The Dir (Somali: Dir, Dirweyn, Direed or Beesha Direed, Arabic: در , قبيلة در , بنو در , قبيلة أبوكار , بنو أبوكار,) is a major Somali clan. Its members inhabit Djibouti, northwestern Somalia, Ethiopia (Somali, Oromia and Afar regions), and northeastern Kenya (North Eastern Province).
|Regions with significant populations|
|Related ethnic groups|
|Isaaq, Darod, Hawiye, Rahanweyn and other Somali people|
The Dir clan is one of the oldest clans in the Horn of Africa and the oldest clan among the Somalis. The Dir clan according to scholars is reported to have sired the Afar people of the North West and the Ajuran (clan). The Dir clan is also a clan who have retained their ancient Cushitic culture.
The history of Islam being practiced by the Dir clan goes back 1400 years. In Zeila, a Dir city, a mosque called Masjid al-Qiblatayn (Somalia) is known as the site of where early companions of the Prophet established a mosque shortly after the first Migration to Abyssinia By the 7th century, a large-scale conversion to Islam was taking place in Somalia, first spread by the Dir clan family, to the rest of the nation.
The early Adal Kingdom (9th century to 13th century) was an exclusive Dir Kingdom with its capital being Zeila. In the 10th century, the Jarso clan a sub-division of Dir established the Dawaro Sultanate centred in Hararghe Highlands.
Dir is one of the oldest clans in the Horn of Africa. According to the Muslim chronicles, two of the oldest monarchies in the northern region, the Ifat and Adal sultanates, were led by Dir.
The city Dire Dawa was originally called Dir Dhabe and used to be part of Adal Sultanate during the medieval times and was exclusively settled by Dir which is a major Somali tribe and after the weakening of Adal Sultanate, the Oromos took advantage and were able to penetrate through the city and settle into these areas and also assimilate some of the local Gurgura clan.
The Dir clan used to be the predominant inhabitants of Hararghe Highlands in the medieval times until the weakening of Adal Sultanate the opportunist Oromos took advantage of the crippling state and decided to invade and occupy the Haraghe Highlands and assimilate the local native Somali population which were Jarso, Akisho, Gurgura, Nole, Metta, Oborra and Bursuk who were all sub-clans of Dir a major Somali tribe and were later confederated into Oromo tribe, the Afran Qallo clan.
The Somalis, principally the Dir clan used to inhabit the Awash River. The Afars were mostly concentrated in the Red Sea and the Lake Abbe while Somalis during the medieval times inhabited Awash river which was back then called "Webiga Dir" named after its tribe. After the weakening of Adal Sultanate, the Somalis left Awash river and allowed Afars to settle in Awash river to serve as a buffer zone between the Somalis and Abyssinians.
The Dir were supporters of Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi during his 16th century conquest of Abyssinia; especially the Gurgura, Issa, Bursuk and Gadabuursi. In his medieval Futuh Al-Habash documenting this campaign, the chronicler Shihāb al-Dīn indicates that thousands of Dir soldiers took part in Imam Ahmad's Adal Sultanate army.
The Dir clan also led a revolt against the Italians during the colonial period. This revolt was mainly led by the Biimaal section of the Dir. The Biimaal clan is widely known for leading a resistance against the colonials in southern Somalia.The Biimaal violently resisted the imposition of colonialism and fought against the Italian colonialists of Italian Somaliland in a twenty-year war known as the Biimaal revolt in which many of their warriors assassinated several Italian governors. This revolt can be compared to the war of the Mad Mullah in northern Somalia. The Biimaal mainly lives in Southern Somalia, the Somali region of Ethiopia, which their Gaadsen sub-clan mainly inhabits and in the NEP region of Kenya. The Biimaal are pastoralists. They were also successful merchants and traders in the 19th century. In the 19th century they have engaged in multiple wars with the Geledi clan, which they were victorious in.
I.M. Lewis and many sources maintain that the Dir, a Proto-Somali, together with the Hawiye trace ancestry through Irir son of Samaale. Dir is regarded as the father-in-law of Darod, the progenitor of the Darod clan Although some sources state it was the daughter of Hawiye who Darod married.
