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Regions with significant populations
Sunni Islam, Sufism
Related ethnic groups
Dir, Hawiye, Isaaq, Rahanweyn, other Somali people

The Darod (Somali: Daarood, Arabic: دارود‎‎) is a Somali clan. The father of this clan is named Abdirahman bin Isma'il al-Jabarti, but is more commonly known as Darod. In the Somali language, the word Daarood means "an enclosed compound," a conflation of the two words daar (compound) and ood (place enclosed by wall, trees, woods, fence, etc.).

The Darod population in Somalia lives principally in the north, with a presence in Kismayo in addition to the southwestern Gedo region.[1] Outside of Somalia proper, there are various Darod sub-clans in the Ogaden and the North Eastern Province (currently administered by Ethiopia and Kenya, respectively),[1] Several sources, including the Canadian Report of the Somalia Commission of Inquiry, indicate that the Darod is the largest Somali clan.[2][3] However, other sources such as the CIA and Human Rights Watch indicate that the Hawiye is the largest Somali clan.[4][5]


Sheikh Darod's tomb in Haylaan, Sanaag, Somalia.

According to early Islamic books and Somali tradition, Muhammad ibn Aqil's 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.[6][7] During the 10th or 11th century CE,[8] Abdirahman is believed to have then settled in northern Somalia just across the Red Sea and married Dobira, the daughter of Dagale (Dikalla), the Dir clan chief. This union is said to have given rise to the Darod clan family.[9] An official military survey conducted during the colonial period notes that Dir is in turn held to be the great grandson of Ram Nag, an Arab migrant who landed in Zeila on the northwestern Somali coast.[10]

According to the British anthropologist and Somali Studies veteran I.M. Lewis, while the traditions of descent from noble Arab families related to the Prophet are most probably expressions of the importance of Islam in Somali society,[11] "there is a strong historically valid component in these legends which, in the case of the Darod, is confirmed in the current practice of a Dir representative officiating at the ceremony of installation of the chief of the Darod family."[12]

Sheikh Harti's tomb in Qa’ableh.

A similar clan mythology exists for the Isaaq, who are said to have descended from one Sheikh Ishaq ibn Ahmad al-'Alawi, another Banu Hashim who came to Somalia around the same time.[6][8] As with Sheikh Isaaq, there are also numerous existing 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.[13] Besides historical sources such as Al-Masudi's Aqeeliyoon,[7] 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.[14]

Sheikh Darod's own tomb is in Haylaan, situated in the Hadaaftimo Mountains in northern Somalia, and is the scene of frequent pilgrimages.[12] Sheikh Isaaq is buried nearby in Maydh,[15] 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.[14]

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.[16] In his medieval Futuh Al-Habash documenting 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".[17]


Mohamoud Ali Shire, the 26th Sultan of the Warsangali Sultanate.

The Darod clan has produced numerous noble Somali men and women over the centuries, including many Sultans. Traditionally, the Darod population was mostly concentrated in the northern and northeastern cities on the Gulf of Aden and upper Indian Ocean coast in the Horn of Africa. Darod noble men ruled these settlement pockets until the European colonial powers changed the political dynamics of Somalia during the late 19th century. Before many Darods began pushing southward in the mid-1850s, the Warsangali Sultanate governed the interior regions of Sanaag and Sool, while the Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo held steadfast in solidly established posts from Bosaso to Hobyo.

In addition to their traditional strongholds in northern Somalia, Marehan, Ogaden, and Harti Darod members settled further down south and southwest in the Gedo region (a region which was part of Upper Jubba as well as the entire length of the Jubaland region, composed of Gedo, Middle Jubba and Lower Jubba).


Darod is the son of the famous Sufi Sheikh, Ismail bin Ibrahim Al-Jabarti, who is believed to have been born in Arabia. Tradition holds that he is descended from the Banu Hashim.[6]

According to the book Aqeeliyoon, his lineage is: Abdirahmaan Bin Ismaa'iil Bin Ibraahim Bin Abdirahmaan Bin Muhammed Bin Abdi Samad Bin Hanbal Bin Mahdi Bin Ahmed Bin Abdallah Bin Muhammed Bin Aqil Bin Abu-Talib Bin Abdul-Mutalib Bin Hashim.[8]

Sons of Darod Ismail

Darod had five sons:

  • Ahmed bin Abdirahman: Axmed-Sade Darod
  • Muhammad bin Abdirahman: Maxamed-Kablalax Darod
  • Hussien bin Abdirahman: Xuseen-Tanade Darod
  • Yousuf bin Abdirahman: Yusuuf-Awrtable Darod
  • Eissa bin Abdirahman: Cisse-Isse Darod

