The Darod (Somali: Daarood, Arabic: دارود‎) is a Somali clan. The forefather of this clan was Abdirahman bin Isma'il al-Jabarti, more commonly known as Darood. The Darod clan is the largest Somali clan in the Horn of Africa, with wide a traditional territory.[1]

The Darod in Somalia mainly live in the northeastern Puntland region, with an ancillary presence in pockets of southern Somalia in the Jubbaland and southwestern Gedo region. Various Darod subclans also inhabit the Ogaden and the North Eastern Province (currently administered by Ethiopia and Kenya, respectively).[1]


Mohamoud Ali Shire, the 26th Sultan of the Warsangali Sultanate. Warsangali are a subclan of the Darod.

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.[2][3] During the 10th or 11th century CE,[4] Abdirahman is believed to have then settled in northern Somalia just across the Red Sea and married Dobira, the daughter of the Dir clan chief. This union is said to have given rise to the Darod clan family.[5] Thus, it established matrilateral ties with the Samaale main stem.[6]

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.[7][8] However, "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."

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.[2][4] 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.[9] Besides historical sources such as Al-Masudi's Aqeeliyoon,[3] 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.[10]

Sheikh Darod's own tomb is in Haylaan, situated in the Hadaaftimo Mountains in northern Somalia, and is the scene of frequent pilgrimages.[11] Sheikh Isaaq is buried nearby in Maydh,[12] 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.[10]

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.[13] 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".[14]


Sultan Ali Yusuf Kenadid of the Sultanate of Hobyo, from the Majerteen Darod lineage.

Darod is believed to be the son of the famous Arabian Sheikh, Ismail bin Ibrahim Al-Jabarti, who is buried in the Zabid District of Yemen. Tradition holds that he is descended from the Banu Hashim.[2].

In 2009, former President of Somalia, Abdullahi Yusuf visited the grave of Ismail bin Ibrahim Al-Jabarti in Yemen[15]

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 Abdirahmaan Bin Ismaa'iil Bin Ibraahim Bin Abdirahmaan Bin Muhammed Bin Abdi Samad Bin Hanbal Bin Mahdi Bin Ahmed Bin Abdalle Bin Muhammed Bin Aqail Bin Abu-Talib Bin Abdul-Mutalib Bin Hashim Bin Qusaya.

According to Allaa'i Alsuniyah Fi Al-Aqab Al-Aqeeliyah (2006) by Ahmed bin Ali Al-Rajihi Al-Aqeeli, the lineage of Sheikh Darod/Da'ud is: "Da'ud ibn Ismail ibn Ibrahim ibn Abdulsamad ibn Ahmed ibn Abdallah ibn Ahmed Ibn Ismail ibn Ibrahim ibn Abdallah ibn Isma'il ibn Ali ibn Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn Hamid ibn Abdallah ibn Ibrahim ibn Ali ibn Ahmed 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, Da'ud, Ahmad and Abdulsamad, whose other offspring inhabit the Hadhramaut and Mahra regions in Southern Arabia.[16]


Traditional territory inhabited by Darod subclans (lime).[17]

The Darood are believed to be the largest Somali clan both in terms of population size and land inhabitation. The Darood constitute a majority in the Somali Region of Ethiopia with a population of around 4,439,147[18] and are also the largest Somali clan in North Eastern Province of Kenya.[19]. Within Somalia, the Darood are also one of the largest clans, with traditional strongholds in the north, modern day Puntland state which is dominated by the Harti subclan of Darood. In addition, the Marehan, Ogaden, and Harti Darod members are also settled further down south in the Gedo region as well as the Middle Jubba and Lower Jubba regions of Somalia. The Darood in Somalia, roughly corresponds to the Darood's settled within the Jubbaland and Puntland states.

Major Darood Settlements within Somalia include Galkacyo, Kismaayo, Bosaso, Buuhoodle and Garowe.

Darood are also the largest clan in Jigjiga in Ethiopia, and Garissa in Northern Kenya.


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 Alula to Hobyo.

Clan tree

Statue of Mohammed Abdullah Hassan (colloquially known as the Mad Mullah), a Darod and leader of the Dervish State.[20]

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.[21][22]

  • Darod (Daarood)
    • Geri Kombe[23]
    • Sade (Marehan)
      • Rer Dini
      • Rer Hassan
      • Eli Dheere
    • Tenade
      • Leelkaase
    • Kabalah
      • Absame
      • Harti
        • Dishiishe (Dishishe)
        • Warsangali (Warsengeli)
        • Majeerteen (Mijerteen)
          • Reer Biciidyahaan
          • Siwaaqroon
          • Ali Saleeban
          • Mahamoud Saleeban
            • Omar Mahmud
            • Issa Mahmud
            • Osman Mahmoud
        • Dhulbahante (Dolbahante)
          • Maxamuud Garaad
            • Jaamac Siyaad
            • Ugaadhyahaan
          • Faarax Garaad
            • Baharsame
            • Axmed Garaad

In the south central part of Somalia the World Bank shows the following clan tree:[24]

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

One tradition maintains that Darod had one daughter .[25]

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. The surrounding buildings and the mosque near the tomb was built by the former president of Somalia Abdullahi Yusuf.

