The Hawiye (Somali: Hawiye, Arabic: بنو هوية‎) is a Somali clan. Members of the clan traditionally inhabit central and southern Somalia, Ogaden and the North Eastern Province (currently administered by Ethiopia and Kenya, respectively). Like many Somalis, Hawiye members trace their paternal ancestry to Irir, one of the sons of Samaale.

Hawiye is one of the major Somali clans, with a wide traditional territory.[1] It is the dominant clan in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.[2]


According to an official Military Survey conducted during the colonial period, Hawiye clan members are by tradition believed to be descended from a forefather named Hawiya Irrir. Hawiya Irrir is held to be the brother of Dir. I.M. Lewis and many sources maintain that the Dir together with the Hawiye trace ancestry through Irir son of Samaale to Banu Hashim Arabian origins with Aqeel Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib.[3][4][5][6][7]


Due to ancient pastoralist migrations and population movements across the Somali peninsula in search of water wells and grazing land over a period of thousand years, Hawiye clans today can be found inhabiting an area stretching from the fertile lands of southern Somalia between Barawa and Kismayo, to the regions surrounding Merka, Mogadishu and Warsheikh in the hinterland, west to the modern city of Beledweyne in the Hiran region, and north to the ancient port town of Hobyo in the arid central Mudug region.[8]


Hawiye along with some Samaale sub-clans migrated to central and southern Somalia in the 1st century AD to populate the Horn of Africa. They established farmlands in the fertile plain lands of southern Somalia and also established flourishing harbor ports in south and central Somalia.[9]

The first written reference to the Hawiye dates back to a 12th-century document by the Arab geographer, Ibn Sa'id, who described Merca at the time as the "capital of Hawiye country". The 12th century cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi may have referred to the Hawiye as well, as he called Merca the region of the "Hadiye", which Herbert S. Lewis believes is a scribal error for "Hawiye", as do Guilliani, Schleicher and Cerulli.[10]

Along with Rahanweyn, Hawiye clan also came under the Ajuran Empire control in the 13th century that governed much of southern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia, with its domain extending from Hobyo in the north, to Qelafo in the west, to Kismayo in the south.[11]

At the end of the 17th century, the Ajuran Empire was on its decline due to high taxation on none-Ajuran clans and the practice of primae noctis which was the prime reason why the Hawiye clan revolted against the Ajuran rulers and ever since this first revolt against the Ajuran other groups would follow in the rebellion which would eventually bring down Ajuran rule of the inter-riverine region.[12]

Lee Cassanelli in his book, "The Shaping of Somali society," provides a historical picture of the Hiraab Immate. He writes:

"According to local oral tradition, the Hiraab imamate was a powerful alliance of closely related groups who shared a common lineage under the Gorgaarte clan divisions. It successfully revolted against the Ajuran Empire and established an independent rule for at least two centuries from the seventeen hundreds and onwards.[13]

The alliance involved the army leaders and advisors of the Habar Gidir and Duduble, a Fiqhi/Qadi of Sheekhaal, and the Imam was reserved for the Mudulood branch who is believed to have been the first born. Once established, the Imamate ruled the territories from the Shabeelle valley, the Benaadir provinces, the Mareeg areas all the way to the arid lands of Mudug, whilst the ancient port of Hobyo emerged as the commercial center and Mogadishu being its capital for the newly established Hiraab Imamate in the late 17th century.[13]

Hobyo served as a prosperous commercial centre for the Imamate. The agricultural centres of Eldher and Harardhere included the production of sorghum and beans, supplementing with herds of camels, cattle, goats and sheep. Livestock, hides and skin, whilst the aromatic woods and raisins were the primary exports as rice, other foodstuffs and clothes were imported. Merchants looking for exotic goods came to Hobyo to buy textiles, precious metals and pearls. The commercial goods harvested along the Shabelle river were brought to Hobyo for trade. Also, the increasing importance and rapid settlement of more southernly cities such as Mogadishu further boosted the prosperity of Hobyo, as more and more ships made their way down the Somali coast and stopped in Hobyo to trade and replenish their supplies.[13]

The economy of the Hawiye in the interior includes the predominant nomadic pastoralism, and to some extent, cultivation within agricultural settlements in the riverine area, as well as mercantile commerce along the urban coast. At various points throughout history, trade of modern and ancient commodities by the Hawiye through maritime routes included cattle skin, slaves, ivory and ambergris.[14][15]

Soon afterwards, the entire region was snapped up by the fascists Italians and it led to the birth of a Modern Somalia. However, the Hiraab hereditary leadership has remained intact up to this day and enjoys a dominant influence in national Somali affairs."[13]

Clan Tree

Ali Jimale Ahmed outlines the Hawiye clan genealogical tree in The Invention of Somalia:[16]

