shabaq camal ah oo uu xoogaa wax u neef ah ka qaadan jiray. Intaas oo kali ah ugumaysan simin hadana waxay ugu dareen inay sun ku buufiyaan qolkii uu ku xirnaa waxaana amarkaasi bixiyay KABEELLO sida uu xusay MAXAMED ABDI (Odoyaasha Muqdisho ) oo ka mid ahaa sadexdii Nin ee loo adegsaday inay fuliyaan falkaasi. Ugu danbeyntii Sheekha ayaa ku geeriyooday suntii. Sida ku xusan Orizento Impero iyo TREE ANNI DE IN SOMALIA .Sheekhu wuxuu dhintay taarikhdu mrkey ahayd 13. January 1927. waxaana lagu duugay Qabuuraha Sheekh Suufi oo ku yaalay agagaarka madaxtooyada Soomaaliya waxaana markii danbe loo qaaday oo uu hada ku aasan yahay degmada JILIYAALE oo markii hore Sheekha xarun u ahayd.
The Hawiyas, who aro dominant in Ogaden, that is, the great central territory of Sonvjli Land, are certainly the most powerful of all the Somali people. M. Revoil describes them as less bellicose than the other branches of the race, but at the same time more fanatical and more dangerous to foreigners. They belong to a distinct Mohammedan sect, which, to judge from their practices, seems in some way akin or analogous to that of the Wahabites in Central Arabia. According to tbe accounts received by Sottiro, the Hawiyas have a large infusion of Galla blood, to which may perhaps be attributed the fact that their complexion is of a lighter shade than that of the seaboard tribes. In the inland regions most of them appear to be settled agriculturists, which is doubtless due to the greater elevation of this region, which is also better watered and more fertile than the low-lying coastlands. In Ogaden, a land of pasturage and of cattle, they are on the contrary all nomads.
In several parts of their domain the Hawiyas are numerically in a minority. In fact in these districts they constitute a higher caste or political rulers, who regard with contempt the bulk of the inhabitants as belonging to alien tribes, or even to conquered races. Thus the Adone people, who occupy the southern parts of Ogaden, differ altogether from the Somali proper, and according to their language and social habits should rather be grouped with the Bantu populations. The Adone idiom is closely related to the Ki-Swaheli of the Zanzibar coastlands.
The two castes of the Yebirs and Tomals, who, like the European gipsies, are the fortune-tellers, blacksmiths, and tinkers of these regions, are also regarded as tribes of different origin from the true Hawiyas. The Yebirs are somewhat addicted to magic practices, such as manufacturing amulets, conjuring snakes, healing the sick, casting lots, and interpreting omens. They also take a leading part in all feasts and public ceremonies. The Tomals, called also Handads, forge the spear-heads; but although indispensable to the community they are kept beyond the precincts of the villages, and obliged to marry amongst themselves, being despised and feared as baneful magicians.
In still greater contempt are held the Midgans, called also Rami, that is to say ” Archers,” who are universally regarded us the lowest of the low. They worship trees and snakes, and eat all the prohibited food, such as fish, fowl, eggs, hares, and gazelles. Thev are also daring hunters, fearlessly attacking the lion and the elephant, whom they pierce with their poisoned arrows. Like the Yebirs, tho Midgans also practise medicine, and have the reputation of being extremely clever charlatans. According to the Somali legends, the lower castes are the issue of crossings between Abyssinian women and maleficent genii, while the Midgans are of still more degraded origin, their ancestors having been the slaves of these Abyssinian women.