Darod is believed to be the son of the famous Arabian Sheikh, Ismail bin Ibrahim Al-Jabarti, who is buried in the Zabid District of Yemen. Tradition holds that he is descended from the Banu Hashim.

In 2009, former President of Somalia, Abdullahi Yusuf visited the grave of Ismail bin Ibrahim Al-Jabarti in Yemen[15]

Sheikh Darod's mawlid (birthday) is celebrated every Friday with a public reading of his manaaqib and passages in the Quran.

Sons of Darod Ismail

  • 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

Notable Darod people


Inventors and founders

Lawyers and legislators

Writers and musicians

Military leaders and personnel



  • Asli Hassan Abade, Ogaden, First Ever African Female Military Pilot
  • Ali Matan Hashi, Marehan, first Somali pilot, commander of Somali Airforce 1959-1978, Minister of Justice, Minister of Health, Somali Nationalist.


  • Abdi Bile, Dhulbahante, former middle distance runner and 1500m world champion in 1987.


  • Fatima Jibrell, Dhulbahante, Somali-American environmentalist
  • Haji Mohamed Yasin Ismail, Majeerteen, entrepreneur and presidential candidate
  • Hirsi Magan Isse, Majeerteen, scholar and one of the leaders of the Somalian revolution
  • Nathif Jama Adam, Ogaden, Governor of Garissa County and former Head of the Sharjah Islamic Bank's Investments & International Banking Division


  1. ^ a b Ethnic Groups (Map). Somalia Summary Map. Central Intelligence Agency. 2002. Retrieved 2012-07-30.  Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection - N.B. Various authorities indicate that the Darod is among the largest Somali clans [1], whereas others suggest that the Hawiye is the largest Somali clan within Somalia [2].
  2. ^ a b c Rima Berns McGown, Muslims in the diaspora, (University of Toronto Press: 1999), pp.27-28
  3. ^ a b c "Islam in Somali History Fact and Fiction revisited , the Arab Factor". maanhadal.com. Retrieved 6 April 2018. 
  4. ^ a b I.M. Lewis, A Modern History of the Somali, fourth edition (Oxford: James Currey, 2002), p. 22
  5. ^ Somaliland Society (1954). The Somaliland Journal, Volume 1, Issues 1-3. The Society. p. 85. 
  6. ^ Lewis, A pastoral democracy, pp. 11–13.
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ Lewis, Ioan. M. (1994). Blood and Bone: The Call of Kinship in Somali Society. Larwenceville, NJ: The Red Sea Press Inc. pp. 104–105. ISBN 9780932415936. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  9. ^ Roland Anthony Oliver, J. D. Fage, Journal of African history, Volume 3, (Cambridge University Press.: 1962), p.45
  10. ^ a b Lewis, A pastoral democracy, p.131.
  11. ^ Lewis, Peoples of the Horn of Africa, p.18-19
  12. ^ I.M. Lewis, "The Somali Conquest of the Horn of Africa", Journal of African History, 1 (1960), p. 219
  13. ^ 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
  14. ^ 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. 
  15. ^ a b "Yemen: C/laahi Yuusuf oo Booqday Qabrigii Ismaaciil Jabarti..." somalitalk.com. Retrieved 6 April 2018. 
  16. ^ Al-Rajihi, A (2006). Allaa'i alsuniyah fi al-aqab al-Aqiliyah (3rd ed.). Dar Al Manar. pp. 113–116. 
  17. ^ "Somalia Maps - Perry-Castañeda Map Collection - UT Library Online". www.lib.utexas.edu. Retrieved 6 April 2018. 
  18. ^ "UNPO: Ogaden". unpo.org. Retrieved 6 April 2018. 
  19. ^ Pike, John. "Somalia-Ethiopia, Kenya Conflict". www.globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 6 April 2018. 
  20. ^ Douglas Jardine O.B.E. "The Mad Mullah Of Somaliland". Retrieved 6 April 2018 – via Internet Archive. 
  21. ^ Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.55
  22. ^ Country Information and Policy Unit, Home Office, Great Britain, Somalia Assessment 2001, Annex B: Somali Clan Structure Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine., p. 43
  23. ^ Britain), Royal Geographical Society (Great (6 April 1884). "Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society and Monthly Record of Geography". Edward Stanford. Retrieved 6 April 2018 – via Google Books. 
  24. ^ Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.56 Figure A-2
  25. ^ 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. 


  • 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. Archived from the original on September 21, 2002. Retrieved January 22, 2006. 

Further reading

External links