Dir clan lineages:
- Madahweyne Dir - Akisho (Gurre), Gurgura, Barsuug
- Madaluug Dir - Gadabuursi
- Madoobe Dir - Issa
- Meha Dir - Biimaal, Surre,Quranyow-Garre
According to others, Dir had a fifth son, Qaldho Dir.
The main sub-clans of the Dir today are the Four main 1. Mahe 2. Madaluug 3. Madoode (Esse) 4. Madahweyne
- Akisho "Akisho"
- Issa "Essa"
- Bimaal "Bimal"
- Gadabuursi "Gadabursi"
- Jaarso "Jaarso"
- Quranyow of the Garre
- Gurgura "Gurgure"
- Garrire "Gerire"
- Gurre "Goora"
- Bajimal "Bajumal"
- Barsuug "Bursuk"
For the first time since several centuries the DIR clan which widely dispersed in the Horn of Africa has successfully convened a meeting with all the major Dir subclans in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Suldaan Dhawal, of the Habr 'Affan Gadabuursi was elected the head and representative of the Dir clan in the Horn of Africa region.
Political groups associated with the Dir clans include the following groups in Somalia, Djibouti and Ethiopia:
- Front for the Liberation of the Somali Coast
- Democratic Union Issa
- Gurgura Liberation Front led by Abdelasis Ahmed
- Western Somali Liberation Front, led by Abdi Ismail and representing the Gadabursi.
- United Somali Front, USF, representing the Issa in Somalia.
- Horyal Democratic Front, Horyal, representing the Gadabursi in Ethiopia
- Issa and Gurgura Liberation Front of Ethiopia.
- Somali Democratic Alliance, SDA, representing the Gadabursi in Somalia.
- Southern Somali National Movement of the mostly Mohamed Xiniftire Dir Clans (Surre, Biamal) of Jubba, Gedo, Bardheere, and Shabeellaha Hoose region.
- Democratic Liberation Front supported Central Somalia Dir groups.
- Alliance Ahlusunna Wal-jam'a in central Somalia (Surre)
The following list is based on Nuova Antologia (1890), I.M. Lewis's book People of the Horn of Africa, and a paper published in March 2002 by Ambroso Guido: Clanship, Conflict and Refugees: An Introduction to Somalis in the Horn of Africa.
- Ali GADABUURSI
- Gobe siciid
- jibraacin siciid
- Samaroon Siciid
- yuusuf samaroon [habar yuusuf ]
- ciise samaroon
- siciid samaroon
- Habar Makador
- Mahad 'Asse
- Reer maxamed
- Bahabr Abokr
- Bahabr Aden
- Bahabr 'Eli
- Bahabar muuse
- Habar 'Affan
- reer xaamud
- cali ganuun
Notable Dir figuresEdit
- Ahmed Shide, current minister of finance of Ethiopia.
- Abdi Hassan Buni, politician, minister of British Somaliland and first deputy prime minister of the Somali Republic.
- Abdi Ismail Samatar, Somali scholar, writer and professor.
- Abdi Sinimo, a Somali singer and songwriter,noted for having established the balwo genre of Somali music.
- Abdi Warsame Isaq, chairman of the Southern Somali National Movement.
- Abdikarim Yusuf Adam, previous leader of Somali National Army
- Abdirahman Aw Ali Farah, First Somaliland Vice President between 1993-1997.
- Abdirahman Beyle, former Foreign Affairs Minister of Somalia an economist
- Abdirahman Ibbi, former Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia, Minister of Information and is serving as Member of the Federal Parliament of Somalia.
- Abdirahman Sayli'i, current Vice-president of Somaliland
- Abdo Hamargoodh, musician
- Abdourahman Waberi, novelist
- Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail,former Somali Ambassador to Russian federation and former foreign minister
- Abdusalam Hadliye, Foreign Affairs Minister of Somalia; former Governor of the Central Bank of Somalia
- Abu Ubaidah, Current Emir of Al Shabaab
- Aden Isaq Ahmed, Minister and Politician of the Somali Republic
- Aden Robleh Awaleh, president of the National Democratic Party.
- Aden Nuriye, part of the prominent Ambassadorial Brothers, and former Djiboutian ambassador and current adviser to the President of Djibouti
- Ahmed Gerri of the Habar Maqdi(Makadi)/Makadur of the Conquest of Abyssinia
- Ahmed Boulaleh, Djiboutian politician
- Ahmed Gabobe, Minister of Justice and Religious Affairs of Somalia.