Clan tree

There is no clear agreement on the clan and sub-clan structures and many lineages are omitted. The following listing is based upon the World Bank's Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics from 2005 and the United Kingdom's Home Office publication, Somalia Assessment 2001.[18][19]

David D. Laitin and Said S. Samatar offer a slightly different table:[21]

In the south central part of Somalia the World Bank shows the following clan tree:[22]

  • Darood
    • Kablalah
      • Koobe
      • Kumade
    • Isse
    • Sade
      • Mareehan
      • Facaye
    • Ortoble
    • Leelkase (Lelkase)

In Puntland the World Bank shows the following:[23]

One tradition maintains that Darod had one daughter .[24]

Darod's tomb

Darod is buried in an old town called Haylaan near Badhan in the north-eastern Sanaag region of Somalia. His wife Dobira is buried just outside the town.

Notable Darod people


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ethnic Groups (Map). Somalia Summary Map. Central Intelligence Agency. 2002. Retrieved 2012-07-30.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection.
  2. "The Situation in Somalia". Report of the Somali Commission of Inquiry, Vol. 1. Retrieved November 21, 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Somalia Assessment 2001, Annex B: Somali Clan Structure, Country Information and Policy Unit, Home Office, Great Britain, Retrieved 2020-06-20
  4. Central Intelligence Agency (2002). "Ethnic Groups". Somalia Summary Map. Retrieved February 15, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. Human Rights Watch (1990). "Somalia: Human Rights Developments". Human Rights Watch World Report 1990. Retrieved November 21, 2005.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Rima Berns McGown, Muslims in the diaspora, (University of Toronto Press: 1999), pp.27-28
  7. 7.0 7.1 Islam in Somali History Fact and Fiction revisited , the Arab Factor
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 I.M. Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali, fourth edition (Oxford: James Currey, 2002), p. 22
  9. Somaliland Society (1954). The Somaliland Journal, Volume 1, Issues 1-3. The Society. p. 85.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  11. I.M. Lewis, A pastoral democracy: a study of pastoralism and politics among the Northern Somali of the Horn of Africa, (LIT Verlag Münster: 1999), pp.128-129
  12. 12.0 12.1 Lewis, Peoples of the Horn of Africa, p.18-19
  13. Roland Anthony Oliver, J. D. Fage, Journal of African history, Volume 3, (Cambridge University Press.: 1962), p.45
  14. 14.0 14.1 Lewis, A pastoral democracy, p.131.
  15. I.M. Lewis, "The Somali Conquest of the Horn of Africa", Journal of African History, 1 (1960), p. 219
  16. Sihab ad-Din Ahmad bin'Abd al-Qader, Futuh al-Habasa: The conquest of Ethiopia, translated by Paul Lester Stenhouse with annotations by Richard Pankhurst (Hollywood: Tsehai, 2003), pp. 50, 76
  17. Shihāb al-Dīn Aḥmad ibn ʻAbd al-Qādir ʻArabfaqīh, Translated by Paul Stenhouse, Richard Pankhurst (2003). The conquest of Abyssinia: 16th century. Tsehai Publishers & Distributors. p. 77.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.55
  19. Country Information and Policy Unit, Home Office, Great Britain, Somalia Assessment 2001, Annex B: Somali Clan Structure, p. 43
  20. Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and monthly record ..., Volume 6 page 260-261. By Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain)
  21. Laitin and Samatar, Somalia: Nation in Search of a State (Boulder: Westview, 1987), p. 32
  22. Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.56 Figure A-2
  23. Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.57 Figure A-3
  24. Laurence, Margaret (1970). A Tree for Poverty: Somali Poetry and Prose. Hamilton: McMaster University. p. 145. ISBN 1-55022-177-9. Then Magado, the wife of Ishaak, bore him twin sons, and their names were Ahmed, nick-named Arap, and Ismail, nick-named Gerhajis.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Hunt, John A. (1951). "Chapter IX: Tribes and Their Stock". A General Survey of the Somaliland Protectorate 1944–1950. London: Crown Agent for the Colonies. Accessed on October 7, 2005 (from Civic Webs Virtual Library archive).
  • Lewis, I.M. (1955). Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar, and Saho, Part 1, London: International African Institute.
  • Lewis, I. M. (1961). A pastoral democracy: a study of pastoralism and politics among the Northern Somali of the Horn of Africa, reed. Münster: LIT Verlag, 1999.
  • "The Somali Ethnic Group and Clan System". Civic Webs Virtual Library, from: Reunification of the Somali People by Jack L. Davies, Band 160 IEE Working Papers, Institute of Development Research and Development, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany 1996, ISBN 3-927276-46-4, ISSN 0934-6058. Retrieved January 22, 2006.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

  • Turnbull, Richard (1961). The Darod Invasion. Indiana University.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links