Samaale (var. Samali or Samale Somali: Samaale, Beesha Samaale), was a proto-Somali who according to Somali tradition is considered the oldest common forefather of several major Somali clans and their respective sub-clans. It constitutes the largest and most widespread Somali lineage. Two of the constituent Samaale sub-clans, the Dir and Hawiye, are regarded as major clans today.
Samaale is generally regarded as the source of the ethnonym Somali. The name "Somali" is, in turn, held to be derived from the words soo and maal, which together mean "go and milk"—a reference to the ubiquitous pastoralism of the Somali people. Another etymology proposes that the term Somali is derived from the Arabic for "wealthy" (zāwamāl), again referring to Somali riches in livestock.
In Somali tradition, received the name Samaale from his father Hiil who blessed him, after a miraculous raid which made the family wealthy overnight.
According to traditions recorded in Shariif 'Aydaruus Shariif 'Ali's Bughyat al-amaal fii taariikh as-Soomaal (1955) and according to Ali Jimale Ahmed, Mukhtar Haji and I.M Lewis, who are all renown historians, the patriarch Samaale arrived in northern Somalia from Yemen during the 9th century and subsequently founded the eponymous Somali ethnic group.
Some claim that Samaale traces its geneological traditions to Arabian Quraysh Banu Hashim origins through Aqiil the son of Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib who was cousin of the Prophet Muhammed and son of Ali. According to the British anthropologist and Somali Studies veteran I.M. Lewis, the traditions of descent from noble Arab families related to the Prophet are most probably figurative expressions of the importance of Islam in Somali society.
The paternal genetics of ethnic Somalis is inconsistent with a post-Islamic common TMRCA (time to most recent common ancestor) nor a post-Islamic paternal Arabian origin for the majority of the ethnicity. The majority of Somalis have an TMRCA between 4,000-2,000 years before present in the Bronze Age.
Most Somalis trace their origins to Samaale:
The eponymous ancestor of majority of Somalis today had 9 sons:
- Irir: Dir and Hawiye.
- Gardhere :Garre, Gaalje'el, Degodi Massare, Issa and 'Awrmale
- Mayle: Hawadle
- Maqarre: Dabarre and Irrole
- Yahabur: Hubeer
- Hammarre"Harmalle": Ajuran
Although Quranyow is part of the Garre confederacy, the sub-clan actually claims descent from Dir, son of Irir, son of Samaale. This example does indeed strengthen the Somali saying: "Tol waa tolane", which means "clan is something joined together" The same could be said about Gaaljecel, Degodi and Hawadle who have allied themselves to the Hawiye section of Irir in the borders of Somalia, the Dabarre and Irrole of Maqarre and the Garre who have allied themselves to the Digil Rahanweyn confederacy and 'Awrmale to the Harti Darood section.
The Rahanweyn (Digil and Mirifle) clan traces descent from a separate patriarch called Sab. Both Samaale and Sab are said to have descended from a forefather named "Hiil", whose is held to be the common patrilineal ancestor of all the Somali clans.
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