The Earth and Its Inhabitants …: South and east Africa
The following excerpts are from a book by the historian Lee Cassanelli The shaping of Somali society: reconstructing the history of a pastoral people, 1600-1900
In June 1908 Governor Carletti wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
We cannot afford to delay our move inland, since it will be difficult to occupy the river when the rebels who left over two months ago return with guns from the Mullah Muhammad
To give added weight to his pleas for decisive government action, Carletti attached a letter from the sultan of Geledi written earlier that month:
The Biimaal have abandoned their territory and the major part—around 4000—are in voyage to the Mullah. Only the old men, women, and children remain. Even among the Hintire only a few remain…. You must make war without any delay. Don’t remain inactive…. Your enemies won’t obey your orders and say, “We will obey only Shaykh Muhammad Abdullah….” Hintire, Biimaal, Wacdaan, Jambelul, Daud, and Mobilayn amount to more than 100,000 [ sic ]. If their messengers return with arms, they will all stand against us and the territory will be lost, since they desire only war
While the letter almost certainly exaggerates the number of Somalis who actually left to contact the mullah in the north, it does give an idea of the extent to which the resistance had become pan-tribal. A united resistance is precisely what the colonials feared.
Therefore, in August 1908, auxiliary soldiers under Italian command marched inland to the Shabeelle. They raised the flag at Bariirey; they fought with valiant Somalis for several hours outside of Mereerey; then their forces marched triumphantly into Afgooye. The colonial occupation of the interior had begun, prompted by the events of the “Year of the Dervishes.”
Page 250 of Lee Cassanelli’s The shaping of Somali society: reconstructing the history of a pastoral people, 1600-1900
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
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”
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.
Degmada Cadale qarniyadii lasoo dhaafay waxey ka mid eheed furdooyinka ey dadka Soomaalida ah wax uga soo degijireen kuwaas oo kakala imaajiray wadamada Carabta iyo kuwa Afrikada Bari, waxaana laga rarijiray waxyaalaha ey wadamadaas u baahanyihiin sida xoolaha malaayga iwm.Badda Cadale waxaa laga helaa noocyo badan oo malaay ah oo weliba si dhibyar aad ku soo dabo kartid.dhica berriga geed gaab waxaana soomaalidu u taqaanaa deex. Waxaad meeshaas ku arkeysaa meel xoogaa tilaabo ah u jirto xeebta iney joogaan xoola duurta dadku ugaarsaso oo noocyo badan leh. Dadka deegaankaas ku dhaqan waxey kala yihiin xoolo dhaqato iyo malaay gadato. Xoolaha ey dadkaasu dhaqdaan waxey isugu jiraan: Geel, Lo’ iyo Iri, Iriga oo u kala baxo Iricad iyo Ido, waxowna degaankaasu caan ku yahay dhaqashada Idaha oo markii qof marti ah ow tago lagu martiqaado wan jar ah taasoo micnaheedu tahay wan aad u cayilan, dhinaca kale waxey Soomaalidu ku maahmaahdaa “lax iyo laxaw meel islama galaan” laxdaas aad maqashay waa midda ku dhaqan deegaankaa ee daaqdo cowska gumxirka loo yaqaano ee degmadaas iyo ruumanka ku yaalo ey caanka ku yihiin.Dhinaca kale gumeysigii talyaaniga waxow qabsashadii degmadaas kala kulmay halgan dheer oo dadkii degaankaasu lagaleen, makii dambe oo ow qabsadayna waxow u bixiyay magaca ah Italo oo ow kaweday Itaaliyadii yareed taasoo ku timid markii ow layaabay quruxda degmadaas.Kedib xurnimadii degmadaasu wexey kamid naqatay degmooyinkii la ilaabay ahmiyadii eylahaayeen.
Halkee ka yimid magaca Cadale?
Cadale waa degmo ka tirsan Gobolka Shabeelaha Dhexe, waxay ku taalaa Xeebta Badweynta Hindiya, waxayna Muqdisho dhinaca Waqooyi uga beegan tahay ilaa 180Km.
Cadale waxay ka mid tahay degmooyinka caanka ka ah Xeebaha Soomaaliya, waxayna aas aasantay xilli hore oo aan si sax ah taariikhdeeda loo hayn.
Magaca ay leedahay degmadani ee Cadale wuxuu iska saaran yahay labo eray oo gaagaaban, iyadoo midka hore yahay “Caday” iyo “Leh”, waxaana loo jeedaa goob Caday leh oo ay ka buuxaan geedaha lagu rumeysto.
