Samaale (var. Samali or Samale ( so, Samaale) was a progenitor 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.


According to many documented sources and historians, the patriarch Samaale arrived in
Somalia Somalia,; ar, الصومال, aṣ-Ṣūmāl officially the Federal Republic of Somalia, is a country in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Ethiopia to the west, Djibouti to the Northwest, the Gulf of Aden to the north, the Indian Oce ...
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during the 9th century and subsequently founded the eponymous Somali ethnic group. Shariif 'Aydaruus Shariif 'Ali's records in his book ''Bughyat al-amaal fii taariikh as-Soomaal'' that Samaale was Uthman the son of Mahamed, a military leader commanding an army sent from Egypt, Suez to East Africa, Mogadishu to aid and join the Muslims in their fight against their enemies. They waged a war and when Samaale heard the news of his father passing away he migrated from his homeland Yemen to East Africa and made it his homeland marrying from the locals. Thus Uthman (Samaale) came to live in the area we know today as the Somali peninsula and founded the Samaale group. The progenitor Samaale is generally regarded as the source of the
ethnonym An ethnonym (from the el, ἔθνος, ''éthnos'', "nation" and , ''ónoma'', "name") is a name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms (whose name of the ethnic group has been created by another g ...
''Somali''. Other state the word Somali is derived from the words ''soo'' and ''maal'', which together mean "go and milk"—a reference to the ubiquitous
pastoralism Pastoralism is a form of animal husbandry Animal husbandry is the branch of agriculture concerned with animals that are raised for meat, animal fiber, fibre, milk, eggs, or other products. It includes day-to-day care, selective breeding and th ...
of the . Another
etymology Etymology () The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) – p. 633 "Etymology /ˌɛtɪˈmɒlədʒi/ the study of the class in words and the way their meanings have changed throughout time". is the study of the history History (from Greek ...
proposes that the term ''Somali'' is derived from the
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language that first emerged in the 1st to 4th centuries CE.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C. E.Wats ...

for "wealthy" (''zāwamāl''), again referring to Somali riches in livestock. Shariif 'Aydaruus Shariif 'Ali mentions that in relation to the name 'Samaale', there were many notable people before him known as 'Samaale' like Abu 'Samaal' Al 'Adwi an Arab orator, poet and descendant of and 'Samaal Ibn 'Awf the grandfather of Majashi' ibn Mas'ud the Companion, also Sayaal ibn 'Samaal' ibn Hareesh and Khalid ibn Abi Yazeed ibn 'Samaal', both scholars of the Hadith tradition." Many sources 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. According to the British anthropologist and Somali Studies veteran I.M. Lewis, the traditions of descent from noble Arab families related to the
Prophet In religion, a prophet is an individual who is regarded as being in contact with a divinity, divine being and is said to speak on behalf of that being, serving as an intermediary with humanity by delivering messages or teachings from the superna ...
embraced by all Somali clans are most probably figurative expressions of the importance of
Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first syllable) ( ...
in Somali society. The paternal genetics of ethnic
Somalis Somalis ( so, Soomaalida) are an Cushitic peoples, East Cushitic ethnic group native to the Horn of Africa who share a common ancestry, culture and history. The Somali language is the shared mother tongue of ethnic Somalis, which is part of the ...
are inconsistent with a History of Islam, post-Islamic common Most recent common ancestor, TMRCA (time to most recent common ancestor) and with 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: Samaale in turn traces his to the Meccan tribe of Quraysh via Hill,]. The eponymous ancestor of majority of Somalis today had 9 sons, which is shown in the genealogical table below: **Abroone *** Hiil ****Samaale *****#Gardhere: Garre, Degoodi, Gaaljecel, Massare, 'Awrmale *****# Irir: *****#* Dir (Gadabuursi, Issa (clan), Issa, Bimaal, Bimal, Gurgura, Surre (clan), Surre, Bursuuk, Bursuk etc.). *****#* Hawiye (Habar Gidir, Abgaal, Udeejeen, Murusade, Gugundhabe). *****# Mayle: Hawadle *****# Maqarre: Dabarre and Irrole *****# Yahabur: Hubeer *****# Gariife *****# Hammarre "Harmalle": Ajuran (clan), Ajuran *****# Harire *****# Karur Although Quranyow is part of the Garre confederacy, the sub-clan actually claims descent from Dir, son of Irir, son of Samaale.The Quranyo section of the Garre claim descent from Dirr, who are born of the Irrir Samal. UNDP Paper in Kenya http://www.undp.org/content/dam/kenya/docs/Amani%20Papers/AP_Volume1_n2_May2010.pdf 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.

See also

* Demographics of Somalia


{{Somali clans Somali clans