Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Interestingly Fraudulent Nature of Some Somali Arabian Geneologies

One thing that's been intriguing to me as of late has been following the trail of various Somali genealogies which as I've stated in the past and some of you may know often trace back to Hashemites/ Banu Hashim or Peninsula Arabians or generally non-Horner sources.

You can see this, for example, in how that table above made by an unknown Somali displays various clan genealogies which ultimately trace back to some form of an Arabian (often of Hashemite origins). Now, these clans were supposed to have been founded by patriarchs or saints who essentially took native wives (or what are often presumed to be so).

Grave of Dobira resembling other old sites in Haylan nearby to Abdirahman's tomb

One example of these wives would be Dombira / Dobira above who was the wife of Sheikh Darod / Abdirahman ibn Isma'il Al-Jaberti. Now, my interest was vested in finding out whether the genealogies these men were known for having were even legitimate and whether they themselves could actually (at least genealogically) prove to be real Arabians.

It's well-known enough in the field of population genetics that Somalis are not the product of a recent Peninsula Arabian  mixture with East African natives, in fact most Somalis don't at all display any Peninsula Arabian ancestry whatsoever whether in terms of their Haplogroup markers which are centered very comfortably in the Horn of Africa or in terms of their autosomal DNA where they actually seem more genetically isolated than abeshas since they show no West Asian admixture outside of ancestral components/ clusters like Ethio-Somali which (for the most part anyway) are to be found in South Cushitic admixed peoples like the Maasai and even the Agaw ancestors of abeshas several thousand years ago.


So the agenda here was more about placing these founders under scrutiny and not so much their descendants whom I'm sure about at this point. I got the idea when a hobbyist historian interested in the Horn of Africa mentioned to me that the Sheikh Isḥaq (founder of the Isaaq clan) genealogy is actually fake because there's a key figure in the genealogy who simply never existed.

Sheikh Isḥaq's tomb

Sheikh Isaaq/ Isḥaq is an iffy subject and his genealogy is really all over the place, this one which might be known to many Isaaq clan members is his Arabian/ Hashemite genealogy:

Ishaq bin Ahmed bin Muhammed bin Hussein bin Ali bin Mudhar bin Abdalla bin Ayub bin Muhammed bin Qasim bin Ahmed bin Ali bin Issa bin Yahya bin Muhammed al-Taqi bin Ali al-Askari bin Muhammed al-Jawad bin Ali al-Ridha bin Musa al-Kadhim bin Jafar al-Sadiq bin Muhammed al-Baqir bin Ali Zainal al-Abiden bin Imam Al Hussein bin Ali bin Abi Talib 

It was shared on this site for example...

Now, this genealogy is completely impossible and frankly even mixed up because Ali al-Askari, better known as Ali al-Hadi has no grandson named Yahya descended from his son Mohammed. In fact the genealogy often doesn't even make much sense in the epithets it adds to these people. Muhammed "al-Taqi" for example was not the son of Ali "al-Askari" but his father.

Muhammed al-Taqi is an alternate way to refer to Muhammed al-Jawad who was Ali al-Hadi's father. In fact the Ali al-Askari in that genealogy is supposed to be referred to as Ali al-Hadi. "al-Askari" was used to refer to his son Hasan al-Askari who was the father of a boy named Muhammed claimed to be the great "Mahdi", this Muhammed in particular couldn't have been Yahya's ancestor either as he died as a little boy; too young to have fathered any sons.

However Ali al-Hadi did have a son named Muhammed but he too like his nephew Muhammed (the young son of Hasan al-Askari) did die young (as a child) and is also by some sects of Shia Islam thought to be "The Mahdi" / the final and 12th Imam in the place of his nephew/ he died way too young to have any sons let alone one named Yahya whom there is of course no record of anywhere.

This genealogy despite what I'm told about its "popularity" among some Isaaq clan members is a complete mess to be fully frank. All in all it's quite clearly fraudulent...

Sheikh Ishaq's origins as I said can even be a bit complex / iffy. While members of the Isaaq clan will often fervently oppose this view-> the Dir clan often claims that Sheikh Ishaq was essentially a member of the Dir clan and that the Isaaq are more or less an off-shoot of the Dir.

In fact even a source as basic as Wikipedia with a source of its own will say:

"Although the Isaaq clan claims paternal descent from Sheikh Isaaq, group members are often recognized as a sub-clan of the Dir"

At this point I'm led to doubt the idea that this man was an Arabian settler at all but likely just some saintly native who was overly venerated and adopted as a clan founder. I doubt the clan founders of the Somali people are really true blue clan founders as most ethnic Somalis in terms of autosomal DNA and in terms of their uniparental markers are more or less identical / a very homogeneous people.