Cadale ka hor intii aan la aasaasin waxay ahayd goob ay ku yaalaan teendhooyin yar yar oo ay leeyihiin dadka Kalluumeysato ah oo ka shaqeysan jiray Xeebaha ku dhow dhow degmada Cadale.
Cadale waxay caasimad u ahaan jirtay dadka ku nool deegaanada ku dhow dhow maadaama ay ahayd magaalo weyn tan iyaga ugu dhow.
Sanadkii 1307 ee Hijriyada ayaa waxaa deegaanadaas ciidamadii Talyaaniga ee gumeystaha kula dagaalamay dadka deegaanka, inkastoo haddana jabhad halkaas laga aas aasay oo ka horjeedday Talyaaniga aysan muddo dheer shaqeyn oo ay mar dambe burburtay.
Degmada Cadale waxay horey u ahaan jirtay magaalo ay deggan yihiin waddaado fara badan, iyadoo ka mid ah magaalooyinkii ugu masaajidyada badnaa xilliyadii hore.
Dadka deegaankaasi deganaan jiray waxaa ka mid ahaa Sheekh Axmed Sheekh Abiikar Xasan (Sh. Axmed Wacdiyow), wuxuuna Sheekhaasi ahaa wadaad aad uga soo horjeeday imaanshihii Talyaaniga ee dalka Soomaaliya, wuxuuna isku dayey in uu si awood ah uga hortago gumeystihii Talyaaniga.
Sheekh Axmed Wacdiyow oo reer Cadale ahaa waxaa jira Gabayo fara badan oo uu ka tiriyey gumeystihii Talyaaniga iyo sida uu uga soo horjeedday, waxaana ka mid ahaa gabayadiisii:
Soomaaliyaan u dagaalamaynaa,
dalkeena ballaaran u daafacaynaa,
kuwa dulmaaya la dood galaynaa,
dabeylka mowdku intuu I daadihin,
hilibka duud cunin deebna uu noqon,
duruyadaada dab looma aasee,
kuwa dambaan u dariiq falaynaa,
kufriga soo dagay diidda leenahay.
About 1500, there rose to power in the Benaadir interior a group known as the Ajuran. Traditions say that the Ajuran governed from Qallafo on the upper Shebelle river, to the Indian ocean coast, and from Mareg, in the extreme north of the Benaadir, to the Jubba river in the south. To this legendary people are attributed a great variety of technological marvels; large stone wells, many of which still are used throughout the Southern Somali interior; systems of dikes and dams for irrigation along the Shebelle and huge houses and fortifications of stone. It is said that the Ajuran leaders were the first to impose a regular system of tribute on the surrounding population. The Ajuran had a powerful army and may have employed firearms toward the close of their period of domination.
Evidence to be published elsewhere suggests that the Ajuran were in fact a group of allied Hawiyya clans. Moving from the southern Ogaden into the inter-riverine area, these Hawiyya groups gained control of several important chains of wells. They also occupied stretches of the alluvial plains along the lower and middle Shebelle, plains previously cultivated by Bantu-speaking farmers. By dominating the critical watering sites and river crossings, the Ajuran controlled the trade routes which ran from the Jubba and Shebelle basins to the Benaadir coast. Taxes collected from nomads, farmers, and caravan traders provided the bases of Ajuran wealth and power.
For our present purpose, what should be noted is the terminology employed in oral accounts (predominately Hawiyya) to describe the leadership of the Ajuran. The key figure was the Imam, who was chosen from the family of the Garen within the Jambelle section of the Hawiyya. This is one of the rare instances where a leader in southern Somalia is recalled with the title of Imam, rather than a Somali title (ugas, waber, islao) or with the more amorphous suldaan. The Garen Imam apparently fulfilled the traditional Islamic role, for one account says that “the Imam of Ajuran was in the mosque, preaching the khudba, when the war began.”
