Open main menu

Abdirahman bin Isma'il al-Jabarti,(Arabic:عبدالرحمن بن اسماعيل الجبرتي) also known as Darod,(Arabic:دارود) Dawud or Da'ud, is the common ancestor of the Somali and Omani Darod clan. According to early Islamic books and local tradition, Abdirahman descended from Aqeel ibn Abi Talib, a member of the Banu Hashim and the cousin of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.



Sheikh Darod's tomb in Haylaan, an ancient town in the northern Sanaag region of Somalia.

Authors such as Ibn Hawqal, Al-Muqaddasi and Ibn Said have confirmed the early presence of Arabian tribes in municipalities such as Berbera, Zeila, Jabarta (an old metropolis now in ruins), and Massawa in the northern Horn of Africa.[1]

Al-Masudi wrote about the specific Arabian families and tribes that lived in Jabarta and Zeila in his 9th century book Aqeeliyoon. This book sheds light on one individual, a Sufi Sheikh of the Qadiriyyah order called Isma'il ibn Ibrahim al-Jabarti, who fathered several children, one of which was named Abdirahman.[2][3]

According to such early Islamic books and Somali tradition, Muhammad ibn Aqil's descendant Abdirahman bin Isma'il al-Jabarti (Darod) fled his homeland in the Arabian Peninsula after an argument with his uncle.[2] During the 10th or 11th century CE,[1] he is believed to have then settled in northern Somalia just across the Red Sea. He subsequently married Dobira, the daughter of the Dir clan chief, which is said to have given rise to the Darod clan family.[4] Thus, it established matrilateral ties with the Samaale main stem.[5]

Sheikh Harti's tomb in Qa’ableh.

According to the British anthropologist and Somali Studies veteran I.M. Lewis, while the traditions of descent from noble Arab families related to Muhammad are most probably expressions of the importance of Islam in Somali society,[6] "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."[7]

A similar clan mythology exists for the Isaaq, who are descended from one Sheikh Ishaq ibn Ahmad al-'Alawi, another Banu Hashim who came to Somalia around the same time.[2][8] As with Sheikh Isaaq, there are also numerous existing hagiologies in Arabic which describe Sheikh Darod's travels, works and overall life in northwestern Republic of Somalia, as well as his movements in Arabia before his arrival.[9] 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 situated in the Zabid District of western Yemen.[10]

Sheikh Darod's own tomb is in Haylaan, situated in the Hadaaftimo Mountains in northwestern Republic of Somaliland, and is the scene of frequent pilgrimages.[7] Sheikh Isaaq is buried nearby in Maydh,[11] as is Sheikh Harti, a descendant of Sheikh Darod and the progenitor of the Harti Darod sub-clan, whose tomb is located in the ancient town of Qa’ableh.

Sheikh Darod's mawlid (birthday) is also celebrated every Friday with a public reading of his manaaqib.[10] One source, which does not conform with the common literature on him, also links Abdirahman to the Harla tribe.[12]


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.[3] The book gives Sheikh Darod's lineage as Abdurahmaan Bin Ismaa'iil Bin Ibraahim Bin Abdurahmaan Bin Muhammed Bin AbduSamad Bin Hanbal Bin Mahdi Bin Ahmad Bin Abdallah Bin Muhammed Bin Aqeel Bin Abu-Talib Bin Abdul-Mutalib Bin Hashim.

According to Allaa'i Alsuniyah Fi Al-Aqab Al-Aqeeliyah (2006) by Ahmad bin Ali Al-Rajihi Al-Aqeeli, the lineage of Sheikh Darod/Dawoud is: "Dawoud ibn Ismail ibn Ibrahim ibn Abdulsamad ibn Ahmed ibn Abdallah ibn Ahmad Ibn Ismail ibn Ibrahim ibn Abdallah ibn Isma'il ibn Ali ibn Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn Hamid ibn Abdallah ibn Ibrahim ibn Ali ibn Ahmad 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, Dawoud, Ahmad and Abdusamad, whose other offspring inhabit the Hadhramaut and Mahra regions in Southern Arabia.[13]


  1. ^ a b I.M. Lewis, Peoples of the Horn of Africa-Somali, Afar and Saho, (The Red Sea Press: 1998), pp.140-142.
  2. ^ a b c Rima Berns-McGown, Muslims in the diaspora, (University of Toronto Press: 1999), pp.27-28
  3. ^ a b Islam in Somali History Fact and Fiction revisited , the Arab Factor Archived 2011-09-19 at the Wayback Machine[unreliable source?]
  4. ^ Somaliland Society (1954). The Somaliland Journal, Volume 1, Issues 1-3. The Society. p. 85.
  5. ^ Lewis, A pastoral democracy, pp. 11–13.
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ a b I.M. Lewis, Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar, and Saho, Issue 1, (International African Institute: 1955), p.18-19
  8. ^ I.M. Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali, fourth edition (Oxford: James Currey, 2002), p. 22
  9. ^ Roland Anthony Oliver, J. D. Fage, Journal of African history, Volume 3, (Cambridge University Press.: 1962), p.45
  10. ^ a b 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), p.131.
  11. ^ I.M. Lewis, "The Somali Conquest of the Horn of Africa", Journal of African History, 1 (1960), p. 219
  12. ^ Uhlig, Siegbert (2007). Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: He-N, Volume 3. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 1034. ISBN 344705607X.
  13. ^ Al-Rajihi, A (2006). Allaa'i alsuniyah fi al-aqab al-Aqiliyah (3rd ed.). Dar Al Manar. pp. 113–116.