There really is no genetic basis for the strong and solid substructure these clan systems propose. And even if these clan founders were somehow founders at some point-> the lack of Arabian input in their descendants as well as the fraudulent nature of their genealogies sheds some light on how they were  likely never even Arabians to begin with.

If they were Arabians, one must reconcile these fake genealogies and grasp that they clearly weren't clan founders as Somali paternal markers such as E-V32, T, A-M13 and even J1 are more native to the Horn of Africa / shared with other Horners and do not demonstrate evidence of any recent (within the last ~1400 years) Arabian input within the last 1-2 thousand years, the same goes for Somali autosomal DNA.

Somalis are about ~40% West Asian [1] [2] but this admixture is quite ancient and is old enough to have been mostly shared with South Cushites who departed the Horn long before Somali Islamization and is entirely shared with populations such as Ḥabeshas and Agaws who haven't shared a gene pool with Somalis for at least ~3,000 years-> it clearly was not incurred within the last 700 to 1400 years.

Did you think the fraudulent genealogies stopped at Sheikh Ishaq though? Not at all... The famous Sheikh Darood/ Abdirahman bin Isma'il al-Jabarti (founder of the Darod clan) also has a seemingly fraudulent genealogy that actually holds up somewhat less than Sheikh Ishaq's does if you place it under any kind of scrutiny.

There are two variants of Sheikh Darod's genealogy but both are fundamentally the same in where they fall apart:

The first  was one I always never doubted in terms of validity because it was to be found in a 9th Century history book written by the somewhat famous Al-Masudi, the book being called Aqeeliyoon however it was written roughly 200 years after the genealogy's founding father (Aqeel bin Abi Talib) died:

Abdirahman Bin Isma'il Bin Ibrahim Bin Abdirahman Bin Muhammed Bin Abdi Samad Bin Hanbal Bin Mahdi Bin Ahmed Bin Abdalle Bin Muhammed Bin Aqeel Bin Abi-Talib Bin Abdul-Mutalib Bin Hashim Bin Qusaya
The other somewhat distinct genealogy  is a more recent extraction from what I grasp from a work titled Allaa'i Alsuniyah Fi Al-Aqab Al-Aqeeliyah and it goes as follows:

 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

 The second genealogy falls flat in more than one way, to be fully honest. It's completely impossible as what is thought to be the Darod clan origin. This genealogy separates Aqeel Ibn Abi Talib (the claimed ultimate Darod clan ancestor) and the Darod clan's founder (in this genealogy dubbed "Da'ud") by about 22 generations.

Sheikh Darod's Tomb

This is the genealogy of a man who lived anywhere along the lines of the 12th to 13th centuries (a generation = 25 years in most cases). It cannot be the founding genealogy followed by the Darod clan or dynasties of theirs such as the Warsangali nor can it be the Aqeeli-Jaberti origin of the Walashma who essentially seem to claim descent from the same lineage as the Darod.

Why? By the 13th century the Warsangali dynasty was supposedly already founded in Northern Somalia and began to rule and conquer small areas of the coast. The Warsangali Sultanate's supposed founder Abdullahi Dhidin's trace back to the Darod clan founder at this juncture was as follows:

 Abdullahi bin Koge bin Warmaeke bin Mahamed bin Mahamud bin Salah bin Hantale bin Amlale bin Abdi bin Mahamad bin Abdirahman

How is he descended from a man who lived around the same time he did by about 9 generations (~225 years)?

 However both the first genealogy and the second one fall flat in one particular way that's even more important than what's outlined above. The ancestor "Muhammad" who is supposed to be a son of Aqeel ibn Abi Talib; doesn't seem to have existed...

Aqeel ibn Abi Talib was a well-known figure of his time, cousin to the Prophet of Islam and a brother to the highly venerated Ali ibn Abi Talib whose own line would grow to become nothing short of legendary. He was known to have had at least six sons as even a mere Wikipedia search on him will confirm for you:

Muslim ibn Aqeel, Jaffar ibn Aqeel, Musa ibn Aqeel, Abdul Rahman ibn Aqeel, Abdullah ibn Aqeel, Abi Saeed ibn Aqeel

Notice anything? There's no Muhammad. In fact the only evidence I've found after much digging that a Muhammad Ibn Aqeel even existed is that he is the claimed Darod clan ancestor. The fact that he is listed in the Darod clan genealogy is the main proof that he ever existed... In terms of actual records on Aqeel ibn Abi Talib's offspring, battles and so on of the time-> there is no record of a Muhammad ibn Aqeel ibn Abi Talib. He did not seem to exist.

