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Title: Hawiye  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Factions in the Somali Civil War, Abgaal, Islamic Courts Union, Somalis, Battle of Mogadishu (March–April 2007)
Collection: Hawiye Clan, Somali Clans, Somali Clans in Ethiopia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


بنو هوية
Regions with significant populations
Islam (Sunni, Sufism)
Related ethnic groups
Dir, Darod, Isaaq, Rahanweyn, other Somali people

The Hawiye (Somali: Hawiye, Arabic: بنو هوية‎) is a Somali clan. Members of the clan primarily live in central and southern Somalia, in the Ogaden and the North Eastern Province (currently administered by Ethiopia and Kenya, respectively), and in smaller numbers in other countries. Like many Somalis, Hawiye members trace their ancestry to Irir Samaale.

The Hawiye are either the largest[1][2] or second-largest[3][4] Somali clan, but are the dominant clan in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia,[5]


  • History 1
  • Settlement and commerce 2
  • Clan tree 3
  • Notable Hawiye figures 4
    • Heads of State and Government 4.1
    • Politicians 4.2
    • Military personnel 4.3
    • Leading intellectuals 4.4
    • Traditional elders and religious leaders 4.5
    • Music and literature 4.6
  • Political factions and organizations 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7


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, himself the great-grandson of Ram Nag, an Arab migrant who landed in Zeila on the northwestern Somali coast.[6] However, other accounts maintain that Ram Nag was of Indian,[7] or of Abyssinian extraction.[8]

The first written reference to the Hawiye dates back to a 13th-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.[9]

Settlement and commerce

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.[10]

Sub-clans of the Hawiye include the Degodia, about 40 percent of whom live in Ethiopia. When Arthur Donaldson Smith traveled through what is now Bare woreda in 1895, he found that the Degodia were neighbors of the Afgab clan, their territory stretching east to the Weyib and Dawa Rivers.[11]

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.[12][13]

Clan tree

There is no clear agreement on the clan and sub-clan structures and many lineages are omitted. The following listing is taken from the World Bank's Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics from 2005 and the United Kingdom's Home Office publication, Somalia Assessment 2001.[14][15]

In the south central part of Somalia the World Bank shows the following clan tree:[16]

  • Hawiye
    • Karanle
      • Murusade
    • Gorgate
      • Abgal
      • Habargidir
      • Sheikhal
      • Duduble
      • Ujeien
    • Gugun-Dhabe
    • Rarane
    • Haskul
    • Jambeele
      • Hawadle
      • Galje'el
      • Ajuran
      • Dagodi

The Silcis Sultanate in the 17th and 18th centuries and later became established at Warsheikh.

Notable Hawiye figures

Heads of State and Government


Military personnel

Leading intellectuals

Traditional elders and religious leaders

Music and literature

Political factions and organizations

See also


  1. ^ Central Intelligence Agency (2002). "Ethnic Groups". Somalia Summary Map. Retrieved February 15, 2006. 
  2. ^ Human Rights Watch (1990). "Somalia: Human Rights Developments". Human Rights Watch World Report 1990. Retrieved November 21, 2005. 
  3. ^ "The Situation in Somalia". Report of the Somali Commission of Inquiry, Vol. 1. Retrieved November 21, 2005. 
  4. ^ Somalia Assessment 2001, Annex B: Somali Clan Structure, Country Information and Policy Unit, Home Office, Great Britain
  5. ^ Truce' after Somali gun battle"'". BBC News. 2007-03-23. Retrieved 2007-04-13. 
  6. ^ Hunt, John Anthony (1951). A general survey of the Somaliland Protectorate 1944-1950: final report on 'An economic survey and reconnaissance of the British Somaliland Protectorate 1944-1950,' Colonial Development and Welfare Scheme, Part 484. To be purchased from the Chief Secretary. p. 151.  
  7. ^ I. M. Lewis, Peoples of the Horn of Africa: Somali, Afar and Saho, (Red Sea Press: 1998), p.14.
  8. ^ Hassan Ali Jama, Who cares about Somalia: Hassan's ordeal ; reflections on a nation's future, (Schiler: 2005), p.147.
  9. ^ Herbert S. Lewis, "The Origins of the Galla and Somali", in The Journal of African History. Cambridge University Press, 1966, pp 27–30.
  10. ^ The Somali, Afar and Saho groups in the Horn of Africa by I.M Lewis
  11. ^ Donaldson-Smith, Through Unknown African Countries: the first expedition from Somaliland to Lake Rudolph (London, 1897), p. 143
  12. ^ Kenya’s past; an introduction to historical method in Africa page by Thomas T. Spear
  13. ^ The Shaping of Somali society; reconstructing the history of a pastoral people by Lee Cassanelli
  14. ^ Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.55 Figure A-1
  15. ^ Country Information and Policy Unit, Home Office, Great Britain, Somalia Assessment 2001, Annex B: Somali Clan Structure, p. 43
  16. ^ Worldbank, Conflict in Somalia: Drivers and Dynamics, January 2005, Appendix 2, Lineage Charts, p.56 Figure A-2
  17. ^ "CRD Somalia". Center for Research and Dialogue. 2005-07-12. Retrieved 2010-10-12. 
  18. ^§ionid=351020501
  19. ^
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