A Somali clan known as the Darod (Somali: Daarood ) Sheikh Abdirahman bin Isma’il al-Jabarti, also known as Darood, was the clan’s forefather. The clan largely inhabits the Horn of Africa’s apex and its outskirts, as well as the Somali hinterlands up to Oromia and both sides of the Kenya-Somalia border. In the Horn of Africa, the Darod clan is the largest Somali clan family.


Aqeel Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib Al-Qurashi descendant Abdirahman bin Isma’il al-Jabarti (Darod), a son of the Sufi Sheikh Isma’il al-Jabarti of the Qadiriyyah order, fled his homeland in the Arabian Peninsula after an argument with his uncle, according to early Islamic books and Somali tradition. Abdirahman is thought to have settled in Somaliland, close across the Red Sea, in the 10th or 11th century CE, and married Dobira, the Dir clan chief’s daughter. The Darod clan is supposed to have been formed as a result of this mating.
As a result, it formed matrilateral linkages with the main stem of the Samaale. The legends of lineage from aristocratic Arab families associated to the Prophet, according to British anthropologist and Somali Studies veteran Ioan Lewis, are most likely symbolic depictions of the importance of Islam in Somali society. “There is a strong historically valid component in these legends,” he says, “which is reinforced in the current practice of a Dir representative appearing at the ritual of installation of the chief of the Darod family in the case of the Darod.” Another Banu Hashim tribe with a similar mythology is the Sheikh Ishaq ibn Ahmad al-‘Alawi, who are supposed to be descended from another Sheikh Ishaq ibn Ahmad al-‘Alawi who arrived in Somaliland at the same time. There are various hagiologies in Arabic which describe Sheikh Darod’s travels, works and overall life in northern Somalia, as well as his movements in Arabia before his arrival. Besides historical sources such as Al-Masudi’s Aqeeliyoon, a modern manaaqib (a collection of glorious deeds) printed in Cairo in 1945 by Sheikh Ahmad bin Hussen bin Mahammad titled Manaaqib as-Sheikh Ismaa’iil bin Ibraahiim al-Jabarti also discusses Sheikh Darod and his proposed father Isma’il al-Jabarti, the latter of whom is reportedly buried in Bab Siham in the Zabid District of western Yemen. Sheikh Darod’s own tomb is in Haylaan, situated in the Sanaag region of Somaliland, and is the scene of frequent pilgrimages.  Sheikh Isaaq is buried nearby in Maydh,as is Sheikh Harti, a descendant of Sheikh Darod and the progenitor of the Harti Darod sub-clan, whose tomb lies in the ancient town of Qa’ableh. Sheikh Darod’s mawlid (birthday) is also celebrated every Friday with a public reading of his manaaqib. The Darod were supporters of Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi during his 16th century conquest of Abyssinia; especially the Harti, Marehan and Bartire sub-clans, who fought at Shimbra Kure, among other battles. In his medieval Futuh Al-Habashdocumenting this campaign, the chronicler Shihāb al-Dīn indicates that 300 Harti soldiers took part in Imam Ahmad’s Adal Sultanate army. He describes them as “famous among the infantry as stolid swordsmen” and “a people not given to yielding”.


Sultan Ali Yusuf Kenadid of the Sultanate of Hobyo, from the Majerteen Darod lineage.

Darod is believed to be the son of the famous Arabian Sheikh, Ismail bin Ibrahim Al-Jabarti, who is buried in the Zabid District of Yemen who is believed to have descendant of Aqeel ibn Abi Talib who in turn hails from the Quraysh, a historically significant Arab tribe that the final prophet of Islam, Muhammed hails from. In 2009, former President of Somalia, Abdullahi Yusuf visited the grave of Ismail bin Ibrahim Al-Jabarti in Yemen. According to many medieval and modern Islamic historians, Darod is descended from Aqeel ibn Abi Talib, the cousin of Muhammad and brother of Ali ibn Abi Talib. An ancient Islamic history book, called Aqeeliyoon by Al-Masudi, talks in detail about the descendants of Aqeel ibn Abi Talib, wherein Darod is also mentioned. The book gives Sheikh Darod’s lineage as Abdirahmaan Bin Ismaa’iil Bin Ibraahim Bin Abdirahmaan Bin Muhammed Bin Abdi Samad Bin Hanbal Bin Mahdi Bin Ahmed Bin Abdalle Bin Muhammed Bin Aqail Bin Abu-Talib Bin Abdul-Mutalib Bin Hashim Bin Qusaya. According to Allaa’i Alsuniyah Fi Al-Aqab Al-Aqeeliyah (2006) by Ahmed bin Ali Al-Rajihi Al-Aqeeli, the lineage of Sheikh Darod/Da’ud is: “Da’ud ibn Ismail ibn Ibrahim ibn Abdulsamad ibn Ahmed ibn Abdallah ibn Ahmed Ibn Ismail ibn Ibrahim ibn Abdallah ibn Isma’il ibn Ali ibn Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn Hamid ibn Abdallah ibn Ibrahim ibn Ali ibn Ahmed ibn Abdallah ibn Muslim ibn Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn Aqeel ibn Abi-Talib Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi”. Al-Aqeeli adds that Sheikh Isma’il’s sons include Abi-Bakar, Da’ud, Ahmad and Abdulsamad, whose other offspring inhabit the Hadhramaut and Mahra regions in Southern Arabia 


Traditional territory inhabited by the various Somali clans shown.

The Darood are believed to be a large Somali clan both in terms of population size and land inhabitation. The Darood constitute a big presence in the Somali Region of Ethiopia and are also the largest Somali clan in North Eastern Province of Kenya. Within Somalia, the Darood are also one of the largest clans, with traditional strongholds in the north, modern day Puntland state which is dominated by the Harti subclan of Darood. In addition, the Marehan, Ogaden, Jidwaaq, and Harti Darod members are also settled further down south in the Gedo region as well as the Middle Jubba and Lower Jubba regions of Somalia. The Darood in Somalia, roughly corresponds to the Darood’s settled within the Jubbaland and Puntland states. In Somaliland the Darood settle the eastern Sool, Sanaag regions and the Buhoodle district of Togdheer Major Darood Settlements within Somalia include Galkacyo, Kismaayo, Bosaso, and Garowe. Darood are also the largest clan in Jigjiga in Ethiopia, and Garissa in Northern Kenya.



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