The Islamic Caliphate under Ali ibn Abi Talib

Hell, look at his Wikipedia page alone where it is claimed that he was killed in the Battle of Karbala (with no source might I add) and this too is false. That battle's notable casualties including those of Aqeeli descent were well documented; a Muhammad ibn Aqeel was simply not among them/ there is no record of him in the battle though it is well-known that his supposed brother Muslim ibn Aqeel participated in the battle. Please do look into this yourself if you find it hard to believe.

This is yet another seemingly fraudulent genealogy.

One more fraudulent genealogy would be the Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn genealogy/ the genealogy of Yusuf "Aw Barkhadle" (literally means "Blessed Father") who is a well-known and highly venerated Somali saintly figure. [3]

Shrine of Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn

Whilst not being the founder of a clan or subclan of any sort; Yusuf is similar to the clan founders and in some oral accounts is even thought to have encountered and/or known some of them such as Sheikh Ishaq. [3]

He's further similar to Sheikh Ishaq and Sheikh Darood in that he's thought to be a historical proselytizer/ spreader of Islam in Northern Somalia who was highly venerated by the Somali people after his death and eventually given a shrine. And just like the two clan founders he carries a Hashemite genealogy of Abi Talib descent (the uncle of the Prophet). He and Sheikh Ishaq both claim descent from Ali ibn Abi Talib, a huge figure in Islamic history, while Sheikh Darod is claimed to be a descendant of Aqeel ibn Abi Talib, Ali's brother.  

Well, he has one more thing in common with those two clan founders / patriarchs:

Yusuf ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Abdullahi ibn Isma'il ibn Musa ibn Husayn ibn 'Ali ibn Hamza ibn Qasim ibn Yahya ibn Hussein ibn Ahmad ibn Quwayib ibn Yahya ibn 'Isa ibn  Muhammad ibn Taqi Al-Hadrama ibn 'Abdul ibn Hadib ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Musa ibn Ja'far ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn Hassan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib

 This genealogy is just another blatantly fraudulent one. In fact, it like the Darod clan one falls apart very early. How? Well, there is no Ali ibn Hassan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib. Hassan is a very very famous figure within Islam, grandson to the Prophet, son of the Prophet's cousin Ali ibn Abi Talib who himself as I've stated is a sort of mega figure within Islam. Therefore Hasan's comings and goings and the children he had are very well attested in history. Guess what?

He indeed never had a son named Ali. In fact, one oddly suspicious thing about Yusuf bin Ahmad's genealogy is that it practically mixes up the descendants of two separate brothers. It was Hussein not Hassan who had a son named Ali who in turn had a son named Muhammad who in turn had a son name Ja'far who in turn had a son named Musa and so on and so forth. But the Barkhadle/ Yusuf bin Ahmad al-Kawneyn genealogy is fervently claimed by those who carried it on to be a Hassani one and not one descended from Hussein.

The Shrine of Hussein ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib

It actually wouldn't even matter if it was a Hussein based genealogy because even if you followed it as a Hussein descended genealogy; it still fails. "Hadib" whose name is emboldened in the genealogy above never existed.

This is another completely fraudulent genealogy. It's frankly disappointing how easily it fell apart. It's supposed to be a Hassani genealogy but it falls apart the moment you go one son down from Hassan himself.

How these genealogies held water for so long is not too surprising though. It's easy to look at the world as we do now with the internet and so much of our species' accumulated knowledge quite literally at our fingertips and judge the people and historians who've seen these genealogies as valid as foolish people but in truth; the Somalis who kept these genealogies in their heads for generations didn't have records from Arabia of each and every son who was born to so and so Hashemite person to look at.

Hell, one could argue historians who studied these genealogies briefly like Enrico Cerulli and I.M Lewis didn't really have all the knowledge they needed at their fingertips. But we of the 21st Century today do have access to such a wealth of information, and this is now seriously something a ten year old could confirm for themselves and I urge you to do your own research; these genealogies are quite fake. Ali ibn Hasan, Muhammad ibn Aqeel and Yahya ibn Muhammad al-Taqi did not exist.

There is no credible record of any of them. Only Muhammad ibn Aqeel shows up in an old record  and that's in a book (Aqeeliyoon) from roughly 200 years or so after his supposed father's death, written by a fellow really just recounting the Darod clan's claimed genealogy as far as I can tell. Actual records from the time of his supposed life don't mention him having existed at any point. He is however the one person out of the three with the best chance of having been real; the other two are hopeless.

I once thought that whilst being genetically invalid; these particular Arabian genealogies might have at least been historically solid but now it seems as though they are historically invalid as well.