Traditions dealing with the Ajuran also refer to wazirs, amirs, and naibs who held various positions in the Ajuran administration. (Such titles sometimes are preserved in Benaadir place-names such as Awal-el-amir, “tomb of the emir.”) Most of my informants asserted that the law of the Ajuran was the Shari’a. What this admittedly fragmentary evidence suggests is the existence in the sixteenth-century Benaadir of a theocratic conception of government and its identification with a specific clan confederation. Even if the Ajuran “state” consisted solely of those territories held by Hawiyya clans, and even if the confederation’s underlying cohesion rested on agnatic ties, the idiom of rulership was Islamic and the central focus of authority- the Imam- was a theocratic one.
Available evidence further suggests that the emergence of a theocratic tradition in the Benaadir was linked to events in the northern parts of the horn of Africa, rather than with developments along the nearby Indian ocean coast. It is known that some sections of the Hawiyya participated in the sixteenth-century jihaad of Ahmed Gran against Abyssinia. The Garen, who provided the Imam of the Ajuran, appeared to have ruled a kingdom of sorts in the Ogaden prior to their appearance in the Benaadir. Then too, the ancestors of Amir ‘Umar, a governor of Merka in the Ajuran era, supposedly came from the Sudan and (more immediately) passed through Darandolle (Hawiyya) country in the eastern Ogaden. Since sections of the Hawiyya were migrating southward both before and during Gran’s jihaad, it is not inconcievable that they brought certain theocratic notions with them. Indeed, the Ajuran maintained a wakil (governor) in the region around Qallafo. This area not only was the traditional Hawiyya homeland, but also stood midway geographically between the emirate of Harar and Benaadir, an ideal link for the transmission of political and religious ideas.
B.G Martin has shown how immigrants from Southern Arabia provided inspiration and manpower throughout the years of Muslim-Christian warfare in the Horn. He has further suggested that, particularly after the collapse of Ahmed Gran’s offensive, many Hadrami sharifs and sayyids drifted southward in the hope of carving out new spheres of authority for themselves. In a few cases these immigrants can be identified with those families known in Somalia as gibil’aad (“white skins,”) several of whom have traditions of arriving along the Benaadir in the sixteenth and seventeenth century. It is not difficult to imagine the gibil’aad serving as religious counselors, legal experts, and tax collectors in the Ajuran administration. Their zeal for formal Islamic authority may have reionforced the confederation’s tendency towards theocratizisation.
Also, on an another case, Borana Galla traditions recall continual fighting with the sagal (the “nine”, almost certainly that division of the Rahanweyn known as Alemo Sagal). While Somali-Galla warfare is particularly associated in Borana tradition with the gada of Abbayi Babbo (1667-1674). It probably flared intermittently throughout the century. Infact the Ajuran are said to have sent periodic military expeditions against Galla forces which were threatening the frontiers of their domain. It is interesting to speculate whether the Galla would have made significantly greater inroads into southern Somalia if their earliest (in the third quarter of the sixteenth-century) had not occured during the peak of Ajuran power in the inter-river area. It is equally possible that Galla pressures acted as a catalyst for the further consolidation of the Ajuran confederacy.
Briefly, to complete the saga of the Ajuran, traditions agree that they ruled for about 150 years. By the middle of the seventeenth-century, other militant Hawiyya clans were challenging the hegemony of the Garen in various districts of the Benaadir. These challenges led to the fragmentation of Ajuran unity; the Abgal (Gurgate Hawiyya) took control of the hinterland of Mogadishu and eventually the town itself; the El-Amir (probably Hirab Hawiyya) assumed power in Merka, the Sil’is (Gurgate) near Afgoy, and the Galjaal and Badi Ado (Guggundabe Hawiyya) along the mid-Shebelle. Each of these groups had traditions of battling and ultimately defeating the Ajuran. Such shifts in power no doubt were linked to the arrival of new groups of Hawiyya and to the growing numerical superiority of certain of them who then forcibly could occupy wells and pasture previously held by the Ajuran. Traditions variously point to arrogance, tyranny, religious latitude, and economic oppressions as causes for the Ajuran decline. By 1700, there is virtually no trace of the Ajuran polity in the Benaadir.
“Migrations, Islam and Politics in the Somali Benaadir 1500-1843”
By Lee Cassanelli