- Ahmed Ismail Samatar, Somali writer, professor and former dean of the Institute for Global Citizenship at Macalester College. Editor of Bildhaan: An International Journal of Somali Studies
- Ato Hussein Ismail. Ethiopian long-serving Statesman and first Somali to become member of the Ethiopian Parliament
- Ato Shemsedin, Somali Ethiopian Politician, previous Ethiopian ambassador to Djibouti, Kenya, Deputy Minister of Mining and Energy and first Vice Chairman and one of the founders of ESDL
- Ayanleh Souleiman, Djiboutian athlete
- Barkhad Awale Adan, Somali journalist and director of Radio Hurma
- Daher Ahmed Farah, Djiboutian politician
- Dahir Riyale Kahin, third President of Somaliland
- Djama Ali Moussa. First Senator of Djibouti or French Somaliland
- Djama Rabile, a Somali statesman of the former Somali Republic and Somali Democratic Republic.
- Haji Ibrahim Nur, minister, merchant and politician of former British Somaliland Protectorate
- Hassan Gouled Aptidon 1916-2006, first President of Djibouti from 1977 to 1999.
- Hassan Mead, American distance runner
- Hassan Sheikh Mumin, author of Shabeel Naagood or (Leopard among the Women)
- Hibo Nura, a Somali singer
- Hussein Ahmed Salah, Djiboutian marathon runner.
- Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of Djibouti as of 1999
- Ismail Nuriye, part of the prominent Ambassadorial Brothers, and former Ethiopian ambassador
- Khadija Qalanjo, a popular Somali singer
- Mahmoud Harbi, Vice-President of the Government Council of French Somaliland.
- Mawlid Hayir, current Vice-president and minister of education and former governor of Jigjiga zone of the Somali region of Ethiopia.
- Mohamed Fourchette, musician
- Mohamed Dubad, Somali politician, served as member of Somalia parliament and Charge D'Affaires in the United Nations
- Mohamed Nuriye, part of the prominent Ambassadorial Brothers, and former ambassador for Somalia.
- Moumin Bahdon, Djiboutian politician.
- Mumin Gala, Djiboutian athlete
- Col. Muse Rabile Ghod, a Somali military leader and statesman of the Somali Democratic Republic.
- Nima Djama, musician
- Omar Iltireh, Djiboutian politician
- Omar Osman Rabe, Somali scholar, writer, professor, politician and pan-Somalist.
- Roble Olhaye, permanent representative to the United Nations for the Republic of Djibouti.
- Sheikh Gafle, famous religious leader and warrior
- Sheikh 'Abdurahman Sh. Nur, religious leader, qādi and the inventor of the Borama script.
- Suleiman Ahmed Guleid – President of Amoud University
- Sultan Dideh, sultan of Zeila,prosperous merchant and built first mosque in Djibouti. He also proposed the name "Cote francaise des Somalis" to the French
- Ughaz 'Elmi Warfa, 13th Malak(King) of the Gadabursi.
- Ughaz Nur II, 11th Malak(King) of the Gadabursi.
- Yacin Bouh, Djiboutian politician.
- Yussur Abrar, former governor of the Central Bank of Somalia.
- Yusuf Tallan, previous leader of Somali National Army
- Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn 
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Garre live in Southern Somalia, North Eastern Kenya and Southern Ethiopia. In Southern Somalia, they live in Kofur near Mogadishu and El Wak District in Gedo Province. In Ethiopia, they live in Moyale, Hudet and Woreda of Liban zone. In Kenya, the Garre inhabit Wajir North and Moyale.
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Twenty year war
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where he married a daughter of the Hawiyah tribe: rival races declare him to have been a Galla slave
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was shipwrecked on the Somali coast where he married a Hawiyah woman
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where he married a daughter of the Hawiyah tribe
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At the end of the book "Tribal Distribution of Somali Afar and Saho"
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There are two main fractions, the Habr Afan and Habr Makadur, formerly united under a common hereditary chief (ogaz).
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Sheikh Abdi Abitkar "Gaafle"
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