  • Samaale
    • Irir
      • Hawiye
        • Gugundhabe
        • Gorgate
          • Hiraab
            • Mudulood
              • Abgaal
                • Harti
                • Wabudhan
                  • Da'oud
                  • Rer Mattan
                  • Mohamed Muse
                • Wa'esli
              • Wacdaan
              • Moobleen
              • Ujajeen
            • Duduble
            • Habar Gidir
              • Sacad
              • Saleebaan
              • Cayr
              • Saruur

A few clans in the borders of Somalia do not belong to the Hawiye clan, but came to be associated with them politically:

Thus the Gaalje'el, Degoodi Ajuraan and Hawaadle are said to have patrilateral ties with the Dir and Hawiye through Samaale to Aqeel Abu Talib, whereas the Sheekhaal traces descent to a different forefather than the Samaale progeny, but also trace to Aqeel Abu Talib.

DNA analysis of a Hawiye clan member inhabiting Djibouti found that the individual belonged to the Y-DNA T1 paternal haplogroup.[21]

Notable Hawiye figures


Military personnel

Leading intellectuals

Traditional elders and religious leaders

Music and literature

Political factions and organizations

See also


  1. ^ 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 Hawiye is the largest Somali clan within Somalia [1], whereas others suggest that the Darod is among the largest Somali clans [2].
  2. ^ "'Truce' after Somali gun battle". BBC News. 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  3. ^ Ahmed, Ali Jimale (1995). The Invention of Somalia. Lawrenceville, NJ: The Red Sea Press Inc. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-932415-98-1. 
  4. ^ Lewis, Ioan. M. (1994). Blood and Bone: The Call of Kinship in Somali Society. Lawrenceville, NJ: The Red Sea Press Inc. p. 104. ISBN 978-0-932415-92-9. 
  5. ^ Lewis, I.M. (2008). Understanding Somali and Somaliland Society: Culture History and Society. Hurst. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-85065-898-6. 
  6. ^ Lewis, I. M. (1998-01-01). Saints and Somalis: Popular Islam in a Clan-based Society. The Red Sea Press. p. 99-Chapter 8. ISBN 9781569021033. 
  7. ^ Ahmed, Ali Jimale (1995-01-01). The Invention of Somalia. The Red Sea Press. p. 246. ISBN 9780932415998. 
  8. ^ The Somali, Afar and Saho groups in the Horn of Africa by I.M Lewis
  9. ^ {{cite webhttps://books.google.co.uk/books?id=X1dDDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=Somali+ancestral+home&source=bl&ots=6ef0Cptjf9&sig=AoBZCY7ZtstMD7--vrRQvLvR_wY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiGl82i_PjYAhWCC8AKHRT5DTsQ6AEIWDAF#v=onepage&q&f=false/
  10. ^ Herbert S. Lewis, "The Origins of the Galla and Somali", in The Journal of African History. Cambridge University Press, 1966, pp 27–30.
  11. ^ Lee V. Cassanelli, The shaping of Somali society: reconstructing the history of a pastoral people, 1600-1900, (University of Pennsylvania Press: 1982), p.102.
  12. ^ Lee V. Cassanelli, Towns and Trading centres in Somalia: A Nomadic perspective, Philadelphia, 1980, pp. 8-9.
  13. ^ a b c d Cite error: The named reference Lee V. Cassanelli 1982 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  14. ^ Kenya’s past; an introduction to historical method in Africa page by Thomas T. Spear
  15. ^ The Shaping of Somali society; reconstructing the history of a pastoral people by Lee Cassanelli
  16. ^ Ali Jimale Ahmed (1995). The Invention of Somalia. Lawrenceville, NJ: Red Sea. p. 123. ISBN 0-932415-98-9. 
  17. ^ a b c Adam, Hussein Mohamed; Ford, Richard (1997-01-01). Mending rips in the sky: options for Somali communities in the 21st century. Red Sea Press. p. 127. ISBN 9781569020739. 
  18. ^ a b c Ahmed, Ali Jimale (1995-01-01). The Invention of Somalia. The Red Sea Press. p. 121. ISBN 9780932415998. 
  19. ^ Ahmed, Ali Jimale (1995-01-01). The Invention of Somalia. The Red Sea Press. p. 130. ISBN 9780932415998. 
  20. ^ Richard Burton, First Footsteps in East Africa, 1856; edited with an introduction and additional chapters by Gordon Waterfield (New York: Praeger, 1966), p. 165
  21. ^ Iacovacci, Giuseppe; et al. (2017). "Forensic data and microvariant sequence characterization of 27 Y-STR loci analyzed in four Eastern African countries". Forensic Science International: Genetics. 27: 123–131. doi:10.1016/j.fsigen.2016.12.015. Retrieved 8 February 2018. 
  22. ^ "CRD Somalia". Center for Research and Dialogue. 2005-07-12. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2012-09-24. 
  24. ^ "Somalia: Islamic Party Insurgents Declare War On New Govt". 8 February 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2018 – via AllAfrica.