Reference List:

3. Saints and Somalis: Popular Islam in a Clan-based Society, by I. M. Lewis

4.  A Modern History of the Somali, by I.M Lewis

5.  Early Back-to-Africa Migration into the Horn of Africa, Hodgson et al.


1. Yusuf bin Ahmad is sometimes considered the ancestor of the Walashma/ Wilinwili dynasty but this is however considered more of a fabled origin. There's more on that here: [-] 

2.  Apologies for not being able to find a sample of the "A Modern History of the Somali" via google but that information on the Isaaq being claimed by the Dir is somewhat common knowledge. Even I in an ethnic Somali household that did not like to talk about clans was aware of this supposed connection a few years ago via conversations with talkative relatives. 

3. The Ethio-Helix blog post I linked you to at some point is pretty reliable and the author pretty much cites a plethora of peer-reviewed papers for the Haplogroup information he shares (you're welcome to look them up via his page), so no worries there. It's no rinky-dink random blog.  


  1. Thank you soo much saaxiib for your hard work.

    Now i will email this blog post to every elder in puntland and Somaliland this will give them a heart attack.

    1. Heh, good luck to you and you're welcome, noble nomad. ;-)

    2. salam bro, i find the information on this page really interesting. i have some question and i also have some information which i would like to share with you. is there away i can contact you bro.

  2. This (claiming Arabian origins) was/is also a trend in MENA. How did this ideology get to Somalia ?

  3. If you do not mind me asking, do you read Arabic?


  4. Salam brother,

    Nice reseach brother. I do agree with you in many point. But Muhammad bin Aqeel and Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Aqeel do exist. Actually Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Aqeel is a famous narrator of Hadiths. It is written in Wikipedia abou Aqeel in Arabic: وقد قُتِل عبد الرحمن وجعفر وعبد الله الأكبر، وأحفاده محمد وعبد الله ابنا مسلم، ومحمد بن أبي سعيد الأحول، جميعهم في معركة كربلاء.[45] انقرض نسل بنيه ما عدا أبناء محمد وزوجته زينب الصغرى بنت علي بن أبي طالب أم عبد الله بن محمد بن عقيل بن أبي طالب راوي الحديث.[46][47]
    If you know Arabic you can check thsese links.عقيل_بن_أبي_طالبعبد_الله_بن_محمد_بن_عقيل_بن_أبي_طالب

  5. Thanks for your hard work! I myself, as an Isaaq found it a bit odd that Sheikh Isaaq is related to many Imams and so forth. So i did some digging myself and found this book:

    It mentions Sheikh Isaaq ibn Ahmad (which is correct so far) but his title is Al-'Alawi

    So i was curious if this Sheikh Isaaq ibn Ahmad Al-Alawi is actually the true Sheikh Isaaq, not the Al-Hashimi many believe.

    I did a bit of research and found that the Al-Alawi tribe or (Ba 'Alawi sada) is a tribe from Yemen. Hadhramaut specificially, which is opposite the northern somali coast.

    This tribe was founded by Ahmad al-Muhajir in the 900s, many sources point that Sheikh Isaaq died around 727(Islamic Calender) so 1326 gregorian calender.

    Sources also state that he came from yemen, which could also back the case that he is from the Ba 'Alawi sada tribe.

    In any case, we can not know for certain until a dna sample is taken from Sheikh Isaaq(if that will happen i will never know) BUT, may i ask you if that is possible? i'm not sure about the ancestry of arab tribes, so i was wondering if you do.


  6. Salama Alaikum Brother,

    I benefited a lot from your blog since you brought to light a lot of things I overlooked. But I disagree with your point about the non-existence of Muhammad bin Aqiil, as the brother earlier pointed out his existence is confirmed in many places. A link mentioning him which is from the Wikishia is presented:

    Thanks for your time.
    Salama Alaikum

  7. The above about Muhammad bin Aqiil, makes the reader doubt everything that has been written about this topic and the truth is with Allah.

  8. so, this is well put together, and i actually scrutinized and debunked some of these lineages a while ago. looked at them and noticed that they didnt hold up too. and found inconsistencies in them. figured out that the isaacs are related to the dir clan, and not sure about that other group that you mentioned, but this darrod guy is said to have come over from across the water as an arab despite his lineage being false, and he married a cushitic lady form the dir clan, starting his line that way. his story is agreed upon up until that part. the issue is they're not sure who he is from. we'd like to think that he descends from nobility like the prophets lineage instead of some other arab nobodies.

  9. So many historical mistakes especially your baseless claim that Muhammed ibn Aqeel didnt exist, he very well did and was the one of the forefathers of Darood.

    1. Please do link me to proof that he existed. This was a long time ago and I may have missed something. But either way, Daroods' dominant Y-DNA lineage (E-Z813) has nothing to do with Arabia and directly contradicts Somali origin myths. It's a lineage shared with Hawiyes as well as Isaaqs like the Habar Awal that seems to have originated in Bronze-Age Egypt or Sudan. So I'm afraid the jury's out on this one. We are not descended from some Arabian man from the early Middle Ages.