The Sheekhaal (var. Sheikhaal (Arabic: شيخال‎), also known as Fiqi Omar, is a Somali clan. They inhabit Somalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and with considerable numbers also found in the Northern Frontier District (NFD) in Kenya.

Regions with significant populations
Islam (Sunni)
Related ethnic groups
Ashraaf, shaanshiyo,and other Banadiri clans


Sheekhal traces its ancestry to Sheikh Abadir Umar Ar-Rida, also known as Fiqi Umar, who in turn traced his lineage to the first caliph, Abu Bakr (Sayid Abubakar Al-Sadiq). According to the explorer Richard F. Burton, In his book First Footsteps in East Africa. The Sheekhaash or Sheekhaal is described as the only Somalis of the maintains not derived from Dir and Darood. They claim descent from "Caliph Abu Bakr" and asserted that their ancestor Khutab bin Fakih Umar crossed over from Al-Hijaz.[1] Fiqi Umar crossed over from the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa with his six sons: Umar the Greater, Umar the Lesser, the two Abdillahs, Ahmad and Siddik.[2] Sheikh Ar-Rida is also regarded as the saint of Harar.[3] The lineage goes back to Banu Taym, through the first Caliph Abu Bakr.[4]

Some clans of sheekhaal would argue that while they are politically aligned with the larger Hawiye clan, this does not mean that they are Hawiye [5] This view is shared by the Aw-Qutub, one of the major Sheekhal subclans; they too totally reject the notion that the Sheekhal are part of hawiye : Lobogay (Loboge), Aw Qudub and Gendershe and Ali.[6] Lewis (1982) mentions that the largest clan of the Sheikhal is the Reer Fiqi Omar, whose most important lineage, the Reer Aw Qutub, inhabit Somali region of Ethiopia.[7] The Sheekhal clans were reportedly considered as part of the Hawiye politically until after the civil war.[8]

General Mohamed Ibrahim Liiqliqato, who was a Sheikhal, described in his book how the Sheikhal became associated with the Hawiye and added as ‘Martileh Hiraab’ (literally meaning guests of Hiraab).[9] Shekhal are also mentioned to be one of the religious groups of Somalia along with the Ashraf.[10]

Sheekhaal sub-clans

Faqi Ayuub Fiqi Omar Gursum in Ethiopia and Eastern Hararghe

Prominent figures

  • Abadir Umar Ar-Rida (Fiqi Omar)
  • Abdulrahman Kinana, first Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, 2001–2006; former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence of Tanzania.
  • Mohamed Ibrahim Liqliiqato, Prominent Somali politician, diplomat, and Major General from Kismayo lower Jubba region. He was a Somali ambassador to the Soviet Union, and ambassador to West-Germany in 1970s. He also held the ministry of Agriculture and Interior ministry. He is the longest-serving speaker of the parliament, holding the position from 1982 to 1991. The Liiqliiqato bridge in Beledwen named after him.
  • Mohammed Hussein Ali, former commissioner of the Kenya Police
  • Fahad Yasin Haji Dahir, The former director-general of NISA and chief of staff for Villa Somalia.[citation needed]
  • Dahir Adan Elmi, chief of Somali Armed Forces, major general and the commander of Qabdir-Daharre Battalion in Somalia-Ethiopian War in 1977 who won bravery golden award that war. He is regarded as the most decorated general in Somali army.
  • Ahmed Gurey an imam and general of the Adal Sultanate who fought against the Abyssinian Empire.


  1. ^ Burton, Richard Francis (1856-01-01). First Footsteps in East Africa. Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans. p. 193.
  2. ^ Richard Burton, First Footsteps in East Africa, 1856; edited with an introduction and additional chapters by Gordon Waterfield (New York: Praeger, 1966), p. 165
  3. ^ Siegbert Uhlig, Encyclopaedia Aethiopica: He-N, Volume 3, (Otto Harrassowitz Verlag: 2007), pp.111 & 319.
  4. ^ Wolford, Ali; Jimcale (1995-10-04). The Invention of Somalia. First Edition Design Pub. p. 55. ISBN 978-0932415998.
  5. ^ Hassan Ali Jama (2005). Who Cares About Somalia. Berlin: Verlag Hans Schiler. p. 140. ISBN 3-89930-075-0.
  6. ^ Joint British, Danish and Dutch fact-finding mission to Nairobi, Kenya (2000-11-24). "Report on minority groups in Somalia" (PDF). Nairobi, Kenya. p. 55. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-21. Retrieved 2013-01-02.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Lewis, I.M (1982). A study of pastoralism and politics among the northern Somalis of the Horn of Africa (PDF). New York: Africana Publishing Company. pp. 10–11. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-21.
  8. ^ Hassan Ali Jama (2005). Who Cares About Somalia. Berlin: Verlag Hans Schiler. p. 140. ISBN 3-89930-075-0.
  9. ^ Clans in Somalia Report on a Lecture by Joakim Gundel, COI Workshop Vienna, 15 May 2009 (Revised Edition) published December 2009
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Aves Osman Hagi; Abdiwahid Osman Hagi (1988). Clan, sub-clan, and regional representation in the Somali government organization, 1960-1990: statistical data and findings. Washington DC: Aves O. Hagi & Abdiwahid O. Hagi. p. 156.